21B. Specialty IPA: Belgian IPA

Overall Impression

A dry, hoppy IPA with fruitiness and spiciness of Belgian yeast. Often lighter in color and more attenuated, similar to a Belgian Tripel that has been brewed with more hops.


Light golden to amber in color. Moderate to large off-white head with good retention. Good to quite hazy clarity.


Moderate to high hop aroma, often reflecting the character of American or New World hops (tropical, melon, stone fruit, citrus, piney, etc.) or Continental hops (spicy, herbal, floral, etc.), possibly with a light dry-hop note. Gentle malt sweetness, sometimes with a sugary or honey character, but rarely caramel. Moderate to high esters, often pears, apples, citrus, or banana. Light spice, clove or pepper, optional. Light alcohol aroma optional.


Moderate fruity and spicy flavors, same descriptors as aroma. Moderate to high hop flavor, same descriptors as aroma. Light, relatively neutral grainy malt flavor, optionally with low toast, caramel, or honey. Moderate to high bitterness. Dry to medium-dry finish that often accentuates the perception of bitterness. Aftertaste has a lingering bitterness but is not harsh.


Light to medium body. Medium to high carbonation level, which can lighten the impression of body. Light warmth optional.


The choice of yeast strain and hop varieties is critical since many choices will clash horribly.


A relatively modern style, dating from the mid-2000s. Homebrewers and craft breweries substituted Belgian yeast in their American IPA recipes. Belgian breweries typically added more hops to their stronger pale beers.

Characteristic Ingredients

Belgian yeast strains used in making Belgian Tripels and Golden Strong Ales. American examples tend to use American or New World hops while Belgian versions tend to use European hops and only pale malt. Sugar adjuncts common.

Style Comparison

A cross between an American IPA or Double IPA with a Belgian Golden Strong Ale or Belgian Tripel. This style is may be spicier, stronger, drier, and fruitier than an American IPA.

Vital Statistics


50 - 100


5 - 8


1.058 - 1.080


1.008 - 1.016


6.2% - 9.5%

Commercial Examples

Brewery Vivant Triomphe, Houblon Chouffe, Green Flash Le Freak, Urthel Hop It.