Blond beer is pretty much like a pilsner but top fermented instead of bottom. Blond beers contain pale malts making it lighter in color. It was often brewed as an alternative to pilsners. Blond beer is often regarded as the single in comparison to dubbels and tripels. This however isn’t fully correct. There used to be actual ‘single’ beers but they were for the monks of the abbey only and slowly got extinct. According to Joshua M. Bernstein, writer of The Complete Beer Course, comparing blond beers is like comparing cats and dogs.
I will however try and distill the more common tasting notes for you.
Regular and heavy:
- Blond beer: a hazy or clear blond colored beer with a white head. A bit like a pilsner but a wee bit heavier. Usually round 6% alcohol.
- Heavy or strong blond: pretty much like a blond beer, often clear golden blond also a white head. The percentage can go from 8% up to 10%.
Tasting notes: yeasty, cloves, fruity, bitter, alcohol (strong/heavy blond)
Gorgeous blonds: Seef, Kapittel Blond, Achel Blond, Duvel (Strong), Barbar (Strong with honey)
Again a beer that got its name from the word white in this case the Dutch/Flemish word wit. In the beginning the beer was very popular around the Belgium city of Leuven. After a lot of breweries shut down the style was later picked up by a formal milkman in a place called Hoegaarden.
Witbier differs from the German variant because of the proportions of barley and wheat. Apart from that they often use orangepeel and coriander. Other than that it shares its golden, hazy colour and bright white foam.
Nowadays witbier is an unmissable drink for a summer’s day. Some people prefer it with a little slice of lemon to make it even more refreshing. At least it is better than all those ridiculous radler concoctions that keep sprouting all around me.
Lemon, wheat, clove, orangepeel, coriander, banana.
Hoegaarden Wit, La Trappe Witte Trappist, ‘t IJ IJwit, St. Bernardus Blanche, Anchorage Whiteout.
The weizenstyle, as some of you might know, comes from Germany. German breweries brew their beers by the rules of the reinheitsgebot, also known as the “German Beer Purity Law”. The law states that German beers may only contain the three ingredients hop, barley and water.
Where many brewers use barley malt, weizenbeer is made with wheat malt. When the first weizenbeers were made their colour was more pale than the brown beers made at the time therefore they called it weissbeer, with ‘weiss’ meaning ‘white’. Nowadays people also use the term weizen refering to the wheat.
There are different kinds of weizenbeers:
- Hefeweizen: A weizenbeer in its cloudy traditional form.
- Kristalweizen: A filtered version of the Hefeweizen. By filtering the yeast and wheat the brew becomes more clear, crystal clear.
- Dunkel & Weizenbock: Dunkel is the German word for dark. Dunkel beers share a more brown colour compared to the golden yellow of the other weizen. The dark colour is achieved by the use of roasted wheat and barley.
- Berliner weisse: A low alcohol variation from the capitol of Germany. It used to be a poor man’s drink. Sometimes it is served with fruity syrup.
- Gose: This in itself is almost a style of its own. The Gose is known for its salty character and was originally brewed in Goslar.
wheat, yeast, cloves, citrus, banana, roasted malts (dunkel), caramel (dunkel).
A few famous weizenbeers:
Erdinger, Paulaner, Weihenstephaner, Franziskaner
Sometimes it’s hard to deduct certain beer styles. Unless you look it up on Ratebeer or Beeradvocate, look at the side of your can or bottle.
The upcoming days I’m going post a couple of well known beerstyles here. I’ll try and assess the flavours, the colours, the aroma’s as good as possible. Yeah, I know, not every triple or I.P.A. is the same but like I said I’ll try.
Hopefully afterwards we can all be handed a glass without being told what’s in it and we can all do the assessment ourselves.
As a drinker of craft-beer I often read the label of the brew I’m enjoying. The label can tell a lot about what’s inside your bottle. I kept on coming across the words top fermentation and bottom fermentation. As curious as I am I did a little research and for all of you out there who, like me, don’t know what it means. Here’s what’s up.
Bottom fermentation or cool fermentation
Bottom fermentation is used for bock beers and pilsners. It is achieved by using the yeast type called Saccharomyces carlsbergensis. The fermentation takes place at a temperature varying from 4 - 12 °C. During the process the yeast slowly sinks to the bottom of the tank thus called bottom fermentation. Bottom fermenting beers are often low in alcohol.
Top fermentation or warm fermentation
Top fermentation does the exact opposite of the above. The yeast rests on top of the wort. The process takes place at tempratures varying from 15-25 °C by using Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast. It is often applied to beers that are stronger in alcohol.
Apart from top and bottom fermenting beers there’s also another type called spontaneous fermentation. This doesn’t mean that it just starts turning it’s sugars into alcohol whenever he feels like it. No, here’s what’s happening.
When exposing beer to the open air it will develop natural yeast. This yeast will then chew on the tasty sugars and excrete alcohol. This process often takes place in open casks. Since the cask is open the carbonation escapes the sides turning the beer flat. Another disadvantage of brewing with an open cask is that it apart from yeast it can also attract a lot of other things you don’t want in your beer.
This type of fermentation is used by the creation of the classic Belgium lambiekbeers.