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Adding more sugar to a 3-day old Tripel?

Tomorrow I’ll be brewing 5 gallons of Tripel from extract & grain with a target O.G. of 1.070. In my internet reading of various recipes and methods, a couple of times I have come across those that recommend adding a charge of sugar to the Tripel after it has been fermenting for 3-4 days. However none of those sources said why, so I’m left with a few questions…

1.)What does this late dose of sugar add to the character of the beer?

2.)I’m assuming that the sugar addition would be table or candi sugar boiled in water, cooled to a yeast-friendly temp and then dosed into the carboy - is this correct? If so, what would a recommended sugar-to-water ratio be for 5 gallons?

Thanks much everyone, cheers!

-Hisham

Sugar won’t add anything, other than alcohol and a thinner body (as compared to an equivelent gravity of all-grain beer). The theory of adding it later is that the yeast will first eat the grain sugars, then the sugars later. The theory goes that if you do it the other way around, the yeast could get lazy, eat the sugar first, and then not eat the grains. I’m not sure that the theory holds up at normal beer gravities, but on the other hand it doesn’t hurt to do it this way.

As for procedure, I personally don’t think it matters. I usually boil and add, but other times I’ve just dumped table sugar straight in the fermenter.

This is really just making more work for yourself. Sometimes brewers add the sugar to the fermenter when brewing very high gravity beers, on the edge of what yeast can handle. However, if you use Wyeast 3787 or White Labs WLP530 (both reputedly descended from Westmalle), or most almost any Belgian yeast strain, it will ferment a 1.070 triple without breaking a sweat. (Make a good-sized yeast starter, though, and add a pinch of yeast nutrients to your wort.)

Chris Colby
Editor

Thanks Chris and sl8we for your advice. The Tripel’s O.G. ended up being 1.062, a bit lower than expected. I pitched two packets of WYEAST 1214, as I had two prepared, at 65 F degrees.

From both of your comments, it sounds like the later sugar addition is either a matter of preference or yeast survival in a high O.G. beer. I assume at my Tripel’s O.G. / pitch rate, the later sugar addition is truly not needed? Or in the case of a lower than expected O.G. would it maybe work to add the late sugar so as to boost the gravity?
Cheers,

Hisham

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