Monday, February 17, 2014

#34 - 8° Tripel

Continuing my themed set of trappist style ales I brewed an 8° Tripel. Like the 6° Dubbel (brewed prior to the tripel but aging longer, post to come) this beer uses primarily Belgian Pilsner and a little Munich malt with some sugar additions, Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity yeast and a simple continental European hop bill featuring Styrian Goldings and Hallertau (and in the Tripel's case a little Strisselspalt as well).  The Tripel however should turn out quite different with less dark malts, a much higher hop bitterness, flavor and aroma and the sugar additions being white sugar and honey rather than the complex dark candi syrups leading to hop/yeast balance rather than malt/sugar/yeast.  As the name suggests this beer will also start with a slightly higher gravity (1.080) for an added alcohol oomph.

Trying to work in the same kitchen that my girlfriend was using to make bread led to some issues with tight space and a few spills.  In the end I lost about half a pound of the pilsner malt trying to add it to the mash tun and lost about half an ounce of hersbrucker hops when trying to vacuum seal.  I made up for the pilsner malt with more white sugar.  Pitched 12 oz. of slurry harvested from my Belgian Session IPA on December 26th (about a 50% over-pitch according to Mr. Malty).

In addition to wanting to brew to-style Trappist beers in each of the 3 major varieties (dubbel, tripel, quad) there was an additional goal to this themed series to experiment with tinctures and blending.  Unlike the Dubbel which will be blended with the Quad to create my 7° beer, this beer will have additional sugars (largely honey) added to bump up the equivalent starting gravity just 1 Belgian degree (up to the equivalent of a 1.090 OG) to create a Belgian Golden Strong ale.  Similar to the 7° beer which will be spiced with a number of warming festive spices this beer will have a simpler tincture of sage added to lend some floral, sweet and savory characteristics.

Extremely vigorous fermentation led to me replacing the airlock with a blow off tube.

Gravity down all the way to 1.006 after getting to 1.008 at moving to secondary.  Bottled just under 2 gallons with 1.5 oz of sugar. (as brew #34 despite the Dubbel actually having been brewed before it).  ~2.5 gallons were mixed with 12 oz. of honey for what will be the Sage Golden Strong.  Taste is surprisingly high in bitterness with some noticeable alcohol, fruity yeast derived flavors and a touch of honey like sweetness.

Bottled the Golden Strong with most of the sage tincture (roughly 1/2 cup worth of extract from 2/3 cup vodka, 1/4 cup sage mixture).  Taste is sweet and estery up front but dry and bitter in the finish with the sage giving a citrusy, herbal character that I might have liked to see even more of.

Sage version tasting notes.  Very tasty, noticeable but not overpowering sage presence.

Straight Tripel tasting (with side by side notes of Sage Golden Strong). Also a good beer, though not as true to style as I was hoping.

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