Belgian Golden Strong Ale

ABV: 11.1%    IBU: 23 SRM: 6

  • A golden colored high strength golden-style craft beer. 
  • Created as a counter to pilsner lagers with the wilder Belgian yeast. 
  • An ale designed to mask its high alcohol content with carbonation and
  • with a combination of Caramel-Pilsner malt and fruity hops. 
  • The high ABV% provides a warmth but can sneak up on you a bit so beware. 
  • This is why Fairmount’s most similar commercial example is called Duvel – The Devil. 

Recipe Goals:  Create a strong golden colored ale, that would mix fruity hop notes and Pilsner malt to provide a beer that will attract high ABV craft beer drinkers and yet still appeal to drinkers of standard commercial lagers. A large beer that would be suitable all year long and pair well with a variety of environments and foods.

Background:   A golden pale, complex, effervescent, strong Belgian-style ale that is highly attenuated and features fruity, boozy and hoppy notes. References to the devil are in the names of many commercial examples of this style, referring to its potent alcoholic strength. The original example is called Duvel. High carbonation helps to bring out the many flavors and to increase the perception of a dry finish. Resembles a Tripel, but paler, lighter bodied, crisper and drier — the drier finish and lighter body also serves to make the assertive hopping and yeast character more prominent. Yeast favors ester development over spice. This beer’s high ABV is reflected in its name – Fairmount. Fairmount Hill is Red Lion’s most prominent geologic feature and the place we went to middle school.

Tasting Notes:   It has a light complex aroma with significant fruity esters, moderate spiciness, low to alcohol and hop aromas. Esters are reminiscent of lighter fruits such as pears, oranges or apples. Moderate low spicy, peppery phenols. The malt character is light and slightly grainy-sweet. Medium gold in color. Slightly hazy. Effervescent. Massive, long-lasting, rocky, white head resulting in characteristic Belgian lace on the glass. Marriage of fruity, spicy and alcohol flavors supports soft malt character. Bitterness medium from a combination of hop and yeast-produced phenolics. Substantial carbonation and bitterness lead to a dry finish with a low bitter aftertaste. Medium body but lighter than the substantial gravity would suggest. Smooth noticeable alcohol warmth.

History: Originally developed to celebrate the end of WWI and to counter the popularity of Pilsner beers from Scotland. Brewers in Belgium used English brewing techniques and ingredients tried to make similar beer. The strong light-colored ale was due to research in to how to create a yeast that would make high ABV beers and improved kilning techniques that allowed for the creation of very pale malts.

Ingredients: Belgian Pilsner 2-Row malt, Caramel-Pilsner/Dextrine Malt, Caramel Crystal Malt (10L), Carapils, Maris Otter malt, Amarillo and Centennial hops, White Labs Belgian Golden Strong Yeast.

Food Pair:  Belgian Golden Strong Ales pair well with spicy food and make a good thirst quencher. Anything with basil, ham, shrimp, shellfish, brussels sprouts, asparagus, deserts with oranges, apricot, peaches. 

Vital Statistics:      BJCP Strong Belgian Ale (25C) With Belgian Blonde and Belgian Saison Ales.

For Style          ABV: 7.5 – 10.5%     IBU: 22 – 35          SRM: 3 – 6

Fairmount          ABV: 11.1%            IBU: 23            SRM: 6

ABV is Alcohol by Volume. Listed as a percentage volume. Average commercial beer ABV = 4.2%

IBU is International Bitterness Units. Measures bittering chemicals ranges from 0-120, but most beers are from 15-80.

SRM is Standard Reference Method. Measure of color. Scale of 0-40. From yellow, to amber/gold, to brown, to black.

Commercial Examples:    Duvel, New Belgium Abbey, Brigand, Delirium Tremens, Dulle, Teve, Judas, Lucifer, Piraat, Russian River Damnation, Matilda Goose Island

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