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Old 08-27-2010, 08:51 PM   #1
Butcher
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Default What sets Belgian style beers apart from every other style?

I ask because Ive tried multiple different Belgian style beers and have never liked one of them. What is it in these beers that I dont like? Is it grains, what kind?
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:54 PM   #2
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one word - yeast
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
one word - yeast
+1. And I don't like them either. Although I have tried some of the more dry (very very dry) Belgians (and also with a large absence of unfermentable sugars) that weren't so damn sweet. And they were incredible.
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:12 AM   #4
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I think it's one of those "to each, his own" things. Kind of like how some guys like blondes, other guys prefer redheads, and then there's those guys who love the sultry exotic brunettes.

I love most Belgian styles, but I'm not a big fan of brettanomyces or any of the Belgian styles aged in or with oak. (Like Goose Island's "Sofie" - when I tasted some "on tap" recently it was even more "eh" than the bottled version - to me it smelled like pencil shavings)

So maybe it's some funk in the yeast you're picking up on, the yeasts that produce the bubblegum / banana esters can be really overpowering if you're used to dry / bitter brews.

Could be the sweetness too, I have had some dubbels that have been almost syrupy and not easy to drink.

Could be the carbonation. Some of the Belgian styles are highly carbed (Unibroue always seems to be crazy carbonated - and while I love this about them I've had friends who can't finish one because it disagrees with their tastebuds).
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:15 AM   #5
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yeast plus high fermentation temps = very estery beer. i like them though just not as big a fan of the dubble tripple quad blonde as i use to be. more into funky saisons and sours.
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:24 AM   #6
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I agree, yeast is the culprit. I love Belgian brews, so you will get a biased answer here. I ferment mine a bit lower than others though, around 65. If you somewhat like the flavor at a higher temp, try fermenting at a lower temp and see what you get.

+1 to ColonelForbin; I also like the sours and saisons - very tasty.
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:33 AM   #7
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I always thought it was the aromatics used that gave Belgian Ales their unique qualities ie: fruits, herbs and spices. I think you could use Belgian yeast in any number of American styles and they are not gonna taste like a Belgian
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:50 AM   #8
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I'm an equal opportunity enjoyer of our favorite fermented beverage. I really enjoy Belgians, Belgian styled beer, and most other styles. It must be stated there is a HUGE range of variance in Belgian beers from the modest De Koninck Pale Ale/witbiers to way out sours and huge spicy brews. With all that variance I'm sure there are some you like or would like.

Generally most Belgians aren't hopped at a high rate. To create balance in the bier Belgian brewers traditionally dried out the brews to keep them from being too sweet and maintain some drinkability. An example would be a 1.080 biers with 20 ibus bittering. A great many Belgian Style brews made in the US while good suffer from not being dried out enough. Brother Thelonious is a prime example of this issue. While I love the spice and character of the brew, I can't imagine finishing off a large bottle of it without sharing it with friends as it's just laborious to drink yet still good.

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Old 08-28-2010, 03:55 AM   #9
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i've got to go with the yeast as well.
I've had a few american style IPAs brewed with belgian yeast that you can tell are belgians. I don't care for the sours most of the time, but some times it hits the spot.

keep trying though, its the best part.
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Old 08-28-2010, 04:41 AM   #10
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The yeast indeed. I have to say though, after my trip a month ago (2 weeks, 6 countries, and 5 gallons of beer consumed between my wife and I) that I now am in love with the Belgian beers, and it is a flavor profile I have not experienced before. But I can understand why someone else wouldn't like it. I am not a stout fan (I can't stand Guinness), but that is just me.
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