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This will be my very first homebrew, but I have been doing a lot of reading, research and practice. My question is, does anything about this recipe I have created look off to any experience brewers?

%   LB  OZ  Malt or Fermentable 

66% 7   5   Muntons Extra Light Malt Extract 
18% 2   0   Sugar, Table (Sucrose) 
9%   1  0   Invert Sugar 
2%   0  6   Honey 
2%   0  4   Belgian Aromatic 
2%   0  4   Munich Malt 

Hops

use     time        oz      variety         form    aa
boil    60 mins     3.5    Slovania Celeia  pellet  2.8
boil    15 mins     0.5    Slovania Celeia  pellet  2.8
boil    2 min       0.25   Czech Saaz       pellet  4

use     time    amount      ingredient
boil    5 min   0.5 ounces  Coriander Seed
boil    5 min   0.5 ounces  Orange Zest


Wyeast 3864 Canadian/Belgian

Original Gravity        Final Gravity   Bitterness  Alcohol
1.087                   1.019           23.6 IBU    9.1% ABV 

I cultivated the yeast from a La Fin Du Monde bottle. I think it should be similar to Wyeast 3864 Canadian/Belgian.

Thanks, Carson

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That is one hell of a first-time brew! –  C4H5As Mar 5 '11 at 9:38
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4 Answers

That's a pretty complicated recipe for a tripel. Usually a tripel is just malt and sugar. I don't see the need for the invert sugar and/or honey in your recipe. The aromatic and Munich are also unnecessary, but there's so little of each that it probably won't hurt.

This is a very ambitious beer for your first homebrew. You need to be aware that it will require a large yeast starter, not just the pack if Wyeast. See www.mrmalty.com for details and advice about making starters.

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At the bottom of the message he says he cultivated yeast from La Fin Du Monde (Unibroue). –  Jeff Roe Mar 4 '11 at 19:33
    
Thanks for pointing that out. The OP still needs to make sure that he has an adequate population of healthy yeast for a beer like that. –  Denny Conn Mar 4 '11 at 19:39
    
I agree that the recipe is probably needlessly elaborate but I don't think that'll do it any harm. A "big" beer certainly is ambitious and he should have "fair warning" of the pitfalls but he does sound pretty interested in the style so hopefully he'll put in the effort and get good results. –  Daniel Chisholm Mar 5 '11 at 9:56
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I think you have too high a percentage of sugar in the form of honey, invert sugar, and table sugar. These are all highly fermentable and will leave the beer with very little body. I would suggest cutting back on the table sugar by a pound or more because it's not bring much to the party except alcohol. The honey and the invert sugar will add some character to the beer besides adding alcohol. You can make up the difference with more malt extract.

The Munich malt is not typical for the style but wouldn't hurt to leave in since the amount is small. The spices and orange zest are also not typical for the style since the yeast strain provide many similar flavors if fermented at higher temps.

I would also expect your final gravity to be much lower than 1.019 since you do have a significant amount of sugar in the recipe.

I looks to me like this would be more of a Belgian specialty beer with the different grains and spices added. Just cut back on the sugar and I think you will have a decent beer.

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I'd actually leave the table sugar as it is and lose the honey and invert. By the time the beer ferments there will be no character left from those and they're more expensive than table sugar. I agree with your FG comment. A beer like this should finish under 10. –  Denny Conn Mar 4 '11 at 18:03
    
Thanks for your help! The FG calculations were given by "Beer Calculus" after inserting all the ingredients. –  Carson Mar 4 '11 at 18:37
    
That's interesting, my comment was going to be that he was probably a bit light on the sugar and other "easy fermentables" and was going to suggest that he boost them somewhat. But since I am far from being an expert in this beer style (I've had it, I appreciate it, but I don't particularly like it) I will most happily defer to the above two. –  Daniel Chisholm Mar 5 '11 at 10:01
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A couple of things -

As mentioned, the aromatic and munich malts aren't going to really do much in there. The yeast and additives will mask anything they have to offer. I'd say increase them to get flavor, or drop them for simplicity. Otherwise just be sure to reeeeeally work that yeast starter. Also, you might want to consider dextrose instead of table sugar, as it will ferment cleaner. Personal taste here, but I might up the orange peel and coriander to 1oz each, but I love those flavors, and to each their own.

Also, you're going to need to let this beer sit a looooong time before touching it. I would suggest giving it a month in the Primary, and then another 2-5 in a secondary.

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Carson- how did it taste in the end? I've tried a couple of times to use orange peel, camomile and coriander seed and got really horrible flavours that I didn't like. The second time I tried I halved the quantities and still got similar results no joy so I won't do it again unless I find out that there's a particular kind of orange or something that I got wrong. I've had more luck with honey though and would try the special flower honeys in future.

In terms of ageing I found a 9% Alc beer was significantly better at 12 months than 2 or 3 months. I've even kept back half of a second batch in secondary for over a year and still yet to bottle it. It really adds subtlety to flavours and smoothness to the finish to mature it for that time. But you need an awful lotta patience!

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The beer ended up tasting good. I also feel like there was too much "spice", but like you said, the last bottles (6 months after bottling) were much clearer, and had mellowed down quite a bit. In the future I would probably reduce my spices to 20% of what I had, and would use a lot more hops late in the boil and maybe even dry hop a little, and go for a strong Belgian Pale with a good hoppy aroma! –  Carson Dec 2 '11 at 23:49
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