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Belgium Tripel Recipe

Recipe for this Belgium Tripel/Triple Home Brew

Here are the ingredients for Hubert's Belgian Tripel home brew.

1. Briess Pilsen Dry Malt Extract - 9.9 pounds
2. Light Candi Sugar - 1 pound
3. DurstPilsen Malt - 1 pound
3. Czech Saaz hops (Alpha 3.0) - 3 ounces (for bittering)
4. Czech Saaz hops (Alpha 3.0) - 1 ounce (for flavoring)
5. Belgian Golden Ale Yeast - 1 vial White Labs
6. Corn Sugar - 1/2 cup

December 7, 2013 - Although the number in the title indicates "2", this actually is our third go with this Abbey/Monk-style Tripel. The only change in ingredients is the type of yeast being used.  The first two batches we used White Labs Belgian Trappist.  This time, we are using White Labs Belgian Golden Ale yeast.  Apparently, as we have been told by our brew gods at Asheville Brewing, the Golden Ale yeast is more appropriate because it produces a clean, crisp brew with subtle aromas where "Trappist" yeast is more associated with darker, full body style brews.

This will again be a stove top brew as we have not moved to all-grain brewing as yet.

So, here we go.  As usual, we have cleaned and sanitized everything, including the brew kettle, wort chiller, carboy, etc.  We also took the yeast vile out of the refrigerator so it could reach room temperature in time for pitching in a couple hours.

Image of some basic home brew equipment, including the wort chiller, hydrometer, and auto-siphon.   A vile of While Labs Belgian Golden Ale Yeast.

One of the first things we have done is boiled about 2 1/2 gallons of water for 15 minutes.  This is typical for the type of brewing we are doing, which is a beginner level known as stove-top partial mash brewing.  This water will be added to the sanitized carboy and become part of the final brew.  Some home brewers don't do this practice, and in fact, we previously didn't do it.  We have since learned that it's best to boil and cool the water we add to the partial wort; it reduces the possibility of contamination.  Why not take care of this before you start brewing?  It does add about 30 minutes to the home brewing process.  But when you're doing it at the same time you are sanitizing your utensils and handling other pre-brew tasks, it really isn't an inconvenience...

A 6-gallon glass carboy with about 2 1/2 gallons of pre-boiled, chilled water.

Next, we heat 3 gallons of water in our brew kettle to 155 degrees F.  The grain bag with DurstPilsen Malt was added, where it remained for 50 minutes...

The grain bag is added to our Belgian Tripel home brew kettle, where it will remain for about 50 minutes.   The thermometer shows about 155 degrees F. for the grains to soak.

The grain bag was then removed and allowed to strain in a bowl (for later return to the brew kettle)...

After a 50 - 55 minute soak, the grain bag is removed and allowed to strain.  These juices were then returned to the brew kettle during full boil. 

Next, the brew was removed from the heat and the Dry Malt Extract (DME) was added...

Adding the approximately 9 pounds of dry malt extract to the brew pot.    This is what the brew kettle looks like after the dry malt extract has been added.

The heat was applied and the brew was brought to a boil.  We had to really keep an eye on this one, watching for the hot break, since it was about 4 gallons of brew in a 5-gallon brew pot.  And, we almost had the infamous boil over...

The brew kettle was almost full.  We need a bigger pot!

In fact, it took only 3 seconds for the hot break to rise to the top of the pot when it started raising.  We were lucky!  Another 2 seconds and it would have boiled over.  The lesson for us is to use about a gallon less water next time, or get a bigger brew pot.  It's clear we are out-growing our hobby and the time for expanding into all-grain - and outdoor - brewing is at hand. 

After about 10 minutes at boil, we added the 3 ounces of Czech Saaz hops, and the grain juices that were previously strained...

The Czech Saaz hops were added to the brew pot about 10 minutes into the boil.   This Belgian Tripel home brew recipe calls for 3 ounces of Czech Saaz hops.

About 30 minutes into the boil we added the candi sugar.  Incidently, "candi" sugar (yeah, with the "i") is an American term.  In Belgium, they just call it sugar.  We often refer to our little rock sugar as candi sugar, but it's just sugar.  You would actually be better off purchasing regular sugar.  It's less expensive.  Belgian monks use a syrup (usually caramel) in their brews, and this is what they call candi sugar...

Here, we are adding rock sugar to the brew pot.  We Americans sometimes call it Belgian "candi" sugar.

About 15 minutes before the end of boil, or at 1 hour of boiling, we added the Irish moss.  As we have stated before, and as you probably already know, Irish moss helps coagulate (make lumps) the solids so they drop to the bottom of the brew kettle.  Makes for a cleaner transfer to the fermentation vessel...

About a tablespoon of Irish moss is added to the brew pot about 15 minutes before the end of boil.

After about 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous boil, we removed the brew from the heat and added the final ounce of Czech Saaz hops.  The brew kettle then went to the sink, where we inserted the wort chiller.  We also returned about 2 gallons of the previously boiled water to the kettle, saving about 3/4 gallon for topping off the fermenter, if needed...

An ounce of flavoring Czech Saaz hops are added to the brew pot at the end of the boil.   The wort chiller is attached to the sink faucet and submerged in the wort, which has by now received about 2 gallons of our previously boiled, chilled water.

Total amount in the brew kettle at this point was about 5 1/2 gallons.  Interestingly, when we dropped in the hydrometer, it read an unexpected low of around 7% abv (estimated), or a specific gravity of 54.  We then noticed that the readings increased in abv and specific gravity as the temperature fell.  When it reached about 86 degrees F. the specific gravity was about 70 (about 9.1% abv)...

A specific gravity of 70, as seen here on the hydrometer floating in our Belgian Tripel wort, indicates that we are going to have about a 9% abv Belgian Tripel.

After reaching 72 F, (yeast-pitching temperature) we siphoned the wort into the carboy...

After the wort chiller cooled this Belgian Tripel to about 72 degrees F., we used the auto-siphon to move the wort to the fermentation vessel (glass carboy).

And, pitched the yeast...

An image of the Belgian Tripel wort after it has been added to the fermentation carboy, and yeast being pitched.   We used White Labs Belgian Golden Ale yeast, being pitched here into the carboy.

Since this is a big beer (high specific gravity/fermentables), we went with a blow-over hose, and moved the fermenter to a cool area of the house.  This time, in an attempt to control the fermentation temperature at around 68 - 70 degrees, we covered the carboy with a wet towel. A rise in temperature above about 74 or 75 F will make the tripel aromatic and fragrant.  We want this one to not be so aromatic.  That's why we are attempting to control the temperature at about 70 F.

December 8, 2013 - Fermentation began around 12 hours after the yeast was pitched, and had already developed a full Krausen layer by the 18th hour...

Belgium Tripel Abbey home brew in the carboy fermentation.  Notice the foam layer already rising through the blow over.


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