Westward Ho! Belgian Tripel

 This tripel is a deep golden, light-bodied Belgian-style ale. It was the first time I’ve made this style and the last beer I brewed on my 5 gallon system. When I moved in with my girlfriend, two cases of this beer came with me in the U-Haul to the western part of town. Inspired by this trek, Sarah came up with the name: Westward Ho!

13.5 lb Pilsner Malt
.5 lb Carapils

2 lb Candi Syrup Clear

Hop schedule
1 oz Low AA Hallertau (3.2%) - boiled 45 min
1 oz Hallertau (4.5%) -  boiled 45 min

White Labs WLP500 - Trappist Ale

This was also the first time I’d made candi syrup from scratch. I started by making a simple syrup with 5 cups of water, a half pound of white table sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Next I boiled it down to concentrate and sanitize it. Then I cooked the syrup for too long, resulting in a darker color than I was going for, which carried over into the beer. Bummer. Tripels are traditionally very light-colored, but Westward Ho! has a deeper golden, almost copper hue.

I had some leftover Hallertau hops from a previous batch, but they had such a low alpha acid content, that I needed to pick up another ounce to get the bitterness where I wanted it.

Four months after bottling, the beer finally started coming into its own. It pours light coppery gold. Visible, effervescent carbonation feeds a rocky, stark-white head that leaves rings of lace. Fruity esters (citrus, pear, banana) dominate the aroma and are supported by earthy spiciness. The initial taste is also fruit-focused, with a bit of apple shining through. This leads to a clove-like spiciness and hint of sweetness that linger into the finish. The beer has a medium body with moderately high carbonation.

Compared to commercial tripels I've sampled, it's less sweet and has a much darker color. The next time I brew this style, I'll use lighter-colored candi syrup and experiment with a different yeast.

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