Tripel Homebrew – Triple Lindy
This time around I attacked a classic style and brewed a Belgian Tripel. This style only required two grains and some cane sugar to create a high-alcohol, pale beer that is spicy with a soft malty character. Tripels are tricky in that you want it to finish around 9% ABV, but you don’t want it to taste like it or have any of that hot, alcohol warming character. This beer can very easily get phenolic, too, and you want to keep the banana esters to a minimum.
The key to keeping the banana and hot alcohol flavors at bay is to ferment this one cooler than I thought Belgian yeast can, and should, go. My yeast of choice for this brew was one of the East Coast Yeast strains. I picked up the ECY13, which is the trappist strain:
“ECY13 Trappist Ale: Traditional Trappist yeast with a complex, dry, fruity malt profile. Rated highly in sensory tests described in “Brew Like A Monk” for complexity and low production of higher alcohols. Apparent Attenuation: 74-76%. Suggested fermentation temp: 66-72° F.”
The brew day was long, but relatively uneventful. The only grains were Belgian pilsner malt, and a small amount of Belgian aromatic malt to add some color and malt aroma. All that pilsner malt means that a 90 minute boil to reduce the likelihood of DMS and, to make this as fermentable as possible, I mashed the grains at 149º F for 90 minutes. You are staring down the barrel of 3 hours in pure mash and boil time right there.
Aromatic Malt, Cane Sugar, and Pilsner Malt
Crashing down to 62º F and Oxygenating
I was nervous about the fermentation, but I crashed the wort down to 62º F, and pitched a big starter of the ECY13. If you are fermenting at cool temperatures, and this is a good general rule for lagers as well as ale yeasts that are being pitched into the cold, you want to pitch big. Making a starter is a necessity, and then try to get the starter very close to the temperature of the wort so as to not shock the yeast.
Despite my fears, the yeast took care of business. I pitched at 62º F and let the fermenting beer free rise up to 66º F. In a little less than 4 days, the East Coast trappist strain took my beer from a 1.077 down to an absurdly low 1.007. Color me impressed.
I, then, brought the beer up to a 74º F to clean itself up, and then I racked it to a secondary carboy and lagered it ~32º F for 3 weeks to clarify.
I’m excited to see how this tripel turns out, and I’ll be trying it out later this week. I even racked 1 gallon of the beer off and aged it on French oaks cubes and Blanton’s bourbon.
It goes to show that you can ferment beers cooler with the right yeast pitch and a little optimism.
The recipe is below, as is a link to the video explaining the Triple Lindy reference if you didn’t get that.
Triple Lindy - Tripel (6 gallons)
Starting Gravity: 1.077 (1/30/11)
Secondary/Final Gravity: 1.007 (2/26/11) Days
9.4% alcohol (by volume)
Apparent Attenuation: 90.4%
Real Attenuation: 74.0%
Mash (100 minutes 149º)
13 lb Belgian Pilsner
0.25 lb Aromatic Malt
2.5 lb Cane Sugar
Boil (90 min)
2.0 oz Tettnang (4.5% AA) Pellet Hops (60 min)
0.5 oz Saaz (3.9% AA) Pellet Hops (10 min)
1 tablet Whirlfloc (Boil – 15 min.)
½ tsp Brewer’s Choice Wyeast Nutrient Blend (Boil – 10 min.)
Primary (62º F) (Started at 62F, ramped up with heat, to 66F)
East Coast Yeast ECY13 – Trappist (Starter, Stir Plate)
Secondary (32º F) (Lager)
After warming up to 74, it was crashed down to 32º F (lagered for ~3 weeks)
Bottled with “TR” on caps
This Tripel has been named the “Triple Lindy”: http://youtu.be/rDMMYT3vkTk