Belgian beers - to chill or not to chill?

Hi,
Although the shop at the end of my road has an excellent stock of bottled British ales (not to mention a constantly-changing cask), tonight I decided to try something different and came home with a kriek, a gueuze, and something that calls itself "Porge Belgian Imperial Stout" at 10.5ABV.
I know basically nothing about Belgian beer, so I'm unsure whether these would best be served chilled, or cellar temp, or at room temperature. Suggestions?
Pete
Reply to
Pete Verdon
In message , Pete Verdon writes
I don't like to chill rich aged beers because you lose the complexity of flavour. I'd probably start at cellar temperature, letting warm in the glass as I drink it.
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Sue  ]:(:)
Reply to
MadCow
It's Podge Belgian Imperial Stout (named after our Branch Chairman).
For the 3 beers you have I would say cellar temp at lowest. Which kriek & geuze are they out of interest? I'd generally only chill blond beers, and then not always!
Brian
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Brian Debenham
brian at bdebenham.co.uk
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Reply to
Brian Debenham
Which kriek and gueuze? They aren't all created alike, so they vary wildly.
Try "Podge Belgian Imperial Stout," brewed by Picobrouwerij Alvinne, a great little microbrewery near the edge of Kortrijk. Good range of beers from that lot. The beer is named after Chris "Podge" Pollard, a British beer drinker who is quite fond of Belgian beer - very knowledgeable too.
If the kriek and gueuze are the sweetened varieties, chill them. If they are more traditional products, store them at cellar temp, and be ready for a shock ... these beers can be highly idiosyncratic.
You might want to pick up some abbey and/or Trappist ales next time. Many of them are bottle-conditioned.
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dgs
Reply to
dgs
Sorry, was going on memory. It did seem a rather un-Belgian name.
The kriek is 3 Fonteinen Oude Kriek, and the gueuze is Hanssens Oude Gueuze (spellings approximate as I haven't brought them over to the computer to copy).
As I say, I've not really tried Belgian beer before, so I've no idea if I'll like these styles. If I do, any particular recommendations? I live about 100 yards from Bitter Virtue in Southampton who stock tons of Belgian stuff, so there's a fair chance I'd be able to get anything that's not ridiculously obscure.
Pete
Reply to
Pete Verdon
I agree, there are few Belgian beers that benefit from hard chilling. Personally I would store and serve them at room temperature. I even prefer blond beers like Duvel served this way.
Some people find the taste of gueuze 'challenging'. If you've never tried proper gueuze before your first reaction will be that the beer has gone off and tastes disgusting. Persevere, it really is an acquired taste.
Paul
Reply to
Paul Sherwin
IME you either acquire it or you don't and if you don't like it there's really no point in persevering. To me, it's like forcing me to drink battery acid.
The OP seems to have chosen some amazing beers, though, and I'd appreciate it if he could keep us posted as to how he finds them!
Cheers
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Christine Pampling
Reply to
Christine
Blasphemer!!!!!
Brian (BSF)
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Brian Debenham
brian at bdebenham dot co dot uk
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Reply to
Brian Debenham
Right, in which case prepare for a possible shock when you try these. Geuze is fermented with wild (airborne) yeast and is very dry and tart; think very dry cider, although no apples are involved, and you're part of the way there.
Hanssens tends to have a slightly more woody flavour than some other geuzes. Just in case you didn't know kriek is geuze with added cherries.
Persevere, and take absolutely no notice of Christine's "battery acid" comment!
Brian
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Brian Debenham
brian at bdebenham dot co dot uk
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Reply to
Brian Debenham
Wow, you make it sound like a skilled job :-). All I did was wander out of my front door, 100 yards to the left, enter the shop, pick three bottles at random from the "Belgian" area. I won't say that being on the same road as Bitter Virtue was a big factor in choosing the house, but it's certainly a bonus :-)
Tried the kriek tonight, and to be honest wasn't that impressed. It wasn't unpleasant, just didn't really do anything for me. Tasted a little like a thin and cheap red wine.
I'll keep an open mind on the gueuze; I'm fairly sure I'll like the stout.
Pete
Reply to
Pete Verdon
Hi Don, I'm guessing you didn't read the prev. posts then ;~) to recap - The kriek is 3 Fonteinen Oude Kriek, and the gueuze is Hanssens Oude
From their website at least it seems that they only stock Achel, Westvleteren, Chimay, Rochefort, Orval & Westmalle!
Pete, you are indeed a lucky man - to live so near to such a great beer shop (Bitter Virtue, 70 Cambridge Rd Southampton, SO14 6US - very basic website here -
formatting link
/ ).
Please do say hello to Chris & Ann for me - (I used to work with Chris's brother, Steve, who now brews yummy stuff at Loddon).
Plough through some of the great range of UK stuff too - & ask advice, they really know their stuff! cheers MikeMcG
Reply to
MikeMcG
Actually, I asked before he posted those - and I see he's already tasted the kriek and not found it to his liking. Always interesting to see other tasters' reaction. Me, I love everything 3 Fonteinen have on offer, but I'm a bit of a lambic nut in that regard. There's a bottle of Schaerbeekse Kriek and another of Doesjel in my "cellar" right now.
Now that's what I call spoilt for choice, but somehow, I'd not be terribly surprised if the Westvleteren wasn't available or, if it was, was on offer at 10 pounds per 33 cl bottle... Still, good selection, and a good opportunity to sample bottle-conditioned Belgian ales.
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dgs
Reply to
dgs
apologies, Don - Google-groups' time-keeping (& the order in which they post up the messages) seems as idiosyncratic as the world of lambic!
I've really enjoyed some of the Cantillon & Hanssens, but it's a style I'm not always in the mood for.
I'm curious. Pete - have they got any Westvleteren in stock? If so - how much?
cheers MikeMcG
Reply to
MikeMcG
Eh, no worries then :-) I imagine Pete will be booking a cross-channel trip if he starts liking some of the Belgian beers he's trying.
Loved the Cantillon Fou'Fonne I had last night, but there are times when an acidic beer isn't what I'm looking for, I'll admit that.
Reply to
dgs
While their website is, ahem, basic, I believe they have a fairly comprehensive database of stock - certainly Ann seems to do a fair bit of tapping away at the computer for each bottle I put on the counter. My understanding (which may not be correct) is that the website reflects this and should only show what's currently in stock. Certainly I've just looked up a beer I bought this week and one I bought a while ago, and the former is listed while the latter is not.
Pete
Reply to
Pete Verdon
No idea. I'll try to remember to check for you next time I go in, but my beer cupboard is looking very healthy at the moment so that might not be for a little while.
If you're that desperate to know you could just ring them :-)
Pete
Reply to
Pete Verdon
yes, sorry, I later spotted that you'd mentioned that. I remember them having some interesting things like one-off HopBack bottled brews when I was there last (a good few years ago).
much?
I'm not v desperate :~) but the website says that the Westie Abt 12 is =A32.75 & the Blonde is =A32.10 - I think some US beer geeks would expect to add a nought or 2!? cheers MikeMcG
Reply to
MikeMcG
much?
which website is selling westvleteren, its as rare as hens teeth, if its £2.10 its a very good deal ?
Reply to
Martyn Dawe
Mike is talking about Bitter Virtue's website, but they're a real shop at the end of my road and I don't believe they sell through the site, only list the stock they have in.
There's also a question-mark over the accuracy of the site; I'll be checking on the Westvleteren when I next pop in.
Pete
Reply to
Pete Verdon

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