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Home > 2012 Top Ten French and Belgian Ales in the United States

2012 Top Ten French and Belgian Ales in the United States

This Top Ten French / Belgian Ales  list is from the results of the 2012 U.S. Open Beer Championship, Great American Beer Festival, and the World Beer Cup.

1. St. Feuillian Tripple - Brasserie St. Feuillien, Belgium
2. Tripel Karmeliet - Brouwerij Bosteels, Belgium
3. La Trappe Triple - Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven B.V., Belgium
4. California Ale, Telegraph Brewing Co., Santa Barbara, CA
5. TAPS Biere de Garde, TAPS Fish House & Brewery (Corona, CA), Brea, CA
6. Pin-Up Blonde, Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, MI
7. FSB Spring Brew, Front Street Brewery, Wilmington, NC
8. Saison Noir, Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, MI
9. Gift of the Magi, The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA
10. Orval Trappist Ale Brasserie d'Orval S.A., Belgium

best belgian beers


Belgian and French Ale
Subcategory: Belgian Pale Ale
Belgian pale ales are characterized by low, but noticeable, hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma Light to medium body and low malt aroma are typical. They are light gold to deep amber in color. Noble-type hops are commonly used. Low to medium fruity esters are evident in aroma and flavor. Low levels of phenolic spiciness from yeast byproducts may be perceived. Low caramel or toasted malt flavor is okay. Diacetyl should not be perceived. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
OG: 1.044-1.054
FG: 1.008-1.014
Alcohol by Weight: 3.2-5.0%
IBU: 20-30
Color SRM: 4-12

Subcategory: French Bičre de Garde
Beers in this category are golden to deep copper or light brown in color. They are light to medium in body. This style of beer is characterized by a toasted malt aroma, slight malt sweetness in flavor, and medium hop bitterness. Noble-type hop aromas and flavors should be low to medium. Fruity esters can be light to medium in intensity. Flavor of alcohol is evident. Earthy, cellar like, musty aromas are okay. Diacetyl should not be perceived but chill haze is okay. Often bottle conditioned with some yeast character. Brewer may indicate on the bottle whether the yeast should be intentionally roused or if they prefer that the entry be poured as quietly as possible.
OG: 1.060-1.080
FG: 1.012-1.024
Alcohol by Weight: 3.5-6.3%
IBU: 25-30
Color SRM: 8-12

Subcategory: Belgian Table Beer
These ales and lagers are very low in alcohol and traditionally enjoyed with meals by both adults and children. Pale to very dark brown in color. Additions of caramel coloring are sometimes employed to adjust color. They are light bodied with relatively low carbonation with limited aftertaste. The mouth feel is light to moderate, though higher than one might anticipate, usually because of unfermented sugars/malt sugars. Malted barley, wheat and rye may be used as well as unmalted wheat, rye, oats and corn. A mild malt character could be evident. Aroma/flavor hops are most commonly used to employ a flavor balance that is only low in bitterness. Traditional versions do not use artificial sweeteners nor are they excessively sweet. More modern versions of this beer incorporate sweeteners such as sugar and saccharine added post fermentation to sweeten the palate and add to a perception of smoothness. Spices (such as orange and lemon peel, as well as coriander) may be added in barely perceptible amounts, but this is not common. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
OG: 1.008-1.038
FG: 1.008-1.038
Alcohol by Weight: 0.4-2.8%
IBU: 5-15
Color SRM: 5-50
SRM: 5-50

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