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Chimay Tripel -- a little help, please

Thanks to all who helped me with clone recipe formulation on an earlier post. Now for a challenging example. I’ve found a LOT of variation in clone recipes for Chimay tripel, so surfing the net wasn’t very helpful. I want to use Wyeast 1214 (WL 500) and I’ll be bottle conditioning. Can I get some help with the grain bill (all grain) and hops?

This beer is my goal beer, so having just 20 batches under my belt, I felt it was time to take this one on and maybe by my 100th batch I’ll have a pretty close recipe.

Thanks!

Am I correct in assuming you’re talking about the one with the white label?

I believe so, although, technically, the label appears to me to be yellow, but I think tradition is to call it white because of the white cap(?) If I’m not confused, I think it’s also called “Cinq Cents”. “Nectar of the gods” seems appropriate to me.

If I even come close to this one, I’ll be elated.

By the way, Denny, thanks for your website and discussion on BeerSmith about batch sparging – I’ve been getting close to 80% efficiency and I’m only 6 batches into all grain. To me, it’s lots more fun than extract & partial mash brewing plus I swear the beers are tasting so much better. It’s liberating despite the fact that at one time I swore I’d never go to all grain!

Here’s a short and sweet swag that might give you a rough idea:

70% pilsner malt
15% amber Belgian candi syrup
15% crystal 20
any noble hops for bittering only
no flavor or aroma hop additions (why waste good hops?)

Shoot for about OG=1.075 and 25 IBUs. Mash at 148 F for 1 hour. Boil for 90 minutes. Add the candi syrup either in the last 10 minutes of the boil, or in the last quarter of primary fermentation – your option. Pitch and begin fermentation at 68 F, then after the first couple days bring it up into the mid-70s.

That should get you in the right ballpark.

If you are (or anyone is) still doing extract, the basic recipe looks just a little different:

85% pilsner malt extract
15% amber Belgian candi syrup
skip the Crystal 20, or maybe just use 5% and cut back on pilsner by same if desired

The rest is the same except you don’t need to boil longer than ~30 minutes.

:cheers:

I’m not real sure that amber syrup is the way to go, Dave. I’mthinking plain sugar might be better here. I also think the IBUs are a little higher. I think this is in BLAM, so I’ll check it out.

You may be right. I just wanted to give the beer a little something in the ways of flavor contribution, besides just simple white sugar. You might be right. Or perhaps split between the two, 50/50.

I think 25 IBUs is plenty for this style. I wouldn’t go above 30.

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]You may be right. I just wanted to give the beer a little something in the ways of flavor contribution, besides just simple white sugar. You might be right. Or perhaps split between the two, 50/50.

I think 25 IBUs is plenty for this style. I wouldn’t go above 30.[/quote]

Cinq Cents is a pretty hoppy beer. The first time I had it I was really surpised. In general, tripels seem to be hoppier than a lot of people think of them. Westmalle tripel is at least 30 IBU. I realize what you were trying to do with the amber syrup, but that kinda makes it into a different beer than the OP was asking about. I’ll post again after I look at BLAM.

First – what do I know as a beginner? But I looked up the bitterness ratio on “Mad Alchemist” and found a Belgian Tripel to be 0.375, so I suppose at 25 IBUs and an OG of 1.075, it may lack a bit for IBUs. 30 brings the BR to 0.40, so I suppose somewhere between those two.

  1. I was surprised as well that I liked the Chimay Tripel since I’m not too big on hops. But I’m starting to realize I like them more than I thought as I begin to better understand and appreciate their taste contributions.

  2. You both seemed to go along with WY1214, correct?

OK, BLAM says it’s 1.069 OG, with an apparent attenuation of 89%, fior a 8.2% ABV. 35 IBU, which is the same as Sierra Nevada plae ale! I’d use about 20% table sugar and the rest of the gravity from pils malt. Mash at 148 for 90 min. WY1214, but start the fermentation at about 62F to avoid excessive fruiitiness. After about 3-5 days, let the temp start rising to finish it off. Plan on 2 weeks at least, maybe 3, in primary.

Denny, you are the man. Thanks for looking that up.

Ha ha… I just looked at my tasting notes for Chimay White, and I say and I quote, “too bitter”. Ha ha. It really is more bitter than most tripels, so in the end, do whatever you like – make a bitter clone, or soften it up a bit to nail the tripel style a little better – your option.

Yeah, WLP500 or 1214 will be great for this.

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]Denny, you are the man. Thanks for looking that up.

Ha ha… I just looked at my tasting notes for Chimay White, and I say and I quote, “too bitter”. Ha ha. It really is more bitter than most tripels, so in the end, do whatever you like – make a bitter clone, or soften it up a bit to nail the tripel style a little better – your option.[/quote]

Actually, both Chimay and Westmalle (THE tripel, IMO) are about the same IBU. I think it’s the less bitter examples that are the outliers.

And for the original poster, I have a nifty idea for you. Since you of course want to pitch enough yeast (and you do, right?) one way to get enough to do the job is to make a small beer first then use the yeast from that beer to do the Triple. Abby table beer (or Pater’s bier I think they call it) is good stuff and easy to make plus you can drink it while waiting for the Triple to be ready. Pils malt, I used a bit of bisquet malt and maybe just a little simple sugar to dry it out is all you need. The yeast will make it interesting. A couple of years ago I wanted to make a Triple for a big contest here. I first made the table beer then the Triple. Well the Triple didn’t do anything in the contest but the small beer got me a second place metal, go figure? :cheers:

Michael Jackson suggests the O.G. is 1.071. He says the bittering hops are American and suggests they used Galena for several years. The finishing hops are German. He also suggests the water is soft, low in minerals, and slightly acidic. I don’t know where I heard this, but my understanding is that Chimay uses hop extracts instead of whole or pellet hops.

I would definitely use 80-90% pils malt and the rest white sugar. I am not a fan of Galena so I would choose some kind of neutral bittering hop like perle or Magnum. Hallertau or Saaz will add a nice finish although I like Styrian Goldings for my own tripels and blonds. I am a Westmalle fan though so I like a bit more hop character. Follow the fermentation schedules in Brew Like a Monk. That is a great book to have if you like Belgians and want to brew them.

Brewing a blond first to build yeast is definitely the way to go. I make an all malt blond to 1.045-53. It usually finishes out at 1.006 with Westmalle yeast. You could research the Doree recipe which is Chimay’s single. I think it is a dark, low gravity beer (1.045, 4.8% ABV), but the yeast from primary will not make your beer too dark. Belgianshop.com had the 2010 version of this beer on sale for a few months. It was a 2010 bottle so I did not buy any because I figured it was oxidized, but you can see a picture of the bottle and the color of the beer in a glass.

Call me slow – I just realized what posters were talking about when they mentioned “BLAM”. It’s taking me a while to realize some of the points of the book, “Brew Like a Monk”, but the section on Chimay was one that I should have read before posting my question. It states what you mentioned about bittering hops from Yakima Valley/German Hallertau for flavor, fermentation temp starting at 68F and allowed to rise to as much as 93F, an OG of 1.069, ABV of 8.2%, and IBU of 35. (It also says that the original recipe incorporated hop extracts.) It also goes on to describe some controversy about use of wheat FLOUR for head retention (I’ve not run across that before!) and that sugars are less than 5% of fermentables. Any comments on the use of six versus two-row barley for homebrewing this? BLAM suggests there may be an advantage to using the six row (winter!?) from Belgium.

I’m glad to hear that I’m on the same wave-length regarding making a lower OG beer first to develop a high number of yeast for the tripel. I’ve done this for several high OG beers and most recently for a batch of Belgian Dark Strong, using yeast (WY1762) from a relatively low OG Dubbel and WOW, both taste great so far. (Dubble recipe based on the one from BLAM and DS from Brewing Classic Styles.)

Now, one last question. To get yeast for the Chimay Tripel clone, I had intended to use WY1214 (WL500). Would that work for a Belgian Blond – I’m concerned that it might produce too much yeast character. One of you mentioned Westmalle yeast (showing my ignorance here – is that WY1762 or some other strain?). Would that work well in the Chimay Tripel clone recipe? What kind of fermentation temperatures would you suggest?

Thanks again for all the help on this recipe!!

[quote=“Antwerp”] One of you mentioned Westmalle yeast (showing my ignorance here – is that WY1762 or some other strain?).[/quote]Westmalle = WLP530 or WY3787. A handy yeast cross-reference here:
http://www.mrmalty.com/yeast.htm
For my tastes, 3787 is a great choice for Blondes and Tripels, especially if you go a little heavier on the hops and keep the fermentation on the cooler side (pitch at around 64F and raise to maybe 70F after a week or so).

I think the Chimay yeast would be fine for a low gravity single. I did some more research on the Doree single. They are selling Doree Gold in Fullers pubs in England. It is a low gravity, pale beer made at Chimay. I found this out by doing a simple google/yahoo search. I would not worry about using 6 row. You could use a portion of 6 row if it is available to you, but I would just stick with the brewing procedures you are used to. You could also add 5-10% wheat.

One other thing about doing a Single is that nobody knows all that much about them which means you can do whatever the hell you want when making one for yourself. I think I used WLP550 when I made the one that worked out so well for me. The thing I remember about that beer was the yeast dervived flavors. I personally think that WLP500 if pretty fruity and it can throw some serious bananna which would be a flaw in a contest but if you don’t let it get too warm you should be ok. In fact, I would say the main difference between a Single and a Belgian Pale Ale is that the Single is going to be much fruiter so in a nutshell; WLP500 should work for you. When I made my last batch my goal was to get some nice Belgian esters and dry the heck out of the beer but that’s just my take on the style and I ain’t no monk so take all that for what it’s worth. :smiley:

WY1762 is Rochefort yeast.

I finally got to reread the Chimay section of BLAM and it says the Doree ale uses some coriander and bitter orange. You would not need to use those, I am just trying to be thorough. I have only used the WLP 500 once, and I did not get any banana. I thought the 530 was the one that could produce a lot of banana, but I have used that yeast many times and never had that problem. WLP 550 is also a nice yeast for a blond/tripel. It is less spicy than 530. I think it makes a beer that tastes great with less aging and does not mature as well. WLP 530 takes longer to mature, but it stays complex and interesting for a long time.

WLP 515 is the best yeast for Belgian Pale Ale. IMO BPA is a toasty, malty, refreshing beer. The malt profile is more like a German alt, but with only about 25 IBU and a dry, crisp finish like a lager. I call a pale ale that has that typical spicy, fruity Belgian character a Blond ale. I know there are many that will disagree with me, but the two have a completely different flavor profile if you taste the commercial examples fresh. The De Koninck that I buy in the U.S. is phenolic, and it is nasty. The Special Palm is better, but it usually way past its prime.

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