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

6.31 lbs. Belgian Pilsener
3.94 lbs. Belgian Pale Malt
1.38 lbs. Table Sugar
0.25 lbs. Wheat Malt

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

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

WYeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity

Mash Schedule
60 min@ 150
15 min @ 160

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.


jemphd said...

No "beer" tag on this Hoppy.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Added one, thanks for catching that.