Belgian IPAs : What's Your Take?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ThirstyFace, Aug 29, 2013.

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  1. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    This has never been a real winning style, despite having a few tasty ones. My beef has really been that the style seems to be "imperialized" for no good reason. Lagunitas Wild and Raging Bitch as popular examples.

    Anyway, Stone Cali-Belgique enters last night, and I have to say, it's exactly what I always hoped a Belgian IPA could be. Bright, complex and really just elegant on the nose and tongue.

    I know this beer is well reviewed, but I don't really recall any waves being made over it. Not do I ever recall seeing it in the nightly what are you drinking threads.

    Anyway again, blown away by this delightful brew.

    That's all. As you were.
  2. philbe311

    philbe311 Poo-Bah (1,975) Jan 21, 2008 Pennsylvania

    I love Belgian IPAs... I've only got one bit of advice... Embrace the gnome...


    I would also suggest Green Flash Le Freak and Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor.
  3. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    It seems to me one could make a strong case that (in general) the American made ones are a different style category from the Belgian made ones. The former are basically American IPA's with Belgian yeast, while the latter are more well hopped Belgian ales (with or without American hops). I like the Belgian made ones.
    frothyhead, mfnmbvp and Duff27 like this.
  4. Thehuntmaster

    Thehuntmaster Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2009 South Africa

    Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor and Bitter monk are the only Belgian IPAs I have had and both were delicious!
    Geuzedad likes this.
  5. Vitacca

    Vitacca Devotee (446) Sep 15, 2010 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    Argh...this is really annoying me. I'm not a fan of the style but I had a Belgian IPA that floored me last year. Wish I could remember it so I could share it with you. I'm also closing one eye so I can type...that may or may not have something to do with my recollection.
  6. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    Yeah, but both that you mention are 9% or above (and I do like them a bit...though far less than C-B) l. It's not that I can't handle that ABV, but for example, I would not imbibe a 9% on a weekday. In fact, I try to avoid brews at that level on most days, instead holding out for those "beer moments" to drink them (aka, Friday night, kids are in bed, and the moon is lighting up the yard...silence).

    What I loved about Cali-Belgique was just how damn perfect it was without having to go apeshit on ABV.
    zid likes this.
  7. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    Agreed. I do prefer the Belgians, but no BIPA, American or Belgian, hit me with magnificence like Stone's.
    sacrelicio likes this.
  8. TheBrewo

    TheBrewo Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2010 New York

    Sounds like you're starting to develop a taste for the style. It's a great one to get into, and fun to find the best and most surprising out there.
  9. Nanners

    Nanners Initiate (0) Aug 15, 2013 Ohio

  10. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    If you liked that at 6.9% then you should love De Ranke XX Bitter at 6.2%, right?
  11. MikeReserva

    MikeReserva Aspirant (202) May 28, 2013 Netherlands
    Beer Trader

    Viven imperial IPA
    Dochter van de Korenaar Belle-Fleur
    Dochter van de Korenaar Extase (14 hops, very bitter)
    Excalibur IPA
    Struise Svea Ipa

    Quite tasty.
    CaptainPiret likes this.
  12. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    Haven't had it, but I think I saw that on growler fills at Whole Foods yesterday. Is that possible?
  13. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    I suppose, I have seen it on draft in the US on occasion. And if it's on tap then it's probably fresh, right? Unfortunately, getting 64 ounces would kinda ruin the point of favoring a lower ABV beer, wouldn't it?
  14. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    Yes, it would. I'm not a big growler sort. I reserve growler fills for beers that I have no access to otherwise, but also otherwise cannot resist.
  15. afi4lifer

    afi4lifer Initiate (187) Jan 20, 2011 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I believe Piraat Ale is considered a Belgian IPA and its one of my favorite beers.
    fmccormi, colty42, EBeckett3 and 2 others like this.
  16. blivingston1985

    blivingston1985 Disciple (326) Jan 7, 2010 North Carolina

    Came to say the same
    Greywulfken likes this.
  17. Yosefus

    Yosefus Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2012 North Carolina

    I'm actually a big fan of Coronado's Hoppy Daze IPA. Reminds me of their Islander IPA, but with the deliciousness of a Belgian strain thrown in. On a similar note, when did Coronado get so dang expensive!?!? A sixer of Islander is $17 in NC, whereas the same sixer was $11 last spring.
  18. jivex5k

    jivex5k Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Florida

    I just can't get into them.
    I'd rather have a fresh two hearted or jai alai.
  19. sacrelicio

    sacrelicio Initiate (0) Feb 15, 2005 Minnesota

    Some are good, but like many American interpretations of Belgians, too many of the American examples are just fruity booze bombs with some hops on top.
  20. Danny1217

    Danny1217 Champion (848) Jul 15, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Not something I've really been able to get into. I have enjoyed a couple throughout the past couple years, but I definitely never find myself wanting to purchase any.
  21. hnandez

    hnandez Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2013 California

    I've recently started hitting up a lot of Belgians. I love the flavor of the Belgian yeast.

    So far the closest I've had to a Belgian IPA is Sumpin Sumpin Wild and I loved it. I remember trying Cali Belgique years ago and not liking it, maybe I will revisit it, we all know that our palates tend to change with time.
  22. frankb34

    frankb34 Initiate (165) Sep 10, 2009 Massachusetts

    Don't know if this qualifies, but I find the SN Beer Camp Belgian black IPA to be delicious. I hope they decide to add it to their line up.
    ChipMurray and premierpro like this.
  23. millionsuns

    millionsuns Aspirant (220) Dec 6, 2008 Maine
    Beer Trader

    Or you could kick it up (or down) a notch and go for De Ranke XXX Bitter at 6.0%. It's scrumptious.
  24. Ri0

    Ri0 Poo-Bah (2,430) Jul 1, 2012 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    Ale Asylum Bedlam. An awesome take on Belgian IPA. Citra hops and Belgian yeast are so delicious together.
  25. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,468) Aug 29, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I wouldn't say the style is "imperialized" for no good reason. It's kind of a hybrid between American IPAs and Belgian Tripels, and the latter of those two tends to be in the range of 8% and up when it comes to ABV.

    As far as Cali-Belgique goes, it's been many months since I last had it, but while it smelled like a Belgian ale from the distinctive yeast, the taste was mostly just a standard west coast IPA. If I'm drinking a Belgian IPA, I want something that tastes kind of like a hoppy tripel. Le Freak, Raging Bitch, Little Sumpin' Wild and Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel all seem to fit that bill.

    For suggestions of other Belgian IPAs that the OP might find more to his (her?) liking based on enjoying Cali-Belgique, I would recommend Chainbreaker by Deschutes and Belgo by New Belgium (if this one is still around--I'd heard that they weren't producing it any longer).
  26. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    Since the former has 611 reviews while the latter has only 5, I was assuming that one is not particularly easy to come by?
  27. MonkeyDonkey

    MonkeyDonkey Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2009 Massachusetts

    All of this is spot on.
    decimator and djl9701 like this.
  28. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    Those are not in NY. I think I might just stick with Cali-Belgique, since it really does what others do not for me.
  29. millionsuns

    millionsuns Aspirant (220) Dec 6, 2008 Maine
    Beer Trader

    It was brewed for The Festival this year w/a limited bottle run afterward. So maybe not the best rec for the OP here, but changed my view of what BIPAs could be. A lower ABV offering packed with flavor - the potential is there.
  30. BB1313

    BB1313 Poo-Bah (2,446) Jul 16, 2009 Ohio

    I absolutely love Belgian IPAs, although they can be hit or miss.. I like the ones with hop flavor and not just hop bitterness..

    My faves are Sumpin' Wild, Raging Bitch, and Columbus Big Frank
    rails likes this.
  31. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,019) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I love Cali-Belgique, Le Freak and Sumpin Wild but I've had Piraat and Houblon Chouffe multiple times and they always taste skunked and void of hop flavor. I think that every bottle I've had was sitting for too long by the time I got to them. Same thing with the De Ranke XX I had a couple weeks ago although I know it had been sitting for over a year due to the freshness date. Living and learning is expensive.
  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,003) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I agree with geocool’s first post. Below is something I posted previously:

    “I am of the opinion that there are two sub-styles of Belgian IPAs.

    “There is an American style Belgian IPA where American hops are used. Examples of this sub-style are Flying Dog Raging Bitch, Lagunitas A Little Sumpin Wild, Stone Cali-Belgique, Green Flash Le Freak, etc.

    The Belgian brewed Belgian IPAs utilize European hops which result in a beer of a different character. Examples of this sub-style are De Ranke XX Bitter, Poperings Hommel Bier, Piraat, etc.

    My personal preference is the American style Belgian IPA with my favorite being Flying Dog Raging Bitch. I also really like the Flying Dog’s new beer: Wildeman Farmhouse IPA.”

    Mongrel and utopiajane like this.
  33. Flibber

    Flibber Initiate (0) Jul 27, 2013 United Kingdom (England)

    I realise "IPA" can mean almost anything, but Piraat? Really? Seemed like a Tripel to me. Never in a million years would I have called it an IPA.
    AndrewM661 likes this.
  34. MikeReserva

    MikeReserva Aspirant (202) May 28, 2013 Netherlands
    Beer Trader

    I agree.
  35. Aleforme

    Aleforme Disciple (300) Nov 26, 2008 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Not really a fan, but to each his own.

    My biggest beef is with american breweries who just label their brews as an IPA when the brew is clearly a BIPA style. If brewing a Belgian style IPA, please label it as such. I have bought several IPA that turned out to be a BIPA style without knowing. Don't always have time to check reviews first.
    Premo88 likes this.
  36. ThirstyFace

    ThirstyFace Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 New York

    Who does that? It's been my experience that the B bit is the sell and differentiator.
  37. jrenihan

    jrenihan Poo-Bah (2,146) Nov 23, 2010 Ontario (Canada)

    I am a big fan of Belgian IPAs. Not sure how easy it is to find outside of Canada (probably not very), but Microbrasserie Charlevoix's Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus is my favourite. A really wonderful beer. Aside from that, I am surprised nobody has mentioned Duvel Tripel Hop yet. Great twist on a classic!
  38. RyanCave

    RyanCave Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Oregon

    I've only had 2 belgian IPA (Raging Bitch and my own homebrewed one) and loved it, its definitely up there for brews I will be seeking out
  39. Aleforme

    Aleforme Disciple (300) Nov 26, 2008 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Wingman Ace IPA was one that I had a few months back (maybe 6 months ago?). No mention of a "B" or "Begian" on the can. Maybe they have changed the cans since then but at least the can I got back then and the photo in the link below just shows IPA.

    There are a couple others I have tried but can't think of them off the top of my head.
  40. kjrod20

    kjrod20 Devotee (409) Jul 16, 2005 New York
    Beer Trader

    I was going to mention Rayon Vert but I guess that's just more of a Belgian pale. Still awesome though.
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