FLAVOR: “Hell Yes Ma’am,” a Belgian golden strong ale, is yellow in color with effervescent carbonation. It’s also clear, dry and incredibly easy to drink. Distinct notes of bubblegum and pepper tickle the nose and tongue. They are brought into the mix by the yeast in Hell Yes Ma’am.
It’s that distinctive yeast that gives Hell Yes Ma’am its name and connects it to Belgian golden strong ales.
HISTORY: The story of how Ma’am got her name has a couple of versions. My favorite is that owner Kristie Nystedt set her sights on this style of beer for Raleigh Brewing. She wanted to pick the right yeast, so a batch was made and fermented with several different strains — to see which one was the magic element. Upon trying the version that we know today, Nystedt exclaimed “Hell, yes!” Ma’am was added later to help round out the name and give it a Southern flair.
Duvel, first brewed in 1923, is generally pointed to as the origin of this Belgian golden strong style. Brewers in Brussels added sugar to the recipe of Pilsner malt and Saaz hops. This helped dry out the beer and increase its alcohol content while also keeping the color as light as possible.
In a tale that echoes Nystedt’s proclamation, a local shoemaker tried a test batch and called it “The Devil of a Beer!” The Flemish word for devil was then used to name the ale.
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