About Strong Ale

About Strong Ale
Strong ales are amber to dark brown in color and range in alcohol from 7-11.5%. These beers have a sweet malty palate and a notable degree of fruitiness. They may also feature medium-to-high hop bitterness tempering the overall sweet malt character. Beers in this category may commonly be referred to as old ales, stock ales or winter warmers, but this category may also expand beyond these styles. Strong ales are higher-alcohol versions of pale ales, but are not as robust or alcoholic as barley wines. These beers lend themselves to being cellared, and in some cases can develop complex sherry-like notes over time. Noteworthy examples of this style include: Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale, Rogue Double Dead Guy Ale and Samuel Smiths Yorkshire Stingo.

Top Picks for Strong Ale

Shmaltz Brewing Company Jewbelation 20th Anniversary Strong Ale
96 points
Brilliant dark brown color. Aromas and flavors of baking chocolate, roasted nuts and espresso beans, honeyed toasted flaxseed bread, and apple vinaigrette with a chewy, vibrant, finely carbonated, fruity sweet medium-full body and a warming, nuanced, very long finish evoking accents of chocolate covered citrus peels and nuts and chili pepper finish. A rich, warming dark winter ale with loads of sweet and peppery flavors that tingle the tongue.
Awards: 2017 Best Strong Ale
New Glarus Brewing Co. Spotted Cow Grand Cru
95 points
Brilliant minutely hazy old gold color. Inviting aromas and flavors of sauternes, glazed dried apricots, citrus and sultanas, pannetone, and delicate spiced vinaigrette with a satiny, bright, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, subtle, very long finish that exhibits nuances of spiced pear and cantaloupe, honeyed lettuces and nuts, and minerals finish. An elegant, diaphanous wit like strong ale with amazing precision and charm.
Cervecería Kross 5 Barrel-Aged Strong Ale
92 points
Brilliant dark copper color. Interesting aromas and flavors of chocolate coconut macaroon, cherry-pomegranate yogurt, roasted chestnuts and squash with exotic honeycomb, and sandalwood incense with a slightly chewy, bright, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a seamless, complex, long finish imparting shades of fruit cake, cherry cola, cedar pencil, and wood aged cachaça finish. An intriguing and exotic wood aged ale.
Samuel Adams Utopias 2015 Barrel-Aged Strong Ale
92 points
Bronze color. Dense aromas of rancio, caramelized dried fruits, and pepper with a full body and a hot, elegant, long maple syrup drizzled almonds, amontillado sherry, and chocolate figs finish. A rich, sophisticated, and nuanced strong ale to tell your friends about.
Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Winter Imperial Ale
89 points
Amber color. Citrusy aromas and flavors of clementine, nut brittle, pine bark, and frosted almond scone with a round, tangy, finely carbonated, fruity medium body and a smooth, medium-length finish with accents of peach marmalade on raisin toast finish. A gentle warming strong winter ale with easy citrusy fruit flavors.
Grossen Bart Brewery Cop-Stache Strong Ale
88 points
Dark dark copper color. Toasty aromas and flavors of toasted raisin bread, corn puff cereal, and caramelized citrus with a supple, vibrant, effervescent, off-dry medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long finish evoking notes of pine, pepper, and kumquats finish. A very hoppy, bitter ale to warm winter nights.
Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Tasmanian Devil Double Ale
87 points
Golden amber color. Aromas and flavors of rutabaga, honey roasted clementine, peach custard, and whole oats in a burlap sack with a satiny, bright, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, medium-length finish with accents of peppered greens finish. A tasty, easy drinking strong ale with nice flavor and balance.
Alltech’s Lexington Brewing Co. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
87 points
Brilliant amber color. Creamy aromas of peach and apple butters on toast, flan, and delicate herbs with a satiny, bright, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a medium caramelized nuts, vanilla cream, and peppered roasted carrots finish. A crisp, lively barrel accented ale.