Beer 17: Delicious, Underpitched Belgian Tripel

Alongside IPA, the Belgian Tripel is one of my favorite beers. I’ve been trying to brew a perfect one since I began brewing. I made a pretty good Belgian Tripel not too long ago, but I wasn’t fully satisfied with the aroma. No complaints with this one. It’s the best Tripel I’ve made to date, and I’m hoping to get some honest feedback at my next beer snob meeting (homebrewer’s club). Huge Belgian yeast aroma from the White Laps Monestary yeast (formerly called Trappist), with a ton of yeast flavor as well. It’s dry, the pilsner malt provides a simple base, the cane sugar makes the beer dry, and the alcohol is apparent but not harsh. Like all good Tripels, it’s dangerously drinkable.

IMG_20160302_165029794_HDR

I’ve already talked about the secret to making a good Tripel (raising the fermentation temperature to 80F). But for this beer I used another secret: underpitching the yeast (read more here). My previous Tripel was overpitched and didn’t have a great aroma. This batch was underpitched and has a great aroma. Rather than using a huge slurry from a previous batch, which I normally do to save money, I used one packet of White Labs yeast goo (‘pure pitch’ its called). Technically, according to White Labs, that’s considered underpitching for such a high alcohol beer. Either way, it might be the difference between good and great. I also got more serious with the brand of base malt. I wanted to use 100% Belgian pilsner malt (which of course makes a ton of sense for a Belgian beer). I came close (the homebrew shop only had 10 pounds). Anyway, I’m very happy with the result.

Berkeley Belgian Tripel 5 gal
10 lb Pilsner malt (Belgian: Dingemans)
5 lb Pilsner malt (German: Weyerman)
3 lb Cane Sugar (adding at flame out)
—————————
1 oz Magnum (FW, 30 minute boil)
2 oz Czech Saaz (flame out, no chill)
———————-
Monastery Ale Yeast

brewed 1/31/16
mashed 146F – 150 for 30 minutes
boiled 30 minutes
no chill, put in cold ferm. chamber for 24 hours, pitched at 70F but the temperature was set at 65F, no stirring or O2
signs of fermentation within 24 hours
2 days later, ramped temperature from 65F to 70, not yet high krusen, noticed that garage smells like bananas
1 day later, ramped temperature from 70 to 75
2 days later, hydrometer says 1.004
4 days later, bottled

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4 thoughts on “Beer 17: Delicious, Underpitched Belgian Tripel

    • pitched on the 2nd and bottled on the 12th, so 10 days I guess, although active fermentation wasn’t visible until the 3rd, so 9, correct. I’m almost positive I didn’t cold crash this beer but I did use gelatin two days before bottling.

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  1. Glad it turned out for you!

    What did you have as an OG here?

    The first time I ever used liquid yeast was to make a tripel with the Duvel strain. I didn’t know much about yeast health at the time. It failed to attenuate. Or flocculate. I had no stir plate, oxygen stone, or temperature control then. Additionally, I was experimenting with pressurized fermentation which stresses the yeast and depresses the production of aromatic compounds. The beer was a sweet, fusel-y, phenolic mess and eventually dumped. One of the memorable ones.

    Have you tried the beerXML wordpress plugin? It’s very nice for displaying recipes.

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    • thanks. I never take OG readings, only the occasional FG reading to make sure fermentation is complete. I’m lazy. I don’t have a stir plate, don’t make starters, and don’t use O2. But I do care about temperature.

      I will look into beerXML, thanks a lot!

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