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2012-12-08 · Tripel Karmeliet Clone #1


Beer Style:
Belgian Tripel
Batch Size:
Brew Type:
All Grain
Boil Duration:
Mash Type:
Single Infusion, 60mins, 64.5°C
Mash Method:
Chill Method:
No-Chill Cube
Original Gravity:
Final Gravity:



When I was traveling in the USA in Sep/Oct 2012, I picked up the book the Homebrewer's Companion by Charlie Papazian in a homebrew store in Brooklyn. The book is a companion to Papazian's main book on homebrewing, the Complete Joy of Homebrewing, which I'd read before.

In the beginning of the book, Charlie writes that even if you only learn just one thing from the book, it would make it worthy of its price. And I did learn one thing from that book the completely changed the beers I brew.

It was the subject of brewing water and mash pH. Even though I'd read about this subject long before buying this book, it never really sunk in. It was only after I read the chapter on the subject in The Homebrewer's Companion that I realized the source of the problems I've been facing in brewing and how to fix them.

You can read about these problems in the brewing water page, but to sum it up: before I read the book, I've been using basic water (pH above 7.0) with too high mineral content. That caused problems with flavor, aroma, head retention, color and clarity.

When I left to the US I haven't been brewing in two months, and it took me three more before I returned to brewing again. When I did return, I armed myself with my new knowledge and set out to find a recipe that would test that knowledge as best as possible.

Eventually I decided to go with a clone recipe of one of my favorite beers - Tripel Karmeliet, which is a strong Belgian ale made with wheat, barley and oats. It is light in color and has a creamy, long lasting head.

My recipe was taken from Home Brew Talk, the only change being the yeast used for fermentation.

The beer turned out absolutely fantastic. I was amazed at the difference between the new beer and my previous ones. It was my first truly light-colored beer, its aroma was terrific, as was its taste. It had the best head retention of all my beers, and it was also my first one to clear up in the fridge. And not only that, it was extremely close to the original Tripel Karmeliet I set out to clone.

I look back fondly on that batch, as it marked a significant change for the better in all my beers from then on.

The beer during primary fermentation.


Stage Ingredient Duration Quantity
Mash Pilsner Malt 3000g
Wheat Malt 500g
Flaked Oats 250g
Boil Clear White Syrup* 250g
Hallertauer Hersbrucker (4.5%) 75mins (55mins)** 16g
Hallertauer Hersbrucker (4.5%) 20mins (0mins)** 4g
Fermentation Fermentis Safbrew T-58 1ea
Finish Licorice 0.3tsp
Orange Zest 1tsp
Crushed Coriander 0.2tsp

* I used Karo's Clear Syrup, boiled it with some water and added it at high krausen instead of during the boil

** Bittering hop additions adjusted 20 minutes down to account for greater hop utilization due to the no-chill method.