Tasting Notes: Belgian Golden Strong (Beer #47)

March 3, 2013

A couple months ago I brewed a batch of Belgian Golden Strong Ale. It’s still early to be drinking a beer like this (it needs more age), but I need to get it bottled up for the upcoming competitions, so here are some tasting notes:

Vital Stats:
Target OG: 1.072 Actual OG: 1.074
Target FG: 1.002 Actual FG: 1.005
ABV: 9.1%
Color: 3.3 SRMĀ (Calculated)
Bitterness: 30.5 IBU (Calculated)
Yeast: White Laps WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale
Fermentation Temperature:Pitched at 64°F, ramped up 1°F every 12 hours for five days to 74°F

Aroma
Bright lemon and white pepper over top of ripe pear and a touch of tangerine. Some banana. Pronounced floral hop aroma, which combined with the alcohol smells rose-like. Cracker-like malt becomes more prominent as it warms and the head falls. Very light solvent notes.

Appearance
Yellow and hazy with a big, somewhat rocky white head that lasts for five minutes before falling to a ring around the glass.

Flavor
Pear and spice with a lemon-peppery zing. Touch of banana. Finishes dry, crisp, and clean. Crackery pilsner malt lingers into the finish, as does substantial hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel
High carbonation. Medium-light body. Smooth; no astringency. Very warm, approaching hot. Slightly solventy. Alcohol lingers into the finish.

Overall Impression
Crisp, clean, dry, and very drinkable beer with assertive floral, spicy, and fruit character. A touch of solvent in the aroma and flavor detract slightly. Overall very good.

This is a difficult beer to brew. The high percentage of sugar and high abv stress the yeast significantly. Assuring that fermentation doesn’t stick and keeping off-flavors away is tough with this one. While this example isn’t perfect, I’m very happy with how it turned out. If I brew it again I will use a better pilsner malt. The Northern Brewer-sourced “German Pilsner” malt I used here is brings too much cracker aroma and flavor. I’ll also add a bit of Carafoam in an attempt to add some head stability. I’m not sure what to do to eliminate the slight solvent character. I need to stress the yeast even less, but how? Maybe it will age out. After all, this batch is only two months old. When was the last time you had a two-month-old Duvel in the States?

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