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Belgian IPA Recipe

I’ve been in a bit of a hop kick recently. I know, I know, a craft beer person in the mood for hops, big shocker. I also fell back in love with Belgian beers this summer so I decided to marry the two ideas in to one. As I have mentioned before, the Belgian IPA style is still in development so you can kind of do what you want with it. I basically had two criteria when designing this beer 1). It has to be hoppy and 2.) the Belgian flavor components should be noticeable and add to the quality of the beer.

I began this recipe by taking a look at my Belgian Tripel recipe. It’s a pretty simple recipe with three malts and two types of hops. I then gave my IPA recipe a look and it also had a simple recipe with four grain and two hops. I then began to compare the malts and hops in use. Clearly the IPA hops would overpower any of the Tripel’s hops, so I ditched any of the traditional Belgian Tripel hops and went with high alpha-acid American hops. The base malts were not far apart and I only had American 2-row in hand so that won out. The rest you can see below:

  • 12 lbs. 2-row
  • 2 lbs. Munich
  • 1 lb. German Wheat Malt
  • 1 lb. White Table Sugar (added @ 15 mins)
  • 1 lb. Dried Malt Extract (added @ 15 mins)
  • 1 oz. Magnum @ 60 mins
  • 1 oz. Columbus @ 5 mins
  • A half and half mix of WLP530 and WLP500

As I said the base malt is pretty standard. I really like adding Munich malt to almost all of my beers as it adds a nice touch of bread and complexity to my beers. The wheat malt is there to enhance the body and to aid in head retention. I didn’t want to murder my base malt supply in making this beer so I added a bunch of sugar and a pound of dried malt extract to this one to supplement the base malt. The table sugar is also there to make sure the yeast get off to a quick and happy start.

The stats for this one can be seen below:

  • OG: 1.094
  • FG: 1.024
  • ABV: 9.39%
  • IBUs: 77

I love trying new things with my brewing and developing a recipe around a beer that doesn’t have a set style was both a challenge and a joy. This beer is currently kegged and I will get tasting notes up shortly.

10-31-03

Beer Review #240 Le Freak

I’ve only reviewed one other beer from Green Flash Brewing Company on this site before, but I am well versed in their beers. I have a few reviews from them piled up and I figured a beer named Le Freak would be appropriate for Halloween. The bottle says this beer comes in at 9.2% ABV and that it is a “zesty brew.” Le Freak is a Belgian Tripel and an IPA, more commonly called a Belgian IPA. This style of beer is not traditional in any way, but Belgian (and American) brewers have been brewing them a fair bit as everyone seems to have a hop craving. Belgian IPA is still coming into its own as a beer style, but I’m not complaining. My personal favorite example of this style is Raging Bitch.

Le Freak pours an orange color with a large off-white head and some haze. The nose has a slight Belgian spice to it but a strong citrus hop knocks that odor out of your nose pretty quickly. I enjoy a fresh, crisp hop smell, and this beer had it.

On my first taste I was surprised to taste the amount of Belgian spices that hit first. Usually these spices relegate themselves to the end of the beer, but these were up front for the world to see. A solid hop punch follows with some really wonder citrus flavors. There is a slight bit of heat mixed in there which isn’t too surprising considering the alcohol percentage and the fact that it’s a half-tripel.

This one is pretty tasty. The Belgian IPA “style” is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Le Freak has a great balance of hops and Belgian notes with a good touch of dryness at the end to make this beer very drinkable. Green Flash continues to impress. (more…)

Beer Review #168 St. Bernardus Tripel

It doesn’t feel like that long ago when I reviewed St. Bernardus Prior 8, but it was, that was back in the summer. I had a few of the St. Bernardus beers when I was in Belgium over the summer and my taste for Belgian beers still remains. This ale is brewed by¬†Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV of Watou, Belgium (next trip to Europe Nate, next trip). One of my favorite parts of Tripels is that my wife doesn’t particularly care for them, so I get them all to myself. I also love the taste.

This Tripel pours a nice cloudy blond color and has a fluffy white head. The nose is distinctly yeasty, with some slight Belgian spice in there. As a homebrewer, you quickly learn the smell of yeast, and this beer has lots of yeast smell. I also found some really nice banana in there as well. One notable thing that I didn’t get was heat. For a Tripel and for being an 8% beer, I expected a little heat.

My first taste was packed with a really good malt flavor. There was a wheaty flavor as well which isn’t something I’ve noticed in a lot of Tripels. The banana from the nose also carried through to the taste along with the slight bits of Belgian spice. What I really liked about this beer is how delicate the flavors are composed. The flavors are really balanced but this one is much more malt forward than other Tripels that I’ve had. I still have yet to be disappointed by the St . Bernardus beers. (more…)

Beer Review #115 New World Tripel

Boston Beer Company, a.k.a Sam Adams, put out a lot of special beers each year in addition to their typical line-up. I recently reviewed one of those special beers that received a lot of press when it came out. One of my friends brought a bottle of New World Tripel down to my house last month and we drank it while watching the Flyers play. New World Tripel is part of Boston Beer’s Barrel Room Collection (check out that link for an interesting read). At the current time, there are three beers in their collection and a fourth will soon be added. I felt honored to try such a limited beer.

New World Tripel pours an orange color and it is super hazy. It does have a fluffy white head as should be expected in a Tripel. The nose is super yeasty with some Belgian spice in there as well. I did not detect any heat on the nose which is surprising since this beer rocks in at 10% ABV.

The front-end of this beer has a nice sweetness that is quickly balanced by the Belgian spices. For a barrel aged beer, this one was very balanced. I bet if we would have let this sit for a year or so it would be much more sour. At the current time, this beer did not have any sour notes. I didn’t get any heat in the flavor of this beer either, which is wonderful and dangerous. This is one sneaky beer.

I’m a sucker for a good Tripel and this one fits the bill. I also love unique bottles, and this one is a must have. I believe they only sell this at the brewery in Boston, but if you get the chance grab one. There are some other good Tripel’s out there but I think this one sits near the top of the list. (more…)

Beer Review #87 Yule Tide

The winter beer train keeps rolling in on Brewery Reviewery. This beer comes from Clipper City Brewing Company out of Baltimore, Maryland. I’ve had a number of beers from this brewery, in particular their Heavy Seas line, and I dig what they do. They make some solid beers that deliver on everything they promise. When I saw Yule Tide, I knew I had to taste it.

Yule Tide is a 10% Belgian Tripel. It is also part of Clipper City’s Heavy Seas line. The Heavy Seas line has the tag line, “big beers in small batches.” Excellent. This ale pours a dirty straw color and is slightly cloudy. It has a nice fluffy white head which you should expect to see on a Belgian Tripel. The nose has some heat to it, along with your typical Belgian spices. There are also some sweet and fruity aromas coming from the glass which added a nice bit of complexity to the nose.

On the first taste I really picked up on the Belgian spices. It had a nice sweetness upfront that helped balance the spicy end. There was some heat on the backend as well, which I enjoy in this style of beer. Overall I think this is a solid Belgian Tripel. It has a high alcohol percentage which helps warm you up on a cold winter’s night. Yule Tide is another solid beer from Clipper City Brewing Company and I highly suggest that you grab this beer or any of their other offerings. (more…)