Mar 10 2011

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”:  http://youtu.be/rDMMYT3vkTk

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Nov 25 2009

More Split Batches and Falling off the Blogging Horse

I took an accidental hiatus from the blog for a while.  Yeah, I fell off the blogging horse, so I’m dusting myself off and getting back on track.

I’m still moving forward with split batches, and I’m still trying to squeeze as much learning as I can out of these brews.

Sour Saison

My sour saison split is still getting funky. That was the one that I split a saison into two 3 gallon carboys, and I pitched brettanomyces B on one, and the cultured up dregs of an Avery Brabant on the other. They are still aging and they have both dropped ~0.001 in the gravity department.  The biggest difference between the two, from my infrequent visits to them, is that the Brabant is showing the signs of having some pediococcus and lactobacillus.  Neither are particularly enjoyable to taste, but these things take time to clean up. Before it is all over, I’m sure I’ll be adding the last bits of some sour commercial beers in the brett-only saison to fill out the flavors and complexities of the beer.

I might be bottling these beers in the near future. Although they have only been souring for about 3 months, I was aiming for more of “at bottling time” addition of brett than the long souring and aging variety.

Robust Porter

The robust porter split is done and bottled, and I’ll be comparing the robust porter fermented with Safale US-05 against the same wort fermented with the Safale-04 in a future blog post. I’ve tried them side-by-side once and there were slight, but obvious, differences. I’m not sure what I was expecting to find with this split, and I think I’m still better off not having expectations until after the last taste.

Belgian Dark Strong Ale

The next split was my Belgian Dark Strong Ale which is going three ways. Six gallons of the BDSA went down in a typical fashion with lots of grain, some simple sugars delivered through cane and candi syrups, and that was all fermented down with a gallon starter of the White Labs WLP530 Abbey ale yeast.  This was a relatively small BDSA, and it weighed in only (merely!) at an 1.081 OG. After that fermented down, I bottled about a gallon of that beer and then pitched the Wyeast brettanomyces lambicus on the rest, along with pinot noir & French oak. 

The third part of this brew was a gallon that BDSA wort that was fermented with Safale US-05 yeast (a clean, American strain).  What exactly is the style of a beer that has the malt and sugar bill of a Belgian Dark Strong ale, but is done with a California yeast?  A dry and malty Old Ale? I don’t know.  We shall see.

Mild

The latest split brew is a Mild, and I will probably bottle that this week.  This is a low-alcohol session ale that weighed in at 1.038 OG, and it  finished at 1.009 (and rockin’ 3.8% ABV).  I’m really happy with how this one tastes so far. It is as close to a worty, grain flavor as I’ve ever gotten out of one of my homebrews without being cloyingly sweet, as well.  The other part of the split was the same exact beer and yeast (Danstar Nottingham), but I threw in some French oak when I pitched the yeast on the second portion of the mild. I’m only leaving the wooded mild on those oak cubes for two weeks, and I will be bottling that one, too, this week.

Sour Cider

The last atypical brew that I have in motion isn’t a beer at all. It is a cider. Now, I made a cider a month or so ago under the tutelage of a fellow homebrew club member who is the cider master.  That turned out great, but I am making another batch of cider with the questionable idea of fermenting it with the Wyeast 3278 Lambic Blend. I had a plan to go brett-only, but it takes time for the brett to take off and this is fresh juice (off the tree, into the press, and into the carboy) with lots of wild and unpredictable yeast on the skins and in the press.  This mixture of two brettanomyces, a Belgian wheat, and a sherry yeast strain, as well as a lactic acid bacteria, will hopefully beat out the unknown critters.  I picked up the fresh juice last night (which was 50% Staymens, and 50% Pink Ladys) and I added the sodium metabusulfite to hold the natural yeasts at bay for a time.

A friend, in a moment of genius, has called this… thing “Lambicide”.  I don’t know how that name CAN’T stick.

The Battle of the Bocks

A few weeks from now, I have an epic brew day scheduled. My friend Greg and I are planning to do two 12 gallons batches at the same time. One will be a Doppelbock, the other an Eisbock.  At the end of the day, we should both go home with 6 gallons of each beer. No experiments or splits are planning for this. That 24 gallons should be enough.

Details of the above beers and ciders will follow….

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