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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Is Aging Necessary for a Belgian Golden Strong Ale?
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:33 PM   #1
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Default Is Aging Necessary for a Belgian Golden Strong Ale?

Hi, I'm thinking of brewing a Belgian Golden Strong Ale for the first time. I'm getting conflicting info on whether it is necessary or preferable to age it. Those who have brewed this style, what is your experience for when it is ready to drink? I like to plan out my brewing schedule for the next few months and it would help to know whether I need to include some aging time for this. Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-22-2012, 09:40 PM   #2
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I've only brewed one, but I was drinking them for years before I started brewing. This style is why I started brewing. I figured if yeast, water, pilsner malt, and sugar could make great beer, how hard could it be?

Depends on what you mean by aging. Needs to be lagered. After lagering and once it's bottle conditioned, it needs 4 to 6 weeks in the cellar. Then the beer should be in it's prime, IMO. I've had Duvel that's been cellared for several years, it's not bad, but not nearly as good as it is fresh. As one of the hoppier traditional Belgian styles, the beer isn't intended for long term storage.

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Old 12-23-2012, 12:32 AM   #3
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The cellaring time is what I meant - thanks for your insight, that's helpful.

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Old 12-23-2012, 04:21 PM   #4
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I haven't been brewing for long but I have a Belgian Golden Strong (7% abv) that's been on tap for 11 months. A few months ago I noticed that it started drinking really good, maybe the 6 month point. I cold crashed it but did not lager it prior to kegging. So at least with this batch time seams to have made it better.

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Old 12-23-2012, 05:17 PM   #5
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Belgian beers do benefit from some aging. The bigger the beer the longer.

I brew Belgians often and I find that Belgian yeasts do develop flavors with time. I usually begin tasting them at 2 months but about 4 months in they really change. I have several that are as old as 2 years and they are great. I bottle half in12 oz bottle to drink younger and the other half in bombers for long term aging. I am always amazed how they change. The darker the beer the better they age. I find that tripels do well younger and BDSA's can age for a very long time.

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Old 12-23-2012, 05:30 PM   #6
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I have a quick question regarding the lagering. I brewed up Northern Brewers Begian Golden Strong Ale recipe and have now had it in the bottles for about a month. I didnt know that I was supposed to lager it though, as it was not mentioned in any of their instructions. Will this effect the quality of my brew, and also should I maybe let the bottles cold condition for a while after fully carbing up? Just trying to make the most of this big, strong (and expensive) batch of beer.

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Old 12-23-2012, 06:07 PM   #7
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I have a question about the lagering of this type of beer. I brewed a Trippel in Feb.'012. I racked it to secondary in early April. I kegged it at the end of June for a July wedding, but it was to "green" to drink so it didn't go to the wedding. It sat in the keg, lightly carbed until September when we started drinking it. I came very close to dumping this several times but it ended up tasting really good and got a lot of positive comments. The recipe didn't call for any extended aging but alot I had read said it should stay in the secondary for 6-12 months! In my case it just kept getting better. YMMV.
About the lagering, do you lager in the secondary or are you refering to cold conditioning in the bottle/keg? I haven't seen much about lagering an ale.
Thanks.

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Old 12-23-2012, 06:19 PM   #8
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I often just let it sit in the primary for a couple of months and bottle. Set them in my basement to age for a few more months. Then give them a good amount. of time in the fridge before drinking. I think the bottle conditioning is the key. The longer in the bottle the more they improve.

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Old 12-23-2012, 07:56 PM   #9
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all stronger beers generally Benift greatly from ageing, to me its just a rule of thumb

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Old 12-23-2012, 09:46 PM   #10
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Everyone had their own opinion and that's fine, I'm just going off of the procedure outlined for Duvel in Brew Like a Monk.

I fermented in a 6 or 6.5, when that was cold crashed and transferred to a 5g and lagered 30 days. Bottle condition, then cellar 4 to 6 weeks. At this point regardless of abv, this style is ready and really won't improve with long term cellaring. It should be very clear and smooth from the month of lagering and another month plus I the cellar. Additional aging will result in loss of hop flavor.

I'm not sure about lagering a tripel, but this is another higher abv Belgian that is meant to be drank fresh. An aged tripel is never as good as a fresh bottle.

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