Aug 22, 2013

Brewday: Aramis hopped Tripel

It's been a while! I've been brewing a bit in the last 10 months but I've also had some problems with my CFS which has made it impossible to type let alone brew for long stretches. I'm on the mend though and today was my first solo brew in a while. Hopefully this will be the first of many more posts.

Today I'm brewing my first Tripel. It's not a style that did much for me but two great examples of the style changed that: Moa's St. Joseph's Tripel and Westmalle Tripel.

The Moa was one of the first Belgian style beers I ever tried and that first time I was not even close to being prepared for it. I bought it on my own and didn't have anyone around to tell me what they were all about. It was big, it was crazily aromatic, all clove and fruit and sweet malt. That first 375ml bottle took me a couple of hours to drink and by the end of it I was still in shock. That was in 2008, 4 years later it was on tap at a Hobart pub and by that time I had acquired the taste for Belgian beers. It was a special experience.

I'd had Westmalle Tripel before as well. As with other Belgian beers I've had it was nice but didn't impress me as much as those highly regarded are supposed to. However, that bottle had been in a container on a ship for however long it takes to get from Belgium or the UK or wherever it was imported to Australia from. Beer suffers in those conditions. Last year I managed to buy some and have it sent here by air. My brother insisted we include some, he'd been to Belgium and had it there so he knew what time it was, I'm glad he did. So fresh. So good.

So this Tripel has lots to live up to. In terms of ingredients it's a straightforward beer, it's in the quality of those ingredients and the yeast.  I'm using 2 pilsner malts in the hope that it'll add to the complexity of the malt flavour, a little wheat malt and some sugar to top it off. The yeast is WLP530, the Westmalle strain, and I'm hoping to get some of the magic out of it that they do. I'll start off at 18C and turn up the temperature to 22C over a week.

18.5L batch (The max I can manage doing BIAB in my 40L urn)
OG: 1.079
FG: 1.010
ABV: 9.3%
IBU: 31
Colour: 6.8 EBC

42% Belgian Pilsner
42% German Pilsner
8% German Wheat Malt
8% Sugar

27g Aramis @ 90 min
20g Aramis @ 15 min

Stepped mash of 62/68/72/78C for 30/30/15/10 minutes

I've got a hefty starter of WLP530 ready to go.

Edit: First taste on 10/09/13 - dry finish, good level of bitterness, beautiful pilsner malt sweetness and dough flavour along with spiciness. Aroma of honey, floral, sweet malt. A little sense of warming alcohol but not in the flavour or aroma. 9.4% abv.

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