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Anyone brewing Belgian beer ?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Techniques' started by Darren Waszkinel, 8/12/19.

 

  1. Darren Waszkinel

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    Posted 8/12/19
    Hey all

    Just starting out and am about i purchase the Brewzilla to get started.
    I recently sat in on an all grain brew day For an IPA which was awsome and i learnt a lot. I wanted to reach out on this forum and ask if anyone is brewing Belgian beer? Specifically Dubbel, Triple or Quads. From what I am watching on YouTube and reading, It seems that the process is quite different and more complex so I wanted to ask if any is brewing this type of beer and could offer some advice and guidance ?
    Appreciate it in advance and Thankyou
     
  2. MHB

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    Posted 8/12/19
    Belgian beers need not be complicated, I know a lot of American writers make them sound deep dark and mysterious, but they really aren't.
    Back in the 1800's Belgian breweries were sending students to both England/UK and Germany, they came home and blended what they learnt with the local brewing traditions with some sometimes surprising results. For example continental ale made with Scottish Peat Smoked Malt and hops from Slovenia.
    The one thing you need to get right in brewing Belgian Beers is the yeast, its funny you can talk to Belgian brewers about anything and they are happy to show you everything they do - except when it comes to the yeast.
    Choose your yeast carefully, manage the amount you use, the fermentation temperatures and you will be well on the way to making the beers you are looking for.

    The recipes on Candi Syrup Inc are a great starting place, not needlessly over complicated and pretty well tested.
    If a recipe calls for Candi Sugar use it, unless its the clear where normal household white will work pretty well, don't try and make your own you probably wont get what you are looking for.

    But its nearly all about the yeast!
    Mark
     
  3. Darren Waszkinel

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    Posted 8/12/19
    Really appreciate you taking the time and I am
    Happy to hear it’s not as complicated as o first thought. I am fascinated by the Belgian dark beer and it’s what I want to make. May I ask what equipment you are using ?
    I am looking to purchase the Brewzilla setup as a startup
     
  4. Darren Waszkinel

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    Posted 8/12/19
    Maybe a silly question but at what point would I add the candy sugar ?
     
  5. MHB

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    Posted 8/12/19
    The equipment isn't anywhere nearly as important as how you use it, you can make great Belgians in a simple BIAB system, with some of the high alcohol versions being able to step mash would help so you can get highly fermentable wort. Its not all that hard to step mash in BIAB system, just plan your boiling water additions well in advance.

    Candy Sugar is used in many (maybe most) of the high alcohol Belgian beers, in some it's the only dark ingredient is Dark Candi (see Westvleteren 8) in many its a vital component, follow the recipe it will tell you how to use it.
    That said Belgian brewers add sugar in the kettle and are required to by Belgian tax law. Personally I find adding sugars part way through the ferment works better, the lower OG stresses the yeast less (among other reasons) and one more time - its all about the yeast.
    Mark

    PS
    I really love the blonds and triples, Tripel Karmeliet being something of a Holy Grail for me, people talk about Westvleteren 12 as possibly being the best beer on earth, for drinking the Westy 6 Pale Ale really hits the spot for me,
    Personal taste.
    M
     
    Coalminer likes this.
  6. mongey

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    Posted 8/12/19
    I just have a simple biab set up and probably 85% of my beers are Belgian style. I like brewing then cause they are pretty simple. Simple ingredients. Simple brew day. Not many hop additions.and I like drinking them.i never dry hop them so reusing yeast is easy.

    Hardest part is getting the yeast you want to use.My local shop doesn’t carry many Belgian Options. But in the online shopping world it’s really not that hard.
     
  7. chthon

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    Posted 9/12/19
    The biggest problem in propagating yeast from the real thing is probably the availability and freshness at your side. I have propagated yeast from Westmalle, St.-Bernardus and Rochefort from the bottle. But then I live almost at the source. If you are interested in Duvel, on the UK forum someone has propagated yeast from the bottle, apparently with very good results for his final brew.
     
  8. Mr B

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    Posted 9/12/19
    Yeast wise I mostly use Mangrove Jacks Belgian Tripel M31. Nice yeast.

    You can use the Brewers Friend yeast calculator to work out how much you need. Assuming at this stage you won’t be growing starters, so just work out how many grams you need for your batch size and gravity.

    Ask here for help if needed :)
     
  9. wide eyed and legless

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    Posted 9/12/19
    The problem with propagating yeast from the bottle is you don't know what yeast was used to condition the bottled beer, quite often it is a different strain to the one used in the fermentation, often a dried yeast.
     
  10. wide eyed and legless

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    Posted 9/12/19
    There are a few threads on this forum for Belgian beers, one here.
    https://aussiehomebrewer.com/threads/belgian-pale-ale.92726/
     
  11. DJR

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    Posted 10/12/19
    Nothing that complicated really. there's a wide range of belgian style dried yeasts out there now like lallemand abbaye, saf be-256, and then in liquid form there's wlp530/wyeast 3787 (westmalle), wlp500 (chimay) and then yeasts like wlp400 - hoegaarden witbier.

    One of the simplest recipes is a belgian tripel - just pilsner malt, a bit of acidulated malt, saaz or other noble hops and some dextrose to take it up to about the 1070 mark, then fermented with the right yeast, like wlp530. Just pay attention to fermentation temperatures and feed the dextrose in over a couple of days once fermentation kicks off. Have a look for my belgian tripel recipe and just take out the peated malt for a starter.

    Anyway good luck, also have a look at the book "brew like a monk" - it's pretty good and very detailed.
     
  12. chthon

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    Posted 10/12/19
    Yes, but in these cases I have good results (and the UK member had good results with his Duvel yeast).
    • They attenuate well
    • They give nice flavours and smells
    It is not possible to build a perfect clone unless you really spend much time improving and honing the recipe, but they all succeeded as beers in the Charlie Papazian way.
     
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