JBU > Intermediate

Beer Styles 201: What is a Strong Ale?

Strong Ales: where they come from, their appearance, flavour & aroma, palate & mouthfeel, food pairings and serving suggestions are all explained in this Beer Styles 201 article.

Beer Styles 201: What is a Strong Ale?

What are Strong Ales?

Strong Ales are known for their high alcohol content, usually 8% – 15%, and come in a variety of colours from different places around the world.

If bottle conditioned, Strong ales can improve for several years. Some Strong Ales have very close similarities to Barleywines and Old Ales.

 

Strong Ale Essential Information:

 

Style Region:

England, North America, Belgium

Appearance:

Strong Ales range from gold to amber and copper to dark brown. They have variable clarity and head retention.

Flavour & Aroma:

Strong Ales tend to have a pronounced yeast character which can make them fruity or spicy. Strong beers are also exceptionally rich and flavorful with a bold malt character.

Palate & Mouthfeel:

These beers tend to have a low carbonation, and warming qualities from the high alcohol content. Their finish is long and complex.

What foods pair well with a Strong Ale?

The strong nature of these beers stand really well with lamb or strong cheeses. If you want dessert then a Strong Ale is perfect with crème brûlee or dark chocolate.

How to serve Strong Ales:

Strong Ales should be served at cellar temperature 50-55℉ (10-15℃) in a chalice, goblet, tulip or snifter glass.

Similar Beer Styles:

Winter Warmer, Old Ale, English Barleywine

 

Now that you’re a Strong Ale genius, read up on other beer styles:

Amber Ale / Dark Ale
Amber Lager / Dark Lager
Barleywine
Belgian IPA / White India Pale Ale
Berliner Weisse
Bock
Double IPA / Imperial IPA
Golden Ale / Blonde Ale
Golden Lager / Pale Lager
Gose
Gruit Beer
India Pale Ale (IPA)
Pilsner
Porter
Saison
Sour Ale / Wild Ale
Stout
Weizenbock
Wheat Beer

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