Why Belgian Beers are so delicious and expensive

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgium

tip: Never, ever pass judgment on a beer style based solely on your home-brewed experience/interpretation of it, ever!!!!!

If your batch didn’t turn out like you hoped, try comparing it to several commercial examples first, then aim to duplicate for which you like the best.

Unless the beer is made from a limited ingredient/batch source or expensive to acquire ingredients/limited authorized and/or controlled batches, Belgian beer is mostly pricy because of the name to pour reputation developed over time.  This is not an attack at all on Belgian beers, if anything, you have to give them Belgian a Thumb up Bro and thanks for sharing your creations with the rest of the world!

Belgian beers are not just made by Monks, clearly we are the non-monks here and love to brew them!  There isn’t much to it when you really think about it, there is a beer recipe, and you follow it and brew it and bamm, you have Belgian beer, that’s it!

Out of the dozen or so different Belgians we have brewed here so far, I would have to say that the only factor that stands out in making them a little bit more expensive to brew than other beers is the slightly more expensive grain bill due to many being a Double, Triple and even some Quads, and of average a longer time is required to age them, bare minimum of 3 months, averaging 6 to 12 months (varies by style), the recipes are not any harder to follow or brew than non-Belgian beers.

What makes a Belgian beer taste Belgian-y ?

It’s mostly the flavors put off by the Belgian yeast, fermented at higher temperatures. Belgian yeasts tend to produce distinct spicy to fruity flavors, in addition the use of adjuncts to lighten the body of the beer and increase the gravity are employed, like the use of Belgian Candy sugar.

00839-Belgian-Candi-Sugar-Dark-web

So yes, when you pay $15 a glass at some fancy Bar, you are paying for the export recognition name, the History and bar markup prices, especially if the beer was brewed locally and is not imported from Belgium.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/30987/10-worlds-most-expensive-beers

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/dining/reviews/24wine.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Belgian Stout All Grain Recipe

 

September 11th, 2016 Brew: ( 10 gallon batch )…

OG 1.080 // Sep 11, 2016

FG 1.012 // Sep 24, 2016

Fermentation took a solid week.  ABV 8.9% // SRM 25

90 Minutes Mash at around 148F, followed by a 45 minutes at 158F, then mash-out at 170F // what we did different this time, used more grain and no Belgian Candi was used.  Also, the 2 lb of Caramel 40L was split into 1 lb 40 and 60 Caramel each.

grain schedule (cost of grain bill was $47 from a brew store

  • Pale 2-row 27.50 lb
  • Torrified Wheat 1 lb
  • Chocolate Malt 350L 1.5 lb
  • Caramel 40 Love 1 lb
  • Caramel 60 Love 1 lb

hops schedule (whole hops cost was free, since we grew our own hops // pellet we buy it by the pound, this way cost averages down by ounce )

  • 1.5 oz of whole hops Cascades, at start of boil
  • 1 oz of pellet hops, Cascades at 30 minutes
  • 1 oz of pellet hops, Cascades at 45 minutes + Irish Moss

yeast (we maintain our own, so this is almost free)

The yeast was the 1214 Belgian Abbey from 2014 brew which was sitting in the fridge all this time; we made a starter, and like a Boss!  2 liter starter, 48 hours.

 

 

 

December, 2014 Brew below:

2015-01-15

Mash schedule:

90 minutes at 142F, than raise temps to 158F and hold for an additional 45 minutes, Mash out.

Over Ratio Grains Recipe:

  • 80% pale 2-row
  • 5% torrefied wheat
  • 5% Belgian Chocolate mail
  • 10% Caramel Malt (40L)
  • 1lb of Belgian Dark Sugar Syrup

Hops schedule for a 5 gallon batch:

  • 1 oz at start of boil – Willamette
  • 1 oz at 30 minutes – East Kent
  • 1 oz at end of boil – East Kent

for this recipe however we used Cascade hops for the whole thing, because we have a lot of them from the 2014 Harvest :- ) and also, these were the exact grains that we used, sometimes you have to substitute based on what is available where you live, you can also order exact grains and have them delivered, probably costs more money…

For the 10 gallon batch, we used:

  • 24 pounds of Golden Promise – which is a pale 2-row malt
  • 3 pounds of Crystal Malt, 40 Lov. (40L)
  • 1.5 pounds of British Chocolate Malt (450-500 L)
  • 1.50 pounds torrified wheat malt – it increases head retention and body / version of flaked wheat
  • 1 LB of Dark Brown Candi Sugar
  • 1 LB of Dark Belgian Candy Syrup
  • double the hot schedule for a 10 gallon batch ( see above )

We used 1214 Belgian Abbey yeast on this one!

12/21/2014 Brew OG 1.082

Videos:

mashing stage with re-circulation:

boil stage:

fermentation stage:

 

14 - 1 14 - 2

Ferment for 2 ~ 3 weeks at about 70F, read your yeast specs…

Yeast – many different type of Belgian yeasts exists, please do your research…

Achouffe — Wyeast 3522 (Belgian Ardennes) and White Labs WLP550 (Belgian Ale)

Chimay — Wyeast 1214 (Belgian Ale) and White Labs WLP500 (Trappist Ale)

Du Bocq (Corsendonk) — Wyeast 3538 (Leuven Pale Ale)

Duvel Moortgat — Wyeast1388 (Belgian Strong Ale) and White Labs WLP570 (Belgian Golden Ale)

Rochefort — Wyeast 1762 (Belgian Abbey II) and White Labs WLP540 (Belgian Abbey IV)

Orval — White Labs WLP510 (Bastogne Belgain Ale)

Unibroue — Wyeast 3864 (Cana-dian/Belgian)

Westmalle — Wyeast 3787 (Trappist High Gravity) and White Labs WLP530 (Abbey Ale)