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Mike T
09/25/07 02:55 PM  
Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
I’m doing a split batch sugar experiment for my next brew (using Lyle’s Golden Syrup, Agave, Date Sugar, Jaggery, and homemade caramel), this will leave me with plenty of healthy WY 3787 (Westmalle strain). I’m thinking of doing a standard dubbel and a hoppy tripel, I’d like thoughts/opinions/critiques on each… I just whipped these up last night, so massive changes won’t hurt my feeling.

Dubbel, based on N8’s Westvleteren 8 recipe posted somewhere around here and my reading of BLAM:

3.5 gallons:

4 lbs Belgian Pale

4 lbs Belgian Pils

Protein rest around 125, Sacc rest around 148

1 container of Dark Belgian Candi Syrup added to the boil (too much for 3.5 gallons?)

OG = 1.072


Enough Northern Brewer to get to 32 IBUs @ 60 min

.625 oz Hallertau @ 45 min

.625 oz Styrian Goldings @ 30 min


Westvleteren (from BLAM)

CA 114

Bicarb 370

Cl 139

Mg 10

Na 125

Sulfate 145

The book notes the monks “treat” their water substantially. I imagine that this would involve removing a large portion of the bicarbonate and possibly adding acid to get the pH low enough for such a pale mash. Any thoughts on the water profile to aim for? Particularly, on the high levels of chloride, sodium and sulfate in the water.


Pitch around 68, let rise slowly into the low 80s. Followed by a month or so of cold conditioning @ 50.

American Tripel

I want a hoppy tripel in the vein of RR Damnation 23, Captain Lawrence Xtra Gold, and Houblon Chouffe.

3.5 gallons:

10 lbs pils

(a touch of Munich and/or wheat?)

1.25 lbs of cane sugar (boiled with a bit of water and added after fermentation begins to slow down)

Protein rest = 125

Sacc rest = 150

Effective OG = 1.088 including sugar


Enough Sterling at 60 minutes to get to 35 IBUs

.5 oz Cascade @ 15 min

.5 oz Sterling @ 15 min

.5 oz Cascade @ 5 min

.5 oz Sterling @ 5 min

1 oz Amarillo Dry Hop


I was thinking pretty standard, maybe probably using gypsum to get enough calcium for the mash and sulfate for the hops


I want to keep this one cool so the esters don’t dominate the hop aroma/flavor.

09/25/07 06:34 PM  
color in the westy?
Does the Westvleteren get all of its color from the sugar?

Hard to believe. that beer is so rich. WHere does that complex profile come from?

Mike T
09/25/07 06:50 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
Based on every report I have read the only two malts used in all of their beers are pils and pale (in the same ratio). That isn't to say that the monks aren't above fibbing to keep their recipes secret.

If you haven't tried it, the Dark Belgian Candi Syrup is really excellent. It gives loads of dark fruit and caramel flavors that are normally associated with caramel malts, but it is also highly fermentable. I imagine the yeast character is also a large part of the equation.

09/25/07 08:29 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
It seems to me, in at least the chouffe houblon, the american hops are used more for bittering. The taste and aroma were more on the earthy spicey saaz side of the spectrum rather than the big american citrusy hop profile. I would think they used the tomahawk for bittering, amarillo for maybe bittering and maybe a bit of aroma/flavor, and lots of saaz for flavor/aroma/dryhop....This is just a hypothesis.....

I tried brewing a hoppy belgian ipa kinda thing awhile back inspired by the houblon, urthel hop it, de ranke xx bitter, and the fantome brise bonbon. I came nowhere near the dryness that the flavor of those beers demands. So getting a highly fermentable wort is key in my experience. Also, while I liked the flavor/aroma of the american hops (simcoe\/amarillo), it did not resemble any of those beers whatsoever. I would suggest maybe using cascades (or amarillo for that matter) for bittering, and maybe one small addition of cascade/amarillo later with more sterling. I would also suggest maybe tossing in an ounce of sterling or saaz or styrian g. post boil. If I were to do it next time, I would dry hop more with one of the previously mentioned hops...maybe 1.5 ounces of one of those w/ .5 oz. Amarillo? I've found that the belgian yeasts really cover up a lot of the hop flavors as well. I used 2 oz. of simcoe/amarillo combined at both 10 and 5 minutes until the end, and, although I could taste them in the final product, again not nearly as much as I had hoped. I think drying out your beer would help this as well....

I guess it really depends on how you want the flavor to come out...I've only had Damnation once and don't really remember it, and I've never tasted the other one, but if you want houblon chouffey kind of thang I would go more with the euro hops and if more of an american interpretation than the american hops

Mike T
09/25/07 08:58 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
Thanks for the first hand experience. A few questions on your batch: What were you OG and FG (% sugar and mash temp)? What yeast did you use? What temp did you ferment at?

Damnation 23 was a "special" batch of Damnation (which sadly I have yet to try):

"We turned our regular Damnation recipe into a Tripel. It is bittered with Tomahawk and has Sterling and Cascade in the mid-boil and finish. The beer was then aged on new American oak chips for two to three weeks."

Similarly Xtra Gold is an amped up version of Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold (probably the best tripel I have had):

Belgian Pils

Simcoe, Sterling, Cascade, Crystal, Dry hopped w/Amarillo

OG 22

IBU 33

10% abv

I guess I am aiming for more of the American interpretation (I like Houblon, but I am not as wild for it as some people). I don't want IPA level hoppiness, just some more complexity in a style that I often find boring.

How about? (remember I am only doing 3.5 gallons)

0.50 oz. Amarillo First Wort

0.50 oz. Cascade 15 min.

0.75 oz. Sterling 15 min.

0.50 oz. Cascade 0 min.

0.75 oz. Sterling 0 min.

0.50 oz. Amarillo Dry Hop

0.50 oz. Sterling Dry Hop

09/25/07 09:43 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
...I forgot you were only doing 3.5...but I think that looks better. I'm not sure exactly what my OG was, but around 1.075 from what I can remember, I think FG was around 1.025. Since your target OG is a little higher that should be fine for 3.5 gallons. I actually use DME, which is why I could never get the amount of attenuation I desire for a style like that. I used the Ardennes yeast 3522, which is more phenolic/estery than 3787. I fermented at about 70.....I'd be curious to see how 3787 would work, it's a lot cleaner than 3522.

I forgot to mention before that I actually just bottled a dry hopped tripel....it was adequetly, not over-hopped, in the boil and then I used an oz. of Styrian Goldings to dry-hop. Again I wish the hops came through a little more than they did. I fermented with a blend WL 550 Belgian Ale and 565 Saison yeasts. With that said it turned out quite delicious!

You also mention maybe a bit of wheat....I like a bit of wheat in my tripel and most belgians in general, it can give some nice slight bready malty notes in those lighter styles

09/25/07 10:32 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
Maybe this is just personal preference, but for the hoppy Tripel, I would lose the Cascades and use perhaps Crystal instead .. . I think it is a good complement to the apricot / tangerine fruitiness of the Amarillo.
09/26/07 07:01 AM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
It seems that every board I've read eventually starts some thread on cadi syrup. I've read it here too. I've made homemade sugar syrup by boiling down a sugar water solution with lemon juice (invert). Is this sufficient to achieve said flavor/color additions? I acutally just used that sugar syrup that I made in a "rochefortesque" dubbel. Though it hasn't carbonated yet, it is the most complex and delicious beer I've made so far (which is not saying much...I'm still under 20 batches with only about a dozen all grain).


Mike T
09/26/07 08:44 AM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
My one and only attempt to make candi sugar at home came out very tasty, but nearly unfermentable. I used the method described in Radical Brewing and Brew Like a Monk of caramelizing corn syrup with Diammonium Phosphate (DAP).

I haven’t decided on the method for my home made version for this upcoming sugar experiment. Any idea how fermentable your lemon juice cane sugar version is?

Anyone else have a good make candi sugar at home recipe?

I'm leaning towards the first one on this site (Graham Sanders):


09/26/07 10:12 AM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
My terminal gravity on that dubbel (and I'm going based on memory here) was about 1.007. I will double check that later. BUt with an OG of 1.077 and a gnarly hardcore fementation I think the sugar was highly fermentable. I don't think the caremlization would change the fermentability and the lemon juice is simply a means of inverting part of the sugar (which would increase the fermentability even more if I'm not mistaken). I made a dark and a light syrup and used both.

Mike T
09/26/07 11:22 AM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
Sounds like it is very fermentable, excellent! 5 of the 6 variants in my sugar experiment ended up just below 1.010, while the homemade candi sugar stopped just south of 1.020. I recently read that Karo corn syrup contains lots of dextrins, so I think that was at least part of my problem with my version.

Caramelization is certainly going to hurt fermentability some (how much I really don’t know), white sugar is completely fermentable, caramel on the other hand leaves some flavor and color molecules behind (that is to say some stuff that yeast can’t ferment).

Tonight I have some free time, so I think I’ll play around with a couple ways of making dark candi syrup with various combinations of corn sugar, cane sugar, lemon juice (for acidity), DAP (for its free nitrogen), and water (to help regulate the temperature).

Scott Jackson
09/26/07 01:54 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
I have posted this before but here it is again. I did this as a presentation to my homebrew club on invert sugar.

Definition: Invert sugar is created by combining a sugar syrup with a small amount of acid (such as cream of tartar or lemon juice) and heating. This inverts, or breaks down, the sucrose into its two components, glucose and fructose, thereby reducing the size of the sugar crystals. Because of its fine crystal structure, invert sugar produces a smoother product and is used in making candies such as fondant and some syrups.

Because the sugar molecules have already been broken down into their simpler components, for fermentation, the yeast does not need to secrete any invertase to metabolize them. Thus, there are no cidery flavors associated with fermentation as with regular sugar.

The shelf life of home-made invert sugar is approximately three weeks, after which crystallization can occur.

Forms: Lyle’s Golden Syrup, Honey, Belgian Candy Sugar

Uses In Brewing: Basically any beer where increased alcohol is desired without additional body.

The more it is caramelized (boiled), the more flavor the sugar will add. Invert sugar is commonly used in the following beer styles:

• Belgian Golden

• Belgian Tripel

• Belgian Dubble

• Belgian Strong Dark

• English Bitter

• English Barleywine

• English Strong Ale

Recipe Calculations:

Gravity – 38 ppg, Fermentability – 90 to 100%

Commonly used in quantities up to 20% of total fermentables.

Recipe for 2 pounds:

Bring 1 cup of water to boil over high heat. Add 2 pounds of sugar (cane or beet) and 1 tsp acid (tartaric, phosphoric, lemon juice) and stir to dissolve sugar. When the liquid approaches boiling again turn heat down and watch closely. It can boil over easily. Once the boil has been stabilized, turn the heat down to simmer and let the liquid simmer until the desired color has been reached.

Let cool (it retains a lot of heat) and add to the wort boil in the last 30 minutes or store in jars until ready to use.

Be very careful when adding hot syrup to the wort. Let it cool at least 15 minutes before doing so. Failure to do this can result in violent eruptions from the boil.

Mike T
09/26/07 03:21 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
Thanks! I'll certainly add that method to the list to try tonight. Any idea if I would be better off using crystallized acid blend or liquid phosphoric acid? Any idea on the amount of either that would be appropriate?

Have you ever actually gotten cidery flavors from excess sucrose? From my reading and personal experience I was under the impression that this was an old wives tales from the early days of homebrewing. I have used cane sugar as up to 20% of the fermentables in a Belgian Strong Pale with no off-flavors. My one experience getting cidery flavors was due to poor temperature control during fermenting of a Belgian blonde.

Scott Jackson
09/26/07 04:03 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
The amount or kind of acid does not matter. It is only a catalyst for the reaction. In the above example I use a teaspoon of 88% liquid lactic acid.

I have never used straight sugrose at a level above 20%. I do not remember getting cidery flavors before I adopted this method but I like to be careful.

It is very interesting me watching the color change as the syrup simmers.

Mike T
09/27/07 08:47 AM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
Apparently 1 tsp of 10% phosphoric acid was not a good choice, the sugar ended up sour and awful. I’ll try again tonight with much less (or maybe with the acid blend).
Scott Jackson
09/27/07 05:08 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
That is suprising. Perhaps just try a bit of lemon juice. Maybe 1/2 tsp?
Mike T
09/28/07 10:00 AM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
I have read that phosphoric acid is more stable at high temperatures, maybe the high temperatures while caramelizing the sugar cause the citric/lactic acid to denature/evaporate/split/whatever.

I’ll give some lemon juice a try this weekend, luckily white sugar is so cheap (which is part of the reason paying $8.99 for the syrup kills me).

Brian Mercer
09/28/07 10:04 AM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
Hello, I hope I am not out of place here...

I do have a question, Why is the acid so important?

Mike T
09/28/07 10:25 AM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
I’m certainly not positive that it is, but my conception is that the acid aids in the inversion of the sugar.

As your bottle label says:





So about 54% of the sucrose has been inverted into glucose and fructose, the only two ways that I am aware of this happening are with heat and acid or an enzyme.

Can heat alone invert sucrose?

Brian Mercer
09/28/07 10:40 AM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?

I am told that heat alone will invert the sucrose. Like you, I made many attempts to make my own dark candi syrup. I tried all the methods. Again, the problem is fermentability. From what I know about the process of producing candi syrup, only an industrial operation with the right equipment can walk the line between flavor, color ,and most importantly: Fermentability. But, my comments are biased and if I were you I would continue to experiment. I think experiments like yours will only increase everyones knowledge.

Let me know if I can be of help in any way.

09/28/07 11:42 AM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
BTW, I got the coolest effect from the liquid candi syrup a few weeks ago. I wanted to use it to color my fresh hop ale, but I forgot to add it until after the boil! Crap I said. I decided to add it anyway. Its effect was unlike any of my other experiences, the finished beer has a very unaltered character of the stuff. The beer attenuated to spec but it tastes like the syrup is still suspended in there. Fortunately it has a wonderful taste. The beer also picked up more bitterness than I expected from the hops, so the added syrup character turned out to be imprtant in balancing it out. Very cool.
Mike T
09/28/07 11:49 AM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
If you don’t mind, are there any other ingredients besides pure sucrose that are added during the commercial production? Do the percentages of the various sugars reflect what is actually in the bottle, or what sugars were there at some other point in the process?

It just seems to me that there must be something else in there that encourages some of the sugar to caramelize, but leaves much of the sugar fermentable. It just seems to me that if the syrup is the “leftover” solution after the growth of candi rocks and the centrifuging out of the soft/granulized sugar that the homemade syrup would be more fermentable (given similar methods) because we aren’t removing these highly fermentable portions.

Thanks again for importing such a great product, every beer I have made with it has turned out really well. Regardless of how my experiments turn out I am planning on using a bottle of it in my Westy 8 clone, I just don’t want to “risk” a whole batch on something that may or may not be tasty and fermentable.

Brian Mercer
09/28/07 01:44 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
Sucrose is the only ingredient. The sugar percentages on the label are reflective of sugar profiles inside the bottle. These were intended to inform the user. We use this info mostly for commercial customers. It does not seem to help anyone on the homebrew side of things, so we may pull it from the label.

These syrups took awhile to perfect. Commercial settings offer the best conditions to make such a product. The monks have not made their own syrup for awhile and I doubt that is going to change anytime soon.

Mike T
09/28/07 02:37 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
Thanks for the info, gives me plenty to think about.

I'll give a try inverting sucrose with just water and boiling, then caramelizing. I seemed to get good color results on my first batch by following the directions to add a tablespoon of cool water when the sugar got to 275 to knock it down to around 260. Hopefully keeping the temperature relatively low will help preserve the fermentability.

Mike T
10/29/07 09:21 AM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
Various Updates:

I bottled my split batch sugar experiment yesterday. I am happy to report that my homemade candi syrup is highly fermentable (hitting an FG within .001 of the other sugars)! However, it is not nearly as dark as the stuff that Brian imports. I ended up taking 1 lb table sugar and bringing it to a boil with 3 cups water, I then held it for 180 minutes between 260-285 degrees by adding a tablespoon of water to it every few minutes. The flavor is also pretty good, but I’ll reserve final judgment on that until the beer has some time in the bottle.

I also brewed my West 8 clone last Sunday, and my American Tripel yesterday.

I brewed the Westy pretty much as the recipe says, I adjusted my water to be minerally, but with a reasonably low level of bicarb to not throw such a pale mash out of whack. The dark candi syrup gave it a nice deep amber color. I got the temp into the high 70s near the end of fermentation which helped get the gravity down from 1.072 to 1.012. It already tastes pretty good but its missing that delicious dark fruit that will hopefully develop with some age.

For the American Tripel (3.5 gallons) I used equal parts cascade, sterling and crystal, with .5 oz each @ 60 min, .25 oz each @ 15 min, .375 oz each @ 0. I also ended up using up a few lbs of Belg pale to supplement the Belg pils and sugar, I also added .25 lbs of wheat. It was starting to show signs of fermentation by this morning, I pitched late last night at 62 and that is where the ambient temp is sitting now. After fermentation and cold conditioning, I’ll probably give it a shot of Amarillo before bottling.

11/19/07 12:51 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
I have just read some anecdotal claim that the Westvleteren yeast and the Westmalle are one and the same.

Can anyone verify this?

Mike T
11/19/07 02:08 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
“Westvleteren yeast and the Westmalle are one and the same.”

According to Brew Like a Monk a worker from Westvleteren drives over to Westmalle and picks up a bucket of yeast on a regular basis. However, how much the Westmalle yeast has changed since WL and Wyeast took their cultures I do not know.

More Updates:

Both of these batches are in secondary now @ 50 degrees, both came in a few points higher than I would have liked. Both are over 80% attenuation so I can’t complain too much, the dubbel is 1.012 and the tripel is 1.017. Both taste very nice, the dubbel tastes a bit plain but that should improve with age, and the tripel is nice if a bit less hoppy than I expected (some Amarillo at the end of secondary should fix that.

The 3787 is now onto its 4th beer, a Temptation inspired beer with the Vinnie‘s magic oak chips.

11/19/07 02:31 PM  
Re: Westy 8 and a Hoppy Tripel, recipe advice?
Thanks for the info, Mike T. I am just culturing up the yeast from a bottle of the Westvleteren 8, and love the aroma it's producing. I was just wondering if there was another possible North American source of this stuff.
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