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Old 02-11-2011, 07:13 PM   #1
adromo
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Default Advice - Belgian Tripel

Hi All, I am planning to brew a Belgian Tripel tomorrow and thought I would post my planned recipe and procedures for review and to solicit any advice you might have. This will be my first attempt at a Tripel.

I am using Jamil's recipe from Brewing Classic Styles, so I am not to worried about the recipe itself. That beings said, I will include it below for context

O.G. 1.081
IBUs 34.4

12# Belgian Pilsner
.25# Belgian Aromatic Malt
2# Cane (Beet) Sugar
2.00 oz Tettnang (60 min)
.50 oz Sazz (10 min)
WLP530 - 2L starter

Mash @ 149F 90 min.
90 Minute Boil

I do have a couple of specific questions dealing with the mash and the fermentation temperature but any other general advice is also welcome and encouraged.


THE MASH QUESTIONS:
1) Protein Rest: should I do a protein rest with this recipe? I have read conflicting reports as to whether or not a protein rest is necessary with Pilsner malt.

2) Mash Out: Should I do a mash out with this recipe or not? As I understand it the mash out serves two purposes: (1) to denature the enzymes and lock in the mash profile; and (2) to increase the mash temperature and decrease viscosity to improve runoff.

I have never had a runoff problem and do not anticipate that being an issue for this brew. Thus, it really comes down to this: How important is it to lock in my mash profile? Especially since I am going for very fermentable wort anyway?

I am thinking of omitting the protein rest and the mash out. I have a 7.5G brewpot so I like to have a starting boil volume of about 6.75G to have a manageable hot break and prevent boil overs. According to Beer Smith, if I do a protein rest and a mash out with a target boil volume of 6.75G I will only sparge with 0.70G. This seems as if it would negatively effect my efficiency.

Any suggestions or advice? Should I omit both the protein and the mash out? or just one, and if so which one?

FERMENTATION QUESTIONS:
After reading Brew Like a Monk and some on this forum, it seems that having the proper fermentation temperature profile is crucial for getting the proper attenuation with a Belgian. I plan to try and follow the procedure proscribed in Brew Like a Monk. That procedure is as follows.

1) I will use my Lager refrigerator to chill the wort down to 62-64F and pitch at that temperature.
2) I will let the temperature rise over the first 24 - 36 hours but not above 70 - 72F.
3) After the first 2 days, I will use a space heater to heat the fermenting beer to 78-80F for the remainder of the fermentation.

Does anyone have any experience with the above procedure or with WLP530? Can you speak to whether the above procedure will work or offer an alternative?

Thank you all for your advice.

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Old 02-11-2011, 08:46 PM   #2
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These are my thoughts: Definitely don't need a protein rest. The mash out isn't necessary. As far as fermentation goes, I would pitch at about 65 and let the fermentation temp ramp up naturally- don't try to slow it down, let the yeast do what they will. Also, I wouldn't bother with the space heater either unless the room is too cold. One other thing I would do would be to leave out the sugar for about a week then add it to the fermenter. The yeast will go nuts and really help to give you better attenuation.

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Old 02-12-2011, 02:25 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BigB View Post
These are my thoughts: Definitely don't need a protein rest. The mash out isn't necessary. As far as fermentation goes, I would pitch at about 65 and let the fermentation temp ramp up naturally- don't try to slow it down, let the yeast do what they will. Also, I wouldn't bother with the space heater either unless the room is too cold. One other thing I would do would be to leave out the sugar for about a week then add it to the fermenter. The yeast will go nuts and really help to give you better attenuation.
Thanks for the advice. I have a couple of follow up questions for clarity.

You mention not to worry about the space heater unless the room is too cold. What would you consider to cold? I can either ferment in my basement, which is about 58-60F this time of year, or in my living area, which is about 70F. Perhaps I could start in my basement and then move to the living area?

Also, with respect to adding the sugar later. Should I just pour the sugar into the fermentor or should I dissolve it in water first?

Thank again for the help.
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Old 02-12-2011, 02:37 AM   #4
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I used Wyeast Trappist in my Tripel. I just mashed at 147*F for 90min. Sparged with 168*F water. I pitched at 65*F and brought it up to 75*F, although I think it ended up hitting 80*F. I added my sugar after a few days to a week after fermentation started slowing a little. Tastes amazing. It's still in the fermenter, but even the sample is awesome. I cannot wait to bottle condition this beer. I'm throwing a Belgian Dark Strong on it next week. Oh, btw, I have a space heater in my room, which is very cold without it. I just put the fermenters in front of it. I am going by the stick-on thermometers for fermenters. I just moved it slightly closer to the heater each day bringing it up slowly. I also slightly swish around the fermenter each day.

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Old 02-12-2011, 03:10 AM   #5
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I just did a belgian dark strong ale and I used wyeast 1762 which is like wlp 530. I agree with your temperature ramping. pitch in the mid sixties and let it rise slowly to 70 over the next few days. as fermentation slows, crank the heat up between 72-75.

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Old 02-12-2011, 01:31 PM   #6
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You mention not to worry about the space heater unless the room is too cold. What would you consider to cold? I can either ferment in my basement, which is about 58-60F this time of year, or in my living area, which is about 70F. Perhaps I could start in my basement and then move to the living area?

Also, with respect to adding the sugar later. Should I just pour the sugar into the fermentor or should I dissolve it in water first?
The basement is too cold. The living area should be fine and you won't need to use the space heater there. Starting in the basement should be fine, but the yeast might be a little slow to start at that temp (58-60). Once they get going move it to the living space. As far as the sugar goes, I would boil it with some water (whatever it takes to make a nice fluid mixture) for 5 miutes then let it cool and pour it into the fermenter. Be advised though that the yeast will really go psycho so you might want to have a blow off tube in place.
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Old 02-12-2011, 02:06 PM   #7
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Skip the protein rest, but consider the mashout. 90 minutes at 149 may not give you complete conversion, depending on how well your mash tun holds heat. The mashout is cheap insurance for a complete conversion, avoiding a hazy beer. In fact, this wort will be plenty fermentable already with 2 lbs of sugar. You might want to bump that mash temp up a bit to 152-154.

I have a love/hate relationship with WLP530. When happy, it creates a fantastic Tripel, but it'll stall in a heartbeat if the temp drops even a little. I've had two stalled fermentations with it in the past. Your space heater plan is very wise.

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Old 02-12-2011, 02:31 PM   #8
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Default Thank you all for the advice

Thank you all for the advice. I'll probably get started on this in the next hour or so.

So it sounds like whether I use a space heater or not the real trick is to prevent the temperature from fluctuating down at all. Sounds like these yeast are quick to go to sleep if they sense a temperature drop - even if it is a transient drop.

One again, thanks for the advice. Much appreciated. Looking forward to getting started. This will be my first "bigger beer."

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Old 02-13-2011, 02:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkarp View Post
I have a love/hate relationship with WLP530. When happy, it creates a fantastic Tripel, but it'll stall in a heartbeat if the temp drops even a little. I've had two stalled fermentations with it in the past. Your space heater plan is very wise.
My WLP530 went nuts in the primary and fermented my Dubbel to an 89% attenuation! During the height of activity, the temp got to 72F, but I then panicked and dropped it back to 68F. It still finished with a high attenuation. However, it's true that if some Belgian yeast have a drop in temp then they will stall out. I think WLP530 is one of those yeast. Thankfully it didn't happen to me.
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