Author Topic: Belgian Strong Ale Bottles  (Read 1126 times)

Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: Belgian Strong Ale Bottles
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2017, 10:38:49 PM »
Thanks guys, this is all super useful input. I believe I'm going to go for a "Pilsner Champagne" if you will.  So, yes, perhaps I will use champagne bottles and cork them with wire cages. I'll post a pick in a couple months.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Belgian Strong Ale Bottles
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2017, 11:58:20 AM »
I don't believe people can tell the difference between 2.5 volumes and 3 unless they are side by side. A 2.5 that is a few degrees warmer will be just like a 3... but I do think that people can mistake a 3.5 or higher for a gusher. They see side flowing out and immediately think infection. They will then imagine a slew of off flavors.

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Offline Big Monk

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Re: Belgian Strong Ale Bottles
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2017, 04:32:31 AM »
Thanks Dave.  I think you've just given me my next experiment.  I'll try a double blind study with some overly enthusiastic participants to see if they can tell the difference between a beer I've force carbonated in a keg vs. a bottle carbonated beer.   :D

I say "the overwhelming majority of brewers believe this makes a difference in this ale" because for the dozens of recipes I've read for Duvel, there tends to be an agreement in regards to bottling vs kegging.  However, for the life of me I can't find any info on whether or not they used special bottles for this.

One thing you could try that would replicate the Yeast+Priming Sugar bottle conditioning used by the Belgians for natural carbonation is to use Spunding. When you are close to final gravity (4 points or so) you transfer to another keg and install a spunding (pressure relief) valve. Set it for the desired PSI and it will be fully carbonated when it reaches final gravity. You now have a 5 gallon bottle of perfectly conditioned beer! You’ll only need to use CO2 to serve.
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Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Belgian Strong Ale Bottles
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2017, 06:24:11 PM »
750mL Belgian beer bottles.  Roughly $28/12 new, or start saving up from local breweries.  I agree with the nostalgia of a bottle conditioned brew, but its your hard work in the bottle/keg.  Do whatever you want to do...
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Offline Big Monk

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Re: Belgian Strong Ale Bottles
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2017, 09:36:40 PM »
If you are already a keg brewer, there is zero reason to bottle when you can naturally condition the beer in the keg. The concept of Spunding in the keg and bottle conditioning are identical:

   a.) You want naturally carbonated beer
   b.) You want active yeast at packaging to do this

You simply transfer with 4-6 points left, attach a pressure relief valve set for the proper PSI for your desired carbonation, and you wait until final gravity. I love the allure of bottle conditioning but if I had kegs I wouldn’t bother. There is zero advantage to bottling if you can spund the beer.

Good luck!
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Offline lawsont

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Re: Belgian Strong Ale Bottles
« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2017, 08:39:31 PM »
I've tried kegging Belgian beers several times, and it's never worked out well, because I've found it very difficult to pour a highly carbonated beer out of keg.  I bottle all my Belgian beers now, because it's much easier to get them up to 3.5 to 4 volumes and get a decent pour in the glass.  I use thick bottles I've saved up over the years from commercial Belgian beers (German doppelbocks also have thick bottles).  As you probably know, it's important to add fresh yeast to these beers prior to bottling so that they carbonate properly. 

Offline Big Monk

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Re: Belgian Strong Ale Bottles
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2017, 02:11:35 AM »
I've tried kegging Belgian beers several times, and it's never worked out well, because I've found it very difficult to pour a highly carbonated beer out of keg.  I bottle all my Belgian beers now, because it's much easier to get them up to 3.5 to 4 volumes and get a decent pour in the glass.  I use thick bottles I've saved up over the years from commercial Belgian beers (German doppelbocks also have thick bottles).  As you probably know, it's important to add fresh yeast to these beers prior to bottling so that they carbonate properly.

I’d argue that high carbonation is a detriment to homebrewed versions of Belgian beers. The high carbonation often accentuates flaws in the beers. I aim for 2.5-2.7 volumes in my bottled beers.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Belgian Strong Ale Bottles
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2017, 03:43:19 AM »
Just jumping  in here going back to your first post, assuming high carb was essential to the mouthfeel etc.  If you take Duvel, for instance, as a model,  they go to great lengths  to get a very high degree of attenuation (and in fact a low protein level in conjunction, owing to high adjunct content.)  I suspect that will get you more mileage than worrying about CO2 levels.
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Offline lawsont

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Re: Belgian Strong Ale Bottles
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2017, 04:44:39 PM »
I've tried kegging Belgian beers several times, and it's never worked out well, because I've found it very difficult to pour a highly carbonated beer out of keg.  I bottle all my Belgian beers now, because it's much easier to get them up to 3.5 to 4 volumes and get a decent pour in the glass.  I use thick bottles I've saved up over the years from commercial Belgian beers (German doppelbocks also have thick bottles).  As you probably know, it's important to add fresh yeast to these beers prior to bottling so that they carbonate properly.

I’d argue that high carbonation is a detriment to homebrewed versions of Belgian beers. The high carbonation often accentuates flaws in the beers. I aim for 2.5-2.7 volumes in my bottled beers.

My thinking is that the high carbonation is essential to most Belgian styles (it creates the type of mouthfeel and dry character one would get from a commercial Belgian tripel, for example).  In fact, the BJCP descriptions of beers such as a Belgian Tripel and Belgian Strong Ale explain that they should be highly carbonated, so low carbonation is actually a flaw.  As a beer judge at competitions, I've had many homebrewed examples that were undercarbonated, and they did not score well.  If carbonation is bringing out flaws in a beer, then I'd rather fix the flaws than undercarbonate the beer. 
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 04:55:06 PM by lawsont »

Offline Big Monk

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Re: Belgian Strong Ale Bottles
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2017, 06:47:22 PM »
I've tried kegging Belgian beers several times, and it's never worked out well, because I've found it very difficult to pour a highly carbonated beer out of keg.  I bottle all my Belgian beers now, because it's much easier to get them up to 3.5 to 4 volumes and get a decent pour in the glass.  I use thick bottles I've saved up over the years from commercial Belgian beers (German doppelbocks also have thick bottles).  As you probably know, it's important to add fresh yeast to these beers prior to bottling so that they carbonate properly.

I’d argue that high carbonation is a detriment to homebrewed versions of Belgian beers. The high carbonation often accentuates flaws in the beers. I aim for 2.5-2.7 volumes in my bottled beers.

My thinking is that the high carbonation is essential to most Belgian styles (it creates the type of mouthfeel and dry character one would get from a commercial Belgian tripel, for example).  In fact, the BJCP descriptions of beers such as a Belgian Tripel and Belgian Strong Ale explain that they should be highly carbonated, so low carbonation is actually a flaw.  As a beer judge at competitions, I've had many homebrewed examples that were undercarbonated, and they did not score well.  If carbonation is bringing out flaws in a beer, then I'd rather fix the flaws than undercarbonate the beer.

Attenuation gives the beer it’s mouthfeel and dry character. 2.5-2.7 volumes of CO2 is certainly not undercarbonated.

I’m arguing that people brew these styles fundamentally flawed anyway and that carbonating to greater than 3 volumes isn’t helping them out at all.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”   Aristotle

“To my big brother George. The richest man in town.” Harry Bailey

Check us out at www.lowoxygenbrewing.com