Belgian Beers And Tips

Australia & New Zealand Homebrewing Forum

Help Support Australia & New Zealand Homebrewing Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Reaction score
Belgian beers are very unique on the beer ladder, but they are fun to make.

If you have any Belgian beer tips could you post them to benifit others.

Oven roasting 500 - 1000 gms of the pale malt until the kitchen smells like biscuits adds a very nutty complexity to the brew.

About 10 - 15 minutes on a gas oven set to stun [high]

Yeast -- Try to describe the flavours and characters you have achieved with a particular true Belgian yeast


/me pricks his ears up and subscribes to the thread.

The only belgian beer I've done so far was a wit, which was a minor disaster, but still survives today to be drunken by anyone game enough.
Candi sugar to up the gravity.

Corriander seed for a spicy/citrus flavour.

I've generally used noble hops. What does everyone else use?
German CaraAroma dark crystal for my dubbels and freshly crushed coriander seed for the Wit.
I don't fuss too much about the hops, just no Cascade!

Allow me to dive in here.
Noble hops are the go. Mainly Hallertau and Saaz. You can go with EKG, Fuggles and Styrian Goldings in some styles.
Hey, I even got a 2nd in a NSW comp a couple of years back with a Belgian Pale (Belgian/French 2002). Very neutral yeast from a Unibroue beer culture (La Gaillarde). Tasted slightly sweet with alcoholic (~8%) taste. Took some to a boys get-together before a wedding. Didn't go over real big (Tooheys drinkers - watcha gonna do?). :eek:
Extract based, believe it or not. Wanna recipe?
I also made a partial mash Wit and scored a 3rd at Bathurst in the Wheat section in 2003.
Luv my occasional trips the Belgian beer cafe(s) in Sydney.
Have studied a lot of Belgian info from the web, and willing to share.

Biggest tip: Get the right Belgian yeast for your style and ferment at the right temp, or phenolics will blow your freakin' head off :(
Phenolics are nasty medicinal tasting off-flavours. Like old cough medicine. Mostly due to high temp, but wild yeast infection will give you the same flavour, but much more of it.
The flavour of phenolics is appropriate at lower levels in some Belgian Ales and German and Belgian style wheat beers.
So, do U have some?
Thanks Weizguy !

I have been having some fairly consitent problems of late, I'm not sure if I could describe the taste as 'medicinal' though.

I did do a Belgian (TDA's Fly Blown) last weekend and after cooling it to 21deg pitched a 2.5L starter of 1388 late afternoon. In the morning it was at 27deg (judging by the sticker type thermo on the side of the fermenter)! so I moved it straight to the freezer set to 20deg. Its been sitting there for nearly a week and there is a hint of a taste there... so I'm not sure yet.
a quick bit of research yielded this info about phenolics:

It can best be described as tasting how a band-aid smells. Sort of a sharp, metallic flavor - which obviously doesn't belong in the beer. Some peated malts impart the taste, and other malts can take on the characteristic if paired with the wrong yeast.

There's a fine balance between good and bad phenol aromas and flavors. Weizens can sometime have phenol aromas, but they blend well with other aromas and usually smell more clove-like than band-aid-like.
Only done a few wits, using WLP400. Used seville orange peal dried slowly in the oven. Used TF torrified wheat as the raw wheat. All gone and very popular with the lager swillers. The corriander mellows in a few weeks. I did prefer the wit made with a double decoction to the single step infusion.
I'm in agreeance with chiller on home roasting some grains to add a bit more oomph to some Belgian style brews. I roasted 400 grams of Ale malt and 300 grams of Munich and added this to a Belgian Ale which I have on tap at the moment. Im really happy with how this one turned out. It's only 5.2% and I didn't use any adjuncts.

The yeast was 1762 and it lends subtle esters to the brew. This yeast is very flocculant and has excellent attenuation (I used it on my Leffe clone and the beer has gone from 1066 to 1012, that's 80% attenuation). It also leaves a warming sensation as evidenced by the sample I had last night before CC'ing it.

IMHO, Belgian beers seem to taste more authentic with a lower FG. As proof of this I did a clone of Duvel last year and it finished at 1015, to me it had too much body and wasn't dry enough in the finish. It was still a good beer but not stunning. ;) (I used yeast from the bottle for this one). I wouldn't mash any higher than 66C to help achieve this and pitching a really big starter for those high alcohol Belgians is a must in my experience.

Your spot on re the low FG TDA, When I visited our suppliers in Belgium last September, they made this very point - and it is one reason why they use a lot of sugar. They also commented that "there is no great magic in Belgian brewing" - just lots of flavour and colour and a very dry finish.

As to mashing temps - I would use 66C as an upper limit for a single infusion mash. Better to be around 65 or even 64C and a liquor to grist ratio of at least 3.5:1 to achieve a high attenuating beer.

First attempt at a belgian style was flawed due to bad advice, theres still some of this rubbery flavoured sludge in the back of my garage, I fermented an Amber Ale fresh wort kit with Belgian Wit yeast and it was horrible.
My finest attempt at a Belgian was using Wyeast 1388 which gave a nice dry palate , the finished beer was like Judas. (a not so Pale Duvel).
Apparently Duvel has quite a complex fermentation regime which I wasn't game to attempt.
I put down a Chimay White clone and its been in the bottle 6 weeks but the smell is still quite solventy I think it will take 6 months for this one to come together in the bottle.
by request: ;)

Belgian Pale Ale recipe:

OG: 1.066
FG: 1.010
Vol: 25 litres (could try as a Trippel at 19 litres. maybe add coriander)

4.5 kg Amber LME
1.5 lb (780g) dextrose
37g Hallertau (4%AA) 60 miin
10g Saaz (3% AA) 60 min
10g Saaz (3% AA) 2 min
Full boil.
Yeast recultured from a 750ml of La Gaillarde by Unibroue (large starter - about 2 litres).

Start warm and move to fridge at 16-20C (low end of this range produces less solvent flavours)
Rack after 1 week (Gravity was 1.024)

2nd Prize Belgian/French - NSW state comp 2002 :D
Score: 137
Age - 7 months
Judge comments: very good, could not fault. Exceptional Good to style.

Nationals judges didn't agree. Score =95. + my entry form was accidentally marked as being a kit brew. :unsure:

Hope someone finds the courage to try. Store 4 Winter and enjoy. :chug:
I bottled my first attempt at a belgian ale on the weekend. DME, dextrose and wheat malt extract bittered with northern brewer and flavoured with hallertauer hallertau. Also chucked in a tin of cherries. At the recommendation of Wyeast I fed it with additional doses of fermentables along the way - the cherries went in on day 4 or 5. A small dose of DME upon racking.

I used the 3787 Trappist High Gravity that Goat gave me a sample of and it produced a frightening 80% attenuation with the ABV up around 8%. Nice dry finish and a touch of tartness. Some banana and cloves but unfortunately a very strong alcohol taste and not enough hops flavour.

Will bring some to the sandgropers bottle swap.
I've had a few attempts at some Belgians with varying success. My first ever was a tripel using all extract, candy sugar, honey, hersbrucker hops, corriander, ginger, orange peel and the 3787 yeast. I turned out pretty close to Rochefort 10 and won the Belgian category at the nationals, as well as the best extract category. Instant success, I guess you could say. I then made a raspberry dubbel with the same yeast and lots of dark crystal. It turned out really nice and didn't last long. Bothe beers were fermented at the right temps (20C). I then tried to reproduce my award winning tripel, this time as a partial mash, but added far too much coriander, the wrong orange peel and fermented at 25C. It was a shocker and I've still got most of it sitting downstairs a year later. Lately I've been experimenting with low gravity (1.035) Belgians and have produced some very nice beers that are really refreshing. The trick with these is to use only noble hops and quality German pils malt. I'm looking forward to trying my hand at a wit in the near future.

Cheers - Snow

Latest posts