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Why would this belgian become really bitter?!

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Aestiva

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So I brewed the Brewers Best Belgian Tripel. My O.G. was 1.070, a little less than desired, but I thought not enough to cause an issue. I pitched the supplied yeast which I had started in one cup of cooled wort. I put it away at about 70deg. It cooled by the am to about 65deg. By three days it really took off and blew off the airlock; this was replaced and I left it for the recommended six days before placing in secondary. I left it in secondary for a week, then crashed cooled to 35deg. I re-racked (tertiary?) and measured the F.G. at 1.012 .
What's the problem?
It tastes like crap. It's really dry and bitter. It isn't a hoppy bitter either, it's like a chewed pill. I used some Isinglass as I put it in the tertiary to try to get it really clear and hopefully reduce some of the bitterness. I'm really disappointed because I followed the recipe more closely than any other and I have rarely had problems with other brews.
Any advice? (other than time.)
 
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Aestiva

Aestiva

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Here Goes:

3.3 light LME
3.3 amber LME
3.0 Pilsen DME
1lb candi sugar
8oz. maltodextrin
4oz. light malt grain
2oz Kent bittering
0.5 Kent (for aroma)
unk. yeast variety
20 min steep at 160f, followed by a 50 minute boil with hops, then a 5min addition of the small sachet of hops. Then added to cool sterile H2O in carboy to approx 5 gal. and pitched active yeast.

no sweat. . . I'm sweating it.
 

Clonefarmer

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2 oz of bittering hops seems like a lot for such a light beer. Do you know what the AA% is on the hops used?
 

sonetlumiere85

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Not a light beer at all. With higher gravities you need more hops. The recipe seems decent enough, you're probably just dealing with "green" beer. Keep aging it for another month at least.
 

Reelale

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^+1. 2 weeks does not a tripel make. It's way too young yet.
 

Clonefarmer

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Not a light beer at all. With higher gravities you need more hops. The recipe seems decent enough, you're probably just dealing with "green" beer. Keep aging it for another month at least.
It's a very light beer. Extract and Pilsner malt don't add a great deal of flavor. Also the sugars added should make for a pretty dry beer. Higher gravities on beer such as this don't require a huge amount of IBU's. Any more than 20-30 IBU's would seem excessive.
 

mkling

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Also, the "chewed pill" taste you describe is probably esters &/or phenols from the Belgian yeast. They may be more present because 1) you probably underpitched your yeast, and 2) your wort was warmer at first pitching. Most of the esters & phenols are produced during the initial yeast reproduction phase. Because you likely underpitched, the yeast reproduction phase was longer (making more esters) than if a larger pitch of yeast were made. Also, most esters & phenols are produced when warm -- for this reason it is always better to pitch into cooler wort & to let it warm a little during fermentation. Luckily, these mellow some with time in Belgian beers.

mrmalty.com is a good reference for pitching rates. According to it, for a 1.070 beer you should have either used 2 yeast packets with a 1 liter starter (with intermittant shaking of the starter) or 1 yeast packet with a 1.96 liter starter (with intermittant shaking). If you're pitching the right amount of yeast, you really should see lots of activity with 24 hours.

Hope that helps.
 
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It's a very light beer. Extract and Pilsner malt don't add a great deal of flavor. Also the sugars added should make for a pretty dry beer. Higher gravities on beer such as this don't require a huge amount of IBU's. Any more than 20-30 IBU's would seem excessive.
I disagree. Lots of tripels sit at 30-40 IBUs and they are made with 80-90% pilsner malt without overpowering hops flavor.


To the OP: are you sure you're not getting a cardboard taste? That would definitely indicate your beer is green. Either way, you need to let this one ride out for weeks (or months) to fully condition.
 
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Aestiva

Aestiva

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Wow! Awesome responses. I worried that the first boil was too long, but I had to assume that the recipe from the kit provider was correct. I'm going to leave it alone and see what occurs. I'll probably draw it off the lees and put in another carboy in a week, and re-sample.

If the bitterness doesn't improve what could be used to cure it? should I add more malt and referment?
 

mkling

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Wow! Awesome responses. I worried that the first boil was too long, but I had to assume that the recipe from the kit provider was correct. I'm going to leave it alone and see what occurs. I'll probably draw it off the lees and put in another carboy in a week, and re-sample.

If the bitterness doesn't improve what could be used to cure it? should I add more malt and referment?
You can't referment. Luckily hop bitterness, if that's what it is, fades over time (which is why IPAs are best ASAP & don't age well). For you this can work in your favor if the bitterness is due to hops -- it will become less bitter over time & Belgian tripel's are great if aged 6 month, a year, or more.
 

Reelale

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You don't need 2 smack paks or vials for a starter! You can grow them out with one pack, and step them up if needed.
 
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