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.

Discovering Beer is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone® Certification Program.

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