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Opinions on Tripel Recipe & Aging

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bensyverson

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Hi all,

I'm new here! I'm thinking about doing a Belgian Tripel... Here's the recipe I've worked out so far. How does it look?

6 lbs Light DME
3.3 lbs Light LME
1.5 lbs Clear Candi Sugar
1 lb Belgian Pale (for steeping)
2 oz Willamette Bittering (60m)
1 oz Willamette Finishing (10-15m?)
0.5 oz Willamette Aroma for Secondary

Also, I've read a lot of recipes for tripels, and they vary a lot in terms of the amount of aging they call for. One recipe recommended keeping the beer in the secondary for 6-12 months, then keeping it in bottles for at least 2 months. Any opinions?

Thanks!

- ben
 

bikegeek

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A majority of Belgian tripels use pilsner malt as a base, so I think a better extract choice would be the Breiss Pilsen light (made with pilsner and carapils). The Belgian pale has to be mashed so steeping it won't do much for you. I'm still learning my hops, so can't comment on your choice. I've always used Tett. and Saaz in my tripels. I would probably drop the flavor hops so it doesn't compete with the character of the yeast. (I've had good results with WLP530 and Wyeast 3787)

Is the "clear candi sugar" rocks or liquid? The rocks are essentially just expensive rock candy (table sugar). The liquid is what the Belgians are using. Either will help dry your beer a bit. Plenty of breweries are successfully using table sugar. I usually use light raw cane for the touch of "rum-iness" it adds. My last batch had 1 lb of sugar and 0.5 lbs of orange blossom honey. <drool>

As far as aging goes, I average 10 to 12 days in the primary, 7 to 10 in the secondary. It's quite tasty after a month in the bottle, but gets better the longer it sits. My latest batch is 6 months old and it's wonderful...definitely a lot smoother than it was at a month.
 
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bensyverson

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Awesome, thanks for the feedback! I did wind up brewing up this recipe, with a few alterations...

- Instead of steeping, I did a partial mash with the belgian pale
- In place of candi sugar, I used 1.5 lbs Domino Demerara cane sugar
- I used 2 oz of Willamette for bittering as planned, but then used 0.5 oz Saaz for flavor and 0.5 oz Saaz for aroma
- I added in about 0.5 oz fresh ground Coriander seed with the flavor hops
- I used Wyeast 1214 ("Belgian Ale")

It's fermenting now!
 

Kai

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Those are all very good changes, and roughly the ones I would have suggested. A few notes, although it sounds like you've already brewed it:

-Use late extract addition to avoid caramelisation. Your beer will be a better colour, and will taste more authentic.
-Experiment with different Belgian yeasts. I'm not a huge fan of the 1214; my personal favourite is 3787, which I'm pretty certain is Westmalle. It's delicious.

edit: as for aging, my Belgians have all taken a few (~3) months to hit their stride. It might be tasty to begin with, and there's nothing wrong with (genuinely) occasional sampling, but save most of the batch for as long as you can handle. It won't start getting worse, usually, until past a year. Some continue to improve or evolve for years and years.
double edit: none of mine have had years. I'm too new. I'll keep you posted.
 
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bensyverson

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I'm unfamiliar with late extract addition -- can you describe the process? Does it just involve adding the extract later in the boil?
 

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