From the HBD Archive
From: bradley@adx.adelphi.edu (Rob Bradley)
Subject: Belgian ale
Date: 1992-07-09 18:31:32 GMT

In HBD917 Phillip Seitz gave us an excellent review of
_Belgian_Ale_. He notes:

> ... More than hops or
> even malt, the secret to Belgian beer flavors appears to be
> the yeast,

Some weeks ago, I posted on my experience with Wyeast Belgian.
I recall making the same point: I used essentially the same
ingredients as for English Pale Ale (and so, in retrospect,
too hoppy for the Belgian style) and got a totally different
beer, thanks to having the right yeast. That point seemed
to get lost in the polemic which ensued concerning the purity
of Wyeast and my sanitary procedures. Perhaps I shouldn't
have made an oblique reference to _A_Chorus_Line_ ("Dance: 10,
Looks: 2") without explaining myself.

One thing that came up in that discussion was the suggestion
that I brewed at too high a temp (70F). Phillip sez:

> Belgian-style brewing will come as quite a shock to many:
> these include obligatory use of large quantities of sugar,
> high-temperature fermentations (up to and over 85 degrees
-------------------------
> fahrenheit), microscopic hopping rates (take *that*,
> hopheads!), and deliberate production of sour and high-ester
> beers.

Prospective users of Wyeast Belgian should still be aware of
one point: the yeast is slow. I'm not talking about a lag in
getting started, rather that the yeast seems to take forever
in finishing. On the other hand, I received e-mail from
Larry Barello who tells me that his techniques of yeast
washing (described in the HBD more than a month ago) might
cure this problem. I intend to try it when the the weather
cools off (come to think of it, maybe I don't need to wait!).

For the record: the beer is now over two months old, more than
a month in the bottle. It has mellowed substantially and the
bananas have almost disappeared. The beer is still very estery,
but that appears to be true to style.

Do I win the MALTMILL? :-)

Cheers,

Rob
(bradley@adx.adelphi.edu)

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