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Overpitched Tripel - Explosive fermenting

Following up on the Tripel brew I was working on.

First made a Patersbier (a Belgian single) as a starter. After 2 weeks transferred the beer to secondary and then made the worth for the Tripel with these ingredients:
4 lb Dry Malt Extract - Pilsen
6 lb Liquid Malt Extract - Pilsen
1 lb Belgian Candi Sugar - Clear/Blond 38 (I know same as regular sugar, but I still had it).
1 oz Perle Pellet, Boil 60 min
1 oz Saaz Pellet, Boil 30 min

After cooling down to 70F I added more cold water to make 5gal, and pitched it on top of the yeast cake of the Patersbier. I use a fermentor bucket from NB.

Placed it in the basement, where it is around 65F.

3 hours later a loud bang, and yes the lid was half open :frowning: and yeast everywhere…
I have improvised some sort of a blow off tube, closed the lid and let it ferment for another 5 days. The amount of CO2 was staggering.

I just replaced the lid (it was messy) and placed an airlock on again. When cleaning up I could not help but notice a very very yeasty smell - it was not very pleasant. Is this normal? Have I over-pitched (probably) but has this a bad influence on the taste of the beer?

thanks,
Pete

When you’re using re-pitched yeast from a previous batch,you can fully expect a very vigorous fermentation process to start very quickly,especially when you’re fermenting a wort with a high content of simple sugars.I’ve never personally experienced a fermentation vigorous enough to blow a lid off,but I’ve heard plenty of stories of that exact thing happening.I remember one time about 10 years ago when I reused yeast from one batch to the next within a few hours of bottling one batch,the fermentation was so strong that I could see in the glass carboy that the wort looked like it was literally boiling!In your case, I guess you should plan on using a blowoff tube in the future and make sure your carboy has plenty of headroom.

Are you using WY3787? That’s a great yeast, but as you’re finding out, it goes nuts. A true beast of a yeast :smiley:

Like you, I’ve gone the Patersbier/Tripel route and it’s a great way to go. Neat to have two beers with essentially the same ingredients, just a huge gravity difference.

Yep, using WY3787. Looking forward to the result. The patersbier is amazing and I have adjusted the Tripel to be more authentic based on feedback here on the forum and researching recipes from the book (Brew like a monk). I used to live in the Netherlands and have always enjoyed the Belgian beers a lot.

Just worried about the very yeasty smell I am getting, I hope that I did not overpitch to the extend that it is causing negative effects like autolysis.

1/3 to 1/2 of the cake is usually plenty.

You have a good plan by brewing a small beer, and then brewing a strong beer. I always split the tripel or strong dark into two carboys when I use WY3787 or WL 530. The problem now is, how much yeast blew out the top? If you lost a lot of yeast, your tripel may not fully ferment. Make sure you take a final gravity reading. Anything above 1.018 will be too sweet in my opinion so let it finish out below 1.015 before you bottle it. I usually re-yeast with whatever English yeast I have on hand at bottling to make sure the beer carbonates. You could probably re-yeast with some dry yeast if you don’t save your yeast. All of this advice comes from experience. My first tripel and dark strong were way too sweet and under carbonated and I went through the same experience of losing yeast out the top of the carboy.

Ok - thanks for the good advice. Will definitely do a gravity reading.
There is still a lot of krausen on the top of the worth/beer so I think I did not lose to much.
Let’s wait and see.

WY3787 does work with a lot of vigor. The amount of yeast in the cake and the intensity of the fermentation will produce a lot more heat than lower gravity beers. The temp of your wort could have risen 8° to 10°.
You didn’t say what the wort temp was when you pitched, but with an ambient of 65° your wort must have been fairly warm.
This beer would have been a good one to have in a swamp cooler to hold the fermentation below 68°.

The worth was around 65F when I pitched, my basement around 63-65F. I have read that the trappist let their beers ferment starting at these temps and then let the temperatures raise due to fermentation ending in the mid to high 70s. Keeping you posted.

(as a side note: I have used the WY3787 before even with a starter, but never seen anything like this :wink:

had this problem with other yeasts recently: a couple of 6 packs that were cellaring for over a year turned out to be time bombs. I think the reason with mine was incomplete fermentation = too much sugar at bottling.
Good luck with yours, hope they turn out great!

Even if you lost some, the amount would be negligible. NightHawk is right on, 1/3-1/2 of the cake is plenty.

The patersbier/trippel combo with 3787 is in my “on deck circle” right now. Thanks for this timely thread; you just saved me from the same blowout. I WAS planning on direct pitching onto the whole cake at 65. After reading this, I’ll use about 1/3 the cake and set the freezer to what? 60? That’s the air temp in the freezer, not a beer probe.

SA Brew, can you say more about re-yeasting on bottle day? Should I save some of the original cake? How much would I put back?

Great to hear you’re going to do the same please share your experience. Always great to learn.
Also what’s your Tripel recipe you are going to use? NB? My experience is that it’s to dark for a Tripel.

Good luck.

[quote=“pete_brewer”]Great to hear you’re going to do the same please share your experience. Always great to learn.
Also what’s your Tripel recipe you are going to use? NB? My experience is that it’s to dark for a Tripel.

Good luck.[/quote]
I’m doing NBs Carmelite triple grain tripel http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/carm … l-kit.html which is a partial mash kit.
I had heard the Belgian trippel extract kit had some odd ingredient choices, and full extract kits always come out too dark. Hopefully a PM and late LME addition will let me keep the color lighter than a full extract.

[quote=“JMcK”]After reading this, I’ll use about 1/3 the cake and set the freezer to what? 60? That’s the air temp in the freezer, not a beer probe.

SA Brew, can you say more about re-yeasting on bottle day? Should I save some of the original cake? How much would I put back?[/quote]

You could cut a short piece (maybe 4") of pipe insulation in half the long way, then tape that to your fermenter. Insert the probe in there to get a fairly accurate reading of your beer temp.

I did the Patersbier/Velvet Rooster cycle earlier this year. The brewer at Tallgrass recommended a primary fermentation of 67 degrees, ramping up to 72 degrees after fermentation activity slows. With 3787, you really want to explore the upper temp range in order to get the nice esters out of it. It’s pretty clean for a Belgian yeast, which is actually why I like it. Not a huge Belgian fan here.

Here’s another tip - Kris England (recipe designer for Patersbier) suggests racking to secondary very shortly after primary fermentation is done, because WY3787 tends to throw some funk otherwise.

For your tripel, I’d ferment in primary for a week, then rack to secondary for another 2 weeks. Then I’d bottle it up with no re-yeasting. That’s just my opinion though. Enjoy your tripel!

I brew English Pale Ale every couple of months as my house beer so I usually have some English yeast in a jar in the fridge. I will sanitize a stainless steel spoon and add a tablespoon or so to the bottling bucket. I usually bottle my Belgian styles. I have also kegged my pale ale, poured off most of the yeast into a sanitized jar and then use that carboy as a bottling bucket. There is enough yeast in the carboy to mix in with the Tripel or Strong Dark. I usually do this for Strong Belgians and Saisons that have fermented with WL565 for several weeks at hot temperatures. My Blonds and low gravity Belgian styles do not get reyeasted. My early attempts at strong Belgian styles resulted in flat, overly sweet, failures. Since I started reyeasting, I have not had a problem. You could also use some of the original yeast that was kept healthy. I like to use WY 1968 or a similar strain because it drops bright and it can handle the alcohol. Your favorite dry yeast should also work. Most of my strong Belgians finish below 1.010 so the bottling yeast should have very little influence on the character of the finished beer.

Yeast blown out the top can definitely affect the final gravity. I have had at least 2 batches that have had to be racked onto a new yeast cake to finish out. They got stuck in the 1.020-1.030 range. This was several years ago, but I learned with this yeast, it is best to leave a lot of head space. I usually just put 2.5-3 gallons in a 6 gallon carboy even when I make a table beer at 1.045. I have had 3787/530 jump out of the top of the carboy with 4 gallons in it at 68-70 degrees. When I brew a stronger beer, I usually use one of the cakes from the two carboys.

[quote=“El Capitan”]
Here’s another tip - Kris England (recipe designer for Patersbier) suggests racking to secondary very shortly after primary fermentation is done, because WY3787 tends to throw some funk otherwise.

For your tripel, I’d ferment in primary for a week, then rack to secondary for another 2 weeks. Then I’d bottle it up with no re-yeasting. That’s just my opinion though. Enjoy your tripel![/quote]
So fast to the bottle? The kit’s sheet calls for 2 Months in the secondary…
Of course, It also calls for WY3522. I’m not very well versed in the different strains needs…

Well, you could be right about giving it more time in secondary. I was mainly thinking about wanting to get it off the bulk of the yeast to avoid off flavors, and still having enough active yeast to prime your bottles.

3787 is a really fast fermenter, so your primary will finish fast, and you can get it into secondary and give the yeast a chance to clean up a bit. After that it’s all a matter of bulk aging and waiting for the flavors to meld and the alcohol to smooth out. My tripel is now about a year old, and it has definitely improved over the course of time. It was in the keg for about half that time, and then I bottled up the remaining case or so about 6 months ago. You’ll read different opinions (of course) on whether aging is best done in bulk or in the bottle. I’ve done both and have been pleased with the results from each. You could have a more consistent final product if you bulk age, but really, once your yeast has done its job in primary and secondary, it’s just a matter of time.

Let’s hope some other big beer experts join in on the discussion.

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