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Old 03-02-2011, 06:35 AM   #1
DannPM
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Default Belgians...Everytime!!

All but two of the batches I've ever done are Belgians.

Tripels, Dubbels, Golden and Pale Ales, Saisons...They are all just so delicious and have so much character, such variety even within the style. Then there's Belgian Specialty Ales, oh such delicious beers, like Orval!

Sometimes I wonder why anyone would want to brew anything but a Belgian!

Anyone else here brew within a certain style almost every time? Am I just crazy?

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Old 03-02-2011, 02:55 PM   #2
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I switch it up with styles but I always have a good Belgian or two around for good measure.

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Old 03-02-2011, 04:57 PM   #3
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I have been getting more and more into Belgians. St Bernardus Abt 12 is my all time favorite beer!!!
I will be brewing the Northern Brewers Tripel extract kit next week.
What has been your favorite that you have done?

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Old 03-02-2011, 06:54 PM   #4
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I definitely have a few favorites that I brew again and again. One of those is a Belgian wit that is a real crowd pleaser. As far as the "one offs," Belgian styles constantly make it into the queue. They are just such interesting beers and ones that encourage experimentation.

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Old 03-02-2011, 07:07 PM   #5
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Can you guys describe what you like about belgians? Are there certain characteristics that just do it for you? What do you look for in a good belgian ale? (I realize just saying "a belgian" is incredibly vague, but I'm trying to generalize).

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Old 03-02-2011, 08:00 PM   #6
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It's really a family of beers more than anything else. If I had to choose one defining characteristic, though, it would be beers that rely on yeast as an important element of flavor. There are obviously exceptions to this rule--hefeweizens come to mind--but it is a good guiding principle. Belgian yeast strains throw off phenolic, tart/sour, and spicy flavors that are typically discouraged in other styles. In "Belgians," though, they are celebrated and part of what makes those beers unique.

Another defining characteristic of Belgian styles is the encouragement to experiment and push limits. Spices, fruit, odd ingredients, intentional souring...it's all good in these beers. Again, it's not a hard and fast rule, but a useful guiding principle.

If you think of the most common examples of Beligan brews, it becomes clear. Tripel, dubbel, quadrupel, witbier, saison, lambic... All of those rely to a significant extent on yeast-created flavors. Even Belgian Pale Ales intentionally incorporate tartness from the yeast.

Just my $0.02.

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Old 03-02-2011, 11:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxam View Post
Can you guys describe what you like about belgians? Are there certain characteristics that just do it for you? What do you look for in a good belgian ale? (I realize just saying "a belgian" is incredibly vague, but I'm trying to generalize).
heywolfie1015 said it wonderfully above. To add my own 2 cents it's that yeast character that goes so well, and the variety, and just everything about how it tastes so strongly in such a complex and delightful way compared to other beers IMO. It's very distinct for me and just has that something extra that others beers can't get near to IMO as well.
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxam View Post
Can you guys describe what you like about belgians? Are there certain characteristics that just do it for you? What do you look for in a good belgian ale? (I realize just saying "a belgian" is incredibly vague, but I'm trying to generalize).
Belgian beers are 99% of the time yeast derived in flavor. Lots of spicy phenolics and fruity esters. Because of the yeast used, the temperatures at which the beer is fermented and typical dryness of Belgian ales, they tend to be very complex and big in flavor.

For me I look for good balance. A beer without too much of any one character, but everything in it's place. A good dark strong should be warm and slightly perfumy with alcohol, followed by hints of orange peel and cherries and a nice clove-like pepperiness at the back... and all of that going on in a fairly dry (1.010) beer.

Unibroue (even though they're not Belgians) make some of the best Belgian style ales around. Probably my all time favorite commercial beer period is La Fin Du Monde which is a tripel. Trois Pistoles is a Strong Dark Ale as is their Maudite.
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:17 AM   #9
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Those are brewed in Quebec -- french part of Canada -- how do you get hold of them if you are in Texas.

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Unibroue (even though they're not Belgians) make some of the best Belgian style ales around. Probably my all time favorite commercial beer period is La Fin Du Monde which is a tripel. Trois Pistoles is a Strong Dark Ale as is their Maudite.
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Old 03-03-2011, 01:07 AM   #10
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Back when I started brewing (in college before the modern internet) there were limited knowledge bases to draw from. Fermentation temp was a blind spot to me. My little apartment in Florida got REAL hot. I wound up brewing Belgians because everything I brewed tasted Belgian anyway.

Those were the days. I had a fermenter I called the Drunk Tank. It was sort of a brewers compost heap. I'd fill it with whatever I had on hand and let it ferment a couple days (high temps = fast ferment), and rack off a gallon or so when I needed hooch. Then I'd top it off with whatever brewing scraps I had left over (DME, mashed gains, honey, fruit juice, even plain table sugar in times of dearth). It would get emptied at "high trub mark" and the whole ungodly process would begin again.

It all sounds primative and horrible, but in those days I was physically fit, filling my head with knowledge, and enjoying the company of pretty women. Now that life is "better" and my beer is better, I find myself looking around me and wondering out loud, "What the hell happened???"

Sorry for the thread drift - Belgian beers are great.

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