Style Details

Bel­gi­an Gol­den Strong Ale
Strong Bel­gi­an Ale
BJCP Style Code
25 C
Yel­low to medi­um gold in color. Good cla­ri­ty. Effer­ve­s­cent. Mas­si­ve, long-las­ting, rocky, often bea­dy, white head resul­ting in cha­rac­te­ristic Bel­gi­an lace on the glass as it fades.
Com­plex with signi­fi­cant frui­ty esters, mode­ra­te spi­ci­ness and low to mode­ra­te alco­hol and hop aro­mas. Esters are remi­nis­cent of ligh­ter fruits such as pears, oran­ges or app­les. Mode­ra­te to modera­te­ly low spi­cy, pep­pery phe­nols. A low to mode­ra­te yet distinc­ti­ve per­fumy, flo­ral hop cha­rac­ter is often pre­sent. Alco­hols are soft, spi­cy, per­fumy and low-to-mode­ra­te in inten­si­ty. No hot alco­hol or sol­ven­ty aro­mas. The malt cha­rac­ter is light and slight­ly grai­ny-sweet to near­ly neutral.
Mar­ria­ge of frui­ty, spi­cy and alco­hol fla­vors sup­port­ed by a soft malt cha­rac­ter. Esters are remi­nis­cent of pears, oran­ges or app­les. Low to modera­te­ly low phe­nols are pep­pery in cha­rac­ter. A low to mode­ra­te spi­cy hop cha­rac­ter is often pre­sent. Alco­hols are soft and spi­cy, and are low-to-mode­ra­te in inten­si­ty. Bit­ter­ness is typi­cal­ly medi­um to high from a com­bi­na­ti­on of hop bit­ter­ness and yeast-pro­du­ced phe­n­o­lics. Sub­stan­ti­al car­bo­na­ti­on and bit­ter­ness leads to a dry finish with a low to modera­te­ly bit­ter aftertaste. 
Very high­ly car­bo­na­ted; effer­ve­s­cent. Light to medi­um body, alt­hough ligh­ter than the sub­stan­ti­al gra­vi­ty would sug­gest. Smooth but noti­ceable alco­hol warmth. No hot alco­hol or sol­ven­ty character. 
Over­all Impression
A pale, com­plex, effer­ve­s­cent, strong Bel­gi­an-style ale that is high­ly atte­nu­a­ted and fea­tures frui­ty and hop­py notes in pre­fe­rence to phenolics.
Typi­cal Ingredients
Pils­ner malt with sub­stan­ti­al suga­ry adjuncts. Saa­zer-type hops or Sty­ri­an Gol­dings are com­mon­ly used. Bel­gi­an yeast strains are used – tho­se that pro­du­ce frui­ty esters, spi­cy phe­n­o­lics and hig­her alco­hols – often aided by slight­ly war­mer fer­men­ta­ti­on tem­pe­ra­tures. Fair­ly soft water. Spi­cing is not tra­di­tio­nal; if pre­sent, should be a back­ground cha­rac­ter only.
Ori­gi­nal­ly deve­lo­ped by the Moort­gat bre­wery after WWI as a respon­se to the gro­wing popu­la­ri­ty of Pils­ner beers.
Refe­ren­ces to the devil are included in the names of many com­mer­cial examp­les of this style, refer­ring to their potent alco­ho­lic strength and as a tri­bu­te to the ori­gi­nal exam­p­le (Duvel). The best examp­les are com­plex and deli­ca­te. High car­bo­na­ti­on helps to bring out the many fla­vors and to increase the per­cep­ti­on of a dry finish. Tra­di­tio­nal­ly bot­t­le-con­di­tio­ned (or refer­men­ted in the bottle).
Com­mer­cial Examples
Bri­gand, Deli­ri­um Tre­mens, Dul­le Teve, Duvel, Judas, Luci­fer, Piraat, Rus­si­an River Damnation
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
1.070 - 1.095 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.005 - 1.016 SG
3 - 6 SRM
7.0 - 10.0 %vol
22 - 35 IBU