Tasting: #40 Gielis Tripel

Eureka, and welcome to a new blog post of mine. This is about a batch bottled a few months ago, the Gielis Tripel brewed in September 2011. This post was sitting around for ages. And now is the time to spread the word how the beer tasted in the end.


Aroma: Very elegant smell: Phenolic, pepper notes, lavender, fruity (gooseberries) and nice hop aroma (fresh-cut grass). No alcohol detectable nor any other off-flavors.

Appearance: Golden to yellow color, clear, with a nice frothy white head, nice bubbling going on. Head disappears rather quickly (as seen in picture above).

Flavor: Sweet malt character with phenolic yeast character. Very subtle character and balanced bitterness. Really well made. No component overpowers another.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low to average carbonation level (could be a bit more), dry finish with no alcohol warming sensation.

Overall Impression: What a treat. I see Belgian Tripels as a very hard to make beer style because the aroma and flavors are rather subtle and mainly derive from the yeast strain. This makes it especially hard to cover any off-flavors. Any off-flavor would be recognizable immediately. I would like to mention, that the beer now has some autolysis character (umami taste and smell). I would therefore drink this beer within a few months. Last to mention, this beer (brewed by my brother) won him a first place at a national homebrew competition. Nothing to add more. In my opinion, a spot on example of the Belgian Tripel style. Since we now have the base recipe, its time to play around to make this Tripel unique in its own. Thanks for reading, commenting and stay tuned!


#40 Gielis Tripel

Eureka, its time for another recipe. This one is a bit different compared to all the other recipes. From time to time my brother and I brew a batch together. And there are some times were my brother makes one on his own. My brother really likes Belgian Tripels and especially the one from Westmalle. So he decided one day to try to brew a Tripel on his own. We grabbed a beer and designed a Tripel recipe and below is what we got at the end. You might have wondered about the name of the beer already. Johan Gielis is a Belgian engineer, mathematician and entrepreneur. One particular thing he found out is the superformula which can be used to describe different symmetries. There is no story “how we came up with this name”. Another interesting fact about this recipe can be found below.

Recipe: Gielis Tripel
Numbers: Volume [L] 25 (6.6 gal)
Original gravity 18.7°P
Terminal gravity 3.1°P
Color Around 13 EBC
ABV 8.7 %
Grains: Pilsner Malt (4 EBC) 6.9 kg
Wheat Malt (4 EBC) 0.12 kg
Munich Malt 1 (14.5 EBC) 0.2 kg
Dark candy sugar (425 EBC) 0.2 kg (added to the boil)
Table sugar 0.6 kg (added to the boil)
Hops: Styrian Goldings (6,1% AA) 75 g and boil for 60 min
Saazer (3.5% AA) 24 g and boil for 5 min
Yeast: #3787 Trappist High Gravity
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 20 L (5.3 gal), sparge: 30 L (7.9 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: 2 steps Mash in @66°C (151°F), 60 min @ 66°C (151°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 75 min
Fermentation: Primary 7 days @ 18°C (64°F) in a plastic bucket
Secondary 14 days @ 18°C (64°F) in a plastic bucket
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2 (114 g table sugar to 28 L of beer)
Maturation time Months

Fig 1: Mash is resting

09/17/2011: Brew day. It seems that all went according to plan. Both sugars were added at the end of the boil. Then pitched a #3787 Trappist High Gravity yeast that came straight out of a previous batch. The beer was racked in a secondary fermenter after seven days.

Fig 2: Dark candy sugar addition to the boil

10/16/2011: Bottled the beer to 2 vol of carbon dioxide with some table sugar. Then left the bottles carbonate at 18°C (64°F) for 14 days and store the bottles at 15°C (59°F) since.

03/17/2012: My brother and I decided to enter each one beer at a homebrew competition this year and so we did. By the way our first competition ever. My brother chose to enter his Gielis Tripel, and I went with an Imperial Stout recipe. There are only two homebrew competitions in Switzerland every year. One is held by a homebrew supplier called SIOS, and another one held by the Swiss Homebrew Society (SHS). So we decided to enter our beers at the SIOS Trophy 2012. There were a total of twelve categories and a total of 131 beers entered. After two tasting rounds, the winners were announced. My brother won a first prize in the Abbey beer category (Klosterbier in German) with his Gielis Tripel which had exactly the same points as another beer. So the first prize was shared with another brewer. Congratulations to the other brewer for his Abbey beer (will not mention the brewers name to keep his privacy). Only the best beer in each category gets a Trophy (bottle in Fig 3). This was my brothers second batch ever… and already a first price! So the recipe above is an award-winning one! And my brother is an award-winning brewer already. That’s pretty cool. Now I know that at least one of us can brew really great beers. What about my Imperial Stout? I will tell you about that in another post soon.

Fig 3: Gielis Tripel wins SIOS Trophy 2012 in the Abbey beer category.

I will post the tasting notes (tasting panel from the competition and my own) in another post. Stay tuned!