Strong pale ales are ales made predominantly with pale malts and have an alcohol strength that generally starts around 7% by volume and may go up to 12% or higher.

These beers range in color from pale yellow to medium golden and are often brewed with light colored candy sugar. This gives the aroma a slight sweetness along with complex fruit and malt tones. The taste has limited hops notes, with the malt and candy sweetness notable. Strong pale ales are sometimes flavored with spices to add to the aroma and taste.