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The Ultimate Guide to Belgian Beer


A helpful primer on the various styles of Belgian beer

What is it about Belgian beer that commands so much attention?

Innovation and complexity factor strongly, but not in the same way we’re accustomed to here in the States. You won’t find extreme beers modeled after our hop-heavy double IPAs lining store shelves in Brussels. What you will find are brewing techniques that date back to the Middle Ages, spontaneous fermentation methods, and beers that live in the bottle and improve over time rather than expiring after the “best by” date.

Of course some have ventured over and experienced the difference for themselves, but still, what exactly it is that sets these beers apart has remained relatively obscure. Only in the last decade have American brewers really begun to embrace the centuries-old traditional styles that Belgium is renowned for. The most interesting takeaway lesson is that malt and hops are not the only ingredients that can drastically alter a beer’s flavor and aroma. Belgian beers demonstrate that tampering with yeast — or not tampering with it at all — can produce all kinds of wild combinations.

Nothing offers a better example than the famously sour lambics. Brewed with stale hops, left open to airborne yeast and bacteria, aged 3-5 years in tainted casks, and left smelling like a horse blanket, these definitely require a leap of faith for first-timers. They're also delightfully refreshing, and the most fun to play with when it comes to food pairing.

All of these beers can and should be enjoyed with food. Not just with it, but in it and on it as well. As you explore the different characteristics of each style, experiment with incorporating them into your own pairings and recipes. Look to traditional Belgian food for classic combinations. You won’t be disappointed.

Click here for the Ultimate Guide to Belgian Beer Slideshow.


Base malts make up the majority of the grist in all-grain beer, and the variety is, frankly, astounding. Named based on the formation of corns on the barley stalk (2-row vs. 6-row), the variety (e.g., Maris Otter, Golden Promise, etc), or the region in which it was grown or malted. Includes:

  • Barley malts: pale malt, Pilsner malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, mild ale malt, and more
  • Non-barley base malts like wheat malt and rye malt (more on these in "Other Malts")
  • High-kilned malts: responsible for the dark, malty lagers of Europe and have also found a home in some ales because of their unique character. Munich and Vienna malts are the prime examples
  • American base malt is generally mild and fairly neutral British malts tend to be maltier, bready, and biscuit-like.

The European climate gives malts made from Continental barley a clean, "elegant" character. Pilsner malt has a soft, delicate maltiness that practically defines pale lagers. "High-kilned" (heated to a higher temperature at the end of the malting process) base are rof high-kilned malts, although mild ale malt belongs to this category too. The darker color lends these malts a more toasty, malty flavor than you get from lighter base malts.


Base malts make up the majority of the grist in all-grain beer, and the variety is, frankly, astounding. Named based on the formation of corns on the barley stalk (2-row vs. 6-row), the variety (e.g., Maris Otter, Golden Promise, etc), or the region in which it was grown or malted. Includes:

  • Barley malts: pale malt, Pilsner malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, mild ale malt, and more
  • Non-barley base malts like wheat malt and rye malt (more on these in "Other Malts")
  • High-kilned malts: responsible for the dark, malty lagers of Europe and have also found a home in some ales because of their unique character. Munich and Vienna malts are the prime examples
  • American base malt is generally mild and fairly neutral British malts tend to be maltier, bready, and biscuit-like.

The European climate gives malts made from Continental barley a clean, "elegant" character. Pilsner malt has a soft, delicate maltiness that practically defines pale lagers. "High-kilned" (heated to a higher temperature at the end of the malting process) base are rof high-kilned malts, although mild ale malt belongs to this category too. The darker color lends these malts a more toasty, malty flavor than you get from lighter base malts.


Base malts make up the majority of the grist in all-grain beer, and the variety is, frankly, astounding. Named based on the formation of corns on the barley stalk (2-row vs. 6-row), the variety (e.g., Maris Otter, Golden Promise, etc), or the region in which it was grown or malted. Includes:

  • Barley malts: pale malt, Pilsner malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, mild ale malt, and more
  • Non-barley base malts like wheat malt and rye malt (more on these in "Other Malts")
  • High-kilned malts: responsible for the dark, malty lagers of Europe and have also found a home in some ales because of their unique character. Munich and Vienna malts are the prime examples
  • American base malt is generally mild and fairly neutral British malts tend to be maltier, bready, and biscuit-like.

The European climate gives malts made from Continental barley a clean, "elegant" character. Pilsner malt has a soft, delicate maltiness that practically defines pale lagers. "High-kilned" (heated to a higher temperature at the end of the malting process) base are rof high-kilned malts, although mild ale malt belongs to this category too. The darker color lends these malts a more toasty, malty flavor than you get from lighter base malts.


Base malts make up the majority of the grist in all-grain beer, and the variety is, frankly, astounding. Named based on the formation of corns on the barley stalk (2-row vs. 6-row), the variety (e.g., Maris Otter, Golden Promise, etc), or the region in which it was grown or malted. Includes:

  • Barley malts: pale malt, Pilsner malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, mild ale malt, and more
  • Non-barley base malts like wheat malt and rye malt (more on these in "Other Malts")
  • High-kilned malts: responsible for the dark, malty lagers of Europe and have also found a home in some ales because of their unique character. Munich and Vienna malts are the prime examples
  • American base malt is generally mild and fairly neutral British malts tend to be maltier, bready, and biscuit-like.

The European climate gives malts made from Continental barley a clean, "elegant" character. Pilsner malt has a soft, delicate maltiness that practically defines pale lagers. "High-kilned" (heated to a higher temperature at the end of the malting process) base are rof high-kilned malts, although mild ale malt belongs to this category too. The darker color lends these malts a more toasty, malty flavor than you get from lighter base malts.


Base malts make up the majority of the grist in all-grain beer, and the variety is, frankly, astounding. Named based on the formation of corns on the barley stalk (2-row vs. 6-row), the variety (e.g., Maris Otter, Golden Promise, etc), or the region in which it was grown or malted. Includes:

  • Barley malts: pale malt, Pilsner malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, mild ale malt, and more
  • Non-barley base malts like wheat malt and rye malt (more on these in "Other Malts")
  • High-kilned malts: responsible for the dark, malty lagers of Europe and have also found a home in some ales because of their unique character. Munich and Vienna malts are the prime examples
  • American base malt is generally mild and fairly neutral British malts tend to be maltier, bready, and biscuit-like.

The European climate gives malts made from Continental barley a clean, "elegant" character. Pilsner malt has a soft, delicate maltiness that practically defines pale lagers. "High-kilned" (heated to a higher temperature at the end of the malting process) base are rof high-kilned malts, although mild ale malt belongs to this category too. The darker color lends these malts a more toasty, malty flavor than you get from lighter base malts.


Base malts make up the majority of the grist in all-grain beer, and the variety is, frankly, astounding. Named based on the formation of corns on the barley stalk (2-row vs. 6-row), the variety (e.g., Maris Otter, Golden Promise, etc), or the region in which it was grown or malted. Includes:

  • Barley malts: pale malt, Pilsner malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, mild ale malt, and more
  • Non-barley base malts like wheat malt and rye malt (more on these in "Other Malts")
  • High-kilned malts: responsible for the dark, malty lagers of Europe and have also found a home in some ales because of their unique character. Munich and Vienna malts are the prime examples
  • American base malt is generally mild and fairly neutral British malts tend to be maltier, bready, and biscuit-like.

The European climate gives malts made from Continental barley a clean, "elegant" character. Pilsner malt has a soft, delicate maltiness that practically defines pale lagers. "High-kilned" (heated to a higher temperature at the end of the malting process) base are rof high-kilned malts, although mild ale malt belongs to this category too. The darker color lends these malts a more toasty, malty flavor than you get from lighter base malts.


Base malts make up the majority of the grist in all-grain beer, and the variety is, frankly, astounding. Named based on the formation of corns on the barley stalk (2-row vs. 6-row), the variety (e.g., Maris Otter, Golden Promise, etc), or the region in which it was grown or malted. Includes:

  • Barley malts: pale malt, Pilsner malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, mild ale malt, and more
  • Non-barley base malts like wheat malt and rye malt (more on these in "Other Malts")
  • High-kilned malts: responsible for the dark, malty lagers of Europe and have also found a home in some ales because of their unique character. Munich and Vienna malts are the prime examples
  • American base malt is generally mild and fairly neutral British malts tend to be maltier, bready, and biscuit-like.

The European climate gives malts made from Continental barley a clean, "elegant" character. Pilsner malt has a soft, delicate maltiness that practically defines pale lagers. "High-kilned" (heated to a higher temperature at the end of the malting process) base are rof high-kilned malts, although mild ale malt belongs to this category too. The darker color lends these malts a more toasty, malty flavor than you get from lighter base malts.


Base malts make up the majority of the grist in all-grain beer, and the variety is, frankly, astounding. Named based on the formation of corns on the barley stalk (2-row vs. 6-row), the variety (e.g., Maris Otter, Golden Promise, etc), or the region in which it was grown or malted. Includes:

  • Barley malts: pale malt, Pilsner malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, mild ale malt, and more
  • Non-barley base malts like wheat malt and rye malt (more on these in "Other Malts")
  • High-kilned malts: responsible for the dark, malty lagers of Europe and have also found a home in some ales because of their unique character. Munich and Vienna malts are the prime examples
  • American base malt is generally mild and fairly neutral British malts tend to be maltier, bready, and biscuit-like.

The European climate gives malts made from Continental barley a clean, "elegant" character. Pilsner malt has a soft, delicate maltiness that practically defines pale lagers. "High-kilned" (heated to a higher temperature at the end of the malting process) base are rof high-kilned malts, although mild ale malt belongs to this category too. The darker color lends these malts a more toasty, malty flavor than you get from lighter base malts.


Base malts make up the majority of the grist in all-grain beer, and the variety is, frankly, astounding. Named based on the formation of corns on the barley stalk (2-row vs. 6-row), the variety (e.g., Maris Otter, Golden Promise, etc), or the region in which it was grown or malted. Includes:

  • Barley malts: pale malt, Pilsner malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, mild ale malt, and more
  • Non-barley base malts like wheat malt and rye malt (more on these in "Other Malts")
  • High-kilned malts: responsible for the dark, malty lagers of Europe and have also found a home in some ales because of their unique character. Munich and Vienna malts are the prime examples
  • American base malt is generally mild and fairly neutral British malts tend to be maltier, bready, and biscuit-like.

The European climate gives malts made from Continental barley a clean, "elegant" character. Pilsner malt has a soft, delicate maltiness that practically defines pale lagers. "High-kilned" (heated to a higher temperature at the end of the malting process) base are rof high-kilned malts, although mild ale malt belongs to this category too. The darker color lends these malts a more toasty, malty flavor than you get from lighter base malts.


Base malts make up the majority of the grist in all-grain beer, and the variety is, frankly, astounding. Named based on the formation of corns on the barley stalk (2-row vs. 6-row), the variety (e.g., Maris Otter, Golden Promise, etc), or the region in which it was grown or malted. Includes:

  • Barley malts: pale malt, Pilsner malt, Vienna malt, Munich malt, mild ale malt, and more
  • Non-barley base malts like wheat malt and rye malt (more on these in "Other Malts")
  • High-kilned malts: responsible for the dark, malty lagers of Europe and have also found a home in some ales because of their unique character. Munich and Vienna malts are the prime examples
  • American base malt is generally mild and fairly neutral British malts tend to be maltier, bready, and biscuit-like.

The European climate gives malts made from Continental barley a clean, "elegant" character. Pilsner malt has a soft, delicate maltiness that practically defines pale lagers. "High-kilned" (heated to a higher temperature at the end of the malting process) base are rof high-kilned malts, although mild ale malt belongs to this category too. The darker color lends these malts a more toasty, malty flavor than you get from lighter base malts.


Watch the video: HomeBrew Lab- EP1 Τι εξοπλισμό θα χρειαστώ για τη σπιτική μου μπύρα? (December 2021).