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Old 11-14-2013, 04:32 PM   #1
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Default Recipe audit request: tripel ("time flux capacitor")

Hey guys--

I'm seeking some feedback on a tripel recipe that I put together. I've taken a look at a number of tripel recipes, and I'm trying to hit somewhere between totally classic and progressive.

My main concerns:
*I want to make sure it finishes pretty dry. After trying some American tripels and some Belgian ones, the sweetness of many American craft examples bugs me. Thus I've included a pretty high percentage of sugar (19%), which, from Brew Like a Monk, seems about right.
*I want to have significant, though not IPA-like, hop presence. I'm not trying to achieve a harsh bitterness or anything like that, but I don't want this to be a pushover, either. So I'm targeting about 45 IBUs (near the top end of Belgian examples) and some hop aroma.

My two most significant inspirations are Gordon Strong's recipe in Brewing Better Beer, from which I got the idea of using the US and noble aroma hop combo, and Tripel Karmeliet, which I really like and uses oats and wheat in addition to barley.

A few of the choices below are influenced just by what I have on hand (e.g. the English malt as part of the base, and Summit for bittering).

Let me know what you think of the following. Thanks!


TIME FLUX CAPACITOR
http://www.brewtoad.com/recipes/time-flux-capacitor

OG: 1.086 @ ~75% efficiency
FG: 1.013 (est.); ~9.5% ABV
IBU: 47

GRAINS:
6 lbs pils
3 lbs English pale malt
8 oz Munich
8 oz quick oats
8 oz flaked wheat
2.5 lbs of table sugar (not for mash)

two-step mash: protein rest, 130F for 15 mins; step to 148F for 90 minutes.

BOIL:
90 mins: .5 oz Summit (18% AA, pellet), 28 IBUs
30 mins: 1 oz Styrian Goldings (~5% AA),12 IBUs
5 mins: 1 oz Saaz, 2 IBUs
5 mins: 1 oz Amarillo, 5 IBUs
5 mins: Coriander, crushed, about 1 oz (TBD)
whirlfloc @ 10 mins.

Cool. Pitch Chimay yeast (WLP500, with starter), at around 66F; let free rise. Probably will add the 2.5 lbs of sugar dissolved in water after 36 hours, in order to aid yeast.

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Old 11-14-2013, 08:59 PM   #2
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Looks pretty good. I like the long mash, the 90 minute boil, and the hop bill. Two things that I would do with recipe:

1. When I've added sugar into the fermenter, it's really caused my fermentation temperature to rise. I would keep the fermentation temperature low until about 24-48 hours after you add the sugar, then let the temperature free rise. You should avoid any hot alcohol flavors that way.

2. This is probably just my personal preference, I like my Tripels light in color and dry. With that said, I'd probably reduce the ratio of Pilsner to Eng. pale. Currently you are at 2:1 Pils to Eng. pale, I'd probably do 3-4:1. Alternatively, you may consider swapping some or all of the English pale malt and Munich with US 2-row and/or German Pilsner (assuming you are using Belgian Pilsner) if you're looking to layer your grains. Basically, I think the hop bill will give you the slightly progessive Tripel you are looking for, I wouldn't fool with the grain bill much. Either way, I think you'll have a great beer.

Good luck, this sounds like a tasty beer.

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Old 11-14-2013, 10:06 PM   #3
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Hey, thanks. On your first point--I have added sugar in medias res before, but I had never realized that it boosts the temperature. It's a great observation. Some of my strong Belgians have been a bit fusely; maybe this is why. Anyway, I will definitely be sure to watch the temperature post-sucrose, so thank you.

On the second point--yeah, I'm not 100% sure about this yet either. I want to keep it pretty light, hence the minimal Munich (just enough for a little character). The English is there partly just because that's what I have on hand in a 50-pound sack, and I feel guilty buying pils by the pound when I have the English sitting around. But I might make it more like 7:2. I'll see what moves me on brew day.

Thanks again.

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Old 11-15-2013, 12:07 PM   #4
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In my experience, less is more with tripels. You want the malt and hops to be in the background and the yeast flavors to shine. Thus, recipe is less critical than the proper fermentation regimen.

I've made best of show with a very simple recipe - 80% Pils/5% wheat/15% table sugar, styrian goldings to 35IBU with a bit of Saaz at flameout. I paid very close attention to the fermentation...WLP530 (300B cells/5gal, 90sec pure O2) pitched at 64F, self rise to 70F, hold there through high krausen, then ramp slowly to 76F over the next 10 days. This beer came out great and scored a 44 in the aforementioned competition.

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Old 11-15-2013, 07:53 PM   #5
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I definitely hear you on less is more with the recipe. I am going to be more mindful of temperature on this one than I have on some of my previous Belgians, which, while tasty, probably got a little too estery. I'm aiming for a bit more spice and a bit less ester here. Thanks.

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Old 12-08-2013, 01:11 AM   #6
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Just a minor update--my efficiency was a little lower than my projected 80%, but I wound up with a 1.061 OG wort before the sucrose. After sucrose to reach an effective OG of 1.075--that was 10 days ago--I took a gravity sample today. Down to 1.004!! Saison-like! Man, this is wild. Tastes great, though not what I had expected.

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Old 01-30-2014, 06:50 PM   #7
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Bottled this on either New Year's Day or the next day, and I've now had a few bottles of it. Wow. I am confident this is my best beer so far, even with the unanticipated lower OG and crazy low FG. It is great. Highly recommended.

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