Sunday, March 3, 2019

Tripel Karmeliet Clone 5.0

I'm a big fan of the Tripel Karmeliet Belgian Tripel. I've wanted to brew something similar since I started home brewing. My last couple of attempts have gotten close, but have lacked the bright lemony flavor and aroma I get from the real beer. Last time around I had a touch of that flavor.

This time I'm making some changes to dial it up a notch. I'm adding more corn sugar to dry it out somewhat, doubling the amount of lemon peel in the boil, shifting the hop load closer to the end of the boil to pick up more of Hallertau Mittelfruh's citrus notes, and even including a bit of citric acid in the boil. I'm hoping that the addition of acid will brighten up the hop flavor, and the slight drying out will make the citrus clearer.

Ingredients

6 pounds Swaen Pilsner Malt
1 pound Swaen Wheat Malt
8 ounces Flaked Oats
12 ounces of Corn Sugar added to the mash water
6 handfuls of rice hulls added to help the mash flow
0.50 ounces Hallertau Mittelfruh @ 2.7% AA (60 min.)
0.80 ounces Hallertau Mittelfruh @ 2.7% AA (10 min.)
1/4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient in the boil (10 min.)
1/4 tsp. Citric Acid in the boil (10 min.)
1 ounce Lemon Peel (9 min.)
1.00 ounces Hallertau Mittelfruh @ 2.7% AA (5 min.)
1/4 tsp. Brewtan B in the boil (10 min.)
1.5 tsp. pH 5.2 Stabilizer in the mash
1/8 tsp. Brewtan B in the mash
2.6 gallons mash water
1.8 gallons sparge water

According to BeerSmith 3, the beer should have these characteristics:

  • BJCP Category: 26.C Belgian Tripel
  • Batch Size: 2.5 gallons (3.5 actual)
  • Original Gravity: 1.081 SG (1.063 actual)
  • Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.056 SG (1.055 SG 12 min. into the boil)
  • Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
  • IBUs: 21.7
  • SRM: 4.7
The mash schedule:
  • 10 minute Ferulic Acid Rest at 113F
  • 30 minute Beta Glucan Rest at 120F
  • 25 minute Mash Step 1 at 142F
  • 60 minute Mash Step 2 at 158F
  • 15 minute Sparge at 168F
The boil schedule:
  • 90 minutes: No additions
  • 60 minutes: Hallertau Mittelfruh addition
  • 10 minutes: Hallertau Mittelfruh, yeast nutrient, Brewtan B
  • 9 minutes: Lemon peel and citric acid
  • 5 minutes: Hallertau Mittelfruh
Following the boil, the Brewie has been instructed to chill the wort down to 67F. The White Labs WLP720 yeast has an optimal range of 70-75F. My fermentation plan is to use a heat wrap to keep it at 69F or above until primary fermentation is complete, but no cooling.

Post-Brew Notes and Observations

03/03/2019:  The mash went off fine. Early in the 90-minute boil, I checked the gravity. It registered 1.055 SG using a refractometer. It should have registered 1.056 before the boil, so that concerned me. I opened the lid on the Brewie to increase the boil-off and help further reduce the gravity.

Original gravity came up as 1.063 SG after the boil, and volume came up as just under 3.5 gallons. Last time around, with the same recipe and slightly less water, I got 2.25 gallons. This time with 0.2 gallons more sparge water specified in the control panel, I ended up with over a gallon more wort.

Frustrated, I decided to use this as another opportunity to experiment with using a different yeast to ferment the same wort. I pitched Mangrove Jack's Tripel ale yeast into the 0.75 gallon batch and the full packet of White Labs WLP720 Sweet Mead Yeast into the other. It will be interesting to see how these two variations of the recipe differ.

I reached out to the tech support folks for the Brewie+ because this "overshooting" of the final volume is becoming an unpleasant trend. They tell me the official smallest batch size for the Brewie+ is 2.6 gallons. They asked me to run a test and report the results, which I've done. If I understand what they've told me (and I may not have), the system loaded 5.3 gallons of water for a recipe that specified only 4.22 gallons. That would mean it loaded about 1.1 gallons more than it should have. That would be just about on target with the results I had tonight (3.5-ish gallons when 2.5 gallons were expected).

03/05/2019:  The gravity has dropped from the initial 1.063 SG to 1.035 SG today. Brewers Friend reports that this is 43% attenuation and 3.68% ABV, with active fermentation still going on. The low ambient basement temperature has kept the beer well below the yeast's optimum 70-75F range. It's currently reading 66F. When the beer is at least 66% attenuated, I'll apply a heat wrap and try to keep the temp closer to 75F until fermentation finishes.  I didn't put a Tilt Hydrometer in the smaller batch so I don't know how it's doing, but I suspect it's probably much more attenuated since it's a smaller amount of wort with a lot more yeast cells to start with.

03/06/2019: The gravity is now reading 1.019 SG, which is around 68% attenuation. I placed the fermenter in an insulated bag and configured a temperature controller to keep the fermenter at 75F until fermentation finishes. Until I had done that, the beer's temperature had not exceeded 68F.

03/16/2019: The beer has been in bottles since last weekend, but a test bottle that was chilled and poured showed virtually no carbonation. This has been a recurring problem with this recipe.

03/24/2019:  Another bottle was placed in the fridge to chill. The portion of the wort fermented with the Mangrove Jack Tripel yeast was bottled today. It had a very fruity, somewhat banana-forward, aroma. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. Final gravity on that batch read 6.9 Brix or an estimated 1.005 SG according to BeerSmith 3. That would put the beer at 7.65% ABV.

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