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Old 12-11-2011, 02:26 PM   #1
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Default I can't stop brewing Belgians....

It seems lately that all I want to brew are Belgians. Trippels, Dubbels, Blondes, Wits, Pale Ales, you name it. I feel like my AG process is starting to get pretty decent as I'm turning out some good stuff, but I'm sure I have a lot more to learn. Brew Like a Monk is my next book to pick up.

If you brew a lot of Belgians and have any tips on perfecting them, I'd love to hear from you.



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Old 12-11-2011, 02:37 PM   #2
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I have a quad that has been aging on cherries for 8 months, 10 gallons of an orval clone that I took 5 gallons and am souring it and it's sitting on 3lbs of peaches, have a tripple kegged, have a farmhouse sweet potato saison bottled, and will be doing 2 more belgians this month. I've found that yeast and fermentation temp is the biggest player in the final outcome. IMHO



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Just buy a small swimming pool, throw everything in and mash it. Then open ferment in another swimming pool with all the yeast.
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Old 12-11-2011, 02:51 PM   #3
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IMO all belgian style ales should be bottle conditioned. Force carbonation of Belgians is going to impair the yeasty goodness. I suppose you could age your belgian and then force carbonate but bottle conditioning allows the ales to mature.

In Belgium it's possible to get 20 year old bottles of Chimay that were properly stored. I can only imagine the fun of uncorking one of those. I'm a big fan of the Saison yeast. It dries out fast and drops clear quickly. It loves the heat and doesn't get nasty off flavors at 90 degrees. It just gets better.

The Saison makes a lovely lower gravity beer. I'd rather have a 5.0ABV dry saison over an IPA any day of the week. Good luck. Have fun.

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Old 12-11-2011, 02:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by smalliewader View Post
It seems lately that all I want to brew are Belgians. Trippels, Dubbels, Blondes, Wits, Pale Ales, you name it. I feel like my AG process is starting to get pretty decent as I'm turning out some good stuff, but I'm sure I have a lot more to learn. Brew Like a Monk is my next book to pick up.

If you brew a lot of Belgians and have any tips on perfecting them, I'd love to hear from you.
Dude, How is it that you have been brewing Belgians without this book

Great book I highly recommend.

I'm like you right now, the only thing on my mind is Belgians. I just brewed a triple last night and the week before a dubbel. My next beer will be a stout with Belgian yeast.

I'm trying out different things right now with fermentation temps. One of the tips I read from that book is that at Westmalle brewers pitch yeast at 64 degrees, then hold at 68 for the primary before lagering for 3 to 4 weeks. I currently have my triple at 68 after a week I'll take a reading and decide to lager or not. I plan to separate the 5.5 gallon batch into two 3 gal better bottle carboys. One of which will go in my fridge to hold at 53, the other in my basement at 62. I would like to try this to see the difference.
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:07 PM   #5
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Personally I am a big fan of Goose Island Beers, not all of their beers are Belgium but a lot of them are. I took find myself brewing a lot of Abby Beers and reading and reviewing the different types of brews. I just got done making some Strong Ale (blonde) , and next week I’m going to use the yeast cake and make another 10 gallons of two other different types of BSA. Love all of them, we should all get together and travel oversea and sample some.

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Old 12-11-2011, 03:12 PM   #6
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I love Belgians also. I brew them often.

You definitely need to get a copy of Brew Like a Monk.

The one thing that I can recommend is being very patient when brewing Belgians. Belgian yeasts can take their time. I do not even check my fermenter for at least 4-6 weeks and have even let them go longer. Then give them plenty of time to bottle condition. The flavor does change a lot (and for the better) with time. Now I usually don,t even take the first taste until 2 months in the bottle. The wait is worth it.

One of the first ones I brewed, I bottled half in 12 oz bottles and The rest in 22oz. I drank the 12 oz bottles prettly quickly and they were pretty good. I kind of forgot about the 22 oz bottle for several months. Now I am so pissed that I drank the first part of the batch so soon. It matured into an awsome beer.

Temp control can really change the flavor also. I have been pitching yeast at the low end or even slightly lower for the recommended temp and slowly let it rise during fermentation. I got that tip from BLAM. It has been working great for me.

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Old 12-11-2011, 03:44 PM   #7
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my last golden
...
11lbs Belgian Pils
2 lbs Corn Sugar (Dextrose)
8 oz Belgian Wheat
8 oz Honey

60 mins 0.5 Hallertau
60 mins 1.0 Styrian Goldings
30 mins 0.5 Hallertau
30 mins 0.5 Saaz
30 mins 1.0 Styrian Goldings
91 mins 0.5 Saaz

White Labs Belgian Golden Ale WLP570
or
White Labs Belgian Style Ale Blend WLP575

.5 oz Coriander, crushed
1 tsp Grains of Paradise
8 oz Honey, Orange Blossum
1 tsp Orange zest - Seville/sour

ABV 8.5% approx

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Old 12-11-2011, 03:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smalliewader View Post
Brew Like a Monk is my next book to pick up.
I recommend you get the whole series:

Brew Like monk
Farmhouse Ales
Wild Brews

Amazon have good prices on the books, + free shipping (over $25).

- High fermentation temperatures
- Do not rush
- High amounts of simple sugars.
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:54 PM   #9
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I am kind of burned out on the west coast hop bombs, IPAs, DIPAs, etc. and have found a real joy in playing with the subtlties of the Belgian Ales and German lagers.

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Old 12-11-2011, 04:04 PM   #10
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I'm working on the aging part. My first Dubbel didn't get past two months in the bottle. This batch is going to age. I'm building the Belgian pipeline right now. Brewing some wits and more simple belgain ales that we can enjoy on the younger side while the others age.

The current Trippel and wit are in a cold room holding around 64°, I will move them to a warmer room after a week or so where they will be more in the 72-74° range.



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