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Old 11-01-2012, 04:34 PM   #1
BudzAndSudz
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Default Let's talk belgian!

So I'm gearing up to brew my spring beer, which I'm thinking will be a Belgian along the lines of a strong golden or a tripel. I can't really find a clearly defined difference between the two styles, nor does it bother me much, because Duvel and Chimay White are both excellent beers (I also LOVED Damnation from Russian River). Plus it seems to me that their recipes are most likely very similar, with the yeast and fermentation parameters being the primary differences.

Anyhow, I'm finding the selection of Belgian strains on White Labs page to be a bit overwhelming. I've narrowed it down (I think) to either 500, 530, or 510. It's interesting because the reviews for 510 make it sound fantastic, but apparently it originated from Orval which I found to be by far my least favorite of all the Belgians I've tried. Fusol alcohols way overwhelmed the rest of the beer. That might be their style though, and not just a guaranteed result from that yeast.

Thoughts?

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Old 11-01-2012, 04:51 PM   #2
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If you want to talk about competition guidelines, it's really nicely spelled out at the BJCP site: http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style18.php#1c
But before you say anything, yes, they're very similar styles. The most important quote from that selection is:

"[A Golden Strong Ale] Strongly resembles a Tripel, but may be even paler, lighter-bodied and even crisper and drier. The drier finish and lighter body also serves to make the assertive hopping and spiciness more prominent."

GSA covers a WIDER range of gravity, so typically more alcohol (higher OG AND lower FG), both use similar ingredients and a fair portion of sugar, but the GSA will be more assertively spicy and hoppy, while the Tripel will be more delicate and champagne like. The GSA is always lighter in color, as well.

Another great way would be to taste the differences! The quintessential Tripel is Chimay White, and the quintessential GSA is Duvel.

As for yeasts, you're really probably looking more at WLP500 (from the Chimay brewery) and WLP570 (From Duvel). Have you see this chart: http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/BelgianYeastStrains.pdf ?

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Old 11-01-2012, 05:00 PM   #3
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Here is a great resource for different yeasts. I lists the yeasts and which brewers use them. It covers both White Labs and Wyeast.

http://www.mrmalty.com/yeast.htm

daksin is right, the two he recommended seem to fit what you are looking for.

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Old 11-01-2012, 05:03 PM   #4
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Use JP Oro De Calabaza dregs and make a sour BSGA, forget the White Labs =P

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Old 11-01-2012, 06:24 PM   #5
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Duh, you're both right. I meant to type WLP500, WLP530, and WLP570 but for some reason I typed 510 on that last one. So basically it's the two that you both suggested, but plus 530 because I think it's got promise.

Beergolf- that's a page I've had bookmarked for quite some time, and I read it very thoroughly before making this thread

Daskin - I've had them both, loved them both. It's like choosing a favorite child or asking if you'd rather go on a date with Salma Hayek or Catherine Zeta Jones. Different flavors, both are oh so wonderful.

Honestly though, I couldn't really pinpoint the differences to the styles as much as the breweries and the yeasts.

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Old 11-01-2012, 08:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BudzAndSudz View Post
Honestly though, I couldn't really pinpoint the differences to the styles as much as the breweries and the yeasts.
That makes sense. Take a look at Michael Jackson's description of Duvel. There is something about Duvel that makes it different from other beers. Other breweries have attempted to capture that quality, and those beers get grouped together as "Belgian Golden Strong." So while you may not get credit for this answer on a BJCP test, if someone asked you to describe the difference between a Belgian Golden Strong and a Tripel, it might be accurate to say, "A Belgian Golden Strong should taste more like Duvel than Chimay White."
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HerbieHowells View Post
That makes sense. Take a look at Michael Jackson's description of Duvel. There is something about Duvel that makes it different from other beers. Other breweries have attempted to capture that quality, and those beers get grouped together as "Belgian Golden Strong." So while you may not get credit for this answer on a BJCP test, if someone asked you to describe the difference between a Belgian Golden Strong and a Tripel, it might be accurate to say, "A Belgian Golden Strong should taste more like Duvel than Chimay White."
A very good point. This is definitely one of the blurriest lines in all of BJCP.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:27 PM   #8
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I find trippel's to have more banana characteristics, while BSGA's tend to be a little more citrusy. The fruitiness is there in both, but I find that of a Trippel to be less harsh. Both are fantastic styles, and I'm not sure those descriptors are used in the BJCP guidelines, but who really cares about those guidelines (rhetorical)?

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Old 11-02-2012, 08:18 AM   #9
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If you're curious, do a split batch to try different yeasts. It's what I'm doing this weekend; brewing a Tripel and splitting into 3 fermenters, and pitching WLP530, WLP545 and WLP570. Only difference will be the yeast, so a good chance to taste the difference.

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Old 11-02-2012, 02:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattHollingsworth View Post
If you're curious, do a split batch to try different yeasts. It's what I'm doing this weekend; brewing a Tripel and splitting into 3 fermenters, and pitching WLP530, WLP545 and WLP570. Only difference will be the yeast, so a good chance to taste the difference.
Unfortunately, I really dislike that method, although I have done it in the past. I enjoy experiencing exactly what the yeasts can contribute to an ale, but I immensely dislike finding out which one is my favorite, and then wishing I had 10 more gallons of that, instead of two sub-par batches with the inferior yeast. I just did it with my Oktoberfest, and I was left with 10 gallons of excellent beer, and 5 gallons of beer that I wish was excellent. :/
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