Monday, March 10, 2008

Hoppy American Tripel

I've always found Tripels a bit boring, big on alcohol, but without the complexity to make it worthwhile. That changed when I tried Xtra Gold from Captain Lawrence, I was blown away by the marriage of a complex Belgian yeast character to the aroma of American hops. There are several other breweries in both Belgium and American doing similar things including Russian River, De Rull├ęs, and d'Achouffe. In my case I kept the bitterness much lower than so called Belgian IPAs, I aimed for a similar balance in terms of bitterness and sweetness to Westmalle Tripel, while trying to enhance the late hop character.

The original yeast I pitched, 3787 (Westmalle) petered out, so I ended up adding some US-05 to get the gravity down. The beer ended up being tasty, but a bit sweeter than I wanted even at 84% apparent attenuation.

If I were to brew this again I would swap out most of the Belgian pale for more Belgian pils as the color was a bit darker than I wanted. I would also lower the Amarillo dry hop to .25 oz, it was just too assertive when the beer was young. To help it dry out more I would lower the mash temp to 148. Finally I would ferment a bit warmer to prevent the yeast from quitting on me so early, I would not go higher than the mid-70's as I don't want the yeast to be too assertive.


Hoppy American Tripel

Recipe Specifics
----------------
Batch Size (Gal): 3.75
Total Grain (Lbs): 11.88
Anticipated OG: 1.087
Plato: 20.99
Anticipated SRM: 5.3
Anticipated IBU: 36.3
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68 %
Wort Boil Time: 93 Minutes

Grain/Extract/Sugar
---------------------
6.31 lbs. Belgian Pilsener
3.94 lbs. Belgian Pale Malt
1.38 lbs. Table Sugar
0.25 lbs. Wheat Malt

Hops
-----
All Whole
0.50 oz. Cascade @ 63 min.
0.50 oz. Crystal @ 63 min.
0.50 oz. Sterling @ 63 min.
0.25 oz. Crystal @ 15 min.
0.25 oz. Cascade @ 15 min.
0.25 oz. Sterling @ 15 min.
0.38 oz. Crystal @ 0 min.
0.38 oz. Cascade @ 0 min.
0.38 oz. Sterling @ 0 min.
0.50 oz. Amarillo @ Dry Hop

Extras
-------
0.50 Unit(s) Whirlfloc @ 10 Min
0.25 Tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 Min

Yeast
-----
WYeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity

Mash Schedule
-------------
60 min@ 150
15 min @ 160

Notes
-----
Brewed 10/28/07 with James

Diluted 4.5 gallons of DC Tap with 4 gallons of distilled water. Added 3 g CaCl, 1 g gypsum, and 1 g Epsom salts. Added 1 tsp of phosphoric acid to the sparge water to get the pH down.

6 gallons of runnings collected, 1.061 with sugar added.

Lost lots of wort to the hops, but the gravity came out right about where I wanted it (1.087).

Chilled to 74, strained out the hops and put it into a 62 degree fridge to drop down cooler. After about 5 hours, I gave it 60 seconds of O2, and pitched about 1/2 cup of thick slurry from the dubbel (harvested a few hours earlier and held at 62).

10/31/07 Upped ambient temp to 64 because fermentation seems to be slowing down.

11/1/07 Up to 65

11/02/07 Up to 66, still looks like there is some activity, nice thick krausen.

11/05/07 Took a gravity reading, still a depressing 1.040 (54% AA). Raised the temp to 72. Looks like there is still a good deal of yeast in suspension, and there is still a small krausen. Hopefully the higher temp will help.

11/08/07 Raising the temp seems to have accelerated the fermentation, 1.030 (66% AA)

11/09/07 Added 4 grams of US-05 straight on top of the remnants of the krausen, just to make sure it finishes nice and dry.

11/12/07 Finally getting there, 1.018 (79% AA, 9.2% ABV), may drop a few more points as there seems to still be a good deal of yeast in suspension.

11/15/07 Transfered to secondary

11/17/07 Tastes good after a few days of cold conditioning, FG around 1.016

11/27/07 Temp upped to 57 to allow the Avant Garde Clone to ferment.

12/01/07 Temp up to 60 for Avant Garde

12/02/07 Took out of the freezer and added the dry hops, in another week I'll bottle.

12/05/07 Took a sample, down to 1.014 (84% AA, 9.7% ABV)! Great hop character, dry hops taste very fresh. This should be a winner. Color might be a hair dark, sort of golden-orange.

12/09/07 Bottled with 3.25 oz of cane sugar. got just under 3 gallons of yield

12/15/07 Decent carbonation, great hop flavor, Amarillo has mellowed a bit and let some complexity through.

1/5/08 Tastes a bit too sweet and the hops are still covering up much of the yeast flavor. Carbonation should be a bit higher as well.

Hops continued to mellow and the beer continued to dry out over the next few months.

2/02/09 1st Tasting

------------------------------
Based on Xtra Gold and Damnation 23:

Xtra Gold (10% abv)
Belgian Pils
Simcoe, Sterling, Cascade, Crystal, Dry hopped w/Amarillo
OG 22
IBU 33

Damnation 23 (11% abv)
We turned our regular Damnation recipe into a Tripel. It is bittered with Tomahawk and has Sterling and Cascade in the mid-boil and finish. The beer was then aged on new American oak chips for two to three weeks.

2 comments:

yessri said...

Mike-
No "beer" tag on this Hoppy.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Added one, thanks for catching that.

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