January 19, 2021
Name: 16 Bar Stools
Style: Belgian Tripel
After gaining independence in the 1830’s, Belgian brewing practices began again in Westmalle by the strict order of Trappist monks. Over the following several years, they were able to settle into various other abbeys including Orval, Westerleven, Chimay, and Rochefort. At this time, Belgian brewers were making their beers to a strength of 3, 6, and 9% respective to the terms they used to call them: single, double, triple (at times, simply listed as X, XX, XXX). Without the development of pilsner and pale malts available at that time in Belgium, beers were typically light-orange to amber in color. It wouldn’t be until the development of these lighter malts, the consultancy of a Westmalle brewer and a non-Trappist brewer by the name of Hendrik Verlinden of Drei Verlinden brewery, that what we know as Tripel would be born.
For our Belgian-style Tripel, we start off in the mash tun with copious amounts of Pilsner malt, a touch of biscuit malt and caramel malt, accompanying some of our farm-grown Nugget hops. We then lightly hop in the kettle with Magnum hops for bittering, and then a hint of East Kent Goldings hops in the whirlpool. We then pitch Chimay brewery’s strain of yeast at a slightly lower cell concentration to help produce the fruity esters and nuances we hope to achieve through fermentation. Roughly 2 days into active fermentation, we will add to the fermenter another 110 pounds of Belgian Candi Syrup (sucrose that is extracted from sweet beets), to encourage the yeast to produce notes of plum and stone fruits. After piping in the candi syrup, we will allow fermentation to free-rise to almost 85 degrees in order to grasp that Belgian-funk, known only to true, traditional strains of Belgian yeasts.
Our 16 Bar Stools is always a favorite of mine during the winter months. It’s a great blood warming beer for settling down by the fireplace, after coming in from the cold wet Maryland Februaries. With a medium body and pale color, notes of plum, cherries, and stone fruits come through on the aromatics, while the flavor lends itself of something of the tune of bread, honey, and citrus, with a touch of the Belgian yeast character. If anyone is curious of the name, drop by the brewery and myself or the staff will be happy to share! Proost!