We are very privileged and fortunate to bring you our third BrewView of B.O.M. Brewery’s beers- TRIPORTEUR SPECIAL ROAST VINTAGE 2013 BELGIAN OAK! This BrewView is possible by very special arrangement from Master Brewer Bert Van Hecke.
We are actually BrewViewing this beer before it is available in the US market. Bert has advised us that it was only launched in Belgium, should be available in the US market by the end of 2015!
ABOUT THE B.O.M. BREWERY
BOM Brewery means Belgian Original Malt Bakery and brewery. In earlier days, each brewery had its own malt-house. Starting from this tradition, they bake their own malt as the first real malt bakery in the world. The concern here is that new specialty malts are created for each type of beer individually, in house. They beers are unique and artisanally homemade. Their first line of beers is called Triporteur. As Bert explains, the name ‘Triporteur’ means Tricycle- as depicted on the cartoon label. He further explains that many breweries in Belgium delivered their beers on a 3-wheeled bicycle in the old days.
The BOM Brewery create their own beer recipes that they brew according to the principle of the gypsy-brewery. This means that they hire the wort boilers of a brewery to brew their own beer. (Currently, that is being done by the Anders Brewery in Liege.) They are convinced that not the kettles determine the taste of the beer, but on the contrary the malt baker and the brewing master.
The Triporteur beers are their point of departure and their basic beers. Besides those, they also have launched a special beer line with once-off products. The beers are brewed using once-off kinds of malts or grains and will be put on the market under the collective name Special Roast Series.
BOM BREWER / BAKER
Bert Van Hecke started as home brewer at 18 and in his career learned the tricks of the trade in the breweries of Orval and Rodenbach. For a short while, he was cellar master at brewery Boon. As brew master at Sint-Bernardus, he put the Abt 12 Special Edition on the market to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the brewery, a beer that links up closely to Westvleteren 12. Quite an impressive resume for his first 17 years in the Belgian brewing industry!
As member of the jury at the World Beer Cups at Seattle, San Diego, Chicago and then again San Diego, he could fully indulge in his passion for beer, and it was there that he discovered the citrus properties of the American aromatic hops. He also worked for a while in the USA, at New Belgium.
In his search for quality and originality he found inspiration in the traditional way of working at Rodenbach, where in former days ‘the kiln’ was used to produce their own malt.
BOM MALT BAKERY
In his search for his ‘how do I do this myself and better’, Bert was inspired by the traditional way of working at Rodenbach where in earlier days ‘the oast’ was used for preparing their own malt.
He purchased a coffee burner and remodeled this to use it for creating his own special malt. He buys so-called ‘white’ malt and uses it for making new malt in function of each individual beer by baking the ‘white’ malt himself. Baking malt at low temperatures makes the malt smooth and light. Roasting malt at higher temperatures makes the malt darker and more intense. Super fresh malt is used for brewing beer within the 48 hours.
As Bert suggests, it is not the boilers that make the beer, it is the malt baker and the brewer. Bert creates an individual recipe for each single beer. The homemade malt is the basis for a secret composition of ingredients. On the basis of that secret recipe Bert himself brews in the boilers and kettles that he hires from Brewery Anders. He follows up the whole brewing process himself, from A to Z.
The website reads “Bom Style” when describing Triporteur Rosie Rosa. What does that mean, exactly? We previously wrote directly to Bert to get his take on what the BOM Style is, and here’s an excerpt what he told us:
The idea about my beers was to brew “free-style” and not specific in a style. When a style should be a guideline it sometimes becomes too specific, making the “not-in-line-beers” sound worse. The first rapper who came up with a “song” was probably talking too much and not singing enough 🙂
Brewing beer and baking malt can only be done with qualitatively high and (by preference) authentic raw materials. This is an absolute necessity to create something new during baking the malt or in the course of the brewing process. All BOM raw materials used fit into a larger picture. There is not one single predominating ingredient. Bert personally chooses the grains, the basic malts, sugars and hops to guarantee the quality of the raw materials. They will never use artificial flavors or aromas. What you taste and smell is real!
Baking malt or grains in this way to create made-to-measure speciality malt, is unique in the world. They start off with grains that are either or not malted and that are baked or roasted at various temperatures in function of the beer in mind. Other ingredients are often added during baking. This makes the possibilities endless. Especially for this particular purpose a coffee burner was completely converted according to the strict BOM quality demands.
Only Bert knows the ingredients and the proportions of the secret blends. Only he masters the whole process. And still, he chooses to provide the consumer with abundant information on his product. He delivers all ingredients to the brewery. To be more succinct, Bert advised us that he doesn’t do a “normal” gypsy brewing. He does it this “secret” way:
“The brewer I cooperate with receives a BOM-package. This package contains all the secret mixes: from my bom malt blends, through the hops. All “bom” packages are pre-weighted and sometimes blended together with “dummie” products (they change the weight and color) in turn, the brewery I cooperate with has no real idea what is inside. The brewers of the cooperation brewery receive a nearly old fashioned recipe guiding them as to how and when they need to add the package; I don’t expect any creative input from them. Maybe a few people know the secret coca cola recipe… only one knows the secret mixes of the BOM Brewery.” 🙂
A brewery could be described as a kind of sugar factory. The starch in the malt is transformed into sugars by mixing it with water and leaving it to rest at various temperatures. The yeast transforms these sugars into alcohol. The other ingredients such as speciality BOM malts and hops that are used, determine the taste. In this way the beer finally originates.
All BOM beers have a second fermentation in the bottle. Before the beer is bottled, a small portion of yeast and sugar are added to the beer. All sugar is eaten by the yeast and transformed into a little bit of alcohol and carbonic gas. The bottle is capped, preventing the gas to escape: it dissolves in the beer until the bottle is opened. This gives after opening the bubbles and the beautiful foam collar. (Source: BOM Brewery)
THE BOM BREWERY BELGIAN OAK STORY
The 2013 Belgian Oak was Bert’s first specialty roast beer. The inspiration came to him while he was on the judging panel at a beer competition. A brewer had approached Bert to have him try his stout beer aged in bourbon barrels which still had some old bourbon in them.
Bert already knew of the trend of brewers using barrels to age, or to use wood chips directly in the brewing process to impart wood flavors in their beer. This inspired Bert to seek out a way to create his own beer with wood flavors in a way that no one had ever done before. He researched in depth on how bourbon barrels and wine barrels were constructed. He discovered that there were several variations of oak being used for different barrels.
He first thought about using American White Oak for his new beer, since it was well known for its ability to impart dynamic flavors into liquid. But of course, that idea quickly turned to Bert seeking to use Oak grown in Belgium. His thinking was, different wine grapes grown in different parts of the world have different properties. The same is very true with oak trees. There are hundreds of oak tree species and varieties around the world that have adapted to their native countries and climates. We wanted to get more detailed information regarding different Oak species. In speaking with a certified arborist group, they confirmed that different oak tree varieties grown in different parts of the world will impart different flavor characteristics in beer. In short, Belgian oak will be different than American White Oak.
Bert’s next step was to purchase a chain saw to cut the Belgian Oak planks to the size the wanted. Afterwards, he roasted the Oak at 3 different temperatures to give the beer a “powerful and majestic character.” The key was to use the wood within 24 hours of roasting to have the flavors to be a fresh as possible. He used the wood in the mashing, boiling and fermentation processes. Bert advised us that neither spirals or chips were used in the brewing process- larger pieces were used. The idea was not to impart flavors quickly; Bert wanted this beer to age slowly in “The way I wanted” as he told us.
Bert took great care to ensure that the process parameters could be replicated again for future brews since his recipes and materials are handled by Anders brewery in Liege. The Belgian Oak 2013 was the base beer (and tryout as Bert describes) for the Full Moon 12 beer he makes. “It was a great first experiment… I wanted to try something new for the first time, and it wound up turning out well.”
BEER STYLE AND COMMERICAL DESCRIPTION FROM B.O.M. BREWERY
Style category: Belgian Artisanal Strong Ale– BOM Style
The Special Roast Series by BOM Brewery is a series of experimental beers. Every special roast is based on one special roasted ingredient that lends the beer a unique taste and character. For the Belgian Oak, Bert Van Hecke roasted Belgian oak at different temperatures, giving the beer a powerful and majestic character.
ABV 9.2% °p 19 EBU 45 EBC 50
Belgian dark and white candy sugar. Belgian Cassonade sugar.
Styrian Golding, East Kent Golding, Cascade
Belgian Oak is best served in the original BOM glass. Serving temperature is 8° – 12° C. (46°F – 53°F)
The Belgian Oak will age to perfection . The oxidation of the wood tannins over time will make this beer rounder without losing complexity.
OUR BREWVIEW OF B.O.M. BREWERY TRIPORTEUR SPECIAL ROAST- ROSIE ROSA
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
Poured into a pokal-shaped glass, and served at 50°F. (Our apologies Bert- we didn’t have a proper Triporteur glass!) Pours a pale to medium amber color, around a SRM color of 10. The slightly off-white colored head pours an easy 3-finger height, and is rocky, dense, with large and small bubbles, almost a whipped egg white appearance.
As the head collapses, the Brussels lacing it leaves behind is very thick, spider web patchy, and even. (We ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass). The meniscus is very slow rising. If you hold the beer up to the light, you can see a gentle champagne type of bubbling, with multiple streams- similar to the Rosie Rosa. There was a yeast haze / suspension in the liquid, due to the bottle conditioning and heavy yeast sedimentation. The rim variation color is slightly lighter than the body of the beer. After 3 minutes of pouring the beer, the head still held a 1.5 finger height.
AROMA / BOUQUET:
There is a beautiful fruit ester / malt aroma balance. The herbalness from the hops is very gentle and in the background. This beer is much more forward on the fruit (slight mango and bruised peach) and caramel. Very faint butterscotch, fresh yeast, it almost has a “Triple” aroma. As the beer warms up, the Belgian Oak aromas are expressed. Around 15 minutes into drinking, the wood is much more prominent.
The taste of the vanilla undertones of the Belgian Oak is very evident upon the first sip. The buttery aromas are definitely from the Oak. There is a nice subtle toast flavor to the wood from the roasting, mixed with peach and apricot. There is a gentle hop bitterness, but the wood is dominant here, but not in a super aggressive way.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
The aftertaste is a combination of the toastiness of the wood, fruit, and gentle hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is creamy, and is medium bodied, with a moderately high carbonation level. The acidity is gentle on the sides of the mouth, it hits the tip of the tongue, the woodiness hits the top and the back of the mouth. The finish is somewhat dry from the oak. The balance of the oak, spicy phenols, and the hops are excellent.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
APPETIZERS: Smoked sausages and cheeses such as smoked Gouda. Rich buttery cheeses such as Triple cream brie, Port Salut, Camembert. Charcuterie platter with pâté and wild boar.
ENTRÈES: Moules-frites- cook the mussels in the Belgian Oak to impart a nice woody aroma and flavor. Smoked salmon grilled on cedar planks, Carbonade flamande , aged Rib eye grilled over oak chips.
DESSERTS: the BOM Brewery website suggests Crème brûlée. We would also suggest, Belgian waffles with Sirop de Liège. Chocolate that has been smoked over wood, Peach cobbler with smoked vanilla-based ice cream made with the Triporteur Belgian Oak. Plain cheesecake would be brilliant.
Triporteur Belgian Oak is a very sophisticated beer. It is world class, and another original from the brewing genius of Bert Van Hecke.
When we interviewed Bert, we could immediately tell he’s an extrovert; gregarious, excitable, with his mind running like the proverbial hamster on the wheel. He is always thinking of ways to improve on his previous versions of his beers. We’ll give him a new nick name: BERT THE EXTROVERT. Or maybe he can name his next creation “Extrovert Ale.” Ah ha!
We were extremely impressed with this beer, and it is another beer to seek out. All beer lovers in Belgium have shown the BOM Brewery their support to the degree that it consistently sells out! Bert told us that he would rather make high quality beer than to quickly push out a lesser quality beer to the masses. We applaud him for his business decision. Great beers, like great pieces of art, take time. Time makes the heart of the Belgian beer drinker grow fonder. One will be fond of this beer… we certainly were!
Bert anticipates the newest version of Belgian Oak to be available in the United States by the end of 2015. The Vintage 2013 version we are BrewViewing here is gone, as there were only 18 bottles left at the time we received our sample from Bert. He promised that Belgian Beer Journal would be informed as to when exactly Belgian beer fans in the United States could expect this magnificent beer in the market. Another must have, Triporteur Belgian Oak will soon be on many a beer lovers “TOP BEERS” list. Stay tuned for further updates… Santé!