Brouwerij Westmalle’s Abbey Tripel clone

Westmalle Abbey Tripel clone
Brouwerij Westmalle, Malle

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.081   FG = 1.015
IBU = 39   SRM = 5   ABV = 8.5%

Our Lady of the Beloved Sacred Heart at Westmalle was founded in the wake of the French Revolution, in 1794, by Royalist monks fleeing the guillotine. They began brewing in the 1830s and the brewery became more commercial in the early years of the 20th century.  The Westmalle beers are bottled in a custom-designed, raised-letter brown bottle. They’re served at cellar temperatures in a typical stemmed, wide-mouthed goblet, with a row of dimples around the base of the bowl.

12.75 lbs. (5.8 kg) Pilsner malt
2 lbs. (0.91 kg) cane sugar or clear Belgian (rock) candi sugar
9.5 AAU Styrian Goldings hops (60 min.) (1.9 oz./53 g at 5% alpha acid)
3 AAU Tettnang hops (15 min.) (0.75 oz./21 kg at 4% alpha acid)
3 AAU Saaz hops (5 min.) (0.75 oz./21 kg at 4% alpha acid)
White Labs WLP530 (Abbey Ale) or Wyeast 3787 (Trappist Style High Gravity) yeast (1 qt./~1 L yeast starter)
1.2 cups (240 g) dextrose (if priming)

Step by Step
Crush your grains and mash in at 131 °F (55 °C), stirring the grains into 4 gallons (15 L) of water at around 142 °F (61 ºC), then ramp the mash temperature to 148 °F (64 °C), stirring as you heat. Quickly boost mash temperature to 168 °F (76 °C) before transferring wort to your lauter tun. Ramp time (from 131–148 °F/55–64 °C) should take at least an hour; longer times (up to several hours) will give more fermentable worts and drier, more alcoholic beers. (Westmalle Tripel’s apparent attenuation is 88%, giving it 9.6% ABV.) Collect about 7 gallons (26 L) of wort and boil for roughly 2 hours total (until you reach 5 gallons/19 L) Make hop additions as directed in ingredient list. Add sugar at least 15 minutes before end of boil. Cool wort and transfer to fermenter. Top up to 5 gallons (19 L) aerate well and pitch yeast. Ferment at 68 °F (20 ºC). Be prepared for final stages of fermentation to proceed slowly. Don’t rush, get your beer into bottles, prime with sugar, bottle and age eight to 10 weeks. Will improve with more aging, up to about a year. Serve at 50 °F (10 ºC) in a wide-mouthed, stemmed chalice.

Extract with grains option:
Reduce the 2-row pale malt in the all-grain recipe to 2 lbs. (0.91 kg) and add 3 lbs. (1.4 kg) light dried malt extract and 3.9 lbs. (1.8 kg) light liquid malt extract. Heat 3 qts. (~3 L) water to 161 °F (72 ºC). Crush Pilsner malt and add to liquor. Steep at 150 °F (66 °C) for 45 minutes. Rinse grains with 1.5 qts. (~1.5 L) of water at 170 °F (77 ºC). Add water to “grain tea” to make 3 gallons (11 L), add dried malt extract and sugar, stir well and bring to a boil. Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops as directed in ingredient list. Stir in liquid malt extract with 15 minutes left in the boil. Follow the remaining portion of the all-grain recipe.


Issue: November 2000

The quintessential Trappist tripel, Westmalle is very pale, very strong, and wonderfully smooth. One of the brewhouse techniques that makes the Westmalle beers unique is the use of direct gas flames on the copper kettles. This creates hot spots that may caramelize the wort slightly, giving a faint burnt-sugar taste to the beers. The beers are also brewed with very hard water, which certainly contributes to the character of the tripel.