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Bottling Belgian Tripel

I brewed the extract version of the BT kit about 3 weeks ago. It has been racked to the secondary, fermentation seems to be progressing as expected.

While bottling day is months away, I have a couple questions; any advice on the type of yeast to add to the bottling bucket along w/ the priming sugar and how much for a 5 gallon batch? The NB directions make no mention of adding a yeast “booster” when going to bottle. Thought it seems like many folks

Secondly I am curious about getting the beer in the bottle. Is it absolutely necessary to bottle to 750ml “Belgian” style bottles.

I just bought a bench capper (which i broke straight away, but thats another story) and am not terribly interested in buying a corker, of which it seems like the floor corker would be the way to go, as i typically have to do these tasks solo. Is it possible to bottle with normal bottles? Or will the pressure generated be too much, and I should bite the floor corker bullet and bottle to the heavier bottles?
Is it possible to use “ez-cap” bottles instead?

any advice for this novice brewer will be greatly appreciated.

I bottled my tripel after only 4 weeks in the primary. Did not do secondary. I did not use any yeast to boost during bottling. I also used regular table sugar as primer, then bottled in my 12 oz bottles. All went well it has a nice head on it. My buddies told me that the Chimay might be a little hoppyer then this one but they all enjoyed it. So I think your safe to do what you want any time. I was opened my test bottle after only a week in bottles, decent carbination after only a week and it got better as the weeks went by. I need to set some aside for longer aging as everyone tends to agree the tripel gets even better with aging. So I think if your FG is stable bottle it you won’t be dispaaointed. I also think it got a little hoppyer after bottling as well.

Since it’s a high gravity beer and you’re doing an extended secondary, I’d say bottling yeast is a good idea. I use 1/4 pkg of Safbrew T-58 yeast per five gallons. Just sprinkle into the bottling bucket while you rack. T-58 flocculates out well and sticks to the bottom of the bottles.

As for your question about what kind of bottles to use, well, if you’re just going to add the “regular” amount of priming sugar (5 ozs sugar per five gallons of beer) then any bottles will be fine. However, if you want to use a lot more sugar than that to achieve higher carbonation levels (3.5 volumes) like traditional Belgian Tripels have, well, technically the standard 12 oz bottles aren’t rated to withstand pressures that high. I’ve done it a lot, but I have had a few exploding bottles as a result. Not many, but a few. I’m in the process of collecting a bunch of the Belgian 11.2oz bottles to use in the future. These are much stronger. Also there are a few brewers who sell 750ml bottles that can still take a regular size beer bottlecap: Dogfish Head, Jolly Pumpkin, Captain Lawrence, and Cigar City are the ones I’ve been collecting.

I think your E-Z cap bottles will be fine, they generally seem to have thicker glass and might even be better than the regular 12oz bottles.

Thanks Geocool,
your reply is very helpful. I would like to keep my BT as close to style as possible, are there any calculations or a rule of thumb for determining the level carbonation or hitting a target carbonation?
thanks again.

There are many priming calculators around like this one:

Note that their suggested target for a number of Belgian styles seems wrong to me. 1.9-2.4 volumes for a Tripel? I think 3.5 is more like it, but, again, be careful about the strength of your bottles. Do some research online (or read “Brew Like a Monk” by Stan Hieronymus) and pick a target carbonation level, then use the calculator to tell you how much sugar you’ll need.

I read here years ago that Sierra Nevada bottles are stronger than regular long necks. I can’t say for sure if that’s true, but I have used them exclusively for my highly carbonated Belgians since. To date, I haven’t had a bottle fail. I do store them in large garbage bags just in case though.

I like the sound of being able to use Sierra Nevada bottles, as I have at least 4 cases waiting in the wings! I think what I will do is take this opportunity to bottle to 3 different types and see which works best for my process. I’ll try the SN bottles, I’ll try using some swing-top bottles, probably in the 650-750ml size. Lastly I’ll use the large Dog Fish Head bottles. Thanks to all for their useful advice. I’ll probably post back to this thread w/ my results.

I was just thinking about the type and amount of bottling yeast @geocool mentioned, and I wonder if any brewers out there have any thoughts and / or experience with collecting the dregs from a bottle conditioned belgian, building it up and using that as bottling yeast instead of using a dried yeast. Seems like it could produce some interesting results…

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