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Beer Review #52 Delirium Tremens

Delirium Tremens from Huyghe Brewery in Melle/Ghent, Belgium is a beer that I have wanted to try for a long time now. It is one of those classics that every beer drinker should try. It is also nice to have a Belgian beer that comes from Belgium, as most of the Belgian beers that I have had recently come out of the good old US of A. Not that I am complaining becasue the country of origin does not really play a super important role in beer and American Craft Brewers have done a wonderful job of replicating (and in some cases improving) Belgian style beer.

This beer comes classified as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale according to Beer Advocate. Rate Beer calls it a Belgian Strong Ale, but in any case it is a Belgian beer and the “strong” in both of the style names, says it is really high in ABV. Like 8.5% ABV high. Delirium Tremens pours with a fluffy white head. The beer is straw in color and is cloudy/hazy but you can still see through it. On the nose you get that ever present Belgian yeast spice with some malt sweetness. There are not any hops noticeable and you can surely smell some heat.

The taste of the beer is the Belgian spice mostly. There are a few hints of banana, which was a nice flavor to complement the other spices. The malt was pretty thin. In most Belgian beers the spice is the first thing you notice, and then the flavors start to show themselves more and get fairly complex. I found this beer to be rather one note and not highly complex. After a few sips I think you will find everything the beer has to offer. Not that it is a bad thing, becasue what is there is pretty wonderful.

The mouthfeel is watery. Much more watery than what I would of expected out of a beer that comes in at 8.5%. It is also highly carbonated, which is to be expected for the style. Overall I would consider this a decent Belgian Strong Ale. Not my favorite, but very good. If the body was punched up just a bit, I think it would take it into a whole new category.

As I said before, I am a sucker for neat bottles, and this beer was no exception. The bottle is actually painted, comes corked and caged, and has a foil wrapping. The cork is synthetic which doesn’t really bother me at all. As I said before I enjoyed this beer, but it fell a little flat for me. It is something every craft beer drinker should try, but I felt that it didn’t live up to the hipe, while still being a solid beer.

Belgian Dubbel Brew Day

08-22-03Last Saturday around the time of this post I had a chance to brew my Belgian Dubbel. The wife went to see the Time Travelers Wife, which gave me a few hours of time to brew. The whole idea behind the beer was to save some money on yeast and have another Belgian style beer on-hand since I’m really digging Belgian beers right now, so is the wife. I ordered from Austin Homebrew Supply again and followed the ingredients that I had originally set-out on using. I didn’t order a half pound of wheat malt from them becasue I already had a pound on hand. One problem, they shorted me a half pound of Belgian Pale malt. Crap.

08-22-02I decided to go on with brewing anyway and get that half pound reimbursed at another time. I threw all of the grain into the mash tun and heated my strike water to 165ºF. Being that I roughly had 6.5 lbs of grain and wanted to keep a water to grain ratio of 1.25 quarts per pound the 2 gallons of water reached that temperature very quickly. I then let it all sit there for an hour and again, it only dropped 2ºF from 152ºF to 150ºF in that hour. I’m really happy with my new mash tun.

On my last brew, I had a terrible efficiency, so I wanted to fix that up a bit. I collected my first runnings and threw it back on top of the grain and collected it again. My thinking was that the water was still hot and I could grab some extra sugar.  I heated up another two gallons of water to 180ºF for the second and third runnings. On both I let them sit in the mash tun for 10 minutes. By the end I had collected 3.5 gallons of wort for the boil.

08-22-04I did my 60 minute boil using .5 oz of Styrian Goldings hops and 1 oz of Saaz hops for 15 minutes. I also threw in some Irish Moss to try and help clarity. Why I didn’t do this for the Tripel is still a good question. I cooled down the wort and pitched it on top of the yeast cake from the Tripel as that is now in a carboy.

I was shooting for a gravity of 1.062 but actually got 1.053. It was better than the Tripel but still pretty poor. Only 65% or so. I’m not sure if the problem is coming my mash, the water, or 08-22-01how Austin Homebrew Supply is crushing the grain. I’m inclined to lean towards the latter after talking to some people my the local homebrew club. Maybe new brew I will borrow on of their grain mills.

This brew marks my first experience with Belgian candy sugar as well. I used a dark variety of it. I was a bit concerned about scorching, but during the wait time with the second and third runnings I dumped all of it (1/2 lb) into the boil kettle and stirred like a madman. The kettle was sitting on the floor under the mash tun. The liquid was still hot and it dissolved pretty quickly. No scorching at all! I’ll have a few updates on both of my beers soon.