A Belgian Pale Ale in a Tulip Glass

Belgian Pale Ale

The Belgian Pale Ale style is also known as the Belgian Blond Ale and its a relatively new style when compared to the history of Belgian brewing. The style was introduced as an alternative to consumers seeking lighter European Pilsner-style beers. Its color is pale to deep gold with good clarity. Its feel is effervescent with medium-high to high carbonation and a medium body that might be slightly creamy. Its alcohol strength is moderate and can lend a slight warmth to the feel. Should have a mildly dry finish. The aroma can consist of grainy sweet malt, a subtle yeast character, and light hops that can be earthy or spicy. The palate follows the nose and can add spicy phenols and a sugar or honey sweetness.

Style Expectations

The Belgian Pale Ale is a moderately malty, somewhat fruity, easy-drinking, copper-colored 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.

Appearance

Amber to copper in color. Clarity is very good. Creamy, rocky, white head often fades more quickly than other Belgian beers.

Aroma

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.

Flavor

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.

Mouthfeel

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.

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