Belgian Pale Ale

An Every-day Belgian

Unlike some of its big bold cousins like Tripel and even Saison, Belgian Pale Ale is one of the lighter and perhaps more approachable Belgian styles of beers. Much like an English style pale ale, Belgian pale ale is a somewhat light to medium copper colored balanced ale. While malt is prominent it is not overly malty and certainly not overly hoppy - especially in comparison to an American pale ale.

Belgian pale ales strive for a balance of the pilsner malt with traditional European hops and allow the unique qualities of the Belgian yeast strains to shine through.

As this is a style of moderation, the clove, bananna, ester, bubble gum, and other such flavors that typify Belgian styles are present but somewhat subdued.

The Beer

Pilsner malt is the star of this show, with some support from Munich or Vienna malts or their 'cara' forms of Caravienna or Caramunich. While the use of sugar is not necessary, a tiny bit could help if you choose to go for a very dry beer - surely not as much as in other Belgian styles by any means.

Hops are European (E.K. Goldings, Challenger, etc.) and some Saaz is especailly nice to finish.

If you do want more of the 'Belgian' character in your beer, this can be achieved by good yeast management practices and fermenting at warmer temperatures. Best results are obtained with these yeasts by starting your fermentation low (mid 60's or so) and letting it slowly ramp up in temperature. Allowing warm temperatures and then a sudden drop for whatever reason will retard yeast metabolism and could result in a less-than-attenuated beer. Letting the temps ramp up slowly will encourage the yeast to continue their job to completion.

OG: 1.048 - 1.054 FG: 1.010 - 1.014 IBU: 20 - 30 ABV: 4.8% - 5.5%

All Grain Recipe - Belgian Pale Ale::: 1.056/1.013 (6.75 Gal)

Grain Bill

11 lbs. - Pilsner Malt (Belgian or whatever)
1 lb. - 2 Row Malt
1 lb. - Victory malt
1 lb. - CaraMunich Malt
1/2 lb - Light sugar or Honey (end of boil)

Hop Schedule (26 IBU)

3/4oz - E.K. Goldings (60 Min.)
1oz - E.K. Goldings (20 Min.)
1/2 oz - Saaz (15 Min.)
1 oz - Saaz (5 Min.)


White Labs Belgian Ale (WLP550) or Abbey Ale (WLP530)- 1800 ml starter


Mash at 152° for 30 min.
Sparge as usual
Boil for 60 min. Cool and ferment at about 68 degrees (see above for temperature tidbit).

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