All Abbeys brewed beer for their own consumption and for the consumption of the people living around the Abbeys. In the early 1950s most Abbeys stopped brewing since the influx of new monks dried up. Almost all of these Abbeys licensed the brewing of their beer out to commercial breweries after giving them the recipes and the yeast. These commercial breweries pay royalties to the Abbeys.
The second style of beer created by men and women. Once the spontaneous fermentation was understood, people harvested yeast from the first batch and used it in the next batch. Since the supply of the other ingredients, the malts and the spices, was not very consistent, every batch ended up with another color. Not too pale and not too dark, thus amber.
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Inspired by the American India Pale Ale (IPA) and Double IPA, more and more Belgian brewers are brewing hoppy pale colored ales for the US market, and there's been an increase of Belgian IPAs being brewed by American brewers. Generally, Belgian IPAs are considered too hoppy by Belgian beer drinkers.
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Various malts are used, but the beers of the style are finished with Belgian yeast strains (bottle-conditioned) and the hops employed tend to be American. You'll generally find a cleaner bitterness vs. American styles, and a pronounced dry edge (very Belgian), often akin to an IPA crossed with a Belgian triple. Alcohol by volume is on the high side.
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It is a tradition for almost all self respecting Belgian breweries to have a blond beer in their portfolio, which is somewhat higher in alcohol than the regular Pilsner. These beers are not lagers but ales. They were the first answer of the breweries at the beginning of the 20th century on the emerging popularity of the blond Pilsners.
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The color of bok beer is normally dark to very dark, and the alcohol content may vary between 6 and 8% by volume. The style comes out of the German culture, which is normal since the concept of lager brewing started in the German culture, mainly in the Alps region of Bavaria, Austria, Czechia, and Switzerland.
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The Belgian dubbel is a rich malty beer with some spicy/phenolic and mild alcoholic characteristics. Not as much fruitiness as the Belgian dark ale but some dark fruit aromas and flavors may be present. Mild hop bitterness with no lingering hop flavors. It may show traits of a steely caramel flavor from the use of crystal malt or dark candy sugar.
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The bitter style came from brewers who wanted to differentiate these ales from other mild brews - enter pale malts and more hops. Most are gold to copper in color and are light bodied. Low carbonation. Alcohol should be low and not perceived. Hop bitterness is moderate to assertive. Most have a fruitiness in the aroma and flavor, diacetyl can also be present.
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A generic form of flavored beer, some breweries actually use real fruit or veggies, though most use an extract, syrup or processed flavor to give the effect of a particular fruit or vegetable. Usually ales, but with not much ale character to them and commonly unbalanced.
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Hop flavor is significant and of noble varieties, bitterness is moderate, and both are backed by a solid malt body and sweetish notes from an all-malt base.
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A beer can only be labeled Lambic, when it is spontaneously fermented, which means wild yeast is used. This wild yeast is harvested by exposing the wort (the cooked grain liquid) to the open air.
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The most popular beer style in the world! About 90% of the consumed beer around the world is of this style. All big brand beers from Corona, Heineken, Coors, Budweiser, Beck’s … you name it, do trace their roots back to the Pilsner style. A Pilsner is a golden clear lager, brewed for the first time in the Pilzen area in Czechia.
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Inspired by the Trappist brewers of Belgium, a quadrupel is a Belgian style ale with bolder flavor. Typically a dark brew that ranges within the deep red, brown and garnet hues. Full bodied with a rich malty palate. Phenols are usually at a moderate level. Sweet with a low bitterness yet a well perceived alcohol.
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Flemish reds or browns need to be aged in oak for some time before we can call them reds or browns. These beers are normally average on alcohol content, have a sour note (aging) and have the color of their name.
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This style is typical for the country side of Hainaut, a province of Belgium and a department of France. It is a rural area with large grain farms, and these farms all used to brew. The original style of Saison is a blend of 2 or 3 beers, with one of them being an old slightly sour beer.
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A Scottish style ale, brewed outside Scotland, is an ale brewed with some typical ingredients like Kent hops, special yeast, and candy sugar. Normally, such beer should trace its origin back to some Scottish influence. The color is red to dark, sweet taste, average to higher in alcohol, and with some typical velvety and licorice flavors.
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Sour beer is a beer style characterized by an intentionally acidic, tart, sour taste. It is Category 17 of the Beer Judge Certification Program Style Guidelines. In theory any style of beer may be soured, but in practice the most common styles that are soured are Belgian lambics, gueuzes, and Flanders red ale.
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Here belong all beers that are difficult to place with a specific style. Due to the exceptional nature of most Belgian beers, it is no surprise that a lot of beers could be catalogued under this style. Beers using uncommon spices, sweeteners and grains, for example. Beers that are blends of different beers, and even non-beer liquids like juices, ciders, or hard liquor.
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A stout was considered a workman’s beer in the 19th and early 20th century. Stout was the staple beer of the laborers in the Flemish textile factories, the Walloon coal mines and on the docks of the Flemish harbors, where physical labor was exhausting, and 12-14 hour days the standard. These Belgian stouts are milder, which means sweeter than Irish stouts.
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On the European continent, beers with the highest alcohol content are called triples. On the British Isles (and in the USA) the tradition is to call them Barley Wines. A beer is considered a triple in Belgium when the alcohol content is 9% alcohol by volume and higher.
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Wit is the identification for Belgian Wheat Ales. They are absolutely different from German or US wheat beers. A Wit must be brewed using at least 25 % of wheat malts. Belgian wheat beers are fruitier, with a slight lemony touch, because the use of coriander seeds, orange peels, and other spices is very common.
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