Beer Maverick

Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale

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Location: Belgian and French
Category: Ale
BJCP Comparable Category: 26D - Belgian Dark Strong Ale

Style Description

This is the description of how the Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale beer style.

These beers are often (though not always) brewed with dark Belgian candy sugar. Herbs and spices are sometimes used to delicately flavor these strong ales. These beers are typically well attenuated with a deceptive alcoholic strength.

  • Color: Medium amber to very dark
  • Body: Medium to full
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Medium to high malt aroma and complex fruity aromas are distinctive. Medium to high malt intensity can be rich, creamy and sweet. Fruity complexity along with soft roasted malt flavor adds distinct character.
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Low to medium
  • IBUs/Bitterness: Low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Yeast-derived phenolic spicy flavors and aromas are present at low to medium-low levels. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels.
  • Common Ingredients: Belgian yeast strains prone to production of higher alcohols, esters, and sometimes phenolics are commonly used. Impression of a complex grain bill, although many traditional versions are quite simple, with caramelized sugar syrup or unrefined sugars and yeast providing much of the complexity. Saazer-type, English-type or Styrian Goldings hops commonly used. Spices generally not used; if used, keep subtle and in the background.
  • Commercial Examples: Achel Extra Brune, Boulevard The Sixth Glass, Chimay Grande Réserve, Gouden Carolus Grand Cru of the Emperor, Rochefort 8, Rochefort 10, St. Bernardus Abt 12, Westvleteren 12

Brewing Properties of Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale

These are the functional brewing properties of Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale beers, as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, the historical significance, authenticity or a common profile in the current commercial beer market.

The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
7.1 - 11.2%
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
20 - 50 IBUs
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »
9 - 35 SRM
(18 - 69 EBC)
Original Gravity
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
1.064 - 1.096
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.012 - 1.024

If you see an error in our data, please let us know!

Based on Brewers Association 2020 Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.