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2021 Batch 14 Corn Tripel

The American Homebrewer's Association web site lists a recipe for a "Corn Tripel" (a Belgian style Tripel Ale brewed with corn as part of the grist).  I decided to brew that beer today, tweaked a little for my system and preferences.

Ingredients

8.25 pounds Belgian Pilsen malt
1.25 pounds Flaked Corn (Maize)
10 ounces Clear Candi Sugar Rocks
0.25 ounces Hallertau Magnum hops 11.6%AA (FWH)
0.50 ounces Styrian Goldings hops 1.3% AA (30 min.)
0.50 ounces Hallertau Mittelfruh hops 3.8% AA (15 min.)
0.50 tsp. Irish Moss (15 min.)
0.50 tsp. Yeast Nutrient (15 min.)
0.125 tsp. Brewtan B (mash)
0.25 tsp. Brewtan B (boil, 20 min.)
1 package Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity


5 gallons RO water, treated with:
1 gram Calcium Chloride
1 gram Table Salt
0.5 grams Epsom Salt
3 grams Gypsum
1 gram Magnesium Chloride
1 ml. Lactic Acid 88% solution
Use 3.75 gallons for mash, 1.25 gallons for sparge

Note: If I was brewing this again, I'd do 3.75 gallons mash, 1.75 sparge, for 5.5 total gallons

According to Brewfather, the beer should have the following characteristics:

  • BJCP Style:  26.C Belgian-Style Tripel
  • Batch Size: 3.0 gallons estimated (actual ~2.6 gallons)
  • Original Gravity:  1.082 SG estimated (actual 1.098 SG)
  • Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.055 SG estimated (actual 1.067 SG)
  • Final Gravity: 1.011 SG estimated, 1.013 SG actual
  • IBUs: 27
  • ABV: 9.9% estimated, 12.2% actual
  • SRM: 4.9
  • BU/GU Ratio: 0.329
  • Brewhouse Efficiency:  59% estimated, 68% actual per Brewfather
Mash Schedule:

  • Load 3.25 gallons of water in The Grainfather and heat to 150F
  • While heating, add the water salts and Lactic Acid, plus Brewtan B
  • When at 150F, begin gradually adding malt and stirring in to ensure all is wet
  • When all malt is added, begin 45 minute mash countdown
  • At end of 45-minute mash window, heat to 168F
  • When at 168F, lift out the grain basket and sparge with room temp water (1.75 gal.)
  • Discard grain and rinse grain basket, add first wort hops
Boil Schedule:
  • 120 minutes:  No additions (FWH already in)
  • 30 minutes:  Add Styrian Goldings
  • 20 minutes:  Add Brewtan B
  • 15 minutes:  Add Irish Moss, Candi Sugar, Hallertau Mittelfruh
  • 0 minutes: Chill
Fermentation Plan:
  • From past experience, I know Wyeast 3787 is a "monster" of a fermenter, usually blowing through airlocks if given half a chance, so I'm planning a blow-off tube from the start. (Update:  as it turned out, volume was low enough that I decided to risk using just an airlock.)
  • Wyeast 3787 ferments in the 64-78F temperature range, is a medium flocculation strain, and attenuates in the 74-78% range.
  • I'm planning to start fermentation toward the low end (~70F) and raise it 1F each day until we're at the maximum end of the range (78F) and final gravity is reached.
Bottling plan will be to use thick Belgian-style bottles and 3 Brewer's Best carbonation tablets per bottle (which is "low" carbonation but I find it tends to carbonate a bit more for me than BB thinks it will, so I tend to under-prime things for that reason).

Post-Brew Notes and Observations

08/29/2021:  It became obvious after I looked at the milled grain that my mill needed to be re-gapped.  Most of the grain kernels were coming out almost totally intact, which isn't good.  I re-gapped it and ran the grain through a second time to ensure it was crushed properly.  It looked almost too fine then, so I added a good-sized handful of rice hulls to help with wort flow later on.

Re-gapping the mill and running the grain through a second time seemed to improve efficiency on this brew. Although I'd calculated needing 3.3 gallons of mash water, I ended up starting with 3.25 gallons and adding another 0.5 gallons to ensure the grain was adequately wet.

Wort came out of the chiller at around 85F, which was too warm for the 3787 yeast, so I strapped an ice pack to the side of the fermenter to help drop the temperature more quickly.  In about 90 minutes, the temp had dropped from 85F to 80F.  My goal was to get it down closer to 70F, the ambient basement temperature, so that I could pitch the yeast at midnight before I went to bed.

08/30/2021:  At 9:30am, I saw possible indications that there was activity from the yeast.  There were minor fluctuations in temperature and gravity picked up by the Tilt Hydrometer that sometimes indicate that the yeast is alive and active.  Looking at the fermenter itself (clear plastic) from outside, there were no obvious indications that yeast was active. No krausen, no airlock bubbling, no obvious bubbles rising up the side of the wort.  I'm hoping this does not turn out to be another case like my last batch, where the yeast died in transit from the homebrew shop. We'll see...

08/31/2021:  After seeing no apparent activity from the 3787 yeast, I pitched most of a package of Mangrove Jack's Belgian Tripel Yeast M31 yesterday evening.  Around 2am fermentation seemed to kick off.  Gravity is down to 1.070 SG.  The temperature reached 74F, at which point I strapped an ice pack to the fermenter to prevent it getting too hot and generating fusels or other off-flavors.  In under an hour, the temp was down to 72F but the gravity continued to drop steadily.

09/11/2021:  The beer (both fermenters) was bottled today.  Bottles received 3 Brewer's Best Carbonation Tablets each.  This is "low" carbonation but in my experience is probably enough.

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