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Old 01-22-2013, 08:48 PM   #1
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Default Belgian Aging

Why do Belgian beers require such a long time conditioning in the bottle to develop that classic yeast flavor. How do the Belgian breweries get them to market so fast when mine need to sit for up to four months to develop yeast flavor

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Old 01-22-2013, 09:55 PM   #2
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The yeast flavor is generated during fermentation- how are you treating your yeast (temperature, pitching rates, oxygen etc)?. Aging helps clear the beer and allow some flavors to meld a bit with the bigger beers, but no flavor is generated during that time.

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Old 01-23-2013, 01:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by daksin
The yeast flavor is generated during fermentation- how are you treating your yeast (temperature, pitching rates, oxygen etc)?. Aging helps clear the beer and allow some flavors to meld a bit with the bigger beers, but no flavor is generated during that time.
I pitch at 68 and let rise to high 70's over a week
Use mr malty for pitch rate
For oxygen i just shake it and use yeast nutriant

Keep in primary for 2 weeks and secondary month with cold crash for week
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtp137 View Post
I pitch at 68 and let rise to high 70's over a week
Use mr malty for pitch rate
For oxygen i just shake it and use yeast nutriant

Keep in primary for 2 weeks and secondary month with cold crash for week
Are you using length of time to determine the transfer from primary to secondary or gravity readings? You may want to actually transfer to secondary quicker than what you are doing and then actually lager your beer at around 45-50 degrees F to get the best performance out of your yeast. Belgian yeast works very quickly and tends to excel profile-wise when given a short primary and extended lagering phase.

However... What problems are you specifically having? Belgians yeasts are usually robust enough to still produce good beer even when "mishandled." (ie - wide range of acceptable fermenting temperatures)

EDIT: I just read when you said "Over a week..." That is probably a bit lengthy and will result in a lot of funky sulphur. I assume that is the problem you are having? Shorter primary - longer secondary (lager) is what I recommend if that is the case.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:33 AM   #5
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I cant really taste the yeast flavor untill the beer is carbed for 3 to 4 months. The beer is good but doesnt have tha much flavor.

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:38 PM   #6
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Belgian yeasts are different than most ale yeasts you are used to. Dave Logsdon of Wyeast says " Belgian yeasts have a lot in common with wine yeasts.".

The yeast just seems to take time to fully develop the flavor much like wine does. I brew a lot of Belgians and find they really start to come into their own at about 4 months. I usually bottle half in 12 oz bottles to drink on the younger side. I start tasting them at 2 months. The other half gets bottled in 22oz bottles to put in the cellar to age. I have some that have been aging for up to 2 years. I am always amazed how they change with time. I had one that was close to two years old the other day..VERY NICE.

Another thingto consider is that most Belgian brews tend to be pretty big beers. Big beers need more aging too. So combine the high gravity and the use of Belgian yeast and that explains the need for aging.

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:45 PM   #7
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Chimay cellars their beers for about a year before they are shipped out to be sold IIRC. And I imagine a few big Belgian breweries do the same. Beergolf is dead on with his observations that is exactly what I have experienced too. Especially with my BDSAs (my favorite Belgian style). They seem to take about a year to get really good and just seem to get better and better in the time following.

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Old 01-23-2013, 10:00 PM   #8
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Beergolf is dead on with his observations that is exactly what I have experienced too. Especially with my BDSAs (my favorite Belgian style). They seem to take about a year to get really good and just seem to get better and better in the time following.
Until someone experiences the change they go through they really have a hard time understanding just how much they do change. I still have two bottles of the first Belgian I brewed 2 years ago. Part of me wants to drink them but part of me wants to save them even longer. I will be sad when they are gone.

I am pissed that I drank up a lot of my earlier Belgians too fast, before I really understood what aging does to them. I still have a few bottles of every one that I brewed, but if I knew how they improved I would have kept more of them for longer. Now at least a case of Bombers don't even get touched for at least 6 months.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:40 PM   #9
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Especially with my BDSAs
What is BDSA? I hate acronyms...
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I fermented a brown ale at 80 degrees for two weeks. At the end my beer tasted like a belgium tripple not a brown but it was a damn good belgium tripple.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:46 PM   #10
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What is BDSA? I hate acronyms...
Belgian Dark Strong Ale.

Acronyms save typing.
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