Blue Moon Belgian White is the Belgian-style magical beer brewed in the Rino District in Denver. This alcoholic brand is fast gaining popularity, and with more popularity comes more questions. And one of the most important questions people ask is what type of beer Blue Moon Belgian White is. Fortunately, we have a concise and straightforward answer.
Blue Moon Belgian White is best classified as a Belgian Witbier. The reasoning behind this classification is its low bitterness (IBU of 9-12), high carbonization, pale to light gold color (SRM of 4), the standard alcohol content of 5.2%, and Blue Moon Belgian White being top-fermented rather than bottom-fermented.
Although this gives an overview of what Blue Moon Belgian White is, there’s more to it. We’re sure you want to know in detail how the classification of Blue Moon Belgian White as an ale was reached, as well as other factors that determine its sub-classification. We will address that and also provide a brief history of the brand and if it has always been like this. It sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Let’s dive in!
Is Blue Moon Belgian White A Lager Or Ale?
The foundation of all classifications for beer is the classification into either an ale or a lager. But before we give anything away about Blue Moon Belgian White, let’s first consider the two beer types.
Ales and lagers are primarily different in how they are fermented. Some keen beer lovers claim they can tell from their appearance and taste, but the actual difference is in the fermentation technique employed when brewing the beers.
Ales are fermented with top-fermenting yeast at warm temperatures (60˚–70˚F). However, lagers are fermented with bottom-fermenting yeast at colder temperatures (35˚–50˚F).
Since Blue Moon Belgian White is fermented with top-fermenting yeast, it is an ale. It’s literally that simple.
However, there are more specific and, unfortunately, more complex subgroups under ales. Below, we will examine the exact type of ale Blue Moon Belgian White is.
What Kind Of Ale Is Blue Moon Belgian White?
Knowing if a beer is an ale or lager is the first step of classification. The next step is knowing what type of ale or lager it is. To get this, we will rely on a set of standardized guidelines published by the Beer Judge Certification Program, a reputable beer judge organization.
Under these guidelines, Blue Moon Belgian White is a Belgian Witbier, a type of Belgian ale. It falls under this subcategory because it meets some requirements, which we will duly consider.
Why Is Blue Moon Belgian White A Belgian Witbier?
Blue Moon Belgian White is a Belgian-style Witbier, one of the subcategories of Belgian ale. The factors that have been considered to reach this conclusion are bitterness (measured in IBU), color intensity (measured in SRM), original gravity, final gravity, and alcohol by volume of the beer. Let us examine each of these factors.
For starters, bitterness. The IBU is an acronym for International Bitterness Units, which we believe is self-explanatory enough. The higher you go on the scale, the greater the bitterness of the beer.
According to the standard Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, the IBU range for a Belgian Witbier is between 8 and 20. That’s low to moderate bitterness. Blue Moon Belgian White has an IBU of 9-12, which is well within the required Witbier range.
Straight to the next factor – color intensity. Again, the name gives a lot away, doesn’t it?! The color intensity is measured on an SRM (Standard Reference Method) scale. The higher the SRM value of the beer, the darker it is.
For Belgian witbiers, the recommended range is between 2 and 4. Blue Moon Belgian White has an SRM of 4, meaning it complies with the color intensity requirements for Belgian witbiers.
The next two factors have to do with the gravity of the beer during the alcoholic fermentation process. There are two crucial gravities – the original and final gravity, OG and FG.
The original gravity of a beer is a reflection of the sugar content in the wort before fermentation began. On the other hand, the final gravity measures the number of unfermentable sugars present in the beer after fermentation.
According to the standard Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, the OG of Belgian witbiers should be between 1.044 – and 1.052. The OG of Blue Moon Belgian White is 1.052, which is acceptable for Belgian witbiers.
For the FG, the standard range is between 1.008 and 1.012, and the FG of Blue Moon Belgian White is 1.013. Admittedly, the final gravity is not within the recommended range, but the difference is practically negligible.
The final factor to consider when attempting to classify Blue Moon Belgian White under Belgian ales is alcohol content, measured in ABV (Alcohol By Volume). This – again – is quite explanatory, indicating the alcohol content of the beer.
According to the standard Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, the ABV range of Belgian witbiers is 4.5% – 5.5%. Blue Moon Belgian White has an ABV of 5.2%, implying that it meets the required ABV specifications for Belgian witbiers.
In light of these guidelines and the corresponding Blue Moon Belgian White values, the beer can be regarded as a Belgian witbier.
Do you enjoy Blue Moon Belgian White? Here are 10 other beers like Blue Moon that you’d enjoy.
Has Blue Moon Belgian White Always Been A Witbier?
Yes, it absolutely has.
The alcoholic brand kicked off in Denver in 1995. Right from scratch, Blue Moon Belgian White was brewed as a Belgian Ale – Witbier, to be specific. In some states, like Minnesota, the ABV of Blue Moon Belgian White is 4%. While this is lower than its counterparts everywhere else in the United States, it is still close to the standard guideline range of 4.5%-5-5%.
If you’re interested in finding out if we think this witbier is actually good, click here for our review.
Are All Blue Moon Variants Belgian Witbiers?
Over the years, there have been many Blue Moon variants and name changes. Because of the numerous variants, it is not far-fetched to imagine that a few will not be Belgian Witbiers.
Most of the older variants – Honey Moon, Harvest Moon, Full Moon, and Rising Moon – still fall under the requirements of the standard guidelines for Belgian witbiers. However, Blue Moon has released a Belgian pale ale in the name of Pale Moon Light or Rounder.
The Belgian pale ale is a type of Belgian ale. Compared to the Belgian witbier, the Belgian pale ale is significantly bitterer (IBU of 20-30) and darker (8-14). It is also slightly more alcoholic (4.8% – 5.5% ).
While not all Blue Moon variants are Belgian Witbiers, all of them are Belgian Ales.