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-   -   Brewing Belgian Trappist-style beers (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/brewing-belgian-trappist-style-beers-118423/)

axp 05-10-2009 11:43 AM

Brewing Belgian Trappist-style beers
 
Hello all.

I am new to homebrewing - just got a starter kit today

I want to brew Belgian Trappist beers, without becoming a monk. Could you please advise on the equipment I will need and the processes involved.

I have a * 25 Litre brewing bin
* paddle
* Syphon
* Steriliser
* Hydrometer
* 24 1ltr PET bottles

do i need anything else equipment wise?

I have read that Belgian beers are secondary fermented and bottle conditioned. Does the secondary fermentation occur in the bottles or do I need to do that in a carboy? My question being, to brew Trappist beers should I have a carboy as well as the listed equipment?

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

The_Chemist 05-10-2009 01:20 PM

This is also the style that I try to brew in.

The answers to the questions that you asked could fill a book or a forum full of debate, but the short answer would be something like:

Equipment depends on the method that you want to use. If you want to go all extract (no actual grain involved here, just the extracted and concentrated sugars from the malt) you may need less equipment than if you go with a recipe that uses partial grain or all grain. I suggest that you decide upon which method you want to use before you worry if your cache of equipment is sufficient. I would suggest, for a first time brewer, to do either an all extract method, or a partial extract-partial grain method (my first batch was part grain and I did not find it too difficult).

Things you will need for sure would be 1) a pot (aluminum probably, but there are other good materials) of at least 5 gallon size 2)tubing for transferring of liquid and 3) a good thermometer. This is the bare minimum in addition to the things you listed. If you want to go all grain, you will need some more specialized stuff.

On to the question of secondary fermentation. As you will see often on this board, the 'fermentation' part in secondary fermentation is a bit of a misnomer. It's not really fermentation, but yes, a carboy would work well for this step. Belgian Trappist beers tend to be high in sugar to start and high in alcohol at the end (high gravity, in other words) and benefit from aging in bulk (secondary). There is a lot of debate about wether you should leave the beer in the primary fermentation vessel for longer, or transfer it to a secondary, but the choice is yours. Certainly, you will need SOME step to let the beer 'condition' (ie. have the yeasties clean up bad stuff). In short, you might need carboy if you plan on transferring to a secondary, or you might be able to just leave it in the primary for longer (something I am experimenting with now).

Good luck.

Tonedef131 05-10-2009 01:40 PM

You can brew an Orval style beer right now since Wyeast has a seasonal strain out similar to their blend. I just got me one :cool:

axp 05-10-2009 05:27 PM

Thanks for the replies.

I assume I will be doing an all extract method this time as the kit purchased for me was a starter kit containing 'all you need' to brew a belgian abbey beer.

I would like to, very soon, if my first attempt is a success jump in at the deep end and start from all grain. I was given a lovely book with recipes in for Trappist clones stating what malts and hops etc to use. What extra equipment would I need for this? And how does this differ in procedure?

It was also stated I would need a five gallon aluminium pot? This is huge! What do I need this for?

woollybugger2 05-10-2009 05:39 PM

If you are doing an extract the two things that you can do to have control over the taste of your brew are yeast selection and fermentation temperatures. Don't forget to make a starter for your beer! This will help it get off to a good start and finish up nicely.

Most "kits" are for 5 gallons, yours may be different, generally you start off with a partial boil of 2 ~ 3 gallons (you do need some head space in the pot) and then top off with water to achieve the recipe's total volume. I started my partial boils in a 3 gallon stainless steel pot.

axp 05-11-2009 12:17 PM

How do I make a starter? And what is it. I assume that the yeast will already be in the kit. Supposed to be arriving today so will be brewing later on if all goes to plan...

woollybugger2 05-11-2009 12:59 PM

Making a Yeast Starter for your Home Brew Beer | Home Brewing Beer Blog by BeerSmith

For a High Gravity Beer you might need a 3 or 4 liter starter. Check Mr. Malty's Pitch Rate Calculator. Mr Malty

I make mine in a gallon jug and just swirl the starter every chance I get. I'm working on a stir plate.

HairyDogBrewing 05-11-2009 01:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by axp (Post 1314887)
How do I make a starter? And what is it. I assume that the yeast will already be in the kit. Supposed to be arriving today so will be brewing later on if all goes to plan...

If you're using a dry yeast, don't make a starter.
Just re-hydrate in warm water for 15 minutes before adding it to cooled (20C)wort.

Much of the flavor in Trappist ales comes from the unique yeasts that they use.
Wyeast and White Labs offer liquid yeasts that are related to the Trappists'.
Always make a starter when using liquid yeast.

axp 05-12-2009 05:34 PM

OK so I finally got my brew kit today. It consists basically of the above equipment listed, plus 1Kg of sugar and a can of extract. It should make 9 ltrs.

The instructions are very minimal. It basically says warm the can of extract, pour into fermentation bucket, add 1ltr of warm water, dissolve 500g of sugar in 2ltrs and add to bucket. Add another 5ltr and when all is at 20 C add yeast and cover, leave for 10 days.

It says that I should then syphon the beer into another fermentation vesel and add some more sugar before bottling. I do not have another vessel, so would it make a difference if I added all sugar at start, or if a added the second amount of sugar to the initial vessel at the end?

Sorry for such silly questions, but I have another! Are there any pictorials out there on how to syphon. I have never done this before either.

Many thanks, Andrew.

SmugMug 05-12-2009 05:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by axp (Post 1317433)
OK so I finally got my brew kit today. It consists basically of the above equipment listed, plus 1Kg of sugar and a can of extract. It should make 9 ltrs.

The instructions are very minimal. It basically says warm the can of extract, pour into fermentation bucket, add 1ltr of warm water, dissolve 500g of sugar in 2ltrs and add to bucket. Add another 5ltr and when all is at 20 C add yeast and cover, leave for 10 days.

It says that I should then syphon the beer into another fermentation vesel and add some more sugar before bottling. I do not have another vessel, so would it make a difference if I added all sugar at start, or if a added the second amount of sugar to the initial vessel at the end?

Sorry for such silly questions, but I have another! Are there any pictorials out there on how to syphon. I have never done this before either.

Many thanks, Andrew.

Sounds like a Mr. Beer-style extract kit. There are several threads and some great literature regarding these kinds of kits where they tell you to add a ridiculous amount of sugar. I really suggest doing a search and reading them before you start, I believe it may steer you in a better direction with the end product.


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