Belgian Dark Ale Essential Info

  • Color: Dark amber to brown
  • ABV: 4%-7%
  • Commercial Examples: Leffe Brune, Ithaca Beer Company Cold Front

A bit of a catch-all term for Belgian darker beers that fall somewhere in the range between the Dubbel and Belgian Strong Dark Ale style, with a relatively strong alcohol and malt presence balanced out by yeast and spice, depending on the style. A good choice for a friendly, complex foray into the world of Belgian beer, especially if your tastes veer towards moderately malty but with alcohol as high as a BSDA.

Belgian Strong Dark Ale Essential Info

  • Color: Dark amber to copper brown
  • ABV: 8%-11%
  • Commercial Examples: Chimay Grand Reserve Blue, Trappist Rochefort 8, Unibroue Trois Pistoles

Like Belgian Dark Ale, but with stronger impact in both flavor and alcohol. There’s some overlap with the Quadrupel style (the Quad style is said to be a bit more consistently fruity and higher alcohol), but really it’s brewer’s choice. The BSDA style can span the gamut from malty and fruity to drier, hoppier, and spicier, or somewhere in between—the final flavor profile of the beer is at the discretion of the brewery. You might get some dark fruit, rich strong malt, and peppery spice, and depending on the style and brewery, you’ll get a drier or sweeter finish. Another power-packer in terms of alcohol and just straight-up complexity, not out of place next to a fireplace.