Homebrew Recipe: Orange Blossom Honey Tripel

A recipe to try…

Orange Blossom Tripel

Target OG: 1.080

Target IBU: 30


Shopping list:

      • Grain. 12 lbs. Belgian Pilsner Malt
      • Hops. 3 oz. Saaz
      • Yeast. A liquid Trappist or Abbey-style ale strain of your choice. I’m using Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity Ale.
      • Honey. 2 lbs orange blossom honey. Save for day 2-3 of fermentation.

Related Post: Intro to Aging Beer

Key Points for Key Pints:

  • Good yeast, lots of it. Like many Belgian styles, Tripel is about the yeast. Authentic Belgian and Trappist-style strains are readily available and will give optimal results. Propagating a starter is non-optional today!
  • Fingernail polish remover is for hands, not beer. In a well-brewed example, the alcohol profile of a Tripel is subtle and never harsh, burny, or solvent-like. Besides pitching plenty of yeast, give the cooled wort plenty of O2 prior to inoculation and keep a leash on the fermentation temperature. Fermenting a beer like this too warm will produce unpleasant tasting fusels and higher alcohols, which is a common defect in homebrewed Tripels. Consult the manufacturer specs for the recommended temperature range of your chosen yeast strain and try to err on the low side.
  • No orange blossom honey? Try another light, fruity varietal. Clover or basswood would be my top picks for a substitute.
  • Be ready for blow-off. Some of my favorite Trappist-style strains are top-croppers, which is usually just another way of saying have at least 33% headspace in your primary fermenter or else just start out with a blow-off hose right away.

To the homebrewer:

Note: these steps are general guidelines and assume you’re already familiar with the all-grain brewing process – refer to the instructions for your brew system, and adjust as needed based on experience with your own particular equipment.


1.    Make a yeast starter prior to brew day. This is a big beer and will need lots of yeast

2.    On brew day, collect strike water and heat to approximately 158°F

3.    Mill the grains, or have it done for you at the shop

 honey bee color

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  1. Are you using pasteurized honey for this recipe? Wouldn’t adding honey like this introduce wild yeasts and other undesirables?

    • Good question Malty Dog,

      Pasteurized honey would be an option, but not strictly necessary.

      Honey is naturally a hostile environment to wild yeast and other beer-spoiling microorganisms – if it wasn’t, it would ferment on the shelf. Its high sugar content and low moisture content inhibit microbial growth.

      Plus, the rising alcohol content and dropping pH of the already-underway fermentation will further inhibit microbial activity.

      -Michael Dawson

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