This Belgian beer styles article is perfect for anyone who loves beer and wants to learn more about Belgian brews, from folks who’ve been enjoying them for years to those just starting to explore the wide world of beer. We recommend to step into the world of Belgian beers, where every sip tells a story of tradition and brewer’s craft.
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Most Belgian beers are ales, ranging from pale to strong dark ales with a hint of fruitiness and spice. Owing to centuries of practiced brewing, Belgian beers easily rank among the best beers in the world, as claimed by experts.
You’ve got everything from the spicy kick of Dubbels and Tripels to the unique sourness of Lambics, not to mention the down-to-earth vibe of Saisons.
Different Belgian Beer Styles
Belgian beers are known for their distinct flavors, often enhanced with unique yeast strains, spices, and fermentation techniques. Here’s a closer look at some of the key Belgian beer styles.
Pour a Dubbel and you’re greeted with a smooth hit of chocolate, caramel, and a hint of dark fruits, all packed into one dark, hearty brew.
It’s the kind of beer that tells a story in every sip, perfect for those who like their drinks with a bit of kick and a lot of character. The alcohol content of most Dubble ales is low, somewhere between six to seven percent.
|Ommegang Abbey Ale –
Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York
|Offers this homage to the Belgian Dubbel, featuring rich malts, dark fruits, and the warmth of Belgian yeast.
They are called Trappist (Tripel) because they’re brewed under the supervision of Belgian Trappist monks in a monastery. There are currently six Trappist breweries in Belgium that produce Trappist beers.
Tripels, they’re the stealthy strongmen of the Belgian beer world—light in color but don’t let that fool you, they pack a punch. They dance a fine line between sweet malt and a sharp hop bite, all while throwing in a mix of spice and fruit from the yeast. It’s like a flavor party that starts smooth but ends with a memorable kick.
|Allagash Tripel – Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Maine.
|Crafts this golden, strong ale with notes of honey and passion fruit, maintaining a delicate balance of sweetness and bitterness.
Quadrupels are the heavyweights of the Abbey beer family, not just in strength but in flavor too. They’re a deep dive into rich malts, layered with dark fruit and spice that’ll keep your palate guessing.
And that warmth you feel? That’s the signature of a well-crafted Quad, like a cozy blanket on a cold night.
|The Reverend by Avery Brewing – From Boulder, Colorado, Avery
|It is a complex Quad with flavors of dark fruits and a hint of spice, paying respect to the style’s depth and strength.
Saisons are the original farm-to-glass brew, crafted back in the day to quench the thirst of hard-working farmhands.
They’re the Swiss Army knife of beers—refreshing, with a flavor spectrum that swings from fruity to spicy, thanks to that funky yeast. And that crisp, dry finish? It’s like the last satisfying stretch after a good day’s work.
|Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale – Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Missouri
|Produces Tank 7, a refreshing Saison that blends fruity aromatics, spicy yeast characteristics, and a dry finish perfectly.
Ah, Witbier, that’s your sunny day in a glass. It’s like cracking open a cloud – hazy, light, and refreshing, with a twist of coriander and orange peel just to keep things interesting. Perfect for when you want something easy but full of flavor.
|Allagash White – Allagash Brewing Company, again, with their Allagash White
|Offers a crisp and cloudy Belgian-style wheat beer spiced with coriander and Curaçao orange peel, reminiscent of the traditional Witbier.
Lambic beers are also described as sour beers. These are characterized by a complex sour taste owing to the use of wild yeast in a spontaneous fermentation process. They are less bitter and have low alcohol content. Just like wine, you’d better enjoy this as it ages.
|Supplication by Russian River Brewing Company – Located in Santa Rosa, California
|It is aged in wine barrels with cherries, capturing the sour, fruity essence reminiscent of a Lambic.
Belgian Blonde Ale
Quite a number of light Belgian beer fall into this beer style. They are almost translucent in color and have the cleanest state. Characterized by hoppy flavors and malt, Belgian blonde ales do not leave any fruity trace.
Due to how light they are, it is easy to be deceived. In reality, these light beers have a strong alcohol content, some even as high as 8 percent or more.
|PranQster” by North Coast Brewing Co. – Brewed in Fort Bragg, California
|PranQster follows the tradition of Belgian artisans using a mixed culture of antique yeast strains that produce a floral nose, a full fruity flavor, and a clean finish.
Belgian Pale Ale
Popularly described as golden ales, this style of Belgian beer is perhaps one of the most common. They are often characterized by a strong malty and spicy flavor, and usually leave a dry finish in the mouth.
Belgian Pale Ale is quite bitter and has an alcohol percentage of about 4 to 11 percent, depending on how strong it is.
|Rare Vos” by Brewery Ommegang – Hailing from Cooperstown, New York
|Rare Vos is an amber Belgian-style café ale that balances sweet malt with bitter hops and spices, offering a smooth and refreshing taste reminiscent of Belgium’s best.
Belgian Dark Ale
Often distinguished by its crisp, dry taste and spicy flavor, the style of this Belgian beer is quite a classic. They’re quite foamy and appear to be Amber in color. Beers under this style are not so bitter and have a strong alcohol content between six to ten percent.
|Brother Thelonious” by North Coast Brewing Co
|It’s a tribute to Thelonious Monk, featuring complex flavors with notes of dark fruits, spices, and a hint of caramel, mirroring the depth and complexity of Belgian Dark Ales.
Frequently Asked Questions
What defines a Belgian-style beer?
Belgian-style beers are known for their high complexity in flavor and aroma, often including fruity, spicy, and sweet notes with a distinctive yeast character. They can range from light and refreshing to dark and rich, showcasing a wide variety of styles including, but not limited to, Dubbels, Tripels, Quadrupels, Saisons, and Witbiers.
How do Belgian beers differ from other beers?
Belgian beers often stand out due to the unique strains of yeast used, which impart a characteristic taste and aroma not typically found in beers from other countries.
What are some common flavors in Belgian-style beers?
Common flavors in Belgian-style beers include banana and clove from the yeast, sweetness from malt, citrus from added spices or hops, and tart or sour notes in certain styles like Lambics and Gueuzes. The use of spices such as coriander and orange peel, especially in Witbiers, is also notable.
Why do Belgian-style beers often have higher alcohol content?
The brewing process for many Belgian-style beers involves adding sugar during fermentation, which increases the alcohol content without making the beer too heavy or sweet. This method allows for a balanced beer that is both flavorful and has a higher ABV.
Related Belgium Beer Articles
Check out more articles on Belgian beers to learn more about their unique tastes and brewing secrets.
Belgian-style beers are a world of rich flavors and traditions, offering something for everyone from light, spicy ales to dark, deep brews. They show off the skill of Belgian brewers and have inspired beer makers all over to try their hand at these classic styles.
We hope this article was helpful, please let us know in the comments section which style is your favorite!! Cheers.