Belgian Strong Ales: The Perfect Mix of Flavors
Belgians take their beer-making seriously. Unlike in other countries where these frothy liquors are just considered as extras taken while watching a good game or while eating dinner, Belgians consider their beers as the main event. One very popular type of Belgian beer is the strong ale. Strong ales are described as liquors with unique tastes and flavors. Believed to have been developed by the Moortgart brewery after the Second World War as the answer to the increasing popularity of the Pilsner beers, most of them are now created using a combination of traditional brewing and modern technology.
Despite some changes in its brewing process, however, Belgian strong ales were able to retain their one of a kind taste, making them still a favorite among those who has an appetite for beers. Its aroma is made up of fruity esters, moderate spiciness, and alcohol and hop aromas that range from low to moderate. Most brands also have some peppery and floral hop underlying tones.
For the appearance, strong ales have medium gold color with a good effervescent quality. They are also best known for their rocky and large frothy heads that are long-enduring and usually beady in texture. Just like common Belgian beers, strong ales also leave Belgian laces which are thin wispy froths left on the glass where the level of the beer used to be.
In terms of flavors, Belgian strong ales are the melting pot of spicy and fruity tastes with a soft malty taste as its base. It contains hits of oranges, apples, and pears plus phenols that are peppery in quality. Most brands also have low to moderate spicy hop hints. For the alcohol component, it has tones of spicy, soft, and often mild taste. The bitterness and the mild carbonation which Belgian strong ales are widely popular of give a slightly bitter aftertaste and a dry finish.
One example of strong ale is the Duvel Strong Pale ale. It has a beautiful clear golden color and head which forms best when the liquor is poured in an over-sized wine glass and other glassware with wide mouths like tulips and snifters. Its aroma has lots of yeast with underlying scents of apples and lemons. Its taste is more like the aroma but with a slight peppery and herbal taste. This beer is best consumed with meat and fish like salmon.
Chimay Grande Reserve, on the other hand, is an example of a Belgian Strong Dark ale. A 1986 vintage, this beer is truly a favorite among many beer lovers. The bottle gives off a soft hiss when opened and the liquor has a nice light brown color with a good amount of lacing. Its aroma can be likened to that of bread and yeast which is a little musty in scent. It has a nice combination of flavors which is not too strong and not too light either. It has hints of dust and dark malt which complements its vintage quality. This beer is best paired with cuisines with heavy flavors like grilled meat, barbecue, and beef.