Brewing in the English and German traditions is easy (relatively). You can reverse engineer the beers in these traditions because their styles are concrete and well known. You know the basic ingredients in an IPA and the parameters of the style are written and universally accepted. The same is true for the American tradition. Then there is the Belgian tradition where styles are more like guiding principles. That is the joy of Belgian beer.
There is a defined BJCP style category of Belgian dark strong ale. However, if you go to any publication and you try to find a definition of a Belgian dark strong ale you will basically get some version of “this is a dubbel with more alcohol.”
The Blowing Rock Belgian Dark Ale is an amber colored Belgian strong dark. It is brewed with Belgian candi (beet sugar syrup) and it is a very dangerous beer. It pours a nice amber color and gives off a pleasant caramel, cinnamon/all spice, bready, and raisin aroma. There is a lot of stuff going on in this beer.
For a dark beer that sits at 9.5% ABV, it is really light on your tongue. You get little to no hop flavor, but a lot of caramel and dark fruit taste with a little all spice on the backend. I call it a dangerous beer because not only does it have a light taste it hides the taste of the alcohol well. As you sip it, you forget it’s 9.5% ABV until you are three pints in and then you remember as you sway on your bar stool. This is a really well made beer made for sipping and relaxing.
Now, this is a beer that is made with a dark beet sugar and as you drink it you will think of caramel and brown sugar. Brown Sugar. That is a great song. So, for the accompanying Spotify playlist, I started with Brown Sugar by D’Angelo and then kept going down the rabbit hole into 70’s funk and R&B. Enjoy: