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Belgian Strong Pale Ale

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Moortgat's Duvel was the first example of the style now called Belgian Strong Pale Ale or Belgian Strong Golden Ale. Duvel and the other beers that have developed in its wake are stronger versions of a Belgian Pale Ale; sweet, with complex malt and yeast flavors, but drier and with a lighter body than the Tripels they otherwise strongly resemble. Because of the flexibility of Belgian styles, the Belgian Strong Pale Ale and the Tripel overlap enough to make a distinction between them almost academic.

Some examples of this style are spiced, often with coriander or other traditional Belgian brewing spices.

Contents

[edit] Brewing Belgian Strong Pale Ale

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[edit] Competition Styles

Both the BJCP and the GABF recognize Belgian Strong Pale Ale as a separate style from Tripel, although in practical terms very little distinguishes them.

[edit] BJCP Style Guidelines

[edit] Belgian Golden Strong Ale

18D. Belgian Golden Strong Ale Vital Statistics
BJCP Style Guideline Definition (2004)
IBUs: 25-35 SRM: 4-6 OG: 1.070-1.095 FG: 1.010-1.016 ABV: 7.5-10
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 spicy, peppery phenols. A lot 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. No diacetyl.
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.
Flavor: 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 spicy, peppery phenols. A lot 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. No diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, although lighter than the substantial gravity would suggest (thanks to candi sugar and high carbonation). Smooth but noticeable alcohol warmth. No hot alcohol or solventy character. Always effervescent. Never astringent.
Overall Impression: 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 spicy, peppery phenols. A lot 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. No diacetyl.
History: Originally developed by the Moortgat brewery after WWII as a response to the growing popularity of Pilsner beers.
Comments: Strongly resembles a Tripel, but may be even paler, lighter-bodied and even crisper and drier. 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.
Ingredients: The light color and relatively light body for a beer of this strength are the result of using pilsner malt and up to 20% white candi sugar (sucrose). Noble 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.
Commercial Examples: Duvel, Hapkin, Lucifer, Brigand, Judas, Delirium Tremens, Dulle Teve, Avery Salvation, North Coast Pranqster, Unibroue Eau B̩nite

[edit] GABF Style Listings

[edit] Belgian Style Pale Strong Ale

62A. Belgian Style Pale Strong Ale
GABF Style Listing (2007)
Belgian pale strong ales are pale to golden in color with relatively light body for a beer of its alcoholic strength. Often brewed with light colored Belgian "candy" sugar, these beers are well attenuated. The perception of hop bitterness is low to medium, with hop flavor and aroma also in this range. These beers are highly attenuated and have a perceptively deceiving high alcoholic character—being light to medium bodied rather than full bodied. The intensity of malt character should be low to medium, often surviving along with a complex fruitiness. Very little or no diacetyl is perceived. Herbs and spices are sometimes used to delicately flavor these strong ales. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.064-1.096 (16-24 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.012-1.024 (3-6 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 5.6-8.8% (7.0-11.0%)
Bitterness (IBU): 20-50
Color SRM (EBC): 3.5-7 (7-14 EBC)