Style Details

Bel­gi­an Pale Ale
Bel­gi­an Ale
BJCP Style Code
24 B
Amber to cop­per in color. Cla­ri­ty is very good. Cre­a­my, rocky, white head often fades more quick­ly than other Bel­gi­an beers.
Mode­ra­te malt aro­ma, which can be a com­bi­na­ti­on of toasty, bis­cui­ty, or nut­ty, pos­si­bly with a touch of light cara­mel or honey. Mode­ra­te to modera­te­ly high frui­tin­ess with an oran­ge- or pear-like cha­rac­ter. Low to mode­ra­te strength hop cha­rac­ter (spi­cy, her­bal, or flo­ral) optio­nal­ly blen­ded with back­ground level pep­pery, spi­cy phe­nols. The hop cha­rac­ter is lower in balan­ce than the malt and fruitiness. 
Has an initi­al soft, smooth, modera­te­ly mal­ty fla­vor with a varia­ble pro­fi­le of toasty, bis­cui­ty, nut­ty, light cara­mel and/or honey notes. Mode­ra­te to modera­te­ly high frui­tin­ess, some­ti­mes oran­ge- or pear-like. Rela­tively light (medi­um-low to low) spi­cy, her­bal, or flo­ral hop cha­rac­ter. The hop bit­ter­ness is medi­um-high to medi­um-low, and is optio­nal­ly enhan­ced by low to very low amounts of pep­pery phe­nols. The­re is a dry to balan­ced finish, with hops beco­ming more pro­no­un­ced in the after­tas­te of tho­se with a drier finish. Fair­ly well balan­ced over­all, with no sin­gle com­po­nent being high in inten­si­ty; malt and frui­tin­ess are more for­ward initi­al­ly with a sup­port­i­ve bit­ter­ness and dry­ing cha­rac­ter coming on late.
Medi­um to medi­um-light body. Smooth pala­te. Alco­hol level is res­trai­ned, and any warm­ing cha­rac­ter should be low if pre­sent. Medi­um to medi­um-high carbonation.
Over­all Impression
A modera­te­ly mal­ty, some­what frui­ty, easy-drin­king, cop­per-colo­red Bel­gi­an ale that is some­what less aggres­si­ve in fla­vor pro­fi­le than many other Bel­gi­an beers. The malt cha­rac­ter tends to be a bit bis­cui­ty with light toasty, honey-like, or cara­mel­ly com­pon­ents; the fruit cha­rac­ter is noti­ceable and com­ple­men­ta­ry to the malt. The bit­ter­ness level is gene­ral­ly mode­ra­te, but may not seem as high due to the fla­vorful malt profile.
Typi­cal Ingredients
Pils­ner or pale ale malt con­tri­bu­tes the bulk of the grist with (cara) Vien­na and Munich malts adding color, body and com­ple­xi­ty. Sugar is not com­mon­ly used as high gra­vi­ty is not desi­red. Saa­zer-type hops, Sty­ri­an Gol­dings, East Kent Gol­dings or Fug­gles are com­mon­ly used. Yeasts pro­ne to mode­ra­te pro­duc­tion of phe­nols are often used but fer­men­ta­ti­on tem­pe­ra­tures should be kept mode­ra­te to limit this character.
Pro­du­ced by bre­we­ries with roots as far back as the mid-1700s, the most well-known examp­les were per­fec­ted after the Second World War with some influence from Bri­tain, inclu­ding hops and yeast strains. 
Most com­mon­ly found in the Fle­mish pro­vin­ces of Ant­werp and Bra­bant. Con­side­red “ever­y­day” beers (Cate­go­ry I). Com­pared to their hig­her alco­hol Cate­go­ry S cou­sins, they are Bel­gi­an “ses­si­on beers” for ease of drin­king. Not­hing should be too pro­no­un­ced or domi­nant; balan­ce is the key. Yeast cha­rac­ter gene­ral­ly more subt­le than many Bel­gi­an beers, with some of the frui­tin­ess being hop-driven.
Com­mer­cial Examples
De Koninck, De Ryck Spe­cial, Palm Dob­ble, Palm Speciale
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
1.048 - 1.054 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.010 - 1.014 SG
8 - 14 SRM
4.0 - 5.0 %vol
20 - 30 IBU