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Recipe – Hoppy Tripel

09/07/2014

Tripel is perhaps the one Trappist beer style that I like the least. Subtle and yeast-forward but high in alcohol content without the big  flavours to back it up. Some commercial breweries and home brewers have “rectified” this by taking the style and adding some hop character to it, especially with dry hopping. I wanted to try the same thing and thought that Nelson Sauvin with its grape-berry aroma would perhaps complement the yeast driven flavours well if used sparingly in late boil and as a dry hop. Another hop that I considered was Citra but I wanted to hoard those for later.

The malt bill is simple, just pilsner and wheat malts and some acid malt. Tripels are light in body despite the high gravity so I mashed low and for longer than usual. Also driving the dryness is a large addition of sugar, this time light coloured sugar beet syrup. The whole question of what syrup or sugar to use is a topic that is endlessly debated on home brewing forums and for some reason seems to raise strong opinions in people. Personally I don’t think the choice of sugar will either make or break a beer, it’s only one piece of the whole process and having sound brewing practice the whole way through is much more important.

Speaking of which, the yeast used is Wyeast 3787 and to ensure a healthy fermentation in such a high gravity beer I used the whole yeast cake from the Patersbier – a low gravity table beer that you could view as a big starter. If all goes well I plan to do one more beer with this yeast, a strong dark ale. I’ll bottle these as they are much too boozy to keep on tap.

Here is the recipe :

 

Recipe
—————-
Target Batch Size (Litres/Gallons): 15.00 / 3,96
Total Grain (Kg/Pounds): 4,12 /9,08
Anticipated OG: 1.073
Anticipated SRM: 4,5
Anticipated IBU: 27,4
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Fermentables
—————–
80,1%  3,3kg / 7,27 lbs     – Pilsner malt, Weyermann
8,5%    350g / 0,77 lbs   – Wheat malt, Weyermann
1,7%    70g / 2,46 oz       – Acidulated malt
9,7%    400g / 0,88 lbs     – Light sugar-beet syrup

Hops
——–
10,0g / 0,35 0z. Magnum (Pellet, 12,0% AA) @ 90 min for 18,2 IBU
15,0g / 0,52 oz. Nelson Sauvin (Pellet, 12,0% AA) @ 15 min for 9,2 IBU
15,0g / 0,52 oz. Nelson Sauvin (Pellet, 12,0% AA) @ Flameout
15,0g / 0,52 oz. Nelson Sauvin (Pellet, 12,0% AA) Dry hop

Extras

———-
½ Tablet of Whirlfloc @ 10 Min.
½ Teaspoon of yeast nutrient @ 10 Min.
4g / 0,14 oz Calcium Chloride in mash

Yeast
———

Wyeast – 3787 Trappist High Gravity – Yeast cake from Patersbier

Mash

———————–
20 Litre BIAB @ 64 Celsius for 80 mins (5,28Gal/147F)

8/7/14 Overshot my gravity by 3 points, OG at 1.076. Lifted the better bottle with blow-off tube to the freezer. Fermentation started after 4 hours, temperature at 22C. Set the freezer to kick in at 25C, will let the fermentation rise freely to that point.

9/7/14 Girlfriend mistook the sound coming from the freezer for a pile driver working somewhere outside. Fermentation a little too rigorous, BB strip measures at 26C – the sensor had disconnected from the side of the bottle. Used duct tape to glue it on to the side and set the freezer to 24C/75F to prevent any fusel alcohols. With such a strong fermentation I don’t think the drop in temperature will negatively affect the yeast. I hope the spike in temperature didn’t do any harm. I’ll let it rise a few degrees later as fermentation slows down.

10/7/14 Fermentation still very strong. In hindsight I should have started with the freezer set somewhere around 19C/66F and after that raised the temperature up in controlled increments.

3/8 I have some serious doubts about the viability of the yeast since it has been really hot in my apartment (the beer was lifted from the freezer after signs of fermentation were finished to make room for the next one). Due to this I won’t use the cake for a third beer. I dry hopped the pellets straight in to primary and will bottle after 5 days or so. The beer smelled fine so hopefully the heat has done no harm.

10/8 Bottled about 12 liters with 50 grams of table sugar. Lots of beer was lost to the thick yeast cake and the free-floating hops in the BB. Sample didn’t have any off tastes, really fruity and some Nelson character evident. FG = 1.008, apparent attenuation 89%! With abv at 8,9% this is the strongest beer I’ve brewed. Looking forward to tasting it after a couple of weeks.

 

Edit : Spheling.

 

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