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Belgian Beer Styles Guide


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Abbey Dubbel: Examples:
Abbey Beers have a long tradition dating back to the middle ages when Trappist monks brewed these beers in their monasteries (a small number still do today). Dubbels are a mid-strength Belgian style of beer that are dark amber to brown in color and usually have a large head that lasts. Complex flavor consists of sweet malts which can have a chocolate, roasted, nutty taste. Dark fruit flavors such as raisin, date, or plum are usually present and sometimes this is accompanied by a spicy presence. Hop flavor is usually not noticeable, but yeast flavor is. Finish tends to be dry with a little alcohol warming. Good Dubbels are very complex and tasty with an ABV between 6-8.5%. IBUs are usually around 15-25. The names of Dubbels often have brune, bruin, or brown in the name.
  • Leffe Brune
  • Achel 8 Brune
  • Allagash Dubbel Reserve
  • Mc Chouffe
  • La Trappe Dubbel
  • Westmalle Dubbel
  • Chimay Rouge (Premiere)
  • Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale
  • St. Feuillien Brune

  • Abbey Tripel: Examples:
    Abbey Beers have a long tradition dating back to the middle ages when Trappist monks brewed these beers in their monasteries (a small number still do today). It is believed that Tripels were invented at the monastery at Westmalle which still brews to this day. They are yellow to deep gold in color and are often highly carbonated almost like champagne. A good Tripel will have a complex flavor consisting of Belgian yeast, citrus fruits, candi sugar, spices, malt, hops, and alcohol tastes. Malts are much more subdued than Dubbels, the yeast is even more prevalent, and the hops are moderately increased. The finish is dry largely due to the high carbonation and hops bitterness. These factors also hide the alcohol burn, but let the alcohol flavor come through. Alcohol ranges from 7-10+% and IBUs are between 25-40.
  • Unibroue La Fin Du Monde
  • Westmalle Tripel
  • Victory Golden Monkey Tripel
  • Achel 8 Blond
  • Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet
  • Chimay Cinq Cents (White)
  • Leffe Triple (Triple 8)
  • St-Feuillien Triple
  • Allagash Tripel Reserve
  • Cuvee Diabolique
  • Hair of the Dog Rose
  • Watou Tripel

  • Abt / Quadrupel: Examples:
    Created by La Trappe, Abt (also known as quadrupel) are Abbey and Trappist beer styles of great strength and bold flavors. Abts tend to be darker with dark fruit flavors while Quadrupels tend to be lighter in color and may have a peachy taste. Both styles have strong, rich, malt flavors with very low hop content and flavor. Alcohol presence is very noticeable and the ABV is usually over 10%.
  • Achel Extra Brune
  • Westvleteren Abt 12
  • St. Bernardus Abt 12
  • Rochefort Trappistes 10
  • Dieu du Ciel Rigor Mortis Abt
  • Val-Dieu Quadruppel

  • Belgian Ale: Examples:
    This is a sort of catch-all category for beers that fall into the lighter side of Belgian Ales. These tend to be golden to amber in color, although some beers in this category will be on the darker side. The beers in this category will vary in malt and hop flavors/levels and typically have an ABV of 7.5% or less.
  • Westvleteren Blond
  • Hoegaarden Hougaerdse Das
  • Ommegang Rare Vos Amber Ale
  • Cuvee Angelique
  • Cuvee Euphorique
  • Reinaert Flemish Amber Ale
  • Orval

  • Belgian IPA: Examples:
    Belgian IPAs are a newer style of beer predominantly brewed in the USA and Belgium. This style uses a variety of malts, typically American hops, and Belgian yeast. Like many Belgian ales, the alcohol content is fairly high, usually over 7%. Like American IPAs, the bitterness level is typically high with IBUs usually over 50.
  • Flying Dog Raging Bitch
  • Green Flash Le Freak
  • Midnight Sun Mayhem
  • Urthel Hop-It
  • Troubadour Magma
  • Alvinne Gaspar
  • Lefebvre Hopus

  • Belgian Strong Ale: Examples:
    The BJCP divides Belgian Strong Ales into dark and golden subcategories, but these 2 are combined at BeerTutor. For this reason, the beers in this category can be anywhere from yellow to dark brown in color. Blond versions tend to be similar to Tripels and have a fruity and spicy hop flavor. They tend to be paler, lighter, and drier than their Tripel counterparts. Dark versions are similar to Abbey Dubbels and are more malt oriented than the blonde versions. They tend to be sweet, often flavored with candied sugar, and have moderate hop flavor. Both versions have a high ABV ranging from about 7.5 to 13%.
  • Ommegang Abbey Ale
  • Unibroue Don de Dieu
  • Unibroue Trois Pistoles
  • Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue / Blauw)
  • Unibroue La Terrible
  • Westvleteren Extra 8
  • La Chouffe

  • Biere de Garde: Examples:
    Biere de Garde beers are artisanal farmhouse ales from northern France. They are similar to Saisons, however, Biere de Gardes tend to be sweeter and lack the sourness and spiciness of Saisons. The name Biere de Garde literally means "beer that has been kept" which refers to the fact that this style tends to improve with age. There are 3 different colors of Biere de Garde which are blond, amber, and brown. This style is often unfiltered and can be cloudy. These beers are balanced toward malts whose presence is usually high with toffee or caramel flavors. Hop presence provides low to medium bitterness levels which can sometimes be spicy. The lighter versions may have higher hop levels, but are still balanced toward malts. The finish is usually dry with malt flavor. The ABV is usually 5.5-8.5% and IBUs are between 20 and 30.
  • La Bavaisienne
  • La Choulette Ambree
  • Jenlain Ambree
  • Jenlain Blonde
  • Ch'Ti Blond
  • Southampton Biere De Mars
  • Jolly Pumpkin Bière de Mars
  • Heavyweight Biere dArt

  • Flemish Sour Ale: Examples:
    Flemish Sour Ales is a catch all category for styles such as Flanders Red Ales and Flanders Oud Bruin which come from Flanders, of course. These beers can be red to brown in color and have low carbonation. The flavor is typically of dark fruits such as plum, cherry, black cherry, red currant, figs, dates, raisins, or prunes. Toffee, chocolate, or caramel flavors may also be present. Their defining characteristic is medium to high levels of sourness and acidity. These beers exhibit little to no hop or alcohol flavors and the sour flavor often turns sweet in the finish. The Red Ale variety are often aged for 2 years in oak barrels. Oud Bruin varieties are not oak barrel aged. ABV is typically between 4-8% and IBUs are 15-25.
  • Liefman's Oud Bruin
  • Liefman's Goudenband
  • Rodenbach Grand Cru
  • Verhaeghe Vichtenaar
  • Ichtegem Old Brown
  • New Belgium La Folie
  • Petrus Oud Bruin

  • Lambics/Gueuze: Examples:
    Lambics are wheat beers that come from the Senne Valley in Belgium. They are spontaneously fermented with wild yeasts in the air and are typically unfiltered. The most basic Lambic is called "Unblended" and will tend to have very earthy and sour flavors, with virtually no carbonation. The sourness can be decreased with ageing. Lambics have virtually no hop flavor or bitterness. Fruit Lambics are just what the name describes. After the Lambic has fermented, fruits are added and their sugars are fermented as well. This adds fruit flavor to the Lambic while retaining its sour character. The most common fruits used in lambics are Peche (peach), Framboise (raspberries), Kriek (cherries), and Cassis (black currant). Another category of Lambics is Gueuze. Gueuze is a blend of old and young Lambics. Like an unblended Lambic, Gueuze has an earthy and sour profile, however, it is highly carbonated and should be more complex in flavor. ABV of these styles is typically between 4-6% and IBUs should be less than 10.
  • Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze
  • Cantillon Gueuze 100% Lambic
  • Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René
  • Cantillon Jonge Lambic Cognac
  • Girardin Oude Lambik
  • Lindemans Framboise
  • Oud Beersel Oude Kriek Vieille

  • Saison: Examples:
    Saison, also known as 'farmhouse ale', is a Belgian style that was originally brewed during the cold months in order to last through summer. The flavor tends to focus on the earthy yeast and heavy spices, although fruit and tartness are common. Saisons are highly carbonated and tend to be dry. Typical alcohol content varies widely from 5-9%.
  • Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux
  • Moinette Biolgique
  • Fantome BBB Dark White
  • New Belgium Biere De Mars
  • Lagunitas Number 10
  • Ommegang Ommegeddon
  • Magnolia Saison de Lily
  • Saison Dupont





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