Belgian beer

Discussion in 'Commercial Beer/Spirits & Brewery Discussion.' started by Brewed_Force, Sep 11, 2019.

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  1. Sep 11, 2019 #1

    Brewed_Force

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    I've never tried Belgian beer but would like to try some, possibly with a view to brewing my own, but don't know where to start.
    Can anyone recommend some commercial examples that would give a gentle introduction to this style?
     
  2. Sep 11, 2019 #2

    Oneflewover

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    There's so much variation in Belgian beers, it's not really a 'style'. What do you like; pale, darker, dry, strong, sessionable?

    I'm no expert by any means at all, but I sampled a few Belgian beers this year and my favourite has been Chimay Blue, a darker ale - probably fits style guidelines for a quadrupel
     
  3. Sep 12, 2019 #3

    Rodcx500z

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    My fav is Duvel triple hopped citra but at 9.5%abv take it easy and duvel pale 8.5%
     
  4. Sep 12, 2019 #4

    chthon

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    The Belgian Trappist beers:
    • Rochefort
    • Orval
    • Westmalle
    • Achel
    • Chimay
    • If you know someone who has one, Westvleteren, but that is not available in the normal commercial circuit
    All of them, except Orval, are available in at least two strengths.
     
  5. Sep 12, 2019 #5

    chthon

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    The Belgian abbey beers, which are commercial beers, sometimes aligned with other convents, but mostly derived from the Trappist beers.
    • St.-Bernardus brewery, which used to brew for the abbey of Westvleteren
     
  6. Sep 12, 2019 #6

    MickDundee

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    I’ve found it quite difficult to get Belgian beers right in a HB level. I did a pale a couple of years ago which turned out quite nicely, but I tried to make a double 18months ago and I’m still struggling to get through it.
     
  7. Sep 12, 2019 #7

    davidfromUS

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    I've got three Belgian's going right now (two Quads and a Tripel). The Tripel is very nice and widely liked and is supposed to be a clone of the Westmalle. I tried the real deal and honestly didn't like it--too dry. The one I make isn't and it's a straight-forward recipe being Pilsner, sugar and a few ounces of hops. The higher fermentation temperature of the yeast adds the unique flavors. The only problem is that the ABV is around 11%. You can tone that down though.
     
  8. Sep 12, 2019 #8

    Cheshire Cat

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    I make Kwak but I can't get ABV above 7% but it's very good
     
  9. Sep 12, 2019 #9

    Brewed_Force

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    I would be looking to try something that won't blow my head off, not too fruity either.
     
  10. Sep 12, 2019 #10

    Graz

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    At a very introductory level and available pretty much everywhere there's Leffe Blond and Brune. For a pretty commercialised brew they're not bad. I'd never had any Belgian stuff until a work trip over to France many years ago where Leffe was on tap in the hotel bar, got me interested.

    As others have mentioned like many other beery countries there are so many styles, and they pretty much wrote the book on sours as Lambic and Gueuze date back to 1800 and beyond.

    Personally whilst I love most of it may favourites are the Trappist Dubbels and Quadruples (brown to dark strong ales) such as Chimay Blue & Rochefort 10. I've yet to sample Westvleteren but keen to get hold of some (preferably by visiting the abbey) one day.
     
  11. Sep 12, 2019 #11

    davidfromUS

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    Are you trying to get above 7% or just that you restrict yourself to that number?
     
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  12. Sep 12, 2019 #12

    Cheshire Cat

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    I try to get higher but haven't managed to exceed that. Maybe it's the yeast.
     
  13. Sep 12, 2019 #13

    davidfromUS

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    Safale T-58 most definitely will get above 7%. I use two packs. I've gotten 10-plus ABVs on many occasions. This week, I got 11% on a Triple with a FG of 1.012 using one Mangrove Jack's M-41 and a T-58. Quad-type beers are a little different but I was still able to get 10.5% in the past with T-58 alone.
    I also have two Quads in fermenters with one having M-41 and T-58 and the second Quad with two M-41s. We'll see how that goes. I'm very much looking forward to comparing them.
    Keeping a good room temperature helps a lot. I don't control temp other than moving the fermenters to different rooms.
     
  14. Sep 12, 2019 #14

    chthon

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    Also possible, you can propagate the yeasts from all Trappist beers (and possible other Belgian beers) and a host of other abbey beers. I did this with Westmalle and St.-Bernardus, from which I brewed a Westmalle Tripel clone, a St.-Bernardus Tripel clone and a St.-Bernardus Abt 12/WV12 clone.
     
  15. Sep 12, 2019 #15

    Tom Freeman

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    Saison Dupont has to be right up there on your list as it's a great example of a traditional Belgian style but is also very accessible.

    Westvleteren blond is one of my favourite beers but is hard to get hold. Chimay and Karmeliet do a great triple. Westmalle dubbel and Rochefort 6 are both relatively easy drinking darker beers.

    If you like a glass of bubbly then you'll love geuze. Boon do my favourite ones but 3 Fonteinen make great ones too. Of course there's Cantillon but that's not cheap!

    Enjoy!
     
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  16. Sep 12, 2019 #16

    Cheshire Cat

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    Since I wrote the above I've got the Brewers Friend app. I made a strong Scottish ale and used their recipe calculator, with the ingredients and process I used they calculated a OG 1079, I only got think too much sparge water could be the problem.
     
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  17. Sep 12, 2019 #17

    Cheshire Cat

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    I only got 1063
     
  18. Sep 13, 2019 #18

    Thos

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    Back on topic, don't forget witbier such as Hoegaarden (sold in the UK as a premium lager!), although I prefer Blanche de Namur. At the other end of scale is Flemish red if you like sour beer, although I doubt this is available in the UK. Belgian stouts and IPA are only marginally different from British versions.
     
  19. Sep 13, 2019 #19

    MickDundee

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    :?::?::?:
     
  20. Sep 14, 2019 #20

    Sadfield

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    Pretty common to find Flemish beers from the likes Rodenbach, Omer Vender Ghinste, Jacobins, De Dolle and Verhaeghe in good bottle shops and online in the UK. Plenty of Lambic and Gueuze too. Happy days.
     

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