Belgian Strong Pale Ale in a Tulip Glass

Overview for the Belgian Strong Pale Ale Beer Style

The Belgian Strong Pale Ale was originally crafted by the Moortgat brewery after World War I as an alternative to the popular European Pilsner beers. Its color is a yellow gold with good clarity and visibly effervescent. Its aroma consists of fruity esters, some spice, and low to moderate amounts of hops and booze. The palate follows the nose with fruity flavors of pear, orange, and apple. Bitterness and spice are low to moderate. Its feel is light to medium, highly carbonated with a dry finish. High alcohol lends warmth. The Belgian Strong Pale Ale is similar to the Belgian Tripel but is lighter in color and feel, drier and crisper, with added hopping and fruity esters.

Style Expectations

The Belgian Strong Pale Ale is a light-colored, complex, effervescent, strong ale that is highly attenuated and features fruity and hoppy notes in preference to phenolics.

Appearance

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.<

Aroma

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.

Flavor

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.

Mouthfeel

The Belgian Strong Pale Ale is very highly carbonated — even effervescent. It has a light to medium body, although lighter than the substantial gravity would suggest. It’s smooth but has a noticeable alcohol warmth. However, it doesn’t have a hot alcohol or solventy character.

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