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Old 06-05-2012, 11:10 PM   #1
punkerdru
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Default Belgian Tripel needs a little sum-n sum-n

So, I brewed a Belgian Tripel from this recipe I found laying around, and it ended up a little out of style... It's around 10.5% and a little darker than you would typically see them at. The thing is, I've had a bunch of stuff going on lately, and so I didn't add any grain (I usually do a partial mash or at least steep something) and I find the beer to be lacking that special taste that homebrew usually has. Granted, it's only a week old so I'm jumping the gun here, but I was trying to get some suggestions on what to add to a secondary to maybe spice it up a little. We've got a bunch of fresh herbs growing (thyme, rosemary, sage, basil, dill, etc.) and I was thinking of either thyme or sage. What do you guys think?

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Old 06-12-2012, 01:29 AM   #2
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bump.


I am also considering adding some fruit/berries to the mix: I have some blackberries that grow in the yard that would be delicious I think. Is this too big a beer to use fruit with?

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Old 06-12-2012, 04:08 AM   #3
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Did you use Pilsner extract? Belgian Tripels usually use Pilsner malt exclusively, and some belgian candi sugar. If you didn't, that might be why it tastes a little off. You could brew another beer (maybe a Dubel around 7%) with Pilsner malt/extract and blend them together when you bottle/keg. If you decide to use some fruit, go with some strawberries. It will definitely bump up the alcohol a bit, too. Rosemary and honey would add some complexity too.

Good luck!

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Old 06-12-2012, 04:44 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by rcsoccer View Post
If you decide to use some fruit, go with some strawberries. It will definitely bump up the alcohol a bit, too.
Hold up there, Tex. The addition would have to be around 15% sugar and ferment out completely to increase the alcohol content. Fresh strawberries are around 5% sugar. The fruit would have to be dried or candied to increase the alcohol concentration in a 10+% beer.

To the OP, I think most homebrew Tripel recipes lack adequate bittering (and possibly acidification).
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:08 AM   #5
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Hold up there, Tex. The addition would have to be around 15% sugar and ferment out completely to increase the alcohol content. Fresh strawberries are around 5% sugar. The fruit would have to be dried or candied to increase the alcohol concentration in a 10+% beer.
If you add any amount of sugar, in any form, to a beer with healthy yeast it will increase the % of alcohol. Maybe not a lot, but it would also depend on the amount of fruit that you add.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:11 AM   #6
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If you add any amount of sugar, in any form, to a beer with healthy yeast it will increase the % of alcohol.
No, it won't. That's like saying that adding a pint of beer to a shot of whiskey results in a big glass of eighty proof.

Fruit contains water.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:42 AM   #7
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No, it won't. That's like saying that adding a pint of beer to a shot of whiskey results in a big glass of eighty proof.

Fruit contains water.
It is nothing like adding a shot of whiskey to a pint of beer and calling it 80 proof. I'm not saying that the addition of fruit will radically increase the alcohol concentration.

So, when I rack my beer onto a bunch of fruit in secondary and there is a big krausen and the airlock is bubbling for over a week that means that the yeast aren't producing alcohol from the sugar in the fruit? Could have fooled me.

Fruit may contain water, but it also contains sugar.
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:19 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rcsoccer

It is nothing like adding a shot of whiskey to a pint of beer and calling it 80 proof. I'm not saying that the addition of fruit will radically increase the alcohol concentration.
Unless it's 5 lbs of dried strawberries or something along those lines the alcohol contribution would be so minor as to not be worth mentioning.

Also I think it's way too early to judge this beer. 10.5, that's a massive beer like Gulden Draak, it will take months for you to even be able to assess it's flavor. The only batch of beer I've ruined was one where I just thought it needed something and in the end I overdid it. Let it be, and if you want it fruity there are a lot of really nice fruit syrups you could mix it with when you serve.
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:26 AM   #9
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Unless it's 5 lbs of dried strawberries or something along those lines the alcohol contribution would be so minor as to not be worth mentioning.

Also I think it's way too early to judge this beer. 10.5, that's a massive beer like Gulden Draak, it will take months for you to even be able to assess it's flavor. The only batch of beer I've ruined was one where I just thought it needed something and in the end I overdid it. Let it be, and if you want it fruity there are a lot of really nice fruit syrups you could mix it with when you serve.
I definitely agree. I would leave it in secondary by itself for about 3 months before kegging.
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by rcsoccer View Post
I'm not saying that the addition of fruit will radically increase the alcohol concentration.

So, when I rack my beer onto a bunch of fruit in secondary and there is a big krausen and the airlock is bubbling for over a week that means that the yeast aren't producing alcohol from the sugar in the fruit?
The OP's beer is already at 10.5% abv. To achieve that concentration of alcohol, assuming 100% real attenuation, requires about 15% sugar concentration in the fermentable solution (wort/must). If you add fruit that contains only 5% sugar, the alcohol concentration CANNOT GO UP, unless you remove water, either by distillation, (reverse) osmosis, or evaporation (dry the fruit before adding).
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