Overview for the Belgian Strong Dark Ale

The Belgian Strong Dark Ale has a color that ranges from a deep amber to brown and its aroma and palate are rich with sweet malt, fruity esters, and moderately spicy phenols. The balance of the palate is near even but leans towards being malty. Its feel has a body around medium with high carbonation but shouldn’t be sharp. Its high alcohol strength lends noticeable warmth. Comparatively, the Belgian Strong Dark Ale has more body and malt character than the Dubbel while being less bitter and hoppy than a Tripel. Typically has less strength than a Quadrupel.

Style Expectations

A dark, complex, very strong Belgian ale with a delicious blend of malt richness, dark fruit flavors, and spicy elements. Complex, rich, smooth and dangerous.

Appearance

Deep amber to deep coppery-brown in color (dark in this context implies more deeply colored than golden). Huge, dense, moussy, persistent cream- to light tan-colored head. Can be clear to somewhat hazy.

Aroma

Complex, with a rich-sweet malty presence, significant esters and alcohol, and an optional light to moderate spiciness. The malt is rich and strong, and can have a deep bready-toasty quality often with a deep caramel complexity. The fruity esters are strong to moderately low, and can contain raisin, plum, dried cherry, fig or prune notes. Spicy phenols may be present, but usually have a peppery quality not clove-like; light vanilla is possible. Alcohols are soft, spicy, perfumy and/or rose-like, and are low to moderate in intensity. Hops are not usually present (but a very low spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma is acceptable). No dark/roast malt aroma. No hot alcohols or solventy aromas.

Flavor

Similar to aroma (same malt, ester, phenol, alcohol, and hop comments apply to flavor as well). Moderately malty-rich on the palate, which can have a sweet impression if bitterness is low. Usually moderately dry to dry finish, although may be up to moderately sweet. Medium-low to moderate bitterness; alcohol provides some of the balance to the malt. Generally malty-rich balance, but can be fairly even with bitterness. The complex and varied flavors should blend smoothly and harmoniously. The finish should not be heavy or syrupy.

Mouthfeel

High carbonation but not sharp. Smooth but noticeable alcohol warmth. Body can range from medium-light to medium-full and creamy. Most are medium-bodied.

Reviews

N’ice Chouffe

Belgian Strong Dark Ale  •  Brasserie d’Achouffe

N’ice Chouffe is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale by Brasserie d’Achouffe that blends dark fruits, orange liqueur, brown bread, and spices. Read More

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Mc Chouffe

Belgian Strong Dark Ale  •  Brasserie d’Achouffe

McChouffe, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale by Brasserie d’Achouffe is a sweet and boozy blend of dark fruits, molasses, and brown bread. Read More

Shock

Belgian Strong Dark Ale  •  Birradamare SRL

Shock, a Belgian-style Strong Dark Ale by Birradamare SRL that’s a malty blend of brown bread, toffee, banana, chocolate balanced by floral hops and lemon tea. Read More

Brother Thelonius

Belgian Strong Dark Ale  •  North Coast Brewing Co.

Brother Thelonius, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale by North Coast Brewing Co. is a boozy blend of dark fruits, spices, and toasty bread. Read More

Brooklyn Local 2

Belgian Strong Dark Ale  •  Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Local 2 is a Belgian-style Strong Dark Ale by Brooklyn Brewery whose complex palate consists of dark fruits, floral hops, and booze. Read More

La Résolution

Belgian Strong Dark Ale  •  Unibroue

La Résolution, a Belgian-style Strong Dark Ale brewed by Unibroue blends dark fruits and caramel with spices and booze. Read More

Panic Attack Café Cubano

Belgian Strong Dark Ale  •  Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers

Panic Attack Café Cubano is a Belgian-style Strong Dark Ale brewed by Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers that’s sugary sweet with cold-brewed Cuban coffee. Read More

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