I was thinking about brewing a Belgin Triple and started looking at the recipe and it called for 2 months in the secondary.
What is the reason for the extra long time, normally it is 1 to 2 weeks.
I’ve never brewed a Belgian but my guess is as it should finish above 8%, the extended secondary is to allow the flavors to blend together and let the yeast finish cleaning up completely. Typically with higher alcohol content beers, they can be fairly harsh if you drink them young but with time, the flavors tend to blend very nicely. Someone with more experience with Belgians may be able to speak more intelligently on the topic.
I would bottle or keg 'er as soon as she’s finished, and age in the bottles or kegs. With strong beers like tripel, the flavors often/usually mellow and improve with age, but there’s no reason to keep it in a bucket or carboy that long – just get it packaged and then maybe sample one per week until it tastes great. My experience would agree that 2 months seems to be a magical point for anything around the 7-ish% ABV range.
The last Tripel I brewed, NB’s Velvet Rooster, was in the primary for 38 days, then bottled.
All of this information is great…thanks for the input
One thing to remember is that bottle conditioning can take awhile with higher ABV beers.
In my experience, it’s all about how well you manage the fermentation. Proper yeast pitch rate, fermentation temperatures, oxygenation levels, etc. all have an effect on how quickly it will be ready to drink. If you don’t control the fermentation well, you will need to let it set considerably longer for some of the by-products of unhappy yeast to either be metabolized or volatilize. If you can keep the yeast in their happy place, as soon as terminal gravity has been reached and the yeast have fallen out of suspension, it’s ready to package and drink.
The problem is that it can be MUCH more difficult to keep everything under control in a higher-gravity beer, so the likelihood of it having to sit in secondary for some of the off flavors to fade is much higher. Also, some of the darker malts can have some harshness to them when the beer is young due to tannins and what not, but these will also fall out of suspension as the beer sits. Not the case in a tripel, but still…
I did a DIPA recently, 10%ABV, where fermentation was done after 10 days, I dry hopped it for 4 days, bottled it on day 14, and was drinking it fully carbonated at 21 days. And it was friggin’ yum!