The Year of the Belgian-Styles

Ok, Just in case you were wondering, I’m still around. lol. I apologize for the long time between posts — I have absolutely no excuse — however, I have still been exploring the World of Beer during this time. This year, 2021, I’ve determined to focus on Belgian-style beers, with an emphasis on two categories: a) Trappist-style, and b) Lambics.

For this post I will stick to discussing the Trappist-styles, leaving Lambics for a follow-on.

The two ways I’ve been focusing on Trappist-styles are a) drinking them (haha) and, b) brewing them. I’ve already brewed a “Single/blond,” a Dubbel, a Tripel, and will be brewing a Dark Strong Ale tomorrow.

The Single/Blond Ale was a strange brew … it was hard to characterize it … the yeast I used had been cultured from an Achouffe strain (WLP550) [of course, that’s like saying I came from Europe even though my family has been in the USA since the 1700s] — so not a Trappist yeast. Originally, I wanted to clone the Poperinge Hommelbier … I put together my recipe and brewed it up — it is (characteristically) like the Trappist Single but the ABV is too high for that style … but too low for the Strong Ale category … Oh well! It tastes great. I love that yeast! I brewed it on the day my Grandson was born — so I named it after him (Keoni Blond) …

Before I brewed that one, I brewed “Sainte Dubbel” … this was my attempt at a Westmalle-clone. I used the WLP 530 yeast … definitely the right strain. I did have an uncontrolled temperature spike the first night, but everything came back under control … the flavor is very similar to the Westmalle Dubbel … however, it lacks that subtle oxidation character … it needs a little more time in the bottle, I think.

The next beer I brewed was the Drei Punkte … my Trappist Tripel … I went for another Westmalle-clone … maybe leaning a little towards the Chimay. I’m still trying to dial in my new brewing system … more about that in another post … so I didn’t hit my targets, but this is a nice Tripel. I used the WLP 550 yeast (I captured some from the Blond-brew). It is a very nice yeast … great flavor profile in both of these beers.

A couple of bottles seem low in carbonation, but the rest are a nice, big thick head. This is obviously a low carbonation one … haha.

Besides brewing these Trappist-styles, I’ve been able to find bottles from Chimay, Westmalle, Rochefort, and Orval. Also, the St Bernardus Abt 12 and few other Abbey beers. As my beers mature, I’ve been doing some side-by-side comparisons. Additionally, I’ve captured the dregs from a few Orval bottles (my favorite beer). I’m using these in two different ways. First, I captured some of the wort from the Keoni Blond and pitched the Orval yeast into secondary … definitely getting that Brett character … needs to mature a little more, but a really tasty beer. Also, my next beer (after my Quadrupel) will be my attempt at an Orval clone (hence the Label for “Liquid Valor.”) I haven’t designed my Quad label yet.

Here’s a shout out to Stan Hieronymous — his book “brew like a MONK” is a great reference guide when I’m trying to build my recipes, choose yeast, additional ingredients and what processes to follow. Thanks, Stan!


Beer Mentor

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