Style: Belgian Blond
Grain: Pilsner, Pale, Melanoidin
Fermented with Belgian yeast
Tasting notes: orange banana bubblegum, vanilla wafer, white pepper
Pair with: Candied Chicken, fish & chips, Seared Tuna Salad
Yeah, I know it's improper Spanish grammar. It should be "El Jefe" or "La Jefa" but that wouldn't sound like the beer I'm paying homage to here. It's a seriously underrated beer and style - fruit and pepper on the nose, pillow-soft foam and body, and a crisp dry finish that betrays the high ABV. This one can be dangerous!
As a style, it's very similar to the Abbey Single, Tripel, and Belgian Golden Strong. All of these styles feature one high quality base grain that gets dried out with the addition of sugar. They are all yeast-driven with all of those fruit and spice flavors coming from fermentation, yet oftentimes gets a boost from a tiny addition of spice such as coriander. What makes the Blond different is essentially in how strong it is brewed, as it bridges the ABV gap between a Single and a Tripel.
I like this style in part because it's an exercise in simplicity - it is not at all a complex recipe, but it's the fermentation and execution that give it a unique complexity and subtlety despite the high ABV. This one was a fun one to brew, but also made me a little nervous. The yeast get pushed way beyond their listed temperature range to express the right type of flavors and at one point I had to turn up the heat in the brewhouse to keep the yeast happy. Ultimately, I think they were happy and I'm happy with how this turned out!