I’ve been homebrewing for several years including a few years in the middle when I was on some kind of hiatus…but now that I have started upo again in this summer/fall I have been wanting to try a few styles that are somewhat more adventurous for me.
Historically Ive done a lot of Hefeweizens, Pales, IPAs and a few Stouts and Porters. A few years ago when hops got real expensive, that was party what got me out of it since most of what I made required quite a bit of them. When I spec’d out an IPA recipe that was going to cost me as much for hops as it did for malt and yeast, my enthusiasm waned a bit.
Now, hops aren’t that much cheaper but I have gotten interested in a few other styles that are not hoppy, or also quite low gravity. The Berliner-Weisse I made last month, probably the least expensive 5G batch I’ve ever done, the Belgian that I am working on currently has a pretty big grain bill but hardly any spendy hops, and even the Dopplebock I did last month was kind of the same way.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good IPA, and I may get around to one of those before long, but these times have forced me into looking at styles that before now seemed a bit too risky or complicated.
This next one will be a Belgian Tripel. A lot of advice I found online stressed a very simple grain bill. Pilsener mostly, and little Munich and Cara-Vienne for color, character and body. This will be the first time I’ve used sugar, and I’ll go with the traditional Belgian Candy sugar. That will make up about %10 of the fermentation.
It took me a long time to come around to Belgian beers in general, which might seem a bit strange since that seems to be where most beer nerds go eventually. Either that or they become hop-heads. I am more the later but my appreciation for the beers of the lowlands has gained some traction lately. Maybe it was the Operation Market Garden episode of Band of Brothers that I recently re-watched that did it… OK, fine, that was the Netherlands technically but Antwerp is only about 70 miles from Eindhoven.
14# Pilsener and a pound each of Light Munich, Cara-Vienne, and Wheat plus 2# of light candi sugar I’ll add to the boil. Miscalculated my strike temp and had to add more hot water to the mash trying to get up to 150F. A 1 qt starter of WLP500 which supposedly is the same strain that is used at Chimay for their Grand Reserve (Blue) Of the Belgian strains, this one has a little more of that fruity ester notes and less of the spicy peppery character.
I pitched the starter at ab 72F and let it do it’s thing and figured it would free-rise a few more degrees. Which it did. At full roiling activity it was at about 74. A little warm, but that’s OK. Also, the color is quite a bit darker than I was hoping for. It was nearly a 90 minute boil so that may have added a little color via some caramelization from being “cooked” so long.
Still, interested to see how this turns out. Looking forward to something a bit different from my brewhouse. On to Berlin !