Belgian Golden Strong Ale

Recipes:
2,747
BJCP 2021:
25C
Era:
Traditional
Origin:
🇧🇪 Belgium
Fermentation:
Top
Color:
Pale
Strength:
Very High
Taste:
Bitter

Profile

Belgian Golden Strong Ale is a hallmark of the Belgian brewing tradition – a testament to the craft where complexity meets drinkability. This style captures an alluring and deceptive strength beneath its bright and clear golden hue, often leading to its characterization as a "devil in disguise" due to the higher alcohol content hidden within its palatable frame. Historically, this style emerged from the competitive nature of Belgian brewers who aimed to create an appealing alternative to the pale lagers proliferating throughout Europe. These beers thus were crafted with an eye for both unique character and refreshing appeal, integrating local yeast strains that provided distinctive spicy and fruity esters, while pursuing a balance that would showcase their artistry in fermentation.

In appearance, these strong ales are marked by their golden color, ranging from pale to medium gold, often presenting with good clarity and boasting a generous, creamy white head. The effervescence granted by high carbonation enhances both visual appeal and mouthfeel. When it comes to flavor and aroma profiles, one can expect a melange of fruity notes – commonly pear, orange, or apple – mingling with mild peppery or spicy tones derived from yeast. Malt presence is typically soft yet complex enough to hint at breadiness or perhaps sweetness reminiscent of honey without becoming cloying. Hops offer balance rather than dominance here; they may present as mildly floral or slightly earthy but are subtle enough not to overshadow the dance between malt sweetness and yeasty characteristics. Alcohol flavors are indeed present but smooth and refined – not hot or solvent-like – and they work harmoniously within the tapestry of flavors.

Related styles may include other Belgian specialties such as Belgian Tripels – which share some similarities in color and effervescence but lean toward more pronounced yeast character – and Belgian Blond Ales which generally exhibit less alcohol strength along with more malt-forward profiles. Each represents facets of Belgium's expert approach to brewing where nuance is paramount regardless of where on the spectrum of strength or opaqueness each style resides.

Specifications

Alcohol

Specification
7.5 – 10.5 %

In Database
6.7 < 8.2 < 10.8 %

Bitterness

Specification
22 – 35 IBU

In Database
17 < 28 < 39 IBU

Color

Specification
6 – 12 EBC
3 – 6 SRM

In Database
5 < 9 < 13 EBC
2 < 4 < 7 SRM

Original Extract

Specification
16.9 – 22.5 °P
1.070 – 1.095 OG

In Database
15.2 < 18.7 < 23.7 °P
1.062 < 1.078 < 1.101 OG

Final Gravity

Specification
1.3 – 4.1 °P
1.005 – 1.016 FG

In Database
1.0 < 4.0 < 6.5 °P
1.004 < 1.016 < 1.026 FG

Popularity Over Time

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