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Old 12-24-2012, 01:54 AM   #11
Satisfaction
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Having brewed quite a few Belgium's, my rule of thumb now is if the alcohol content is over 8% it is cellared for 3-5 months. Then I put it on tap/bottle and enjoy.

During my cellar stage they are kegged and carbed, only afterwards would I bottle it.

The changes that happen over time is amazing, I have a house Belgium that is really tasty and if you were to taste it fresh(less than 3-4 months old) versus an aged sample, you would guess they are different beers.

 
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:15 AM   #12
beergolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satisfaction View Post
Having brewed quite a few Belgium's, my rule of thumb now is if the alcohol content is over 8% it is cellared for 3-5 months. Then I put it on tap/bottle and enjoy.

During my cellar stage they are kegged and carbed, only afterwards would I bottle it.

The changes that happen over time is amazing, I have a house Belgium that is really tasty and if you were to taste it fresh(less than 3-4 months old) versus an aged sample, you would guess they are different beers.

It is amazing but I agree the 4 month mark seems to be the big change point.


Patience is required when brewing Belgians.

 
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:43 AM   #13
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Granted, most beer styles can benefit from a little extended aging, but would the general rule of Belgians need a little extra time that most hold true for a 5-6% Belgian Pale Ale? Or are we only talking goldens, doubles, trippels here? Or are we talking about specific yeasts here? I'm just trying to understand this myself.

 
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:18 PM   #14
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I think people have a taste in their mind of what Duvel or Westmalle or _x_ name Belgian beer tastes like. That taste, which to me is a soft, round, carmel hint thing that isn't malt or yeast driven. It's old.

The old taste is because the beer is old. Shipped across in some massive container ship, sat in the port, clearing customs, plopped on an intermodal train, across the country to another inland transfer point, then to a distributor, then to the bodega to collect dust for 2 months. That is the flavor people have in mind and shape recipes to duplicate.

I have never had a fresh Belgian beer, but would be curious to see how it compares to the standard slow boat version.

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Old 12-30-2012, 03:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highgravitybacon View Post
I think people have a taste in their mind of what Duvel or Westmalle or _x_ name Belgian beer tastes like. That taste, which to me is a soft, round, carmel hint thing that isn't malt or yeast driven. It's old.

The old taste is because the beer is old. Shipped across in some massive container ship, sat in the port, clearing customs, plopped on an intermodal train, across the country to another inland transfer point, then to a distributor, then to the bodega to collect dust for 2 months. That is the flavor people have in mind and shape recipes to duplicate.

I have never had a fresh Belgian beer, but would be curious to see how it compares to the standard slow boat version.
If you want a fresh Belgian beer, why not just drink an American brewed version? It's the yeast, not the location that makes a 'belgian' beer, right?

Anyways, just today I bottled a tripel that fermented from 1.079 to 1.005. After 5 months in the fermenter it had some noticeably hot alcohol flavors. I'm priming it to 2.7 volumes and I added a bit of champagne yeast, I'm hoping the hotness ages out in a couple months.

 
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highgravitybacon View Post
I think people have a taste in their mind of what Duvel or Westmalle or _x_ name Belgian beer tastes like. That taste, which to me is a soft, round, carmel hint thing that isn't malt or yeast driven. It's old...
That is the flavor people have in mind and shape recipes to duplicate.
I think this is absolutely right. The classic examples of Belgian beers that we get here in the States are relatively old. They're still great beers, but when we emulate the styles, I think we tend to shoot for these aged flavors (low hop flavor/aroma, slightly oxidized caramel malts and alcohols). Even good examples made on this side pond may be emulating the aged versions we are accustomed to. Until I visit the breweries in Belgium, I can't say for sure how big our age-bias is towards Belgian beers here.

Regarding the OP's question, my Tripel at 9% seems to have already peaked around 4 months old, but we're only at 6 mo now. I don't expect a beer this light to improve with much age, but we'll see.

 
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:43 AM   #17
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Oh, and BLaM indicates that many Belgian ales are "lagered" (cold conditioned) for a couple weeks in the mid-50s after primary fermentation is complete.

 
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:00 AM   #18
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These beers really shine with bottle conditioning and pilsner malts with a 90 min boil

 
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