Author Topic: What makes it "Belgian"?  (Read 5720 times)

Offline majorvices

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What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2012, 05:13:59 AM »


For me if a beer is from Belgium it should be classified as so. Made elsewhere with the yeast it should be termed "Belgian-style" or inspired if you want as the aforementioned Belgo indicates. This will at least alert the consumer if strong yeast byproducts are apparent in the flavor and construed as intentional.

For you and the TTB/state ABC as well. You can't label a commercial beer :"Belgian". Has to be labeled "Belgian-style". One of the few regulations that make sense.
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Offline nateo

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Re: What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2012, 05:31:16 AM »
Creative: Relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work.
Derivative: Imitative of the work of another person, and usually disapproved of for that reason.

How is it "not creative"? Just because they used ingredients that were available to them? Using spices and candi sugar is not creative?

Doing what everybody else does is not creative. Doing something the way it's always been done is not creative. I'm not saying it's bad, but it's not creative.

Using spices in brewing is called "gruit" and that's the ways it's been done for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. The first guy who used spices was creative. Everyone else who did it was derivative. Syrup adjuncts are widely used in British brewing as well. I'm not sure which came first, but both have been done for so long you couldn't call either "creative." Using ingredients because they're easy to get and cheap is not creative.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2012, 05:59:21 AM »
Nate - you are talking to an art major here, and a professional graphic designer and artist who has made his living at it for over 20 years. And I can assure you there is nothing new under the sun. Just because you are not the "first" to do something, doesn't mean you are not creative. The fact that one borrows an idea to build something is still an act of "creation". The saying amongst artist and designers is "Good artists innovate, great artists steal". The fact that the belgians created the Tripel to compete with the invading pilsner (using the local ingredients available to them at the time, including the yeast) is in itself an act of creation and is, by itself, extremely creative. A 9% abv ale to compete with a 5% golden lager? Come on! That is extremely creative!

The argument can be made that all beer styles were developed because of the needs and demands of the environment and the ingredients and attitudes that prevailed - that doesn't mean that the people who came up with that beer style did not create, even if they borrowed heavily from something or somewhere else.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2012, 06:07:07 AM »
BTW: According to your argument Jackson Pollock did you create because he used paint and andy Warhol was not an artist because he used silk screen. It's not the canvas, it's what you do with it.
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Offline nateo

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Re: What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2012, 06:34:54 AM »
BTW: According to your argument Jackson Pollock did you create because he used paint and andy Warhol was not an artist because he used silk screen. It's not the canvas, it's what you do with it.

Keith, you're completely missing my point, so I'll give you some examples. I think you're taking exception with my use of "derivative," so I'll replace it with "innovative" as in, creative vs. innovative.
Creative vs. innovative:
Newcomen's steam engine vs. Watt's steam engine
Xerox's GUI vs. Apple's GUI
Pale lager vs. every beer made to compete with pale lager
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Re: What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2012, 06:38:53 AM »
To me, it is the yeast profile.  If you brew a pilsner only beer, it can be either a boh pils, german pils, kolsch, saison or belgian golden strong; some would argue a cream ale too.  The main (not only) difference is the yeast.

That said, with the yeast flavors being highlighted with these beers, IMO, you have to be very careful with your hopping and grain bill or it just becomes muddled.  Too many flavors are (can be) clashing and it gets to be too much.  Ommegang and Stillwater, however, are doing great things with darker belgian style ales. 

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Re: What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2012, 06:43:40 AM »
When Papa Roach steals a lick from Iron Maiden, I call it derivative because I don't like Papa Roach and I'm not a fan of how it's being used.

When Ace Frehley steals an entire solo from the Doors, I call it creative because I'm a huge Kiss fan and I like it in the new context.

There is obviously some semantics going on with the word "creative" here, but a lot of this is perspective as well.

While Black/Red/Belgian/Rye/(insert prefix here) IPA's have been around long enough where I don't think you could call it "creative" at this point, they're still a crapton more "creative" than the standard "50-60 IBU of Cascade plus too much crystal malt" IPA that keeps getting put out left and right.
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Re: What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2012, 08:47:48 AM »
We are talking about the nation that invented the smurfs. ;) .

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Offline gmac

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Re: What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2012, 09:09:07 AM »
Wow, didn't expect to "create" such a debate with my question.

So back to Tom's comment, I don't think I want to try a hoppy IPA with Belgian yeast.  I don't think it will be as good as with American yeast.  I'll stick to Belgian-sourced yeast for making Belgian-style beers.

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Re: What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2012, 09:47:18 AM »
Wow, didn't expect to "create" such a debate with my question.

So back to Tom's comment, I don't think I want to try a hoppy IPA with Belgian yeast.  I don't think it will be as good as with American yeast.  I'll stick to Belgian-sourced yeast for making Belgian-style beers.

I make an IPA with Wy3522 and American hops that I like at least as well as an American style IPA.  Just sayin....
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Re: What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2012, 09:55:49 AM »
So back to Tom's comment, I don't think I want to try a hoppy IPA with Belgian yeast.  I don't think it will be as good as with American yeast. 

I highly recommend you try a hoppy IPA with Belgian yeast - a commercial version or someone else's homebrew.

However, I recommend you don't brew 5+ gallons of it until you've at least tried it first.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2012, 10:14:58 AM »
So back to Tom's comment, I don't think I want to try a hoppy IPA with Belgian yeast.  I don't think it will be as good as with American yeast. 

I highly recommend you try a hoppy IPA with Belgian yeast - a commercial version or someone else's homebrew.

However, I recommend you don't brew 5+ gallons of it until you've at least tried it first.

+1 totally agree - try several, actually. I've had several, and I haven't liked about 90%.

If I ever do an IPA w/ weird yeast, I will split up wort into a few different batches and use a few different yeasts. Hopefully this way I find the yeast that makes my palate happy.
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Re: What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2012, 10:18:41 AM »
What makes it Belgian?  Um....if it's made in Belgium.

I have been told that "Stella Artois is the best beer in the world .... and it's Belgian" (or they may have said "it's Belgium", actually). ;)

Haha - my fiance studied abroad in England, and Stella is like their Milwaukee's Best.

The locals called it "Wifebeaters' Beer". Hopefully after the Stella-loyals' attire, not activities.
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Offline majorvices

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What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2012, 10:56:40 AM »
Nate: No, I get your point. I just think your definition of "creative" is wrong. But that's cool. You being wrong, I mean. :P
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Offline majorvices

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What makes it "Belgian"?
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2012, 12:29:01 PM »
BTW: According to your argument Jackson Pollock did you create because he used paint and andy Warhol was not an artist because he used silk screen. It's not the canvas, it's what you do with it.

Keith, you're completely missing my point, so I'll give you some examples. I think you're taking exception with my use of "derivative," so I'll replace it with "innovative" as in, creative vs. innovative.
Creative vs. innovative:
Newcomen's steam engine vs. Watt's steam engine
Xerox's GUI vs. Apple's GUI
Pale lager vs. every beer made to compete with pale lager

First Cave Painting vs Van Gogh
Vivaldi vs Beethoven
Model T Ford vs Ferrari
Scrabled Eggs vs Omelet

None of those things were original either, I guess. Like I said, Good artist innovate, great artist steal. Your case made point by Xerox vs Apple above. Xerox came up with an idea, Apple made it work creatively.
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