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Old 01-22-2014, 05:43 AM   #1
Gsulliv2
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Default Belgian tripel Secondary ferment necessary? + timing question

Hey guys, (first off I put this in the wrong forum earlier... My apologies)

I'm relatively new to homebrewing and am thinking about making a belgian tripel. I'll probably be using a brewer's best kit but will be using a different yeast than the one that comes with the kit (I am thinking wyeast 1214 - open to suggestions) and maybe adding a few spices prior to bottle conditioning.

Now... I keep reading that a secondary fermentation step isn't necessary in this day and age. (I'm not trying to put words in anyone's mouth by the way) but Most everyone seems to agree that a secondary fermentation transfer isn't necessary for under 4 weeks. After that, people's thoughts seem to vary.

I plan on using my hydrometer etc. etc. for exact timing but roughly, I expected that I would leave the wort in the primary fermenter for roughly 2 weeks and then transfer to a secondary for about 3-4 (5-6?).

Do you all think it would be at all possible to simply leave it in the primary for the full 5-6 weeks? Do you all think I should wait even longer?

I assume I will be bottle conditioning the beer for about 2-4 weeks as well by the way, regardless of method mentioned above

Some notes on this: people seem to agree that if you want to stick solely with a primary then you have to make sure the yeast is healthy and that the temperature stays pretty constant. I plan on doing a starter for my yeast and the temperature of my apartment (for better or for worse) will hover from 68-72 (I'd prefer a little lower but I don't have the equipment etc. yet)

One more note: after 5-6 weeks (or even longer) will the yeast still be able to carbonate my bottles simply by adding a bit of priming sugar? I don't want to take all this time and end up with a flat beer!


Thanks for your help in advance and pardon me if I've made some newbie mistakes on terminology (or anything for that matter!)

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Old 01-22-2014, 05:52 AM   #2
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I'd leave it in the primary for 10-14 days and call it done. 1214 should work well, I like it in Tripels. Watch the temps, start off in the low 60s and let it rise to the mid 70s and you should be good to go. You can add spices if you like, but I'd let the yeast do its think and hold off on spices for a Belgian Wit..

Just saw your temp range. Remember that fermenting beer will be at a higher temp than ambient. If you can keep it a bit cooler (in a tub of water, fan, etc) for the first 3-4 days your beer will appreciate it. That being said, I've made numerous Tripels within your temp range when I first started out and they all came out fine... eventually. Simply no reason for extra long fermentations or secondaries IMHO. Should be fine without adding yeast at bottling, but I always do for my Belgians. Just use a bit from the fermenter added with the sugar.

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Old 01-22-2014, 05:52 AM   #3
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My three thoughts:

1. Leave it in the primary until it's done fermenting. Doesn't matter if it's one week or six weeks.
2. Big beers need time to condition. You are probably looking at 8 - 10 weeks. You can decide if you want to do that in the bottle or in a secondary.
3. If you are over 8%, expect another 6 - 8 weeks for carbonation.

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