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Belgium Triple recipe

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Cloud Surfer

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I just bottled my first brew, a Belgium Triple. It was an extract + partial mash recipe the LHBS whipped up. I want to tweak it a bit for another go, but I need some help.

Recipe called for Pilsner LME, but the shop gave me half Pilsner and half Light LME for some reason. I’m wondering how it would go if I replaced the Light LME for another can of the Pilsner? I used Mangrove Jack Pilsner LME first time. Are these LME brands all the same, or are some better than others?

Grain for the steep was 500g of Carapils. I was thinking of trying Light Munich instead.

Hops was 40g Hallertau at 60 minutes. I was thinking of 40g Styrian Goldings at 60 minutes and 20g Saaz at 10 minutes. Seems these two get used a lot in Tripels.

I used M31 yeast. Seemed to work well with nice Triple aroma. Are there other better options, or are these Mangrove Jack yeasts ok?

Thanks for helping.
 

MHB

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Unless they have the same AA% you cant just swap bittering additions without allowing for the different Alpha acid content.
Just taking a quick look at the Hallertau (3.9% AA) and Syrian (2.9% AA) on offer at my local.
To get the same bitterness you need nearly 25% more of one than the other. the way to calculate it is: -
Original mass*Original AA% = New mass* New AA%
40g Hallertau *3.9% = New Mass * 2.9% Rearrange the equation and we get: -
(40*3.9)/2.9 = 53.8g (well call it 54g) to get the same bitterness.

Triples are mostly very pale, golden, highly attenuated... Some exceptions but most of the half a dozen or so recipes I just looked at are all just Extra Pale Pilsner and Sugar, the exception being the recipe for a Chimay White (Cinq Cents) which is a fair bit darker than the rest.
Munich malt is used to add colour and body, a sort of counter intuitive addition for a Triple. Even Carapilis would be questionable in an all grain recipe. If I wanted a touch of colour I would (maybe) look at a bit of Carahell more for the hue it brings, golden rather than yellow.

The go to yeast would be Wyeast 3787 Belgian High Gravity (or its WL equivalent).
Dry yeasts both in the range available and their performance have really come along in the last few years. Personally I would still go with the liquid yeast but the dry ones are good to learn on. That said I haven't used M31 it might be gods gift but from what I hear its good but the liquid is better.

You really are picking easy beers to start on (not), normally people get told to learn on lighter simpler beers where its easy to tell what went right and wrong. Got a feeling that might not be advice that suits you.
Remember these big beers are all about yeast management, one thing you can do that Belgian brewers aren't allowed to do (by Law in Belgium) is add your sugar later in the ferment, High gravity puts a lot of stress on yeast.
If your wort gravity was 80% from Malt and 20% from Sugar, starting the beer without the sugar will make life a lot easier for the yeast.
I find adding the sugar when the gravity has fallen by the amount you are adding (so the wort gravity doesn't go above the starting gravity.
If you were adding 20points of sugar to an OG of 1.070 instead of starting at 1.090, let it ferment down to 1.050, then add the sugar to bring the gravity back up to 1.070) works pretty well. In really high gravity beers maybe even add the sugar in several small batches.
Mark
 

Gollywog

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Mark, would you say the best way of adding the sugar additions later on be?
As a simple syrup into the fermenter or...
 

MHB

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Yep. Sugar is ridiculously soluble so probably a 1:1 sugar to water would be a good place to start.
You can even go stronger (80/20 Sugar/Water is theoretically possible) but go too strong and you can start to run into some other problems to do with osmotic pressure on the yeast.
For many decades in the old pre-metric days the standard way to add sugar in home wine/mead making and brewing was the old pound in a pint of water (in Imperial that's ~ 0.45kg in 0.57L) so 1:1 isn't too far out of bounds.
Might have been empirically resolved but still works.
Mark
 

Cloud Surfer

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Mark, thanks for pitching in with all the info. When I discovered Belgium beer 20 years ago I realised life was too short to keep drinking the ‘flavourless’ stuff I had grown up on. Lucky for me there’s forums like this to help me learn the ropes with high ABV brewing.

Just read a lot more on yeast. I’ll try the Wyeast 3787 (appropriately I fly the B787). Being my first liquid yeast, do you need to build a starter from one pack, or just pitch enough packs directly into the wort?

I was planning to add the 16oz sugar candy to the 20L wort after fermentation was under way. How do I correct the initial OG reading which didn’t include the sugar, so I can figure out the ABV when I get the FG?

As far as the hops and malt, I’m not sure. I want it balanced but not hoppy at all, like a good Triple. I saw some recipes adding Light Munich and thought that was appropriate, but I’ve got no idea really. An option is no grain at all, and just use a tin of Light Malt Extract for some slight malt influence.

Do people experiment with recipes and once they’ve hit on something they like, just keep making the same beer over and over again? That’s kind of the plan I had in mind.
 

MHB

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On Pitching rates
Yes - well either works. There is a recommended pitching range its expressed in millions of cells per mL per point of Plato. If you aren't familiar with it Plato is another way to express wort gravity. Plato is %WW wort solids equivalent to %WW Sucrose in Water so if we dissolved 100g of sugar in 900g of water we would have 100g in 1000g or a 10% Weight in Weight solution, a wort with the same specific density would be called a 10oP wort and would have 10% solids although not all of them would be sucrose (in fact very little <1.5% would be).
We can relate SG and oP pretty well over the brewing range (error is less than the accuracy of your hydrometer) of from say SG 1.000 to 1.100 with the equation SG=(4*oP)/1000+1. so a 10oP wort would have an SG of 1.040.

Don't worry, you need to know this for both the yeast and alcohol questions. I'm getting there...

To apply the pitching rate calculation you need the OG of the wort you are pitching into so that's the wort less the gravity contributed by any sugar you are going to add later. Not having the details lets use the values from the Candi Syrup website OG is about 1.080, the gravity contributed by the Candi Sugar is pretty much 20% or about 1.016. the wort will have a gravity of 1.064.
The recommended pitching rate is given as 0.5-1.0M/mL/oP. for lighter beers you can pitch at the lower end, for higher gravity beers (say >1.090SG) very much at the higher end. Lets choose something around the 0.75M.
Plug all the data into the equation, 0.75M, 20,000mL and 16oP
0.75EXP6*20EXP3*16 = 240,000,000,000 or 2.4EXP11 yeast cells
A fresh smack pack of Wyeast claims 100 Billion cells or 1EXP11
Pretty clearly its either grow the population of 1 pack 2.4 times or use 2.4 packs (I would unless setup to do so buy 2 packs and pitch directly) Your choice!

Couple of other options are to:-
Make a starter and hope you get a 2.4X growth in population
Re-run the calculation for a lower pitch rate 1.064 isn't all that high a gravity pitching at 0.5-0.6M would be OK (more is better).
Do a smaller batch, calculate how much wort at gravity you can make just using 1 pack to pitch.
Do a smaller brew (be super clean) either lower OG (Belgian Pale) or smaller volume then use the yeast from that brew to pitch a bigger beer/batch.

Tempted to tell you that if you want to work in Ounces your on your own! lets call it 450g and is that sugar or syrup? That wont be enough for the recipe we are talking about
At this point in your brewing career I would be using just plane old household white sugar. If I were brewing a Triple for the state comp, then yes I would spend the extra or if we were talking about a Dubbel or Quad then again yes go the Dark or Extra dark Belgian Candi. Have used both Clear Candi and white sugar and yes there is a difference but its very small and to my mind not enough to spend the extra on, for an on tap at home white sugar will do. Spend what you save on yeast where it really will show.

Sugar Syrups, Honey and LME all tend to be around 80% solids, I takes that 20% water to keep them fluid.
If you want to do your alcohol calculations (back to Brewmaths time) there is a simple little equation that's very handy.
Mass Solids = Wort Volume*SG*oP
Even handier is "goal seek" in Excel under the Data tab > What-if Analysis > Goal Seek. We already have a relationship for SG and oP so its pretty easy to write a little equation to solve for wort solids
Using mine 20L of 1.064 wort will contain 3.405Kg of solids
To get the amount of Sugar do the same for the 1.016 the sugar is bringing or do it for the 1.080 target than take away the 3.405kg. comes to 915g (0.915kg) of sugar or 1.14kg of clear syrup.
I would be using 3.4kg (well 3.5kg really) of DME or ~4.25kg of LME or any combination of the two that gives me the same answer.
You can then when you get to an FG put what went in at the start (solids) plus the mass of any additions say 0.915kg, in effect giving the total solids (i.e. 3.5+0.915=4.415kg) gives an effective OG of 1.081
Alcohol is then pretty much the old Change in points / 7.5 from 1.081 to say 1.012 is 69 points or 9.2%ABV.

Experiment for sure! but its going to depend what you mean by experiment, that isn't just chucking in random bits and having a look. Work out a simple (not much simpler nor harder to brew) Triple that you can produce consistently, then make a change (just one) try some Munich or some Carahell, change the hops...
Keep notes, be critical of the flavour's. Make a bunch of changes all at once and you wont know what's causing the changes either for good or ill.

I'm assuming you have control over you fermentation temperature, if not get it. Full volume boiling will improve your beer. Think seriously about going all grain. These type of beers really reward having control over your mash parameters, even if its just to make sure your wort is fermentable enough to get you close to your target FG, Commercial Extract isn't designed with this in mind.
As little as doing smaller batches in a 19L pot and mash bag will be a step in the right direction.
Mark
 

philrob

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What Mark says. Amen
 

Cloud Surfer

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Ok Mark, I’m buying the beers when we catch up. That’s a fair effort you went to in replying.

I’m understanding the yeast pitching rate now and your explanation is great. I’m trying to learn so many different processes that I really don’t want to complicate things further for now by making yeast starters. Pitching dry yeast straight in has been great. So I’ll do the same with the liquid yeast using a couple of Wyeast packets.

It’s inevitable that I will move to AG brewing, but I’m enjoying learning the process with extract and some partial mash at the moment.

I only have basic temperature control which I know is bad. Longer term I would like a temperature controlled stainless fermentor. For now I’ll do the best with what I have.
 

Cloud Surfer

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Can someone please explain this to me. I’ve seen Triple recipes that say add Styrian Goldings at 60 minutes and Saaz at 15 minutes, and then others that say add Saaz at 60 minutes and Styrian Goldings at 15 minutes. More of them say Saaz first.

So, if the hop at the start adds bitterness and the one at the end adds aroma, which way should these two be added for a Triple?
 

MHB

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Purely a matter of personal taste!
Saaz tends to be delicate and a touch spicy, Styrian a bit herbatious and earthy. Would depend on on the beer, if you were aiming for a fuller bodied beer or you pitch fewer yeast leading to more esters the Styrian might cut through more. Personally I like the more delicate end of the triple range so Saaz would probably be my go to.

No rules no right/wrong, you asked about experimentation, that would be a good one, brew both Saaz first then last and see which you prefer. Several of the Triples are brewed with indigenous Belgian hops that never leave the country, so as often as not all other choices are just a best fit from what we can get.

I keep telling people "I have perfect taste - my tastes suit me perfectly" doesn't mean I have to impose them on others.
Mark
 

Cloud Surfer

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I thought you might say it was down to personal preference.

I found a Westmalle Triple recipe that has Saaz at 60 mins, Hallertau at 45 mins and Styrian Goldings at 20 mins. It looks very simple with only Pilsner malt and a bit of candy sugar. So I’ll brew that with some Wyeast 3787. I need to find that yeast. No one around here sells it.
 

MHB

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Try Brewman, he's your local home brew shop if your serious about making good beer.
Pretty sure he has all of what you will need for that recipe.
Mark
 

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