Belgian Trippel issues.

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Semco

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So I tossed a Belgian trippel into the fermenter last week SG 1.089, I have a rims system and did 50min at 145F and 10 min at 158F, trying to get it reasonably dry. Yesterday almost all airlock activity ceased, and I took a sample, at 1.025, so about 70%. (All taken with same hydrometer) I’m using WLP530, used 3 packs and a 3.5L starter per “mr malty” app for calculating pitching rates, etc. Infused with O2 prior to pitching for 1 min. In a Spiedel 60L fermenter with a flat bottom. Had a good vigorous start about 12 hours, high krausen within 24. Temp in the room is controlled by a space heater and holds steady at 68. I’m hoping for at least 75%, maybe 80% per white labs data.

So what am i doing wrong here... I have some extra sugars added to get to that 89pts, about 4.5 lbs. should I have added that after fermentation was partly underway? I’ve heard simple sugars can wear out the yeast as its easier to ferment... I can’t think of anything else. I’ve roused the yeast and turned up the temp in that room to 72. Hoping to get the next few points in a week. Maybe I’m just being impatient. Thoughts?
 

jswillbrewforbeer

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IME it hasn't mattered when the sugar is added, if fermentation is healthy, it will attenuate well. My best guess is that this is temperature related. From the sounds of it, you're maintaining ambient temperature but not actual fermentation temperature. After vigorous fermentation begins to wind down, the temperature may drop from decreased activity and can stall from a drop of just a degree or two. That is why it is recommended to pitch relatively low and ramp temperature up to make sure temp doesn't decrease. My advice would be to wait a week or two and check it from there.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Some of those Belgian yeasts can be quite pressure sensitive, they've evolved in open fermenters and even the back-pressure generated by an airlock seems to be enough to tip them into stalling.
 

trailrider

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I've brewed a Belgian trippel a few times always using Wyeast 3787. I found by adding the majority of the sugars/candi syrup about the time the fermentation starts to slow worked best for me. I use two lb of sugar in the recipe I have, one lb ea of corn sugar and candi syrup. I put half the sugar in late in the boil and the remaining sugar and syrup during fermentation. The first trippel I brewed did not attenuate well but I don't have the numbers. The brew sheet was lost in a move. The last two brews had an OG of 1.080 and 1.084 the FG was 1.015 and 1.011. I don't know if this process is right or wrong but it works for me.
 

VikeMan

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Some of those Belgian yeasts can be quite pressure sensitive, they've evolved in open fermenters and even the back-pressure generated by an airlock seems to be enough to tip them into stalling.
Personally, I think this phenomenon gets overstated. On another forum, a physics professor calculated the pressure added by a standard three piece airlock, filled to the line with water. I don't recall the value, and a search is eluding my skill right now, but I remember distinctly that the added pressure was less than the pressure swing that can be anticipated due to normal changes in the environment. IOW, negligible.

I will also say that I usually ferment in a conical that's pressurized (via spunding valve) to about 2 PSI, and haven't had issues with Belgian strains, even the ever-so-scary Wyeast 3724. And let's not forget that people bottle condition with these yeasts all the time, where they are seeing much higher pressures.
 

Beernik

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If the airlock was a 2.3-foot column of water, the pressure on it would be 1psi.

it probably just needs more time.
 
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Semco

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I've brewed a Belgian trippel a few times always using Wyeast 3787. I found by adding the majority of the sugars/candi syrup about the time the fermentation starts to slow worked best for me. I use two lb of sugar in the recipe I have, one lb ea of corn sugar and candi syrup. I put half the sugar in late in the boil and the remaining sugar and syrup during fermentation. The first trippel I brewed did not attenuate well but I don't have the numbers. The brew sheet was lost in a move. The last two brews had an OG of 1.080 and 1.084 the FG was 1.015 and 1.011. I don't know if this process is right or wrong but it works for me.
I’ve used this strategy with saison yeast, and higher heat.
 
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Semco

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IME it hasn't mattered when the sugar is added, if fermentation is healthy, it will attenuate well. My best guess is that this is temperature related. From the sounds of it, you're maintaining ambient temperature but not actual fermentation temperature. After vigorous fermentation begins to wind down, the temperature may drop from decreased activity and can stall from a drop of just a degree or two. That is why it is recommended to pitch relatively low and ramp temperature up to make sure temp doesn't decrease. My advice would be to wait a week or two and check it from there.
I need to get a better temp regulator, I may pop for a new fermenter here shortly...
 

MikeCo

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I have always added sugar to the boil with about 10 minutes remaining for Tripels and golden strongs. Using mostly pilsner malt with 18 to 20% sugar, I generally get FG of about 1.005. This is using Wyeast 3787 or 1388.

Sounds like you did all the right things. What else was in your grain bill? With 4.5 lb of sugar, I assume this was a 10 or 11 gallon batch. With that much simple sugar and a low mashing temperature you should be getting much better attenuation with that yeast. Give it more time and try increasing the temperature a bit more.
 

Oldskewl

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I would try raising the temp even higher in the room with the fermenter to 75-76 if possible.
 
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Semco

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UPDATE: So I raised the room to 72, holding 71ish. I have a temp controller plugged into a space heater in a small 10x6 room in the garage. Bubbling again happily after a rousing. We’re down to 1.013 and still plugging along. Well above 80%. Thanks for all the support. Phew.
 
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Semco

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I have always added sugar to the boil with about 10 minutes remaining for Tripels and golden strongs. Using mostly pilsner malt with 18 to 20% sugar, I generally get FG of about 1.005. This is using Wyeast 3787 or 1388.

Sounds like you did all the right things. What else was in your grain bill? With 4.5 lb of sugar, I assume this was a 10 or 11 gallon batch. With that much simple sugar and a low mashing temperature you should be getting much better attenuation with that yeast. Give it more time and try increasing the temperature a bit more.
Grain bill was 23# Pilsner and 1.5# Munich light. I think I just needed time and a little heat. Thanks!
 
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Semco

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It can be a lot cheaper than you think! If you're interested I can post some pictures of my setup. Cheap and very accurate!
Love to see it. I’ve seen heating pads hooked up to a thermowell which I may do next but i need an excuse for a chronical...
 

jswillbrewforbeer

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This is basically what you described. Please excuse the dingy basement and sloppy camera work. I got the minifridge and the 2X4 for free, temp controller was $40 brand new on ebay, thermowell was $9, offbrand fermwrap was $24 and extension cord was $.99. The temp controller is capable of maintaining set temperature +/- 1F. So both the minifridge and fermwrap are connected to the respective heating/cooling circuits on the controller and the temp probe goes into the thermowell. It's worked great so far, hope this helps!

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Semco

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This is basically what you described. Please excuse the dingy basement and sloppy camera work. I got the minifridge and the 2X4 for free, temp controller was $40 brand new on ebay, thermowell was $9, offbrand fermwrap was $24 and extension cord was $.99. The temp controller is capable of maintaining set temperature +/- 1F. So both the minifridge and fermwrap are connected to the respective heating/cooling circuits on the controller and the temp probe goes into the thermowell. It's worked great so far, hope this helps!

View attachment 680463View attachment 680464View attachment 680465View attachment 680466.
Nice. I have a temp controlled fridge for serving, lagers. I have the same temp controller you have hooked up to a space heater in a small room. But I think for about $30 I can get a thermowell and a heating pad to place the beer on. Or I can get the cronical I’ve been lusting after and hope my wife doesn’t see it being delivered...
 
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