Belgian Golden Strong Ale

Glassware: Tulip
  • Belgium
  • Ale
  • ABV = 7.5 – 10.5% (High to very high)^
  • IBU = 22-35
  • SRM = 3-6
A strong, highly-carbonated Belgian golden ale with significant fruity yeast flavour, hop character and a dry, bitter finish.

Strongly resembles Belgian Tripel, but often paler in colour, lighter-bodied and even crisper and drier; the drier finish and lighter body also serves to make the assertive hopping and yeast character of the Belgian Golden Strong Ale more prominent.


  • Colour^ = Straw to gold
  • Clarity = Good

Key Aromas & Flavours:

  • Malt = Low; slightly grainy-sweet to nearly neutral
  • Yeast = High; fruity esters (pear, orange, apple) / moderate; spicy, peppery phenols / low to moderate; soft, spicy, perfumy alcohol
  • Hops = Low to moderate; perfumy and floral
  • Malt = Low; grainy-sweet
  • Yeast = Moderate; fruity esters (pear, orange, apple) / low; peppery phenols / low to moderate; soft, spicy alcohol notes
  • Hops = Low to moderate; spicy
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Moderate
  • Balance = Towards the fruity, spicy, alcohol flavours; bitterness (from hops and yeast-produced phenolics) does not overwhelm these flavours, as malt is there in support

High carbonation and bitterness lead to a dry finish with a bitter aftertaste


  • Body = Light to medium
  • Carbonation = Very high; effervescent
  • Alcohol warmth = Smooth, but noticeable

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Pilsner malt, plus pale sugar syrup
  • Yeast = Belgian ale yeast (that favours ester production, particularly pome fruit, over spicy phenols)
  • Hops = Continental or English hop varietals (Saazer-type or Styrian Goldings hops are traditional)
  • Process = Traditionally bottle conditioned (ie. refermented in the bottle)

Historical Development:

Originally developed by the Moortgat brewery after WWI as a response to the growing popularity of pale Pilsner-style lagers.

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: Duvel.

Commercial Examples:

Duvel, Delirium Tremens, Piraat

^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.

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