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Old 11-10-2012, 09:03 PM   #1
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Default Ale on lees?

So, you know, I'm a fan on the Unibroue beers. I dig those labels too, and the names are unique. The beer itself is fantastic with Fin du Mond being one of the finest examples of that style I've ever tasted. One thing puzzles me however...on a few of the Unibroue beers as well as on the Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale (don't laugh, it's really amazing for a $4.99 corked Belgian) which Unibroue mfgrs. for them, it reads "Ale on Lees". What does this denote exactly? I know what lees actually are, but when I google the term nothing specific comes up. Does it mean there's yeast left in the bottle, is it fermented differently?? HELP!


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Old 11-10-2012, 10:24 PM   #2
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It's bottle conditioned, not filtered, so the bottle will have a layer of yeast at the bottom.

+1 on the Trader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale. I had a bottle of 2010 and it was delish. Received a bottle of the 2012 as a gift and have been cellaring it.


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Old 11-10-2012, 10:41 PM   #3
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Lees is usually a wine making term......I means sitting on trub or yeast. In beer we tend to just day "Bottle Conditioned." They're just trying to appeal to the wine crowd by using that term.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Lees is usually a wine making term......I means sitting on trub or yeast. In beer we tend to just day "Bottle Conditioned." They're just trying to appeal to the wine crowd by using that term.
You know I had a premonition that this was in fact the answer. Thanks guys, it was quite good!
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Old 10-11-2014, 01:43 AM   #5
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I wouldn't recommend aging those Trader Joe/Unibroue beers too long. I've bought a batch of them every year since 2008 and aged a few each. A year ago we did a vertical of 2008-2011 and the oldest 2 years were undrinkable. They tasted like lemon juice. They were dark, had a nice head but were very sour and bizarrely citrusy. I'll probably use the few remainders in cooking or baking.
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Old 10-11-2014, 01:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plinythebadass View Post
STrader Joe's 2012 Vintage Ale (don't laugh, it's really amazing for a $4.99 corked Belgian) which Unibroue mfgrs. for them.
No laughing necessary. Especially for the value, those beers are fantastic; probably worth twice what they charge. And, if cellared properly, will age at least 4 years. Doing a vertical with 2010-2014 in a few weeks.

The fact that there's lees (yeast sediment, as was already answered) will just facilitate improvement with time, compared to a filtered beer.
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Old 10-12-2014, 12:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalmah View Post
I wouldn't recommend aging those Trader Joe/Unibroue beers too long. I've bought a batch of them every year since 2008 and aged a few each. A year ago we did a vertical of 2008-2011 and the oldest 2 years were undrinkable. They tasted like lemon juice. They were dark, had a nice head but were very sour and bizarrely citrusy. I'll probably use the few remainders in cooking or baking.
That's crazy they all of a sudden got sour. I've had 2-3 year old bottles that actually aged quite gracefully, and have an 11 sitting around still. Perhaps I'll wait another 2 years to see if it gets sour!
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:28 AM   #8
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Default reply to original thread and question that arose when reading replies

I am still in my freshman year of homebrewing (and therefore paying a lot more attention to any brews I drink), and I also enjoy Unibroue, particular Trois Pistoles.

A couple of days ago, a friend of mine who I had turned on to Unibroue had picked up a variety pack of Unibroue and was showing me what he got. He said that he didn't like the lack of description of what he was getting, but based on what he had that I had given him from Unibroue, he took a chance on the variety pack.

I pointed out the small print towards the top of the label that describes what each beer was (Dark Ale, Red Ale, etc.) and I noticed that each one said "On Lees". So, this morning I googled "ale on lees".

The first thing listed was: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unibroue
It says very early in the wikipost: Most of Unibroue's beers are bottled "on the lees", or containing yeast sediment (or lees). This practice provides additional fermentation after bottling. The result is a beer which ages well if kept in the dark and unrefrigerated, and allows it to be shipped relatively cheaply to international markets. The yeast gives Unibroue beers a cloudy appearance and provides a characteristic element to the taste.

This agrees with the replies made to your original post two to three years ago. So nothing new really. Just further affirmation.

A link to homebrewtalk was the third item that came up on the google search and it was the first I clicked on.

One thing I saw as I was reading the replies was something about doing "a vertical" which now gives me something else to learn about. Again, I am a neophyte in the homebrew world.

Thank you for your post.


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