Belgian Blonde Ale Style Guide & Belgian Strong Blonde Ale

Belgian Pale Ale


Belgian Pale Ale Style Guide

Belgian Pale Ale Essential Info

  • Color: Pale yellow to amber
  • ABV: 6.5%-7.5%
  • Commercial Examples: Leffe Blonde, Affligem Blond, Russian River Brewing Co. Redemption

If Belgian beer has lots of history, Belgian Pale Ales have slightly less of it. Belgian Pale Ales are a more recent development in the Belgian beer world designed to compete with the popularity of European Pilsners. (But competition in the beer world is good for us, because it means more to choose from!) The blond style is moderately high in alcohol, with some sweetness from the Belgian Pils malts balanced out by the impression of spiciness and some lemony citrus. Hops will announce themselves with some light grassiness, earth, and spiciness as well, and high carbonation seals the deal for a fairly dry finish. Not as intense, as you might guess, as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

Belgian Strong Pale Ale Essential Info

  • Color: Pale yellow to deep gold
  • ABV: 4%-5.5%
  • Commercial Examples: Duvel, Delirium Tremens, Goose Island Matilda

The beer is like a Belgian Pale Ale turned up, and why not? Like the Belgian Pale, the Belgian Strong Pale was developed (in this case by Moortgat Brewery) as a means to compete with the rising popularity of the European Pilsner style. The result, which Moortgat called Duvel, actually also resembles a Tripel a bit, except with more noticeable hop flavor and less apparent sweetness. Whatever it’s related to, the name “Duvel” (aka Devil) seems spot-on, since Belgian Strong tends to pack an unexpected punch in a very alluring package. Like Pale Ales and Tripels, they’re at the lighter end of the color spectrum, with refreshing flavors of fruit and spice dancing around on a lighter, well carbonated body with a nice backbone of hops. So yeah, sip more slowly than you think you want to…