The Belgian Tripel is a strong, pale, spicy Belgian ale with a soft, slightly grainy-sweet malt character, medium to high bitterness, and dry finish. The style guidelines are below.
- Original Gravity: 1.075 – 1.085
- Final Gravity: 1.008 – 1.014
- Alcohol by Volume: 7.5% – 9.5%
- Bitterness: 20 – 40 IBU
- Color (SRM): 4.5 – 7
Belgian Tripel Ingredients
The Belgian Tripel, like the single, has a straightforward grain bill. Use a high-quality pilsner malt as the base. I use floor-malted pilsner malt. You can stop there and have the pilsner malt make up 100% of the grain bill – there are many delicious Belgian Tripels made this way. If you would like a little more complexity, consider adding 3% – 5% of aromatic, Munich, or victory malt to help round out the malt flavor. I wouldn’t use any crystal malts because you don’t want to add any sweetness to the beer.
The Belgian Tripel has a medium to high bitterness, so I would add around 25-30 IBUs worth of a bittering hop at 60 minutes. I would use Tettnang, Styrian Goldings, or Mt Hood. I would also add an ounce of Saaz with 5 minutes left in the boil. In addition to the hops, you will want to add either light candi sugar or cane sugar. This will boost the ABV while producing a light, crisp taste.
For the Belgian Tripel, the following are good choices.
- Belgian Abbey Style Ale – 1214 (Wyeast)
- Belgian Ardennes – 3522 (Wyeast)
- Belgian Strong Ale – 1388 (Wyeast)
- Belgian Ale Yeast – WLP550 (White Labs)
Last but not least, the water. I use a reverse osmosis filtration system for all beers I brew and build up my water profile from scratch. My water profile looked like this:
- Calcium: 50 ppm
- Sodium: 5 ppm
- Sulfates: 105 ppm
- Chloride: 45 ppm
The following is a 5-gallon version of a Belgian Tripel. The numbers for this beer are listed below.
- Original Gravity: 1.077
- Final Gravity: 1.008 – 1.014
- Alcohol by Volume: 8.5%
- Bitterness: 32.4 IBU
- Color (SRM): 5.4
- Floor-Malted Pilsner – 12 lbs (87.3%)
- Aromatic Malt – 8 oz (3.6%)
- 2.4 oz of Tettnang at 60 minutes (30.3 IBU)
- 1 lb 4 oz candi sugar or cane sugar at 60 minutes
- 1 oz of Saaz at 5 minutes (2.1 IBU)
Belgian Ardennes – 3522 (Wyeast)
Add your salts and pH adjustment, if needed, and fill your mash tun to the required volume and temperature for your mash to drop to 148 degrees Fahrenheit. We mash at 148 degrees for 75 minutes to ensure the maximum amount of fermentable sugars for that dry finish. For me, the strike water was 3.9 gallons at 159 degrees Fahrenheit. After 75 minutes, raise your mash temperature to 168 degrees for mash out. After mashing out, begin to sparge until you reach a pre-boil gravity of around 1.068. For me, it was 4.37 gallons.
Boil the wort for 90 minutes and add the hops and the sugar at 60 minutes. At 10 minutes, I added a yeast nutrient, and at 5 minutes I added the hops and whirlfloc tablets as my clarifying agent. Once the boil is complete, whirlpool the wort for 10 minutes and let it wind down for 10 minutes.
Knock the wort out in your heat exchanger so that the pitching temperature is 64 degrees and measure the gravity/pitch the yeast. Initial gravity should be around 1.077. I let this free rise to 67 degrees as fermentation starts. Hold the temperature at 67 degrees for 5-7 days until the primary fermentation starts to slow down, and then let the temperature free-rise up to 72 degrees. Hold it here for a day or two to make sure fermentation finishes. Once fermentation is complete, cold crash to 33 degrees, hold it for at least a day, and then transfer to the brite tank to carbonate it to 2.8 vols. After 3 days in the brite tank, keg it, and enjoy!
If you decide to try this recipe, or another Belgian Tripel recipe, feel free to send us a comment and let us know how it went! And if you want to see more recipes like this, sign up for our newsletter below to be notified when a new post is released. Cheers!