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

The Mash

The Boil

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”:


4 Responses to “Tripel Homebrew – Triple Lindy”

  • smokinghole Says:

    So have you tried any of this brew yet? I just picked up some of this yeast on my way through Jersey last weekend. Not that I’m going to use a different yeast since I have this, but was just curious about your experience.

  • BarlowBrewing Says:

    I really liked the East Coast yeast for this beer and it worked amazingly well at low temps. That kept down the phenols, which was my goal in the first place. (Although I was dinged for not having enough phenolics in the NHC. Go figure.)

    It fermented down quickly and completely, and I’d love to use the ECY13 strain again. The only minor issue I had is that, despite lagering this one, I got a bit of yeast in each bottle. That is no problem if you are pouring it into a glass, but at a tasting, where you are pouring multiple times into tiny glasses, it would rouse the yeast and pull up some banana and wheat beer flavors that didn’t appear in the quick pour version of the tripel.

    Good luck with yours.

  • Dudeman Says:

    You missed the whole point of a Belgian Tripel. The esters and spicy phenols are what its all about. Some monks let it get up to 80F at the end of the fermentation. The cold fermentation probably produced very little esters and some phenols. I actually try to create more esters and they balance out the phenols.

  • BarlowBrewing Says:

    Hey Dudeman – This was a post from 2011 when I was experimenting with ways to restrain the esters and phenols that come from hot fermentations. My friends and I were lamenting the lackluster job that commercial American breweries were doing in trying make Belgian beers at the time. (In retrospect, I’m not sure why we cared or thought that American brewers needed to nail those styles anyway.) This was an experiment to see what those Belgian strains would do at lower temperatures. In the time between then and now, I’ve done dozens of Belgian beers and the majority of them I let run up to 80F towards the end.

    I found that the lower temp fermentation made a great tripel with the esters and phenols you expect from the style. In the end, the difference was less than you expect. What is the right amount of phenols? That is up to your taste. I’ll put my stock in the tastebuds of my homebrewing friends than one judge in one competition. Go with the method you like. Hot fermentations are certainly easier.

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