How To Create Your Own Belgian Tripel Beer Recipe

As homebrewers we want to emulate a delicious beer that we have enjoyed in the past. Then, we really want to make it our own. Follow these steps to craft your very own Belgian Tripel recipe.

  1. Start with a base recipe that you really enjoy.
  2. Learn the grain build and adapt the flavor.
  3. Hops are for counteracting sweetness and play a minor role.
  4. Pick a yeast that can handle the high alcohol percentage.
  5. Bottle condition it.

It seems like a really simple process, but when you look at the insane number of ingredients and proportions that can be used, it gets a little overwhelming.

Start with a Popular Base Recipe

Belgian Tripel’s are a very light bodied, and pale in color beer. They end up being slightly hazy because of the yeast. The flavors are a bit spicy and fruity. Overall these beers are created for special occasions and are a sure fire way to have a fun evening.

There are a number of amazing Belgian Tripel beers that you can buy in the store. Allagash brewing makes a great one. Or you can go more old school and find a Trappist ale.

Below are a few examples of popular Belgian Tripels

  • Westmalle Trappist Tripel
  • La Fin Du Monde
  • Curieux from Allagash
  • Golden Falcon Belgian Tripel
  • Piraat

Once you have chosen your recipe base it will be time to adapt it. The first step to adapting your recipe is to learn what other recipes utilize to achieve certain flavor profiles.

The Grain Build and Variations

If you are new to brewing all grain, check out my beginner article on all-grain brewing to learn how.

Grain is split into various parts, you have your base malts and specialty malts. There are also adjuncts other than specialty malts that can be added as well like corn or oats, although these are generally not added to a base Belgian beer.

Base Malt

You will typically use one malt as a base. These are Pilsner or Pilsen style malts. Base Malt should be kept consistent, once you establish a base line of flavor you can begin adding a variety of specialty malts to tweak the flavor profile.

Below are a few examples of various malt bases that you can use. You will notice there are tons of different types of Pilsner and Pilsen malts. Go ahead and pick any that have Belgian to start with in the name.

  • White wheat malt
  • Belgian Pilsner Malt
  • Weyermann German Bohemian Pilsner Malt
  • Rahr Premium Pilsner Malt
  • 2 row malt if you want more of an American tripel.

A great malt to start with is a typical Belgian Pilsner Malt, don’t worry if you cant find it at your local homebrew shop or online, you will be able to substitute it with a variety of Pilsner Malts.

The key is once you have decided on a source and type of malt is to keep it the same as you change other parts of your recipe.

Specialty Malt

Specialty malts help with head retention and add color and flavor to your beer. Tripels are light in color with fruity and dry notes. Pick malts that compliment the style.

You can add a few percentages of other various malts to add to the overall profile. For example the Golden Falcon Belgian Tripel uses 8 oz of victory malt and 8 oz of aromatic malt.

Piraat clones use 4oz of Aromatic malt as well. This makes me think using a small amount of aromatic malt types is standard practice.

Below is an example of some various malts you can use.

  • Victory Malt adds warmth to light ales and a dry complexity
  • Aromatic Malt creates a smooth clean and dry finish, provides a malty flavor.
  • Caramel Crystal Malt adds a light Caramel sweetness and honey taste.

You will want to stay away from any of the darker colored malts or anything highly roasted. This will take away from the clean and clear finish of a Belgian Tripel.

Specialty malts will have an L next to the number. This stands for Lovibond. Lovibond refers to the color. You will generally want the lower Lovibond number when brewing a tripel.

At the end of the day read the descriptions of the specialty malts you purchase and buy the ones that have the tripel profile you want. I tend to like mine to be a little bit dry and with a honey sweetness.


The proportions are really up to you. Its generally good to slowly start small with specialty malts and increase it as a percentage of your total grain bill. So start between 6 and 10 percent of specialty malts. Make sure your grain bill sits at around 15 lbs.

Straight Sugar an Important Part of Belgian Beer

While not a grain sugar is part of the malt bill. You can typically use a pound of normal table sugar, or if you want to spend the extra money you can get some fancy Belgian candi sugar.

The main purpose of the sugar is to add to the fermentable sugars without increasing the heaviness of the beer. The yeast interacting with this style of sugar will create those fruity esters that are famous with Belgian beer.

Hops are Taking a Backseat

Without hops this beer would be far too sweet. Its up to the hops to balance the sweetness with a bitter flavor. The hops are there to counteract the overly sweet characteristics.

That’s why its best to keep the IBU low and there are a few hops that can be used during the boil.

  • Saaz used for finishing with a delicate floral aroma.
  • Tettnanger has a citrus like fruitiness and imparts earthy qualities
  • Styrian– Goldings adds a spicy aroma with some sweetness.
  • Hallertau creates a mild aroma that is fruity, spicy, and flowery.

Pick one of the hops above to use as your main bittering agent. This will be used for the overall style of tripel you want and added at the boil. You can then add another hop near the end of the boil and 10 or 15 minutes, to add more of the aroma and flavor.

Pick the cheaper hop to use at the beginning of the boil then the one that you want to be more prominent in the beer at the end. Saaz is popular for the end to give it that floral aroma.

I would use a fruity hop like Tettnanger at the beginning then add it Styrian to get a spicy aroma.

You typically won’t dry hop a Belgian tripel so anything that adds more aroma when dry hopping isn’t really necessary.

Spices Can be Fun, But Don’t Overdo it

You really don’t need to add any spices to a Belgian in fact it can fight for flavor in a finished beer. It may leave tasters confused or even upset. But a perfectly balanced spice can add complexity and differentiate you from everyone else.

The prevailing spice in a Belgian beer is coriander, but it is by no means the only spice that you can use.

You can get really creative here since it will make your beer stand out among the rest. You really need to look at the overall profile of your beer before you begin tinkering here.

Yeast, hops and specialty grains will add to your flavor so make sure you are not overdoing any particular flavor, or have any that clash. For example I don’t know if I would want to add cinnamon to a tripel that already had yeast that created a lot of spice.

You don’t need large amounts of spice either. Half a teaspoon to a teaspoon is really enough spice for any beer. Especially if you are using less hops and a light bodied grain build.

Steps During the Boil

The boil is important for adding hops, spices and sugar. This is where you will balance bitterness with sweetness.

Beginning Boil

At the start of the boil throw in your base hops for bittering along with your sugar and spice if you choose to add one. This should start the clock at 60 minutes. Next you will throw in your flavor and aroma hop at 15-5 minutes from the end of the boil, or after 45 minutes have passed.

You can use a cheaper hop as your base at the beginning of the boil. You can use a higher quality more expensive hop near the end. This hop will be the prevailing characteristic so choose a hop that you want to shine.

Typically a 60 minute brew for Belgian Tripel is fine. You can increase the boil to 90 minutes if you want your brew to be more concentrated and higher efficiency.

Since the beer is already going to achieve high ABV you should stick to a 60 minute boil.

Finishing the Boil

You will want to add Irish moss near the end of the boil. Preferably 15 minutes before the boil is over. This will help prevent chill haze by accelerating protein coagulation.

If you still notice a bit of cloudiness in your beer after using Irish moss its typically due to some active yeast in the bottle or keg. You can get rid of this by letting it settle and condition over a few more weeks.

Yeast Choice

Yeast is probably the most important part of a tripel since it is where much of the fruity esters are derived from. Yeast works in conjunction with the sugar to make the beer fruity.

Belgian Tripel beer is typically around 9%. So you will need a yeast that can tolerate higher alcohol levels. The Trappist style yeasts have been perfectly developed to handle the higher levels, although there are many others that can handle it, but give a different flavor.

Anything that has a European sounding monastery or Trappist name will likely be a good fit. Once you take a look at the various styles of yeast, zero in on the ones that denote the fruity flavor you want to achieve from your sugars.

Here are a few examples of some I find interesting

Because of the large amount of extra sugar involved in brewing a Belgian beer you will either want to add two packets of yeast or make a starter. Making a starter will save you a ton of cash if you plan on making a tripel every month.

It’s also important not to under pitch your yeast if you are brewing a big beer.

I also thought it might be interesting to add two different strains of yeast to add more than one fruity profile. I think its best to stick to one strain when first starting out though. It can be very complicated.

If you did decide to try you would want to use two different fermentation vessels and then mix the two once fermentation is complete.

Primary Fermentation Only

You should not need to do a secondary fermentation. Although if you really want to you can. The cons of secondary fermentation are many and typically outweigh the pros.

Some reasons you might want to do secondary fermentation include:

  • Getting a clear beer with less sediment
  • Letting the flavors settle
  • You want to dry hop for aroma

Belgian tripels are tend to have less inputs and sediment so its not really necessary. Most of the reasons you would use to secondary are already achieved by the type of yeast that you are using.

Fermentation Temperature and Length

You should keep the temperature at around 70 F. You might be able to get away with not using a chest fridge for this style of beer although if you want to get it as clear as possible you will need to cold crash it to 35 F.

Make sure you leave more head space when a Belgian Tripel is fermenting. There will be a lot of activity. A bucket may be better than a carboy.

You can leave a Belgian Tripel to ferment for 2 weeks or up to a month. Just check your gravity to see if it has changed any over a one week time period. If the gravity remains unchanged then it is done.

Bottle Conditioning

Belgian beer is famously bottle conditioned. They often have high levels of carbonation once opened. The reason for this is because new yeast is often added to the bottling process.

The yeast had been working very hard during the fermentation stage and needs a little bit extra power to carbonate the bottles.

You don’t need to add extra yeast to the bottling process if you don’t want the carbonation to be overly harsh. I will likely skip the extra yeast unless I find the carbonation in a certain build not to my liking.

You might be able to get away with adding yeast nutrient initially and saving money on another package of yeast when bottling.


Hey, I'm the the creator of I have been brewing beer since 2013 and started by brewing in my parents home. I have written copy on numerous websites. Most notably Seeking Alpha, where I analyze small cap publicly traded companies. I have also written content for and

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