Belgian Pale Strong Ale

Belgian pale strong ales are pale to golden in color with relatively light body for a beer of its alcoholic strength. Often brewed with light colored Belgian "candy" sugar, these beers are well-attenuated. The perception of hop bitterness is low to medium, with hop flavor and aroma also in this range. These beers are highly attenuated and have a perceptively deceiving high alcoholic character being light to medium bodied rather than full bodied. The intensity of malt character should be low to medium, often surviving along with a complex fruitiness. Very little or no diacetyl is perceived. Herbs and spices are sometimes used to delicately flavor these strong ales. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. The following recipe is a clone of Belgium's most popular strong ale - Duvel.


  • 8 ounces German light crystal malt

  • 4 ounces Belgian aromatic malt

  • 6-1/2 pounds extra-light DME

  • 1 pound Belgian clear candi sugar

  • 2-1/3 pounds corn sugar

  • 3 ounces Styrian Goldings hops

  • 1/2 ounce Saaz hops

  • 1 ounce pear flavoring

  • 1 teaspoon Irish moss

  • Yeast recultured from bottle of Duvel or Belgian strong ale yeast

  • 3/4 cup corn sugar


  1. Place the crushed specialty grains in a nylon hop bag and steep them in 1 gallon of preheated 150 water for 30 minutes.

  2. Drain and discard the spent grains.

  3. Bring at least 3 gallons of liquor to a boil, remove the brew kettle from the heat source then stir in the extract, the candi sugar, 1-1/3 pounds of the corn sugar and 2 ounces of the Styrian Goldings hops.

  4. Return the brew kettle to the heat source and boil for 45 minutes, then add 1/2 ounces of the Styrian Goldings hops, the Saaz hops and the Irish moss.

  5. Boil for an additional 12 minutes, then add the rest of the Styrian Goldings hops.

  6. Boil for the final 3 minutes, then remove the brew kettle from the heat source, cover it and drop the temperature of the wort as quickly as possible to 77 F.

  7. Once the wort has cooled to below 77 F, take an original gravity reading, pour the wort into a primary fermenter through a funnel with a strainer and add enough cool water to create 5 gallons.

  8. Once the wort has been transferred to the primary fermenter, pitch the yeast, stir the wort vigorously, seal the fermenter with an airlock and ferment at 70-73 F for a week.

  9. Rack the beer to a secondary fermenter, add 1 pound of corn sugar boiled in 1 pint of water and the pear flavoring and allow the beer to finish fermentation.

  10. Once fermentation is complete, rack the beer to a bottling bucket, prime with the corn sugar and bottle and condition for at least 5 weeks before drinking.

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