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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Belgian Tripel -- Secondary or bottling?
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Old 12-26-2011, 05:42 PM   #1
wahoofna627
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Default Belgian Tripel -- Secondary or bottling?

Hello all!
My friend and I are on our second batch and are working on a belgian tripel. It's been in first stage fermentation for 2 weeks and now has a FG of 1.021 (OG was 1.083) and we aren't sure where to go from here. I've done some quick searching without getting much of a clear answer so I decided to sign up and ask you guys...

We don't have a carboy but it seems now would be the time to put it into secondary fermentation, correct or no? If possible we'd like to bottle it but I don't know if that would be an O.K. alternative to secondary. Any advice is much appreciated and I look forward to gaining some knowledge from this board.
Thanks a ton,
Mike


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Old 12-26-2011, 07:02 PM   #2
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I'd leave it be where it is. There's not point to transfer now. The real goal of secondary is to allow the beer to clear and clean up after itself. 1.021 is pretty high for a tripel and 2 weeks isn't very long for a belgian strain so you'd just end up with more fermentation after transfer anyway. If anything you may want to warm it up a little and help get the gravity down as far as possible. Right now you're probably asking for problems if you bottle.


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Old 12-26-2011, 07:05 PM   #3
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I'm not a brewer of Belgian tripples. I do use buckets though. I try to bottle right from primary to avoid oxidation and infection.

Please note - your thread title was good and if you look at the bottom of the page, you will notice there are some apparently good info threads showing up there.

I did get a carboy for Christmas though and I'm itching to try something complex enough for a secondary. ...Boddington's maybe?


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Old 12-26-2011, 09:11 PM   #4
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Assuming you used a Belgian yeast strain, I would recommend trying to get the temperature up to around 80 F to finish it off. I use a big tub of water with a fish tank heater to get my temperatures up and stable.

When finished, you can bottle straight from primary.
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:05 PM   #5
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Leave it alone for some more time...

Belgian yeast can take a while to finish and your OG was pretty high.

There is a good quote from Brew Like a Monk about brewing Belgians

"Let the fermentation finish, perhaps at a higher temperature. It may take as long to get the last few points of attenuation as it did for the first 80%"

I brew a lot of Belgians and always leave mine go for 5-6 weeks in the fermenter. After that bottle conditioning can take months not weeks to reach their peak.
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:37 PM   #6
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Agree 4 - 5 weeks in primary. If you have a carboy for secondary, that might be a good place for it to head next for another 4-6 weeks. Then bottle as normal.
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Old 12-27-2011, 03:24 AM   #7
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Thank you all for the replies; very helpful advice and we've decided to take none of it

Unfortunately we're a bit constrained by the fact that the beer is brewing at our place in Blacksburg and we're both home for Christmas 1.5 hours away. We just traveled back to school to deal with the brew and some bills and whatnot today and don't have access to it again until mid January when next semester starts.

What we settled on is buying a carboy and putting it in secondary stage until we get back in about 3 weeks time. Despite all of these replies I didn't feel great leaving it in first stage for a total of 5 weeks unsupervised (not being able to monitor fermentation, FG, etc.). In addition a short talk with the guy at my local beer store got me a bit worried about the yeast starting to go through some of the nasty stuff after it ran out of good proteins to digest and messing with the end flavor.

In any case I don't think we've messed anything up but any insights about this/advice for the future are much appreciated.
Mike
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:42 AM   #8
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Personally, I probably would've just left it alone, until you guys got back. As another member said, by transferring the beer to another vessel, you increase the chances of exposing the beer to infection.

The main reason people transfer to a secondary is to avoid off-flavors from autolysis (what happens if the beer sits on dead yeast for too long). As long as the yeast were healthy when you pitched, you'll be fine.

I've brewed quite a few tripels and there have been a time or two when I had to keep the beer in a bucket for a little over a month and this hasn't been an issue.

Also, I do agree that letting the fermentation temperature rise would be good for your tripel, 80* sounds like a lot to me. I'd probably stick closer to 72* at most, this will help your tripel from getting too much of that hot, burning alcohol flavor.
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Old 12-27-2011, 02:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Despite all of these replies I didn't feel great leaving it in first stage for a total of 5 weeks unsupervised
For a beer with an OG of 1.083, 5 weeks is the minimum I leave it in the primary. It would have been fine just leaving it.


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