I brewed this Belgian Golden Strong Ale* about two months ago and it was my first attempt at the style.
I’d tried a few amazing Belgian quads over the past few months and was inspired to attempt my own. When I looked up the BJCP style guidelinesI realized that there is no set style for “Quads” but instead for “Golden Strong” ales. Honestly, I was a bit embarrassed to find out that they’re just two names for the same beer, but it makes sense.
Again, I’ve only been brewing for two years now, so it’s pretty natural for most of my brews to steadily improve just as my brewing techniques improve. This was no different. While I’ve certainly made some pretty terrible beers (infected, over-carbed, etc.), the past two have been very encouraging. It’s tough when you have a bad batch too. It always makes me question and re-analyze every single step throughout the entire brewing process and reiterate why every step along the way is important/necessary or not. It makes me question if I’m even capable of brewing good beer to begin with and why I’m even trying my hand at something so time-consuming. But then I get a beer like this that is pretty stinking delicious, and it makes all those worries disappear. Not to say that this beer (or any I’ve made) is perfect, but it’s definitely a good example of the style, it’s drinkable, and it was what I set out to create. What more could I ask for?
Let’s get into the details on how this tastes…
Aroma – A mix of apple cider and dark fruity esters. I get a bit of the warmth from the alcohol, with slight maltiness (ever so slight).
Appearance -Gold. Pure gold. Picturesque upon immediate pouring, with a crisp, thin head which dissipates quickly–obviously under-carbonated (maybe the 3711 yeast will continue to work on that for me…). Alcohol lacing around the edges is pretty significant and stick around for awhile.
Flavor -Honestly, tastes and feels very cider-y. Much more flavor and malt profile, but very sweet–surprisingly so with a +8% beer that finished at 1.008. Even though I used Wyeast’s French Saison yeast, glad to see that the spiciness of the saisons did not come through on this. Very clear and direct flavor profile–maybe too much so. Not overly complex.
Mouthfeel -Smooth as silk. Easy to drink (and drink a lot of) and while it was a bit under-carbonated, it did make it exceptionally drinkable. Slight warmth and burning from the high alcohol content. Need to look in to how to avoid that factor in high-ABV beers.
Overall - I love this beer. Glad to see that it turned out just about where I wanted it too. Not as carbed or as high-ABV as I wanted, but hey, for the first attempt I think it’s pretty solid. Will definitely enjoy these 12 bottles for a few weeks.
*I still cringe a bit when writing “Belgian Golden Strong Ale” as opposed to “Belgian-Style…” however, BJCP 18.D isn’t called “Belgian-Style Strong Ale”, so henceforth I shall try to shy away from always including the word “style” when speaking of the Belgians. Cheers.