This Top Ten Belgian and French Ales list is from America's Best and from
the results of the 2010 U.S. Open Beer Championship.
1. Devil May Care – South Street Brewery
2. Orval Trappist Ale- Brasserie d'Orval
3. Troubadour Blond Ale- Brouwerij De Musketiers
4. Raftman - Unibroue - Canada
5. Southampton Biere De Mars - Southhampton Publik House - New York
6. Allagash Speciale Reserve - Allagash Brewing - Maine
7. Schlafly Bière De Garde - Saint Louis Brewery - Missouri
8. Ovni Ale - Flat Earth Brewing - Minnesota
9. Oro De Calabaza - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales - Michigan
10. Devotion Ale - The Lost Abbey - California
Belgian and French Ale
Subcategory: Belgian Pale Ale
Belgian pale ales are characterized by low, but noticeable, hop
bitterness, flavor, and aroma Light to medium body and low malt aroma are
typical. They are light gold to deep amber in color. Noble-type hops are
commonly used. Low to medium fruity esters are evident in aroma and flavor.
Low levels of phenolic spiciness from yeast byproducts may be perceived. Low
caramel or toasted malt flavor is okay. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
Alcohol by Weight: 3.2-5.0%
Color SRM: 4-12
Subcategory: French Bière
Beers in this category are golden to deep copper or light brown in
color. They are light to medium in body. This style of beer is characterized
by a toasted malt aroma, slight malt sweetness in flavor, and medium hop
bitterness. Noble-type hop aromas and flavors should be low to medium.
Fruity esters can be light to medium in intensity. Flavor of alcohol is
evident. Earthy, cellar like, musty aromas are okay. Diacetyl should not be
perceived but chill haze is okay. Often bottle conditioned with some yeast
character. Brewer may indicate on the bottle whether the yeast should be
intentionally roused or if they prefer that the entry be poured as quietly
Alcohol by Weight: 3.5-6.3%
Color SRM: 8-12
Subcategory: Belgian Table Beer
These ales and lagers are very low in alcohol and traditionally enjoyed with
meals by both adults and children. Pale to very dark brown in color.
Additions of caramel coloring are sometimes employed to adjust color. They
are light bodied with relatively low carbonation with limited aftertaste.
The mouth feel is light to moderate, though higher than one might
anticipate, usually because of unfermented sugars/malt sugars. Malted
barley, wheat and rye may be used as well as unmalted wheat, rye, oats and
corn. A mild malt character could be evident. Aroma/flavor hops are most
commonly used to employ a flavor balance that is only low in bitterness.
Traditional versions do not use artificial sweeteners nor are they
excessively sweet. More modern versions of this beer incorporate sweeteners
such as sugar and saccharine added post fermentation to sweeten the palate
and add to a perception of smoothness. Spices (such as orange and lemon
peel, as well as coriander) may be added in barely perceptible amounts, but
this is not common. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
Alcohol by Weight: 0.4-2.8%
Color SRM: 5-50