Originally Posted by meadowstream
I think I disagree about dark candi syrup providing nearly all this beer style's flavor and color. I have bought some CSI product to test this in November, but already I brew what I think are outstanding Belgian dubbels without using any syrup at all. These taste, IMO, just like Chimay or Westmalle but maybe fresher. I use chocolate malt and aromatic and some crystal malt.
Now maybe the Westvleteren is different - I have never had it, so I don't know.
Anyway, I fully acknowledge that I could be wrong and certainly someone jumped on me higher up in this forum for suggesting that syrup was not critical. (this criticism is what is prompting me to experiment with CSI products.)
According to Stan Hironymous (sp.?) in BLAM;
you cannot brew a true Belgian style beer without sugar because part of the charicteristics of those styles ( strong ales) is the relatively low body for the high alcohol. This cannot be achieved with malt alone, regardless of mash temps.
Not to say you can't brew some really good beers w/o it, just not true Belgian style strong's.