Belgian Tripel

Those Monks are Serious

Originating in the trappist monestaries of Belgium, the Tripel style (BJCP Category 18C) is a somewhat widely defined group of strong, golden Belgian style ales. The thing these beers have in common is that they are a strong ale and are around golden in color. After that, the style varies quite a bit - as is the custom in Belgian brewing where styles are all but useless. Many of these beers have a bit of residual sweetness and are a bit fruity and even spicy. The majority of Tripels are somewhat soft or round in finish.

The Beer

Pilsner or Pale Malt malt will make up the majority of a pretty substantial grain bill here - maybe with some lighter Munich. Simple sugars are appropriate in this style and can make up to 20% or so of the malt bill.

A Belgian style yeast, of course, is a must when making a Tripel and accounts for a great deal of the complexity of this beer. Higher than usual ale range fermentation temperatures are also appropriate (in moderation) to produce more esters and interesting phenol compounds. In any case, make sure your beer attenuates as well as possible. This means having an appropriate amount of yeast that is ready for fermentation. Nothing is worse than a Tripel that is as sweet as Kool Aid - believe me.

In the recipe below I use 1 pound of Rye - definitely not a traditional ingredient by any means. However, I figure in the tradition of Belgian individualism and disdain for the style guidelines - why not.

OG: 1.075 - 1.085 FG: 1.010 - 1.016 IBU: 25 - 38 ABV: 7.5 - 9%

All Grain Recipe - Belgian Tripel ::: 1.082/1.016 (6.75 Gal)

Grain Bill

10 lbs. - Pilsner Malt (Belgian or whatever)
5 lb. - 2 Row Pale Malt
1 lb. - CaraPils malt
1 lb. - Rye Malt
3 lb. - Sugar of your choosing (light in color)

Hop Schedule (27 IBU)

2 oz - E.K. Goldings (60 Min.)
1 oz - Hallertauer (60 Min.)
1 oz - Saaz (1 Min.)


White Labs Belgian Ale (WLP550) or Abbey Ale (WLP530)- 1800 ml starter


Mash at 152° for 30 min.
Sparge as usual
Boil for 60 min. Cool and start ferment at about 66 degrees
Let fermentation temp rise steadily into the mid 70's

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