COVID-19 Update: We Are Fully Operational at This Time and Shipping Daily M-F.

This blog provides information for educational purposes only. Read our complete summary for more info.

May 26, 2020

Belgian Tripel - Homebrew Recipe

Belgian Tripel Homebrew RecipeThe Belgian Tripel is just one of the many famous beer styles that Belgians have created during their historic relationship with alcoholic beverages. This recipe has its roots in old-world traditions where Trappist monks would fund their monasteries through the non-profit production of beer. Today in the new world, many of us beer lovers have developed quite a fond appreciation for Belgian beer, especially our friend Ross. Upon meeting his girlfriend she presented him with a pickup line that went, “Drinking tripel, seeing double, feeling single.” The rest is now history, and fortunately Ross isn’t feeling single anymore. Because of Ross’ appreciation for the Belgian Tripel beer style, he wanted to brew this one to take to a friend’s wedding. Read on to learn how to brew a high ABV Belgian Golden Ale that’s made for celebrations and parties. 

Ross holding a 6 pack of trippels

Ross is our resident Tripel expert, he also works at New Belgium

Full Brew Day Video

We brewed this using Clawhammer Supply’s 120 Volt 10 Gallon Brewing System. Watch us use it in the video below.

Water

We started this brew day with 8.11 gallons (30.7 liters) of water in our brewing kettle.

Mash

This recipe calls for 14 pounds (6.3 kg) of Pilsner Malt. We spent a little more on our grain for this beer and bought Dingemans Pilsner Malt. Dingemans supplies malt to many if not most breweries in Belgium and is used for every famous beer style created in the country. We crushed the grains before mashing in.

pouring dingemans malt into grain grinder

Pouring Dingemans Pilsner Malt into a grinder

Crushed Dingemans Malt

Crushed malt

After crushing our grain, we mashed our 14 pounds (6.3 kg) of Pilsner Malt in at 148° F (64.4° C). We mashed for 90 minutes.

 mashing in

Mashing in

doughball in the mash 

Make sure to stir your mash, dough balls are bad!

10 minutes into our 90-minute mash we checked our PH and found that it was at 5.6.

taking a sample of wort during the mash to measure PH

Filling a pint glass up with wort to test PH

We carefully added Lactic Acid to our mash in order to bring the PH down to 5.26, which is right where we wanted it. We recommend you aim for a PH of 5.2-5.3.

syringe filled with lactic acid

Syringe filled with lactic acid

Putting syringe of lactic acid into mash

PH at 5.26

After adding lactic acid our PH was just right

Since this mash was so long, we decided to be productive during it and head to the local bottle so we could enjoy some tripels during the rest of the brew day. Make sure to watch our brew day video and our tripel tasting video to see what beers we bought and what we thought of them.

tripel tasting - old world vs. new wold 

We tasted two tripels from the old world and two tripels from the new world

Hops and Boil 

After our 90 minute mash, we pulled our grain basket and turned our controller up to 100% of power to start a boil as soon as possible.

pulling grain basket at the end of the mash

It's great having a friend to help you hook your grain basket. If you don't have friends or couldn't convince one to help you brew, we recommend buying a brewing pulley to help you pull the grains

This recipe calls for a 90-minute boil.

At the top of our boil, we did a 90-minute addition of Simplicity Candi Syrup. We turned off our heating element before adding this to make sure no syrup was burned during the addition. We added 2 pounds (.9 kg) of this, but you could get away with adding 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg). That’s what we meant to add but we didn’t buy enough. 

adding candy syrup to boil 

Adding candy syrup to boil 

We stirred in our candy syrup addition really well in order to make sure all of it was incorporated into the wort. Once our 90-minute addition was all stirred in, we turned the heat back on and resumed the boil. The sugars from these candy syrup additions will do a big part in making this a high ABV beer.

30 minutes into our boil we did a 60-minute addition of Styrian Golding Hops. We added 1 ounce (28.3 grams).

styrian golding hop package

These hops only have 1.8% alpha acids, so they will add very minimal bitterness to our beer.

60 minutes into our boil we did a 30-minute addition of Nelson Sauvin hops. We added a .5 ounce (14 grams) of these.

30 minute addition of nelson sauvin hops weighed out

30 minute addition of Nelson Sauvin Hops

Adding Nelson Sauvin hops into the hop silo

Right after our 30-minute addition we added a whirlfloc tablet to the boil. Whirlfloc tablets help with clarity, which is very important for the tripel style.

whirlfloc tablet

Yeast & Fermentation

Once our 90-minute boil was over we hooked up our chilling hoses and started cooling our wort down to a yeast pitching temperature of around 75° F (23.9° C).

recirculating through wort plate chiller

Since this wort has a lot of sugar in it, our yeast may need some help. In order to make our fermentation as active as possible, we took the opportunity to aerate our beer while chilling it.

aerating wort while chilling it 

Letting the wort splash back into the kettle is an easy way to incorporate oxygen

closeup of aerated wort - there's a lot of bubbles which means aerating is definitely happening

All these bubbles mean aeration is definitely happening

To ferment this beer we bought two packs of WLP530 Abbey Ale Yeast from White Labs.

Ross holding two packets of Abbey Ale yeast from White Labs

Even though this is two packs of yeast, we’re still probably underpitching for this style. We should have made a yeast starter in preparation for this brew day, but unfortunately time snuck up on us. Read this article if you want to learn how to make a yeast starter.

After transferring our chilled wort to a fermenter, we pitched our Abbey Ale Yeast and aerated some more through agitation.

digital brewing controller showing that our wort is chilled to 75 degrees F

Once our wort was chilled to 75° F (23.9° C) we began transferring it

transferring wort to a fermentation bucket

We performed a daring move during this brew day and didn't turn off our pump before transferring to a fermentation bucket

pitching abbey ale yeast into wort

We made sure to sanitize everything before pitching our yeast, including the yeast packet and the scissors we used to cut it

aerating our wort for the last time by shaking it up in the fermenter

We aerated this one final time by shaking our fermenter with the lid on

Aerating is always a good idea because it helps incorporate more oxygen into your wort which will subsequently help your yeast ferment better.

Once our airlock was put in place on top of our fermenter, we checked a starting gravity sample that we took while transferring our wort into the fermenter. We got a starting gravity of 1.077.

 placing an airlock on the top of our fermenter

We used a normal airlock, but we suggest you use a blow-off tube

starting gravity reading of 1.077

We fermented this at room temperature (72 Fahrenheit) for three weeks.  We then moved it to a fermentation chamber where it was lagered for 6 weeks at 45 Fahrenheit.

airlock bubbling during fermentation at room temp

Fermentation became very active at room temperature

Tasting

This beer had a very active fermentation, so our efforts at excessively aerating definitely paid off. What we were rewarded with after 6 weeks of waiting was a classic Belgian Tripel that could have competed with all of the commercial tripels we drank while brewing it. This fermented down to a final gravity of 1.012 which gave us an ABV of 8.5%. Technically, according to our own definitions, a true Tripel is 9% or more. We’re still calling this a Tripel, but if we added a .5 pound (8 ounces) more candy syrup like we should have, this definitely would have been 9% or more.

The beer looked honey-golden with just a bit of haze and had an estery aroma to it. When we tasted it we immediately picked up banana bread, clove, and spice. Despite the high ABV, we couldn’t taste any booze, making this beer a sneak attack that anyone can drink.

Ross drinking the tripel we made

Ross summed our tasting up by saying, “I don’t want to brag, but I think we really nailed this style.” 

When Ross took it to his friend’s wedding, everyone there seemed to think it was good as well. Comments at the wedding ranged from “oh yeah” and “this is delicious” to “this is classic, it reminds me of Kasteel” which is a Tripel brewed in Belgium.

ross pouring the tripel at a wedding

Ross pouring the tripel at his friend's wedding

  • In the article you mentioned fermenting at room temp for 3 weeks. Is that right or was the room temp fermentation shorter?

    Posted by Justin A on July 02, 2020
  • So if I wanted to do a 5 gal batch, do I scale down the ingredients by half?

    Posted by John on June 15, 2020
  • What was your final volume?

    Posted by Eric on June 11, 2020
  • We started fermenting this at room temperature, then after 48 hours we moved it to a fermentation chamber where it was lagered for 6 weeks

    At what temperature did you have in the fermentchamber? 20-22 degrees?

    Posted by Anders H on June 03, 2020

Leave a comment

Please note, the design of our website does not allow us to respond directly to blog comments. Please email us directly regarding questions about products. We don't answer questions about recipes, procedures, etc. However, feel free to leave a comment or respond to comments made by others!

Enter your email address below and we'll send you a free eBook on how to get started with brewing or distilling!