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Belgian Dark Strong Ale Reviews

These Belgians are always rich, detailed and strong, but the style is open for interpretation. Trappist versions are generally drier than sweeter, fuller Abbey styles, but similar ingredients and bottle-conditioning set forth some general parameters: Aromas are rife with malty sweetness and floral alcohol with some dried fruit notes, flavors are similar with low bitterness, and colors appear deep amber to copper-brown. All versions are heavily carbonated and smooth with obvious alcohol warmth (ABVs span 8 to 11 percent).

Pair: Belgian dark strong ales’ malt sweetness and alcohol notes cut through sharp cheddar, subduing the cheese’s tang. Similarly, those same notes temper the bitterness of a grilled steak’s char, while the dark fruit notes complement the red meat.

Glassware: snifter