Last month I decided to brew two batches more or less at the same time so that I’d have something with which to welcome some friends to their new house and new position in Michigan. As soon as the pale ale went into secondary fermentation, I rinsed the primary tub and put a Belgian Trippel in it. With the ale I basically wanted to brew my own Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. Not that I looked up the recipe or anything, I just guessed that medium-light crystal malt, British Ale yeast and continuous hopping would get me close enough. Lacking a giant sieve to continuously filter chopped fresh hops flowers into the wort, I added small amounts of pelleted Bicentennial, Cascade and Argentine Cascade hops at 10 minute increments over a 90 minute boil.
For the Belgian I essentially brewed a nut brown ale but with Trappist ale yeast, heavier crystal malt, Cara-Munich malt and a 1-pound bag of brown sugar. To go trippel I boiled another pound of mixed light and dark dry malt with some hops and added it when I transferred the brew to secondary.
As always I made up a starter culture with some dry malt and hops in a growler bottle. Any newer brewers out there should make sure to do this – pitching a lot of vigorously growing yeast makes the beer taste better and also protects it, since the wort will reach 5% alcohol before bacteria can get its pants on.
Continuous hopping came out just as awesome as Sam Calagione said it would. The trippel, meanwhile, tastes Belgian enough for me, although a bit hoppier than you would usually find in Flanders. I’m a bit new at this to say whether it was the triple fermentation of the unusual sugars or the yeast that worked so well. Whatever the answer I’m doing it again soon.