To commemorate the end of World War I, the Moortgats named their main beer Victory Ale. But during the 1920s, an avid drinker described the beer as “nen echten duvel” (a real devil in Brabantian) – perhaps in reference to its formidable alcohol content (8.5% ABV) – and the name of the beer was changed to Duvel. It has become the brewery’s flagship beer. Considered by many the definitive version of the Belgian Strong Golden Ale style, Duvel is brewed with Pilsner malt and white sugar, and hopped with Saaz hops and Styrian Goldings, the yeast still stems from the original culture of Scottish yeast bought by Albert Moortgat during a prospection-tour in the U.K. just after WWI.
Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Like a Belgian Pale Ale, the strong versions will also be pale to golden in color. What sets them apart is a much higher alcohol content that can range from hidden to spicy to devastatingly present. Expect a complex and powerful ale, yet delicate with rounded flavors and big, billowy, rocky, white head. Hop and malt character can vary, most are fruity and quite hoppy, but hop flavor and aroma will generally be within the low range and artfully balanced.
Duvel is the quintessential example of this style, and many others have tried to imitate it with similar references to the devil.