Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Uncorking a Belgian

As Christmas approaches, I thought that it was time to take the Belgian for a test run.

This has taken forever to clear, almost eight weeks....and it still looks a bit cloudy. There must be about a centimetre of crud at the bottom of all the bottles, which is one of the issues with BIAB. It also looked as if the sedimentation and compaction given by that Belgian yeast wasn't great! Either that or the finings I used inhibited compaction of the can see the layer move around in the bottle! Still, I could wait no longer....

My first bottle was a bit of a disaster. Opening it, there was a satisfying 'pssht', suggesting the carbonation was good....and then came the foam. Looking like something from a mid 90s Ibiza night club, the kitchen top became quickly and inexorably covered in sticky foam....overdone that priming again, even though I followed the guidelines for Belgian beers.

A little bit of chemical know how told me to chill the beer..maybe this is one of the reasons why Belgian beers are served cold? Anyway a few hours in the fridge seemed to do the trick. No foaming. The only issue was that the chill gave the beer a haze, and killed a bit of the taste. So, leaving the glass for 20 minutes, the haze cleared to a fairly clear pint, and the palette came back.

Pouring a lovely dark amber colour, the beer has a great nose. That Trappist yeast really makes the beer sing, with a great fruity aroma typical of Belgian beers. Juicy malt, with a bit of sweetness from the large grain bill, but a real vinous quality from the 9% alcohol. The great warming taste was balanced well by a good hoppy hit, almost a little too much. That, and the carbonation, give the beer bite, which makes it very suppable. Perhaps a mistake at that ABV.

Very pleased, a little Belgian, and rather Christmassy! However, a pint will do.