Want to make a Belgian Tripel, but don't have a way of chilling fermenter

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Jun 21, 2020
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Hi Guys,

So I was looking at brewing a Belgian Tripel, however, it seems all the instructions on fermentation require I lager the beer. Unfortunately I don't have a kegerator or any way of chilling down the temperature, unfortunately it'll likely have to stay in room temp.

I plan on leaving the beer in primary for 6 weeks before bottle conditioning. Will it still be okay, or will I have a major dip in quality by not lagering it?

(if anyone needs the recipe, it's this one)

Also, first post! :D
Tripels don't have to be "lagered" (i.e. cold conditioned after fermentation). Where do you normally keep your bottles after carbonating? Refrigeration will slow down staling. Also, I wouldn't arbitrarily leave the beer in primary for 6 weeks...I'd package it once final gravity is stable and any off flavors have been cleaned up. That's very likely to be something less than 6 weeks.

You mentioned not having any way of chilling down the temperature. Do you mean you can't control the fermentation temperature? That's different than lagering.
Thanks for your reply, VikeMan!

I normally keep them under my stairs, but I do have space in the fridge as well, if need be!

Thanks for the advice on the fermentation time! makes things a lot easier as I know I'm going to be impatient to drink one!

Yes, sorry! I mean I don't have any way of controlling the fermentation temperature! I see then, so, when layering, does that mean I go straight from primary to bottle once I have my FG so that it stays on the yeast?
What instructions are you seeing that require you to lager it?
I don't see much on the recipe - just the basics.
In fact, for tripels , you want to ferment a little warm to get the yeast flavors out, (esters)
Yes, sorry! I mean I don't have any way of controlling the fermentation temperature!

Personally, I don't think I would brew a big beer like a Tripel without temperature control. What's your room temperature?

I see then, so, when layering, does that mean I go straight from primary to bottle once I have my FG so that it stays on the yeast?

I'm not sure what you're asking here, but when you bottle, the only yeast will be the ones still in suspension.
My room temperature is between 19c and 23c

19C will be a lot better than 23C, if you have a choice.

23C is pretty warm. Add about 3C (possibly more) to that for actual wort temperature during the most active part of fermentation of a big beer, and you're wort/beer may see 26C or a little higher. If you can't do temperature control, at least make sure you use a yeast strain that won't make a fusel/ester bomb at those temperatures.
I am going to throw out my process here. Full disclosure: this is an advanced technique and a pre-requisite is that you have some experience with these types of yeast. I personally only use WY3787, WY1762, and WY3522.

I understand we are in the Beginner's sub-forum but in the interest of treating everyone the same and removing the kid gloves, let's dive in.

NOTE: I have not used temperature control for some time now. My MO is as follows:

1.) Chill to an appropriate pitching temperature. If you are not using any kind of active control, pitching cooler is better. 62-64 F is ideal. I personally undercut O2 at pitching to about 4 ppm. I also pitch at a higher rate than would probably be expected for ales, on the order of 1.5 M/ml/P. Since this is a free rise fermentation, we are trying to do things that limit the development of unfavorable yeast derived flavors by making sure we limit initial yeast growth.

2.) Put the fermenter in a simple water bath and find the coolest part of your home. In my old house, the basement was cooled ambiently by the leakage from the AC system. It stayed around 66 F down there. A cooler ambient temp coupled with a simple room temp water bath will help to clamp down on wild swings.

3.) You want to monitor fermentation temps at the wort directly. I use a thermowell in my fermenter to measure the internal temperature of the wort. You want to monitor this and make sure you are not jumping wildly from your pitching temp in the first 24-36 hours. If you jump from say 62 or 64 to 66 or 68 in this time period, I would not freak out, but if you see a crazy jump up near 70 in that time, I would use caution.

4.) In a perfect world, you will probably clamp down on temperature for about 36 hours before it starts to rise. It would not be unlikely to see temperature climb into the low to mid 70s as things progress.

5.) Let the fermentation finish at whatever temperature it goes to, I have personally never had one of these yeasts exceed 75 F at terminal gravity with these methods.

As always, YMMV and this is an advanced technique.
3522 Belgian Ardennes is a great and versatile strain for Belgian styles. With temp control you can brew everything from estery/phenolic trappist ales to clean and lager-like styles. It was my house strain for quite awhile, even for non-Belgian styles, and even though the suggested fermentation range starts at 65f I had good results down as low as 55f. Man this thread has me wanting to brew something Belgian.
Just get a decent Belgian yeast strain and ferment hot. 23 C is a great temperature, but you should try and keep temps from running away for the first couple of days (you could place fermenter into a big bucket filled with water to act as a heat sink). I usually start around 68 - 70 F (20 C), and raise the temp over a week to about 80 F (27 C) for most Belgians ..... it does depend on the yeast strain, but most Belgians are OK with this. FYI, I think Dupont ferments their beers at 90 F (32C) to 95 F (34 C) for a week.

No need to lager for a Belgian. I'm sure some of the Pros do it to quickly clear the beer before packaging, but you do not have that problem.

6 weeks in primary is not an issue. A few months is probably OK ..... 6 months, is maybe too much.