The strongest Belgian beers are the suds which have a high percentage of alcohol with a rich aroma and excellent flavors. From the smoothest suds to the strongest beers, the Belgian craft beer industry has it all and it continues to churn quality beer to this day.
If you’re looking for the finest Belgian brews in the country, then this guide will help you select the finest ales Belgium has to offer. We will discuss the aroma, taste and feel of nine of the strongest beers you’ll come across in the Western European nation.
The Strongest Belgian Beers
These are the top Belgian brews that are sure to excite your palates and send you on a boozy ride at the same time. The general precaution, however, is to consume these beverages in moderation and with a high degree of caution so you don’t end up ruining your beer-drinking experience.
– Grand Cru
Grand Cru is a dark Belgian strong ale that boasts a 10 percent ABV. Crafted by AleSmith Brewing Company in California, the ale features flavors of toast and caramel with hints of raisins and figs. It has a fruity aroma mixed with herbs, plums, apples, pears, molasses and hints of chocolate. You can also feel the acidic taste of the Belgian yeast strain mixed with dark dried fruits that wrap around the tongue.
This Belgian blonde ale pours a dark brown color and showcases a thick off-white head with low carbonation. It has a nice mouthfeel feel with a warm finish and a little bit of bitterness. It is great for a warm evening but has a boozy bite so you need to exercise caution. Overall, it is an awesome sweet ale and one of the best Belgian beers.
– Gouden Carolus Classic
This is a classic Belgian Dark Strong ale from Het Anker Brewery that has the aromas of caramel, toffee, aromatic malts, dried dark fruits like plum and cherry and currant with notes of coriander. There is the upfront taste of caramel mixed with toasted malts and toffee which is then followed by the taste of dark fruits. The beer finishes with light bitterness which comes from the coriander and clove. The Belgian dark beer’s 8.5 percent ABV is an indication of its boozy nature, which discourages excessive consumption.
The ale pours a dark mahogany color with a few bubbles rising to the top to form a thick tan head that lingers. It has medium carbonation which gives it a nice body, moderate lacing and a smooth dry finish. It is one of the best dark Belgian beers and is best sipped slowly while reminiscing over some memorable events. This beer is very difficult to come across in the US but is very popular among the beer-drinking public in Belgium.
– Saison Dupont
Brewed by Brasserie Dupont sprl in Belgium, this Saison has been around for over 2 centuries which is a testament to its high quality. The beer pours a golden amber color which features a fluffy head with good retention and beautiful lacing. This golden ale smells of yeasts and malts with hints of lemon and fruity aromas. The taste follows the nose as there is some yeastiness in the mix along with lemon and floral fruity flavors and some spicy coriander.
The strong pale ale’s ABV is 6.5 percent, which is slightly above average, and medium carbonation with a bitter and dry aftertaste. It has an overall creamy feel and some tartness that lingers. It is a well-balanced pale ale that exhibits bursts of fruitiness while maintaining moderate levels of bitterness. It is a great drink for the summer and goes down well with some spicy chicken or pizza.
– Tripel Karmeliet
This Belgian Beer features a relatively high ABV of 8.5 percent and is crafted by Brouwerij Bosteels. It is a timeless golden ale that showcases a light amber color with a thick crown that leaves nice lacing with every sip. The flavors feature a wide array of aromas including apricot, marmalade, orange, and some yeast in there. The taste features a blend of fruits like orange and apricot with sweet toffee, malts and some bananas.
The golden ale has a light mouthfeel and a sweet taste (though not too sweet) with a dry finish. It is a one-of-a-kind tripel that is sure to excite your palates and warm your heart. Looking for a true Belgium tripel? Then this tripel is your best chance as tasting a true Belgian tripel.
– Abt 12
Brouwerij St Bernardus Abt 12 is a quadrupel style beer with a 10 percent ABV and no IBU. It is seen as the best sud to come out of Belgium and one of the best across the world. The strong Belgian beer has a sweet fruity aroma with hints of raisins and Belgian hops. The taste follows the nose as there is caramel and notes of sugar and fruit.
The strong dark ale features a foamy head that can linger until the last sip with beautiful off-white lacing. It is medium carbonated with a silky smooth mouthfeel and short-lived tart fruit aftertaste. It has not chewy or sticky and is perfect for that special occasion or event you’re planning.
– La Chouffe
Brewed in the tradition of the Belgian Pale Strong Ale, this golden blonde beer features sweet fruity aromas with banana, pear and bubblegum. It has the sweet taste of banana with fruity tones, spiced pear and hints of Great Belgian yeasts. The classic Belgian blond ale showcases great effervescence resulting in golden bubbles that form a lasting frothy off-white head. The sweet-tasting drink has an ABV of 8 percent, though the taste of alcohol is barely noticeable.
The golden ale has high carbonation with an awesome mouthfeel and a semi-dry finish, giving it a refreshing taste. However, look out for some light bitterness at the tail end. It is a great drink for a special occasion and makes good company with oily foods.
– Trappist Tripel
Also known as the Westmalle Tripel, Trappist Tripel is a tripel-style beer crafted by Brouwerij Westmalle in Belgium. It registers a high ABV of 9.5 percent, which gives it a boozy feel and taste. The drink has a rich golden color with a creamy white head and excellent effervescence.
Trappist Tripel has a strong hoppy scent, which is typical of a tripel, as well as fruity and candy flavors mixed with notes of citrus and banana. The taste is spicy, indicating the presence of cloves and yeast, then there are highlights of dried fruits and bursts of orange.
Trappist Tripel is medium-carbonated with an excellent mouthfeel and dry crispy finish. Many beer review sites have branded the popular beer the best of Trappist beers, and we agree. Trappist Tripel is one of a kind.
– De Ranke XX Bitter
If you’re looking for some extra extra tartness that comes with a rich creamy taste, then this beer is for you. With an above-average ABV of 6 percent, the Belgian IPA has a lively carbonation with rich bubbles that form a moderate crown. The beer has excellent head retention which leaves rings of foam inside the glass. It is grainy on the nose with an infusion of peaches, earthy and honey flavors.
Once the beer is sipped, there is an aggressive tartness that can be felt instantly followed by mild hops and a bready/malt finish. The IPA has a full mouthfeel and is a little bit chewy with some slight dryness, which is very refreshing.
– Stella Artois
Stella Artois is a light lager that has a strong bitter taste intertwined with resinous hops and breadiness. It features an astringent smell and crackery malt with bittering hops. This lager boasts an ABV of 5 percent with high carbonation, a decent body and a nice mouthfeel. It pours a pale golden hue with a thick crown that lasts while there is still beer in the glass.
This lager passes as a decent table beer that easily fills but it is chuggable nonetheless. It has a medium finish and a full body with a malty character. No beer on this list divides opinions more than Stella, some beer connoisseurs love it while others loathe it for its taste. We think that it is somewhere in the middle between expensive and cheap lagers.
We’ve looked at nine of the strongest Belgian ales that have alluring colors, mouthwatering flavors, rich taste, and of course, an alcoholic kick. This is a summary of all the information that this guide has covered:
- The Dupont is a testament to Belgium’s excellent beer scene with a 200-year history of exciting palates and warming hearts across Europe and beyond.
- The Cru is one of the few strong Belgian beers sold in the US and it features a fruity aroma infused with herbs and pears and has the taste of dark dried fruits.
- The Artois, however, divides opinions as many feel that it has a very good taste while others think that it is overhyped with a skunky flavor and bland taste.
- Belgium has a rich beer crafting industry that goes way back and is home to all kinds of beer styles.
- The best Belgian strong ales have excellent rankings due to enchanting appeal, great flavor and superb taste and are suitable for special occasions.
On the whole, strong Belgian beers are perfect for warm evenings and perfectly compliments smoked foods, oil-based foods and barbecues. You can check your local bar to see if they have any of these beers available or search online for the nearest bar that serves any of these delicious ales.