Hedgerow Tripel


A Sherman tank, with a hedgerow cutter, crashes through a hedgerow in WWII.

Here is my recipe for tripel. As I mentioned in the series of articles on tripel, the recipe for a good tripel can be very simple — and this recipe is as simple as you can make it, just Pilsner malt, sugar, hops, and yeast. They key to brewing a great tripel is running a good fermentation. Using high-quality malt and hops is also important.

If you plan to brew tripels often, take good notes when brew this, and tweak the beer to your liking in subsequent brew sessions. Relatively little changes in the fermentation can lead to tastable changes in the finished beer, so take extra care to monitor the fermentation and record all the details.

Hedgerow Tripel

by Chris Colby

All-grain; English units


This is a classic Belgian-style tripel, based on the famous Westmalle Tripel. It is a strong (9% ABV) beer that is light in color. The (relatively) high hopping rate, low final gravity, and high level of carbonation give the beer a dry feel, relative to other beers of this strength. There are no spices in this beer. However, the yeast strain and fermentation conditions add a moderate amount of fruity esters and phenolic “spice” to the beer. 

[Read more…]

Tripel (IV: Fermentation)

DSCN2183The recipe for tripel is downright simple. And, wort production is not that elaborate (at least compared to, say, a multiple decoction mash). Fermentation, however, can get a bit tricky. [Read more…]

Tripel (III: Wort Production)

DSCN2183The recipe for a tripel is simple, it’s almost the equivalent of the “recipe” for scrambled eggs. However, as with preparing eggs, success lies in the freshness of the ingredients and in the details of the preparation. When brewing a tripel, your main task on brewday is to make a highly fermentable wort. [Read more…]

Tripel (II: Recipe)

DSCN2183The recipe for a tripel is simple. You’ll need enough Pilsner malt, and roughly 20% sucrose (table sugar), to reach your target original gravity. The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) gives this range as OG 1.075–1.085. Plus, noble hops — all added near the beginning of the boil — to reach your target level of IBUs. The BJCP gives this as 20–40 IBUs. And finally, an attenuative yeast, with a moderately  “spicy” Belgian character, to yield a low final gravity (FG). The BJCP gives this as 1.008–1.014 for a corresponding alcohol content of 7.5–9.5%. And that’s it.

[Read more…]

Tripel (I:Water)


Two tripels, one brewed in the US (Texas) and the other in Belgium.

Tripel is a strong, golden ale that originated in Belgium. It’s very similar, in fact, to Belgian strong golden ales, like Duvel or Delirium Tremens. Westmalle Tripel, Tripel Karmeliet, and Chimay Cinq Cents (Chimay White) are three well-known tripels that are available in the US. Examples of tripels brewed in the US include New Belgium Trippel, Allagash Tripel Reserve, and Victory Golden Monkey. Notice that the spelling isn’t entirely standardized. New Belgium spells their version “trippel,” while some Belgian breweries label theirs as “triples.”

The Westmalle Trappist Brewery made tripels popular and the designation sets their 9.5% ABV Tripel apart from their 7% ABV Dubbel (double) and their 4.8% “single” beer (called Extra, and not generally commercially available). In addition to being an indication of strength, by convention, tripel always designates a pale beer while dubbels are always dark beers.

There are several challenges to brewing a tripel, and this makes it a great brewing experience for homebrewers used to brewing English-style ales who are looking for something new to try. [Read more…]

Pumpkin Peach Tripel

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My ‘homebrewed” recipe formulation spreadsheet.

So, as I related in the most recent Beer News, Bud released an ad that got some craft beer enthusiasts hot under the collar. Near the end of that ad, we’re told that hipster nancy boys can go ahead and sip their pumpkin peach ales, the real bros will be out there pounding down some golden suds (i.e. Budweiser). Of course, this immediately sent tens of thousands of homebrewers to their recipe formulation software to try to come up with a recipe for pumpkin peach ale. Here’s my stab at it.  [Read more…]

Belgian IPA

This is the second article in a series on IPA variants, that started with darkish IPAs.


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The beers of Belgium have inspired many US brewers. In turn, the hoppy ales of the United States have likewise inspired some Belgian brewers to formulate hoppier beers. Urthel Hop-It and Houblon Chouffe were two of earliest and best-known Belgian IPAs. These brewers took their Belgian beers and added significantly more hops to them. American brewers also took their IPAs and started fermenting them with Belgian ale yeasts. Stone’s Cali-Belgique is one of the best-known examples of this.

If you’re interested in brewing a beer that is a hybrid between an American IPA and a Belgian beer, there are a couple things I can tell you to get you started. However, the interface between these two kinds of beer has only begun to be explored — there’s more to be learned than is certain now.

[Read more…]