Who’s still brewing Belgian-style ales and what’s your favorite recipe?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

CascadesBrewer

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2013
Messages
1,849
Reaction score
1,565
Location
VA, USA
How high have you fermented? I've been too chicken to go into the 90's...
Usually just in the 75F to 80F range for Saison and Trappist yeasts. I am curious to experiment more. I brewed a recent Tripel with M-31 Tripel split with fermentation control vs ambient. The batch at ambient pushed itself up to around 78F during active fermentation and has some off putting fusel characters. The batch fermented in the mid to upper 60F's is very good.
 

SRJHops

Why did the rabbit like NEIPA's so much?
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Messages
513
Reaction score
167
Location
Minneapolis
Usually just in the 75F to 80F range for Saison and Trappist yeasts. I am curious to experiment more. I brewed a recent Tripel with M-31 Tripel split with fermentation control vs ambient. The batch at ambient pushed itself up to around 78F during active fermentation and has some off putting fusel characters. The batch fermented in the mid to upper 60F's is very good.
Yeah, it's those fusels that always have me worried. I read about how many people push into the 90's, but I feel like that's just inviting the fusels...

Thanks to this thread I also just looked up the Abbaye yeast. I was interested to read that fermenting it lower is better for the darker Belgians, in order to get the darker fruit (raisins, etc) flavors. I was actually planning my same fermentation temp for my upcoming quad and push it into the 80's, but now thinking maybe just keep it lower and within the yeast range. I think I should reference those yeast ferm temps in Brew Like a Monk again. Maybe ferment lower for darker Belgians and higher for lighter ones?
 

Komodo

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 3, 2011
Messages
433
Reaction score
96
Location
Bloomington
Please do report back on this if you give it a go. Could I ask what the goal/purpose of adding sugar to the fermenter is? More residual flavor? I'd think it would still all ferment out?

I actually add my sugars and syrups at first wort. The hot wort dissolves it nicely, and I don't have to mess around with stirring during the last 10 and worrying it's sticking to the bottom. I am also usually doing a lot of other stuff at 10, such as yeast nutrients and dropping in the chiller.
Think of the sugar addition as a bowl of ice cream for dessert. It’s super easy for the yeast to consume, and they likely won’t leave any if it unfinished. Think of your fermentable wort as the dinner. I add the sugar addition just after the main ferment seems to slow, so maybe 3 days or so. This lets the yeast concentrate on your wort, and then finish real strong after the addition. As far as changes in taste when added at the boil vs later, I don’t know but would guess it’s negligible. If anything, maybe sweeter added at the boil if everything wasn’t completely fermented.
 

SRJHops

Why did the rabbit like NEIPA's so much?
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Messages
513
Reaction score
167
Location
Minneapolis
Think of the sugar addition as a bowl of ice cream for dessert. It’s super easy for the yeast to consume, and they likely won’t leave any if it unfinished. Think of your fermentable wort as the dinner. I add the sugar addition just after the main ferment seems to slow, so maybe 3 days or so. This lets the yeast concentrate on your wort, and then finish real strong after the addition. As far as changes in taste when added at the boil vs later, I don’t know but would guess it’s negligible. If anything, maybe sweeter added at the boil if everything wasn’t completely fermented.
If I follow, it has to do with what sugars the yeast is working on and in what order. Easier for the yeast to eat the simple sugars, so they will do those first if available.

So the question, then, is does this improve the taste or some important aspect of the beer? Otherwise I don't see the point of adding sugar to the fermenter. Or even during the boil, for that matter. Seems easiest to add it at first wort to me...

My Belgians all finish dry. I think if I wanted them sweeter I would increase the mash temp and/or skip the sugar addition altogether.
 

Komodo

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 3, 2011
Messages
433
Reaction score
96
Location
Bloomington
Yeast may poop out before everything is done. Adding it after main ferment is mostly complete ensures complete ferment, with the dryness. I think this may be discussed in Brew Like a Monk, I’d have to read it again.

Regarding the temp discussion, I’ve gone mid-80s and it was one of the best beers I’ve made. I’ll have to check my brew program to see what yeast it was.
 

TheMadKing

Western Yankee Southerner and Brew Science Nerd
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 17, 2015
Messages
3,894
Reaction score
2,042
Location
Gainesville
Intentionally pushing yeast to maximize yeast expression is my entire problem with American interpretations of belgian ales.

Balance needs to be the absolute #1 priority. You should be able to distinctly taste malt, hop bitterness, and esters with none dominating the other

It's incredibly difficult to achieve so focusing on a single recipe and yeast strain and playing with the levels to get it balanced right is key.
 

SRJHops

Why did the rabbit like NEIPA's so much?
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Messages
513
Reaction score
167
Location
Minneapolis
Yeast may poop out before everything is done. Adding it after main ferment is mostly complete ensures complete ferment, with the dryness. I think this may be discussed in Brew Like a Monk, I’d have to read it again.

Regarding the temp discussion, I’ve gone mid-80s and it was one of the best beers I’ve made. I’ll have to check my brew program to see what yeast it was.
Cool. If that is the main reason, then I'd probably never do it - at least with my current procedures (lots of yeast and sugar). My latest Saison is sitting at .997 SG, so I'd say fermentation is mostly complete!
 

SRJHops

Why did the rabbit like NEIPA's so much?
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Messages
513
Reaction score
167
Location
Minneapolis
Intentionally pushing yeast to maximize yeast expression is my entire problem with American interpretations of belgian ales.

Balance needs to be the absolute #1 priority. You should be able to distinctly taste malt, hop bitterness, and esters with none dominating the other

It's incredibly difficult to achieve so focusing on a single recipe and yeast strain and playing with the levels to get it balanced right is key.
I won't argue, because you are right about balance, and there seem to be a lot of others who have that same opinion. With that said, I am personally more interested in the flavors I can get from the yeast. Perhaps it's the former NEIPA brewer in me, but I love big bold flavors. That does not mean my beers are to style, but they do seem to stand out -- and people (and local judges) seem to like them.
 

hamachi

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 8, 2021
Messages
77
Reaction score
136
Location
SoCal
My absolute favorite I’ve ever had was a Westvleteren 8.
Nice. I haven't had the opportunity to taste the real thing, but just brewed up a Westvleteren 8 clone on Sunday based on a recipe from the Candi Syrup site. I'm using WLP530, and it's good that I left a lot of headspace in my fermenter because the krausen is huge.

I have brewed several Belgian wits and Trappist-style ales, and they usually turn out pretty good. But probably my biggest success was a lower OG variant of She Devil, using WLP550 rather than WLP510. Really tasty at an ABV of 9.0%.
 

Kee

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
5,347
Reaction score
5,315
Location
Deep East Texas
Saisons and Beligian style beers are usually what I brew. For dark strongs I brew variations of CSI's Westy 12 clone recipe (lately using Lallemand Abbaye yeast, since I don't live close to a homebrew supply and hate getting liquid yeast delivered hot) and blonds that usually have Orval dregs added at bottling time, usally brewed with Belle Saison.

I'm still searching for the perfect non-brett blond/tripel recipe.
 

Dr_Jeff

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
Messages
1,377
Reaction score
813
Location
Henagar, Alabama
I'm still searching for the perfect non-brett blond/tripel recipe.
Generally the best Belgian beers are very simple recipes, go with all Pilsner malt and some noble hops to get to the desired IBU.
As far as yeast goes, I prefer WLP530 but the Chimay strain WLP500 is a good choice as well. I'd start it cool for the first couple of days and let it free rise to where it wants to go.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kee

Twinkeelfool

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2013
Messages
361
Reaction score
238
Location
Wollongong
Saison. Pils and a little wheat ( or 30% malted spelt for something different). Long low temp mash. Wy 3724, or 3726 ( much faster to finish ). Champagne bottles and wait 3 months
 

Kee

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
5,347
Reaction score
5,315
Location
Deep East Texas
Generally the best Belgian beers are very simple recipes, go with all Pilsner malt and some noble hops to get to the desired IBU.
Agreed. My standard grain bill is 100% Pilsner. I do play around with what simple sugars/candi syrup I add. But while I'm happy with my dark strong and brett beers, my tripels tend to be on the clean side, even when fermented on the warm side (high 70s and above), using most of the popular Belgian yeasts.
 

SRJHops

Why did the rabbit like NEIPA's so much?
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Messages
513
Reaction score
167
Location
Minneapolis
In the spirit of healthy and friendly debate... I disagree that the best Belgian recipes are the simplest. The least interesting ones, to my palate, are the ones with 100% pilsner. They too often taste like an imperial pilsner to me. I personally like a little more malt flavor. Throw in some Vienna or Munich and it will taste better, at least to me. Here's my blond, which won a blue ribbon at the state fair this summer:

11 lbs Dingeman’s Pilsner
2 lbs Briess Bolander Munich malt
1 lb carapils
4 oz Dingemans Biscuit® Malt
1 lb cane sugar at FW
 

CaddyWampus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2019
Messages
814
Reaction score
3,715
Location
North Carolina
Nice. I haven't had the opportunity to taste the real thing, but just brewed up a Westvleteren 8 clone on Sunday based on a recipe from the Candi Syrup site. I'm using WLP530, and it's good that I left a lot of headspace in my fermenter because the krausen is huge.

I have brewed several Belgian wits and Trappist-style ales, and they usually turn out pretty good. But probably my biggest success was a lower OG variant of She Devil, using WLP550 rather than WLP510. Really tasty at an ABV of 9.0%.
Keep us updated on that Westie 8 clone! It was unfortunate that when I got my hands on my bottle I only opted for one 8 when I could have had two.

This thread has already given me some good ideas for other Belgian brews.
 

Kee

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
5,347
Reaction score
5,315
Location
Deep East Texas
. .. I disagree that the best Belgian recipes are the simplest. I personally like a little more malt flavor. Throw in some Vienna or Munich and it will taste better . . .

11 lbs Dingeman’s Pilsner
2 lbs Briess Bolander Munich maltB
1 lb carapils).
4 oz Dingemans Biscuit® Malt
1 lb cane sugar at FW
Well, we are generalizing here. Simple or complex recipes can work. And I would use Vienna malt in any recipe (not dissing Munich, but I don't use it much).

BTW, what yeast did you use and how much do you think the yeast choice contributed/mattered to your successful outcome?
 

SRJHops

Why did the rabbit like NEIPA's so much?
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Messages
513
Reaction score
167
Location
Minneapolis
Well, we are generalizing here. Simple or complex recipes can work. And I would use Vienna malt in any recipe (not dissing Munich, but I don't use it much).

BTW, what yeast did you use and how much do you think the yeast choice contributed/mattered to your successful outcome?
I think the yeast is the key to success! My theory is that a lot of homebrewers aren't pitching enough yeast. When I made my first Belgian, a tripel, I was so afraid of the high OG that I pitched two slurries and the Be-134 too! It turned out great - in fact, better than any tripel I'd ever had. Kinda rocked my world... While I could never seem to make a NEIPA better than the best, I realized I might be able to make really good Belgians. I soon made my first Saison (also using three yeasts), entered it into my very first contest - and it won! I got to brew it at a local brewery and they put it in crowlers!

For the blond, I used:

Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes
Wyeast 1214 Belgian Ale Yeast
SafAle BE-134 Belgian Dry Saison Yeast
 

mashpaddled

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Messages
636
Reaction score
380
Location
Denver, CO
Belgian beers were my onramp into craft beer and my first homebrew was a Belgian blond. I still brew and drink a lot of Belgian beer. Primarily more saison, wit and lambic but I still enjoy the trappist/abbey styles a ton. I don't brew trappist/abbey styles as often as I could but as they get harder to find in the market the more I will end up brewing them to supplant what I can't find. That's primarily what drove me to start brewing a lot. I lived in Texas at the time and there wasn't a lot of craft options so whatever I wanted I generally had to brew.

How high have you fermented? I've been too chicken to go into the 90's...
When I brewed saisons with 3711 I would regularly take it up to 89-92F. At those temperatures it pumps out more lemon flavor and the phenols are a little more distinctly pepper. Often that yeast is brewed in the 60s-70s where it's kinda boring and amorphously phenolic.

I wouldn't take most yeasts to that range because they don't need it and often produce undesirable products at those temperatures. OTOH a lot of homebrewers are not huge fans of yeast character and tend to ferment on the cool side to restrain yeast character that IMO makes bland beer for these styles. You have to find the fermentation practices that make the beer you like.

Last I read Ommegang shifted all their focus to an IPA and a non-Belgian blonde - Legacy and Liability — To Chart Its Way Forward, Ommegang Has to Reconsider Its Belgian Past — Good Beer Hunting

Since reading that I haven’t seen any new Ommegang in MA. It’s a bummer since that brewery really got me into these beers in early 2000’s.
It's interesting that the article mentions the GoT series because I feel like that's about the time Ommegang started losing their way. Before that they were falling out of favor and not putting out as many unique beers. Then they pushed those generally mediocre GoT beers and that started them down the train of pushing one lousy beer after another and their staple beers seemed to disappear from shelves. The last time I recall buying an Ommegang beer in a store was maybe a couple years ago I tried one of the barrel aged Three Philosophers which was fine. I recently came across Rare Vos on tap which I can't recall the last time I saw anywhere.

They are certainly in a tough place brewing styles people generally don't want these days but I don't recall in the past decade any aggressive attempt to position themselves in the market as something special. The trappist breweries carry the allure of coming from Belgium and being originators of the style. Ommegang doesn't have that cache. They need something to give them space in the market and I wish the best answer they could come up with wasn't to brew IPAs.
 

Jhedrick83

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 28, 2020
Messages
326
Reaction score
390
Location
Ol' Rocky Top
Nice. I haven't had the opportunity to taste the real thing, but just brewed up a Westvleteren 8 clone on Sunday based on a recipe from the Candi Syrup site. I'm using WLP530, and it's good that I left a lot of headspace in my fermenter because the krausen is huge.

I have brewed several Belgian wits and Trappist-style ales, and they usually turn out pretty good. But probably my biggest success was a lower OG variant of She Devil, using WLP550 rather than WLP510. Really tasty at an ABV of 9.0%.
Funny. I downloaded that recipe and put it in Beersmith on Monday. Let us know how it goes for sure.
 

Noob_Brewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
1,189
Reaction score
2,456
Location
Eastern, NC
This has been a great thread that Ive thoroughly enjoyed following. Always love reading the different approaches to brewing these styles of beers.

To the OP, I love Belgian beers and my favorite to drink are the trappist/abbey style ales. I tend to agree with @TheMadKing in that the Belgian beers I enjoy most are well balanced between the yeast parade and fantastic maltiness. While I agree that yeast expression is important, I think the supporting maltiness of Belgian beers are often overlooked. I have had fellow home brewers take the approach that its ONLY about the yeast and they "let it ride" in terms of temp and under pitch. While these beers are ok to me, sometimes the malt bill gets lost and the beer ends up being a "one-note" beer focused only on the yeast character.

Since Dubbels are my favorite, that's what I've brewed primarily. For me with the dubbels that Ive brewed, I have taken the graduated increased temp approach starting around 65 degrees and letting it rise a degree or so day by day until finished AND I don't under pitch these. I just use a healthy pitch rate: ~0.75-0.85ish. For me this has resulted in beers that have that definitive Belgian yeast character but you can still enjoy the malt bill as well. One thing Ive learned is that Belgian yeasts (I use the trappist high gravity ale: 3787) have definitive character even with a more "standard" and less aggressive fermentation drive.

For my Belgian Dubbel, I took the recipe approach from Jamil and brought pilsner as the base malt, equal blend of caraminch, aromatic, and special B, and D-90 and a little Turbinado. TBH, my dubbels probably aren't "competition" beers as they are darker than norm at around 22SRM, but I enjoy them.

IMG_0328.jpg
 

jrgtr42

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
1,763
Reaction score
1,050
Location
Metrowest, Massachusets.
I've done a few Belgian-styles here and there.
I have a saison that's on right now. Mostly pilsner, a bit of Vienna and rye malt, BE134. I'm really happy with how it came out, except the carbing is a bit suspect. I do need to get a keezer or some such one of these days, keep them cold rather than cellar temp.
I did a tripel last year that was enjoyable, but I didn't get any of the spicy esters I like from the style. I believe it was from fermenting too cold - |I wasn't thinking about it at the time, and went with my usual fermentation in the low 60s. This works great for me for most brews, it does take a little more time, but I'm on no schedule, and |I have plenty of backstock. |However, this style (and its yeasts) should be a bit warmer - high 60s anyway.
I don't know if it counts, but I also brew a sour - it started as a clone of Russian River's Consecration, but I've made some tweaks over time as I've brewed it. It does start with a Strong Dark Ale base, before souring. Obviously that one's more complicated - some crystal, some roast malt etc in there. But the few times I've brewed it, it's come out real nice.
Part of me wants to do a big brew, and split it off, sour half of it, and leave some as it is. COmpare later. For science, of course....
|However, I still have to drink down the last batch before getting another going.
 

wetmk

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
138
Reaction score
448
Location
f'dale
I'm still searching for the perfect non-brett blond/tripel recipe.

Many years ago I bought a NB partial mash kit. Triple Carmeliate. I think you could still see the recipe on line. It made a really nice beer. I've probably made it once every 15 months or so since but for my taste I up the good a bit and substantially cut the coriander.
 

wetmk

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
138
Reaction score
448
Location
f'dale
I'm still searching for the perfect non-brett blond/tripel recipe.

Many years ago I bought a NB partial mash kit. Triple Carmeliate. I think you could still see the recipe on line. It made a really nice beer. I've probably made it once every 15 months or so since but for my taste I up the good a bit and substantially cut the coriander.
...I up the hops a good bit...
 

CascadesBrewer

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2013
Messages
1,849
Reaction score
1,565
Location
VA, USA
I’ve brewed a “monks beer”/Trappist single, dubbel, and I even messed around with a mixed ferm saison that I wasn’t totally happy with. I do love a good Belgian beer though. My absolute favorite I’ve ever had was a Westvleteren 8. Yes, I liked it more than the 12.
Scrolling through some pictures of a trip to Belgium in 2014 reminded me of this thread. I am not sure the Westvleteren beers are "the best beer in the world" but drinking them at the beer garden across the street was one of my most enjoyable beer drinking experiences ever. I brought home a few bottles of 12 and did a side by side with some Quads that I could get locally. The Westy 12 is quite close to St. Bernadus 12 and I like the St. Bernadus just a touch more.

My understanding of the history is that the St. Bernadus beer is closer to the "original" Westvleteren 12. That for a while St. Bernadus brewed the Westvleteren beers and when Westvleteren resumed the brewing they switch over to using yeast from Westmalle while St. Bernadus kept brewing the same beer with the original yeast. While I love using WLP520 which is supposed to have it roots with Westmalle, I am not a huge fan of any of the Westmalle beers.

Westy Beers.jpg
 

monkeymath

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2019
Messages
437
Reaction score
427
I find most of the trappist beers are way too big, boozy, intense and over-the-top fruity for me. I haven't tried all of them, but I think they're just not for me. (Orval is a noteworthy exception, it's marvelous.)

I do love Belgian Blonde, Saison, Witbier and all types of Belgian Sours, though - these beers are essentially what I want to focus on in my own brewing from now on, after a couple of years of messing around.

My last two attempts at a Belgian Blonde have been somewhat lacking, not sure what the issue was. Hoping to find some inspiration in this thread!
 

CascadesBrewer

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2013
Messages
1,849
Reaction score
1,565
Location
VA, USA

Docod44

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
97
Reaction score
164
My favorite commercial Belgians are consistently from Unibroue, I always love to pick up their mix pack around this time of year.

As far as homebrewing goes, I've brewed a Saison and a Bière de Garde but my results didn't come close to my favorite commercial examples (I used Belle Saison yeast and got a medicinal/phenol throat spray taste). I'm happy to continue buying La Chouffe and Saison Dupont and no longer brewing my own.

I brewed the Pious Westy 12 clone from the post on these forums, WLP530 was a beast and I've had the bottles conditioning for about a year. I opened one 4 months ago and it was unbelievably good. I had some bottles of actual Westy 12 that I cellared for a couple years and I would have loved to do a side-by-side with mine, but I finished them off a few years ago.

I recently brewed a Dubbel and fermented with Lallemand Abbaye for the first time and I really liked how the yeast performed. I pitched at 64F and kept it there for 24 hours followed by a free-rise to 80F for a few days, then back down to ~70F before kegging. The initial taste is surprisingly clean with light esters (as I like it) and no noticeable alcohol (7.5% ABV). I'm going to let it naturally carb for a month or two and then put it on tap when it really starts to get cold.

My Franken-Dubbel recipe is a bit more complicated than other Abbey ale recipes I've seen, but everything has worked really well together:

  • 16.4% pilsner (for diastatic power only), 8.2% aromatic malt, 4.9% biscuit malt, 4.9% caramunich, 4.9% gambrinus honey malt, 4.9% special B; 35.3% Briess pilsen DME, 6.4% Briess Bavarian wheat DME, 3.3% Briess dark DME, and 10.6% dark candi sugar all dissolved in hot wort and added to the kettle at flameout.

  • Mash grains at 152F until iodine test shows complete conversion (usually 25-30 min for me), 30 min boil with 25 IBU Nugget @ 30 min and 8.5 IBU Nugget @ 2 min. OG 1.068, FG 1.011
 

beersk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
1,653
Reaction score
690
Scrolling through some pictures of a trip to Belgium in 2014 reminded me of this thread. I am not sure the Westvleteren beers are "the best beer in the world" but drinking them at the beer garden across the street was one of my most enjoyable beer drinking experiences ever. I brought home a few bottles of 12 and did a side by side with some Quads that I could get locally. The Westy 12 is quite close to St. Bernadus 12 and I like the St. Bernadus just a touch more.

My understanding of the history is that the St. Bernadus beer is closer to the "original" Westvleteren 12. That for a while St. Bernadus brewed the Westvleteren beers and when Westvleteren resumed the brewing they switch over to using yeast from Westmalle while St. Bernadus kept brewing the same beer with the original yeast. While I love using WLP520 which is supposed to have it roots with Westmalle, I am not a huge fan of any of the Westmalle beers.

View attachment 744889
My thoughts exactly, that the Westvlereran 12 and St. Bernardus ABT12 are similar AND that I actually think St. Bernardus is a bit better. I absolutely adore St. Bernardus ABT12. That must've been an awesome beer experience though. It sounds great.
 
OP
shoreman

shoreman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2012
Messages
1,307
Reaction score
331
So update on Ommegang, I hit them up on Instagram and it looks like they still do produce a couple Belgian inspired beers, but they “don’t make it everywhere”. So good to hear they still produce some, but the closest to me is 60 miles away to get some Rare Vos and I’m in MA.

check their beer finder on their website.
 

CascadesBrewer

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2013
Messages
1,849
Reaction score
1,565
Location
VA, USA
On one hand there is something sad about a brewer like Ommegang feeling that they have to brew Hazy IPAs to pay the bills. On the other hand, most times when I got an Ommegang beer it was often some barrel aged thing loaded with fruits, spices, peels, roots, etc. I would avoid beers from Ommegang and instead reach for North American stuff like Unibroue (uses spices often, but more in balance) or Allagash (puts out some wonderful beers that embrace the simplicity of beers from Belgium).
 

jrgtr42

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
1,763
Reaction score
1,050
Location
Metrowest, Massachusets.
On one hand there is something sad about a brewer like Ommegang feeling that they have to brew Hazy IPAs to pay the bills. On the other hand, most times when I got an Ommegang beer it was often some barrel aged thing loaded with fruits, spices, peels, roots, etc. I would avoid beers from Ommegang and instead reach for North American stuff like Unibroue (uses spices often, but more in balance) or Allagash (puts out some wonderful beers that embrace the simplicity of beers from Belgium).
Buuut.... Ommegang is American - they're in Cooperstown New York. I get not wanting the extra adjuncts, but their core beers like Abbey, Hennepin, etc, are straight. They sometimes have versions that are tweaked.
And yeah, I wish they didn't HAVE to brew hazies... but it's the reality of craft brew right now that if you don't you're not going to succeed. There was a rumor on another site saying that they were going to phase out the Belgian-inspired beers to change tacks. I reallly hope this isn't true. Expanding the portfolio is one thing, but cutting out what made them great in the first place is something else entirely.
 

CascadesBrewer

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2013
Messages
1,849
Reaction score
1,565
Location
VA, USA
Buuut.... Ommegang is American - they're in Cooperstown New York. I get not wanting the extra adjuncts, but their core beers like Abbey, Hennepin, etc, are straight. They sometimes have versions that are tweaked.
I guess we have different tastes:
  • Abbey: "Dubbel with licorice root, orange peel and spices"
  • Hennepin: "Artfully spiced with coriander, ginger, orange peel and grains of paradise"
I really like the Belgian model of simple grain bills like Pils + Sugar + Nobel Hops with much of the character coming from the process and the yeast. On the other hand, while I think Allagash Tripel is a very good example of the style, I am not sure any Belgian beers are selling well in the US these days.

The joys of being a homebrewer...I can make a Hazy that is 5.5% and not murky or can try to make something as good a Saison Dupont or St. Bernadus Abt-12...for 10% of the cost at the store.
 

Komodo

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 3, 2011
Messages
433
Reaction score
96
Location
Bloomington
Another couple beers to try if you haven't:

Goose Island Sofie, a really good Saison.

And, Pranqster from North Coast Brewing, an interesting interpretation of a Belgian Pale.
I have found that sometimes it can be a little flat tasting unless it's fresh. Reminds me of Franziskaner in that regard.
 

2hennepin6

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2010
Messages
70
Reaction score
62
Location
Near the state line
They do make IPA's now but they still have some of their classics, like my favorite, Hennepin.

Second on the Hennepin kudos. Though lately I have gravitated to Rare Vos.

I have always wished they had a tripel in their regular roster.
 
OP
shoreman

shoreman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2012
Messages
1,307
Reaction score
331
The stock Ommegang beers red, Hennepin and rare vos are quite good and the spicing is very subtle. They were at one time $3.50 for the caged 750’s.

I was lucky to attend two of their Belgian Beer fests, so much good Belgian beer at those fests.

Allagash rocks, I’d recommend visiting the brewery if you can, that one is worth it. They have a house blonde ale in the 5% range you can only get in the taproom, delicious. Plus free samples in the tap room, which is rare these days. Their Grand Cru which they don’t brew anymore was one of my top 10 beers - I’ve been trying to clone it.

Unibroue makes great beer, really enjoy them but only see la fin de monde around these days at Trader Joe’s.
 
OP
shoreman

shoreman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2012
Messages
1,307
Reaction score
331
Anybody brewing or already brewed their Bière De Noël for the holidays?

I do one every year and it’s always a Belgian-style.

This year I’m making a Dark Saison and aging it on some French Oak, not too boozy. About 6% or so.

Last years below was about 7%ABV and loosely based around Allagash Grand Cru which they don’t brew anymore.

D048D343-CF15-4DCC-ABD5-2BE448BED85C.jpeg
 

2hennepin6

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2010
Messages
70
Reaction score
62
Location
Near the state line
11.5 gallons of saison in fermenters. Yeast currently firing on all cylinders.

16 lbs Valley Malt pilsener malt

2 lbs malted wheat

2 lbs Vienna

1 lb rolled oats

1/2 lb cane sugar

1/2 lb corn sugar

*Recipe I roughly followed called for that split in sugar. Who knows why?

3 oz Saaz full boil

3 oz Saaz last 15 min

Belle saison yeast.

I hear this ferments the crap out of a beer. Below 1.000 FG.

That's my long answer.
 

Kee

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
5,347
Reaction score
5,315
Location
Deep East Texas
Anybody brewing or already brewed their Bière De Noël for the holidays?


I do one every year and it’s always a Belgian-style.
View attachment 748424
Now you have me thinking. I've got a batch packaged that would do nicely as a Bière De Noël, since about half of my batches are Belgian dark strongs. I'll do my best to safe some for Christmas.
 
Top