Defined: Belgian Dark Strong Ale

July 22, 2010

Aroma: Complex, with a rich malty sweetness, significant esters and alcohol, and an optional light to moderate spiciness.  The malt is rich and strong, and can have a Munich-type quality often with a caramel, toast and/or bready aroma.  The fruity esters are strong to moderately low, and can contain raisin, plum, dried cherry, fig or prune notes.  Spicy phenols may be present, but usually have a peppery quality not clove-like.  Alcohols are soft, spicy, perfumy and/or rose-like, and are low to moderate in intensity.  Hops are not usually present (but a very low noble hop aroma is acceptable).  No diacetyl.  No dark/roast malt aroma.  No hot alcohols or solventy aromas.  No recognizable spice additions.

Appearance: Deep amber to deep coppery-brown in color (“dark” in this context implies “more deeply colored than golden”).  Huge, dense, moussy, persistent cream- to light tan-colored head.  Can be clear to somewhat hazy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Defined: Belgian Golden Strong Ale

July 21, 2010

Aroma: Complex with significant fruity esters, moderate spiciness and low to moderate alcohol and hop aromas.  Esters are reminiscent of lighter fruits such as pears, oranges or apples.  Moderate spicy, peppery phenols.  A low to moderate yet distinctive perfumy, floral hop character is often present.  Alcohols are soft, spicy, perfumy and low-to-moderate in intensity.  No hot alcohol or solventy aromas.  The malt character is light.  No diacetyl.

Appearance: Yellow to medium gold in color.  Good clarity.  Effervescent.  Massive, long-lasting, rocky, often beady, white head resulting in characteristic “Belgian lace” on the glass as it fades.

Flavor: Marriage of fruity, spicy and alcohol flavors supported by a soft malt character.  Esters are reminiscent of pears, oranges or apples.   Read the rest of this entry »


Defined: Imperial IPA

June 22, 2010

Aroma: A prominent to intense hop aroma that can be derived from American, English and/or noble varieties (although a citrusy hop character is almost always present).  Most versions are dry hopped and can have an additional resinous or grassy aroma, although this is not absolutely required.  Some clean malty sweetness may be found in the background.  Fruitiness, either from esters or hops, may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is typical.  Some alcohol can usually be noted, but it should not have a “hot” character.

Appearance: Color ranges from golden amber to medium reddish copper; some versions can have an orange-ish tint.  Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy.  Good head stand with off-white color should persist. Read the rest of this entry »


Defined: American IPA

June 18, 2010

Aroma: A prominent to intense hop aroma with a citrusy, floral, perfume-like, resinous, piney, and/or fruity character derived from American hops.  Many versions are dry hopped and can have an additional grassy aroma, although this is not required.  Some clean malty sweetness may be found in the background, but should be at a lower level than in English examples.  Fruitiness, either from esters or hops, may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is also acceptable.  Some alcohol may be noted.

Appearance: Color ranges from medium gold to medium reddish copper; some versions can have an orange-ish tint.  Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy.  Good head stand with white to off-white color should persist.

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to high, and should reflect an American hop character with citrusy, floral, resinous, piney or fruity aspects.   Read the rest of this entry »