What should a Belgian Strong Golden Ale taste like?

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TripHops

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Hello fellow brewers...

I was curious if my Belgian Strong Golden ale is tasting like it should so I thought I would ask you guys. This is the first Belgian ale for me and I haven’t had a Belgian ale since I visited Europe in 1993 and can’t remember how they taste. I researched several recipes on-line and concocted one of my own based on all the ideas. Here is a little info about the brew.

Since I couldn’t find any Styrian Goldings locally I used 2 oz Fuggle (4.1 Alpha) for bitter (60 min) and 1oz Saaz (3.6 Alpha) for Flavor and Aroma. (10 min). There were 13lbs of grains which consisted of Belgian 2-row (82%) and Caramel 20L (18%) mashed at 153deg for 60 min. I used 4.2gal mash volume and used a double batch sparge (15 min each sparge before runout) to attain 7.0gal pre-boil volume for a 60 min boil.

Starting SG was 1.072 and I used 2 vials of WhiteLabs WLP570 at 64deg for 2 weeks. I racked off sediment when SG was 1.025. Raised temp to 70deg for 5 days and racked into keg at SG 1.010 for cold conditioning of 21 days.

Current taste before placing into a keg for cold conditioning has some subtle bubblegum, banana and a little clover with a little overarching malt flavor. Hops are not to high (IBUs were suppose to be around 32 but the beer doesn’t taste like it is that high) but the flavor is there. I love the spice aroma and flavor. And there is a subtle alcohol taste. Preliminary ABV measurements would have placed it around 7.9 - 8.2%

Is this close to what a Belgian Strong Golden ale is suppose to taste like?

Thanks for any opinions, comment or help you can lend.

TripHops
 

Homercidal

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Sounds pretty close to me. Give it a couple of months to mellow out and some of the alcohol hotness should subside, giving a real nice panty-remover effect.
 

remilard

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This is basically a term Michael Jackson coined to describe Duvel, so it should taste like Duvel, which you can get in Vancouver, WA.
 
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TripHops

TripHops

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In reply to Hex, no, I didn't need to use any sugar.

My target SG was 1.068, according to my recipe calculator from Learn to Brew LLC. So it did come in a little higher than expected. I was tempted to add water but I thought, "What the hack, a little extra alchy wont hurt".

I can only guess that my sugar conversion went very well and the two batch sparges were also very efficientl. I did make notes of the differences and times for the mash and the sparges from what the calculator indicated so I can repeat next time.

TripHops
 

Hex

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Well, the reason I asked, was that I added 2 lbs invert sugar to my Tripel after primary fermentation subsided. Looked like the guidelines above suggested a similar amount for the Strong Golden. It thins out the beer with alcohol, maybe you might try it next time to get 'closer to style'. My Tripel was named the zenith of my homebrew career by two of my best references, my sister--a career bartender, and my lady--a reformed bartender. :)
 
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TripHops

TripHops

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Ah...I was wondering why you had asked about sugar Hex.

At one point, around 1.040 - 1.035 my fermentation did slow down quite a bit and I made a post here asking for some advice https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/my-fermentation-going-along-normally-229034/ . At that point the primary fermentation temperature was constant at 64deg and was advised to raise the temp to 70, which re-kindled the fermentation. At 1.010 SG I racked into a keg and the brew is now in cold conditioning.

However, I did do more research and there are some recipe suggestions for adding white sugar to raise the SG for the Belgian Strong Ale styles. So I guess adding the sugar is not out of the question for this style.

TripHops...
 
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TripHops

TripHops

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Ha... I just discovered an interesting find here in these forums. I was wondering what remilard was talking about when he mentioned Duval so I searched and found this post:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f73/duvel-clone-89384/

Apparently someone made this clone recipe with some differences from what I did when I brewed my Belgian. Mainly, the mash process is vastly different and there is almost 1lb sugar added. I wish I had seen this post before brewing the my Belgian...there were some nice ideas.

Based on some of the comments, I might lager mine longer than I was planning. Oh well...I hope mine turns out ok.

TripHops...
 

Hex

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Dude, you'll brew again, and what you made will be delicious. Just use some sugar next time if you're trying to nail the style.
 

Scooby_Brew

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I would skip the Crystal malt and use ~80% pilsner malt, 20% table sugar. I think you get too much maltines in your brew because you used Crystal. For sugar I would use table sugar, not dextrose. Use beet sugar if possible, this is what they use as table sugar in Europe. Add 1/2 the sugar at boil and 1/2 after primary fermentation is done (Duvel said they use "triple fermentation" in their beer: primary, "secondary" with sugar addition, and refermentation in bottles).
When mashing pilsner malt start low ~100F and go gradually up to lauthering temperature in about 2 hours.
When fermenting, start high (~75F), and then lower it slowly to low ~60F.
They say the founder of the Duvel brewery brought the yeast from Scotland, so you may wanna try Scottish Ale Yeast instead of WhiteLabs WLP570 (but I haven't try it yet, so I'm not sure about this one).
See my Duvel review here: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f113/duvel-belgian-golden-ale-220660/
 
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TripHops

TripHops

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I had the great opportunity to try a Duval while visiting my daughter in San Diego at a quaint pizza place called Blind Lady in Normal Heights. Now I know what the Duval Belgian ale tastes like... Based on that and researching the link sent by GoNova, I am certainly not brewing that style of beer.

I can see how the 20% sugar addition can dry out the sugar during fermentation and add the high effervescence in the beer. I am sure that is not going to occur in my batch...but that will be OK with me. Like Hex said, I will make several attempts at the Belgian Ales in the future. Another thing, I didn't notice any sediment at the bottom of my Duval. However, the Duval came when I had already had several other beers...so I didn't pay much attention to that. I did notice that they use a champagne cork so there must have been fermentation in the bottle...that certainly would also add high effervescence, much like what you get a normal sparkling with or champagne.

However, the style of beer I prefer is not one with high effervescence that explodes in your mouth...like Duval. I prefer a more subtle approach to effervescence, more like a Hammerhead Ale (if you have had one from the McMenimans pubs in the Northwest) or a Mirror Pond Ale from Deschutes brewery (again from the great Northwest) with more of an overarching malt flavor with an alcohol sweetness. From the descriptions on the link sent by GoNova, it appears that my batch comes closest to a Belgian Dopple vs. a Strong ale. But that still is Ok with me...

So...what have I learned from this? Do a little more research here before trying to clone a style of beer and post recipe here for comment and ideas.

Thanks again guys for your comments.

TripHops.
 
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