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TheMadKing

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I am planning to brew a Belgian Golden Strong ale this Saturday and I've been reading several threads spread out on HBT about different techniques for achieving really great character from belgian style beers.

I'll caveat this by saying I don't actually like most Belgian style beers made in the US. I find yeast phenolic to be unpleasant at any level above a whisper, and some of them seem to have a "cooking pinto beans" flavor to them that I think is how my palate interprets phenols and banana esters in equal proportions (I don't like hefeweisse beers either). HOWEVER! I do like Chimay beers, Piraat, Duvel, and several other of the imported ones.

In reading through the HBT threads on cloning these types of beers, it seems like the consensus is that the fermentation technique is absolutely the key to achieving that perfect balance between honey sweet, faint peppery phenol, fruity esters, and smooth alcohol character.

So for my brew this weekend I plan on a process I found in one of the Duvel clone threads with modifications to fit my system. This is apparently how Duvel described their fermentation process some years back. I was hoping to discuss different techniques that other's have tried, as well as get a sanity check on this process since it sounds crazy.

wort Recipe is dead simple:

Pilsen
Simplicity syrup
Golden syrup
Saaz and Perle Hops'

I'm doing a 90 minute Hockhurz mash, mashing in at 130, ramping to 143 and holding for 30 minutes, then ramping to 160 slowly over the next 60 minutes.

At the end of the boil is where things get really different, so here goes:

  • Transfer 2.5 gallons of boiling wort into a clean keg, purge with CO2 thoroughly, and roll it around to sterilize the inside of it.
  • Allow that wort to cool overnight, and stash that keg in my keezer at 40F
  • Chill the remaining wort
  • Transfer the remaining 2.5 gallons of chilled wort into a 6 gallon fermenter (lots of headspace)
  • Pitch WLP570 yeast and allow that beer to fully ferment for 10-14 days. at 72F
  • Cold crash to 35F and allow to cold condition for 4-5 days.
  • Pull the unfermented wort out of the keezer and allow both vessels to warm to 65F
  • Pressure transfer the fermented beer to the keg and mix thoroughly with the unfermented wort
  • Pitch 1 packet of US-05 into the new beer
  • Allow this to ferment at 65F for an additional 10-14 days until terminal gravity is reached
  • Pressure transfer to a clean serving keg, chill, carbonate to 3.0 Vols of CO2 and serve

So how crazy am I?

My main concern is that the US-05 is going to process all the esters produced by the WLP570 and I'll end up with a totally clean beer.

I'd love to get some feedback and start a good discussion about advanced fermentation techniques that people have had good luck with.
 
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TheMadKing

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Read this thread: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/all-things-trappist.667014/

WLP530 is more esters than phenols, and that's what I tend to use. It's a complicated process with multiple ways to create the same character.

That procedure does sound neat, but yikes I wouldn't do it to preserve my sanity.
I actually had planned to use 530 but my lhbs was out of it and had 570 instead so I'll have to do what I can with it on this batch.


I don't mind crazy procedures since this is a hobby I really love and it never feels like work (well maybe cleaning sometimes). I'm more just worried it's a bad choice than the amount of work.

Thanks for the link!
 

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I'm with you man. If it's not fun there isn't much reason to do it.

Most of these yeasts produce more phenols at lower temperatures, so you might mitigate that with your 72 degree fermentation, but I have no experience with that yeast.

Are you going to ferment the US-05 portion at a lower temp? Is that the reason not to do it all together? I would probably start the whole thing with US-05 and then raise temperature half-way to FG and pitch 570, but if I'm being honest that is mostly to avoid that split procedure.

I never found US-05 created a lot of esters even at 72 (before I got temp control I did this a lot).

Hopefully someone that has used this yeast will be able to give you more advice. You might very well be able to control the procedures and just keep the yeast happy enough to keep the yeast character where you want it. That thread is really a gold mine.
 
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TheMadKing

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I'm with you man. If it's not fun there isn't much reason to do it.

Most of these yeasts produce more phenols at lower temperatures, so you might mitigate that with your 72 degree fermentation, but I have no experience with that yeast.

Are you going to ferment the US-05 portion at a lower temp? Is that the reason not to do it all together? I would probably start the whole thing with US-05 and then raise temperature half-way to FG and pitch 570, but if I'm being honest that is mostly to avoid that split procedure.

I never found US-05 created a lot of esters even at 72 (before I got temp control I did this a lot).

Hopefully someone that has used this yeast will be able to give you more advice. You might very well be able to control the procedures and just keep the yeast happy enough to keep the yeast character where you want it. That thread is really a gold mine.
So the main reason I want to do the split fermentation is that I've found that many of the smoothest flavor profiles in beers I've tried have been beers fermented twice, krausened, or bottle conditioned. So my hope is to get some of that delicate smoothness that is found in many belgian ales and German lagers

I'm planning to use the US-05 because the Duvel clone process I read said that they split the batch, ferment half with an estery yeast and half with a clean yeast, recombine them and ferment them again. So I wanted to somewhat mimic that process with a single fermentation chamber.

After reading that link you sent, I'm considering using a lager yeast for the second fermentation and controlling the ester levels with pressure by using a spunding valve on the second fermentation.

I am worried that it's going to end up too clean by completely refermenting though. It seems like a common complaint with people who leave their beer in primary too long.

Lots to think about!
 
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I'm curious if anyone has tried the Duvel process of blending two seperately fermented worts and their opinion of that process too
 

Big Monk

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I'm curious if anyone has tried the Duvel process of blending two seperately fermented worts and their opinion of that process too
I don't think they do that.

I imagine the ends wouldn't justify the means in a home setting.
 
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I don't think they do that.

I imagine the ends wouldn't justify the means in a home setting.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/duvel-clone.89384/page-2

Post #50 is where I found that description - and it was later corroborated by homebrewdad who had also seen the article. He does reference it as "obscure" so it could very well be nonsense as you say, but there's nothing so outlandish about the process that is is unbelievable. Especially if it is performed at the industrial scale. They are essentially producing 3 beers simultaneously and using blending to achieve desired flavor profiles which is done very successfully in whisky production with consistent results.

I don't think I agree with your assessment, since it's not actually that much work. It involves 1 extra transfer, some extra CO2, 1 extra packet of dry yeast, and an extra week or two of time - so I'm not too worried about the labor cost.

I just finished reading through your other thread posted by Stand, and appreciate all the info you shared there. I will be modifying my mashing schedule per your recommendations for a 40 minute rest at 145, and then ramping to 160, holding there for 10 minutes, before mashing out at 170.
 

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I think this might be your article in question (easily found by Googling: Duvel split fermentation)

http://www.beerhunter.com/documents/19133-000020.html


From Duvel, they only mention secondary fermentation in a bottle:

https://www.duvel.com/en-us/news/duvel-single-fermented-cans-are-hitting-the-shelves

"What’s the difference between Duvel and Duvel Single Fermented?
Both Duvel and Duvel Single Fermented are brewed using the same ingredients (water, two-row summer malts, Saaz and Styrian Golding hops) but Duvel (“classic” in bottles) undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle while Duvel Single Fermented is dry hopped with Citra, cold filtered, and after 30 days of conditioning is packaged into kegs and (starting in June!) 4-pack cans. As a result of the different fermentation processes, Duvel has an ABV of 8.5%, and Duvel Single Fermented has an ABV of 6.8%"
 

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https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/duvel-clone.89384/page-2

Post #50 is where I found that description - and it was later corroborated by homebrewdad who had also seen the article. He does reference it as "obscure" so it could very well be nonsense as you say, but there's nothing so outlandish about the process that is is unbelievable. Especially if it is performed at the industrial scale. They are essentially producing 3 beers simultaneously and using blending to achieve desired flavor profiles which is done very successfully in whisky production with consistent results.
I definitely didn't mean it wasn't at one time accurate. I would only point out that since that Beerhunter article was written/posted, BLAM was released, and the literature/publically available info from Duvel suggests this is an outdated process.

So, the Duvel you drink off the shelves now is likely created with a very similar process as described in BLAM.

YMMV.

I don't think I agree with your assessment, since it's not actually that much work. It involves 1 extra transfer, some extra CO2, 1 extra packet of dry yeast, and an extra week or two of time - so I'm not too worried about the labor cost.
Yeah I don't doubt that it wouldn't involve a lot of extra labor, and time in our case isn't a huge deal, but I always caution anyone about doing anything extra that doesnt net noticeable results.

Have you ever brewed a Duvel clone? If yes, then of course it's desirable to try new stuff to nail that flavor. However, if the answer is no, you may be better served by keeping it simple.

I just finished reading through your other thread posted by Stand, and appreciate all the info you shared there. I will be modifying my mashing schedule per your recommendations for a 40 minute rest at 145, and then ramping to 160, holding there for 10 minutes, before mashing out at 170.
Glad you found it useful!
 

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I'm commenting mostly so I can follow this, please post updates with what exactly you did and how when this does or doesn't work out.

I do have one thought though, why not ferment both batches at the same time and then combine them when they are mostly, but not quite completely, done? I think this will cut down on the risk of infection.
 

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The process you outlined is not a good idea. You'd also likely not find any brewery doing it, both as it is a recipe for acetyledhyde, diacetyl, ect, and would be very hard to achieve consistent results. A better process is to either brew them separately and blend, or use a process common with large Belgian brewers and produce a very fermentable wort via glucose syrup and enzymes and pitch lot of yeast to reduce aerobic growth.
 
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The process you outlined is not a good idea. You'd also likely not find any brewery doing it, both as it is a recipe for acetyledhyde, diacetyl, ect, and would be very hard to achieve consistent results. A better process is to either brew them separately and blend, or use a process common with large Belgian brewers and produce a very fermentable wort via glucose syrup and enzymes and pitch lot of yeast to reduce aerobic growth.
Can you elaborate on the acetaldehyde and diacetyl part?

I would be pitching sufficient healthy yeast for each fermentation, and the main stressor on the second fermentation would be the presence of alcohol from the first and lack of oxygen, which has never been an issue with bottle conditioning (which is essentially what I'm doing, except in a keg and using 50% by volume of priming solution and a spunding valve to control carbonation.

Since acetaldehyde is an alcohol precursor and is only left in beer when there is insufficient time or healthy yeast to metabolize it, OR it is a byproduct of oxidized ethanol, I don't see a big concern for it in this case, and I would make the same argument for diacetyl. Especially if I use 34/70 in place of US-05 and allow it plenty of time.
 
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I definitely didn't mean it wasn't at one time accurate. I would only point out that since that Beerhunter article was written/posted, BLAM was released, and the literature/publically available info from Duvel suggests this is an outdated process.

So, the Duvel you drink off the shelves now is likely created with a very similar process as described in BLAM.

Have you ever brewed a Duvel clone? If yes, then of course it's desirable to try new stuff to nail that flavor. However, if the answer is no, you may be better served by keeping it simple.
This is probably good council and I'll give it some thought - and some thought to bierhaus's comment as well. I am intending to make a highly fermentable wort and pitch a high cell count with low oxygenation as suggested already.
 

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Sounds like a lot of work!

Brew a 10 gallon batch (if that works with your system?)-
Use 5 gallons for the method you describe and then 5 gallons split batch 2.5 gal each with the two yeast then blended in the keg. Experiment whether or not you can save yourself some steps
 
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Sounds like a lot of work!

Brew a 10 gallon batch (if that works with your system?)-
Use 5 gallons for the method you describe and then 5 gallons split batch 2.5 gal each with the two yeast then blended in the keg. Experiment whether or not you can save yourself some steps
That sounds like even more work lol

My only issue with doing that is that I can't get rid of beer fast enough to justify making 10 gallons at a time. You want some?
 

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"What’s the difference between Duvel and Duvel Single Fermented?
Both Duvel and Duvel Single Fermented are brewed using the same ingredients (water, two-row summer malts, Saaz and Styrian Golding hops) but Duvel (“classic” in bottles) undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle while Duvel Single Fermented is dry hopped with Citra, cold filtered, and after 30 days of conditioning is packaged into kegs and (starting in June!) 4-pack cans. As a result of the different fermentation processes, Duvel has an ABV of 8.5%, and Duvel Single Fermented has an ABV of 6.8%"
This is clearly marketing nonsense. There is no way you can have a difference in ABV of 1.7% just because of bottle priming, you'd have to add so much sugar that the bottles would literally explode. There are obviously major differences in the production process that Duvel is not disclosing.
 
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This is clearly marketing nonsense. There is no way you can have a difference in ABV of 1.7% just because of bottle priming, you'd have to add so much sugar that the bottles would literally explode. There are obviously major differences in the production process that Duvel is not disclosing.
I tend to agree with that assessment, since that is a drop of 13 gravity points which is equivalent to approximately 1.75lbs of sugar in a 5 gallon batch

However, assuming that the original assumption of "same ingredients", that difference could be explained by a combination of mashing technique and primary fermentation - its a stretch I'll admit, but more likely they are "same ingredients in different proportions"

Would you argue that bottle conditioning a beer and keg conditioning a beer would result in no flavor change?
 

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This is clearly marketing nonsense. There is no way you can have a difference in ABV of 1.7% just because of bottle priming, you'd have to add so much sugar that the bottles would literally explode. There are obviously major differences in the production process that Duvel is not disclosing.
Marketing BS aside, The Single Fermented in cans is 100% delicious. It's also definitely in the same wheelhouse as regular Duvel so I imagine they just brew a smaller beer.

It's worth seeking out though. Like all Duvel products it is very well made.
 

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Marketing BS aside, The Single Fermented in cans is 100% delicious. It's also definitely in the same wheelhouse as regular Duvel so I imagine they just brew a smaller beer.

It's worth seeking out though. Like all Duvel products it is very well made.
More likely the exact same beer watered down to different ratios (high gravity brewing)...
 

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I tend to agree with that assessment, since that is a drop of 13 gravity points which is equivalent to approximately 1.75lbs of sugar in a 5 gallon batch

However, assuming that the original assumption of "same ingredients", that difference could be explained by a combination of mashing technique and primary fermentation - its a stretch I'll admit, but more likely they are "same ingredients in different proportions"

Would you argue that bottle conditioning a beer and keg conditioning a beer would result in no flavor change?
In that case all beers are made with the same ingredients (water, malt, hops and yeast) so such a statement would be meaningless.

Your question about conditioning is too generic. Is the bottle primed and if so with what? Same yeast or different yeast? Same or different conditioning temperature? And so on and so forth...
 

Big Monk

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More likely the exact same beer watered down to different ratios (high gravity brewing)...
Well, that's certainly possible and considering the alcohol content and how it differs so little from the main beer, that might just be it.

It's hard to describe. It retains much of the same mouthfeel and body as the main beer but it's less "Duvel-y"
 
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In that case all beers are made with the same ingredients (water, malt, hops and yeast) so such a statement would be meaningless.

Your question about conditioning is too generic. Is the bottle primed and if so with what? Same yeast or different yeast? Same or different conditioning temperature? And so on and so forth...
You're right it was too vague. Let me rephrase, what parameters would cause a flavor change when bottle conditioning a beer (and change them how), vs keg conditioning.

you've already mentioned priming, yeast choice, and temperature - how would these parameters affect the finished flavor of a belgian golden strong for example?

Priming with wort vs priming with glucose vs priming with sucrose
Conditioning with lager yeast vs residual yeast in suspension
Conditioning bottles at cellar temperatures vs at room temperature (I would think the pressure in bottles would suppress any ester formation and always result in a clean re-fermentation)

I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this.
 
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So pending Vale's reply


Does anyone have advice for targeting stone fruit and pear esters without getting banana?

Is that just a function of temperature? Growth factor? Yeast strain?
 

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I made it about 2 years ago. Fermented at 72 and got no banana.

I need to make it again soon
 
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So pending Vale's reply


Does anyone have advice for targeting stone fruit and pear esters without getting banana?

Is that just a function of temperature? Growth factor? Yeast strain?
So a little digging and I've found that the key to avoiding banana is reducing isoamyl alcohol which is formed during high yeast growth (underpitching) and combines with acetyl CoA to form Isoamylacetate.

So by limiting oxygen you are increasing production of Acetyl CoA and by pitching high cell counts you are limiting higher alcohol production keeping esters in the ethyl family

So basically just shut up and listen to RPI_Scotty [emoji16]
 
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I ended up following the advice and fermenting in a single vessel. The mash schedule made this a very foamy beer and I've had a blowout on the first night even with fermacap s in there.

It smells great so far and I'm looking forward to the finished product
 

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I don't actually like most Belgian style beers made in the US. I find yeast phenolic to be unpleasant at any level above a whisper, and some of them seem to have a "cooking pinto beans" flavor to them that I think is how my palate interprets phenols and banana esters in equal proportions (I don't like hefeweisse beers either). HOWEVER! I do like Chimay beers, Piraat, Duvel, and several other of the imported ones.
Just use one of the more subtle Belgian yeasts - sounds like T-58 might work for you. Palates differ, and while I've not had too many US-brewed "Belgian"s, it wouldn't be the first time that USians had taken the big brash approach based on a more subtle European original...

So the main reason I want to do the split fermentation is that I've found that many of the smoothest flavor profiles in beers I've tried have been beers fermented twice, krausened, or bottle conditioned. So my hope is to get some of that delicate smoothness that is found in many belgian ales and German lagers
Get your CAMRA membership and start cask-conditioning. :) Sounds like something like Harvey's Best on cask would be right up your street.
 
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Just use one of the more subtle Belgian yeasts - sounds like T-58 might work for you. Palates differ, and while I've not had too many US-brewed "Belgian"s, it wouldn't be the first time that USians had taken the big brash approach based on a more subtle European original...



Get your CAMRA membership and start cask-conditioning. :) Sounds like something like Harvey's Best on cask would be right up your street.
Ha! I fully intend to learn to cask condition some of my English ales. I bought some cubitainers just for that purpose but I'm still fiddling with my strong bitter recipe before giving it a shot. My current one has turned out pretty good thanks to your input on the English ales thread.

That will have to be a seasonal thing for me since the climate where I live is only a reasonable celler temperate for 2-3 months out of the year.

Long term I would love to buy a real cask though.
 
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So reporting back on this

This beer has not turned out well at all - I got a sulfur note from the yeast that hasn't yet dissipated, and since the yeast is a diastaticus strain and continued to ferment beyond anticipaged FG and is very dry. It's too bitter even at 28 IBU because of how dry it is, and the ester profile is a 50/50 mix of banana and pear which isn't very pleasant. This yeast is also refusing to flocculate at all even after 1.5 weeks at 33F (it is apparently notorious for that) - this beer still looks like a milkshake.

It's still young and at least it's not hot alcohol, so I'll hold out hope that it may improve - but it's nowhere near what I was going for.
 

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So reporting back on this

This beer has not turned out well at all - I got a sulfur note from the yeast that hasn't yet dissipated, and since the yeast is a diastaticus strain and continued to ferment beyond anticipaged FG and is very dry. It's too bitter even at 28 IBU because of how dry it is, and the ester profile is a 50/50 mix of banana and pear which isn't very pleasant. This yeast is also refusing to flocculate at all even after 1.5 weeks at 33F (it is apparently notorious for that) - this beer still looks like a milkshake.

It's still young and at least it's not hot alcohol, so I'll hold out hope that it may improve - but it's nowhere near what I was going for.

Step back and rethink. I mostly brew tripels and quads at hi octane levels. I wouldn't use a diastaticus strain except maybe in a Saison. For tripels, I use WLP 530, or Lallemand Abbaye if I want to go with dried yeast. For quads, I generally use OYL20, because it gives a nice dark stonefruit flavor. For a dry option I use BE-256. The yeast you use, the mash schedule, and the fermentation schedule have a very large effect on the taste. Most Belgians have a pretty simple malt bill.
 
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Step back and rethink. I mostly brew tripels and quads at hi octane levels. I wouldn't use a diastaticus strain except maybe in a Saison. For tripels, I use WLP 530, or Lallemand Abbaye if I want to go with dried yeast. For quads, I generally use OYL20, because it gives a nice dark stonefruit flavor. For a dry option I use BE-256. The yeast you use, the mash schedule, and the fermentation schedule have a very large effect on the taste. Most Belgians have a pretty simple malt bill.
The yeast I used was Wy1388 which is Belgian Golden Strong yeast - it's literally intended for this style. But I don't think I personally care for it's attributes.

I used a ramping mash schedule which had the desired result of very good head retention, and I fermented at 74F as recommended by several others above.

My malt bill was 100% pilsen with some candi sugar added.
 

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Sulfur will fade with time somewhat if it won't go away completely. You can also purge CO2 from your beer and force carb though if you have a CO2 tank to get rid of a lot of it.
I tend to be disappointed for about 20 minutes and then become gleeful when I discover I have dump a beer because it means I get to make another. Huzzah!
 
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The yeast I used was Wy1388 which is Belgian Golden Strong yeast - it's literally intended for this style. But I don't think I personally care for it's attributes.

Everything sounds good, except WY1388 is a notoriously finicky yeast. I'd give your previous recipe another shot, say with WY3787 or WLP 530, Or WY3522

I used a ramping mash schedule which had the desired result of very good head retention, and I fermented at 74F as recommended by several others above.

My malt bill was 100% pilsen with some candi sugar added.
 
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WLP530 was what I had actually intended to use but my LHBS was out so I'll give that one a shot next time
 

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WLP530 was what I had actually intended to use but my LHBS was out so I'll give that one a shot next time

You might also start your fermentation lower, about 65°F, and let it ramp up, but don't let it get over about 75°F. After fermentation is done for a couple days, rack it off the trub and let it mature at 65°F for about 2 weeks, and you'll have a nice tripel!
 

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This one is maturing right now, at about 10% ABV, the floaties in there are bitter orange peel (experiment)!
This is just 12.75 pounds pilsner and 2 pounds cane sugar. Ramp mash, and fermented with a blend of WLP530 and Lallemand Abbaye.
 

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Then, if you want to try out the dark side, get some D180 syrup!

(9 lbs Pilsen, 7 lbs pale, 2 lbs D180.
Abbaye, or WY3787, or WLP530).

Edit: my particular favorite for this one is Omega OYL20, gives nice stonefruit flavors.
 
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