Top Fermented Beers
Top fermenting yeast is typically used for most specialty beers. The fermentation takes place at higher temperatures (between 15° and 25 °C / 59° and 77 °F) and towards the end of the process, the yeast cells float on the surface. The yeast culture used will add a slightly fruity and/or spicy touch.
Dubbel (double) is often, but not always, a relatively strong dark beer. This name is often used when referring to abbey or trappist beers.
Tripel (7 - 9 vol.%) is often a relatively strong, golden beer with a malty to slightly sweet taste, sometimes with spices (e.g. Westmalle, Karmeliet, Brugse Tripel, etc.).
White beer or wheat beer is usually an unfiltered, cloudy beer of which the mash contains 30 to 50% of wheat. Usually coriander and orange peel are added for a crisp, refreshing taste (e.g. Hoegaarden, Vedett White, Mater Witbier, etc.). This old beer type was rediscovered and brewed again in 1966 by Pierre Celis.
Blonde Beers (4 - 7 vol.%) usually have a moderate alcohol content and are slightly malty to slightly sweet with a bitter aftertaste (e.g. Maneblusser, Smiske Nature-Ale, Augustijn Blond, etc.). They are brewed with pale malts to obtain a lightly coloured beer.
Strong blonde beers
Strong blonde beers (7 - 9,5 vol.%) are different from triple beers because of their rich head and slightly bitter taste (e.g. Duvel, Hapkin, Omer, Gentse Strop, etc.).
Amber Beers are brewed with a mixture of pale and amber malts.
Brown or dark beers (4 - 7 vol.%), refers to darker, slightly sweet beers with a flavour of liquorice, candy, raisin and sometimes a slightly burnt finish (e.g. Witkap Pater, Pater Lieven Bruin, etc.). They are brewed with a mixture of pale, amber and dark malts.
Strong dark beers
Strong dark beers (7 - 9,5 vol.%) are a group of dark beers with a high alcohol content. Usually these beers have a sweet to slightly burnt flavour (e.g. Gouden Carolus Classic, Kasteelbier Bruin, etc.)
Barley wine (9,5 vol.% and more) is a strong, alcoholic variety of blonde, amber or dark beer.
Spéciale belge (4,8 – 5,5 vol.%) is an authentic, Belgian beer style that was created in 1905 as a response to the German pilsner beers and English imported beers that were so successful at the time. Spéciale belge are amber-colored beers with a distinctive, malty flavour (e.g. a bolleke De Koninck, Palm, Special De Ryck, Tonneke, etc.).
Bière brut (11 - 11.5 vol.%) is a strong beer that is aged like a champagne. The 75-cl bottles are regularly rotated a quarter turn and slightly tilted until all the yeast collects in the neck of the bottle. The yeast is then frozen and removed, and the bottle is topped up again. The result is a very sparkling beer (e.g. Deus, Malheur Brut, etc.), blonde or dark.
Fruit beer (2,5 – 6 vol.%) are beers flavoured with fruit, fruit juice or fruit extract. Traditionally sour cherries are steeped in young beer for a few months. Fruit beers can be sweet (e.g. Mystic Lemon, Wittekerke Rosé, Liefmans Cuvée Brut, etc.), or sour when based on lambic beer (see ‘Oude Kriek’).
Stout originates from the U.K. or Ireland and is typically a dark beer with a slightly burnt/roasted flavour. A stout can be sweet (milk stout, e.g. Pony Stout) or bitter (e.g. Troubadour Imperial Stout, Hercule). Originally “stout” was the strongest beer of the brewery and could therefore be either blonde or dark.
Scotch is a beer style related to stout, characterized by a touch of caramel.
Saison originates from the province of Hainaut and is typically pale to amber in colour, with a relatively low ABV (5 – 6,5 vol.%) and usually thirst quenching and quite hoppy or spicy. However, saison is not an official beer style and can differ from these characteristics. Originally saison was a farmhouse ale brewed in the winter months in the French-speaking part of Belgium to be drunk by the farm workers in summer.
India Pale Ale
India Pale Ale (IPA) originates from the British ‘stock bitter’ which was more intensely hopped to ensure a longer preservation. When its popularity in the Indian colonies increased, this beer type also became known as India Pale Ale.