Cuvée des Trolls spéciale 10 Years – Brasserie Dubuisson freres, 7% ABV, (Pipaix, Belgium)

On the back of the bottle:

“Brewed in limited quantity, this 10th anniversary edition accentuates the delicate qualities and fruity aroma of Cuvée des Trolls thanks to the bottle refermentation.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: A-
  • Why I like it: solid balanced fruity-malty-bitter-hoppy beer
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: $10, 75cl
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No, don’t love it enough
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours cloudy amber yellow, decent sized foamy head, layer of micro CO2 retention, sticky lacing all around, plentiful active CO2 streams. Sugared malts on the nose. Drinks with an extremely smooth and creamy mouthfeel, apricots, grapefruit tang/bitterness, malts, 6/10-sweetness level, finishes clean with a slight warmth. Minor alcohol detection throughout. Medium complexity, med-high depth, short-med length, good carry, good transitions, excellent drinkability. Superb quality beer.

Ommegang Abbey Ale – Brewery Ommegang

Ommegang Abbey Ale – Brewery Ommegang, 8.5% ABV, (Puurs, Belgium) *(Listed in the “1001 Beers you must taste before you die”)

On the front and back label:

“Brewed and bottled exceptionally in Belgium for Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, NY. Ommegang is a Belgian Abbey Ale-top fermented and bottle conditioned, yielding a rich, fruity, aromatic, burgundian brew. Ommegang Abbey Dubbel is inspired by the centuries-old brewing traditions of Belgian Trappist monks.Named after Belgium’s oldest medieval fest, every bottle of Ommegang is cause for celebration.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: A-
  • Why I like it: deep, sweet, fruity, and bitter all-in-one
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek, Oct-2011
  • How much: $14, 750ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours maroon-red/brown, 1-inch foamy head, sticky lacing, long retention, ultra-active fast moving CO2 streams. A bit of malt on the nose, muted. Initial creamy mouthfeel, predominantly 6/10 sweet red fruit (cassis), quickly transitions in to a dark fruit fig and 4/10 bitter dryness that is soft at first but grows stronger. Medium-high complexity, med-high depth, long length, excellent transitions, full-bodied, great carry, excellent drinkability. Overall very smooth and drinkable, gets you buzzed quite fast.

Pilaarbijter Brune, 6.5% ABV, (Bavikhove, Belgium)

from the ratebeer.com website:

“Dark ale, fermented in the bottle.
Inspired by a Breughel painting, “The Flemish Proverbs” (1559), in which several Flemish proverbs are depicted amongst which is the expression “He’s a pilaarbijter” (“pillar biter”), which means, ’He’s a hypocritical man.’”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: C
  • Why I don’t love it: off-putting honey and wheat
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?), 2011
  • How much: ~$4, 330ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: No

Tasting Notes: pours cloudy chestnut brown, decent head, mix of large and foamy CO2, lots of CO2 streams, sticky lacing, sediment in the bottle. Honeyed malts on the nose. 7/10 bright sweet honey up front, sharp start, semi-large CO2 persists throughout, wheat & bread malts pick up in the mids, finishes tingly 3/10 mildly bittersweet with a lingering rough finish on the tongue and throat. Body is somewhat thin from the mids until the finish and texture reminds me of a honey lager. Medium-high complexity, medium depth, not so good carry, medium bodied, medium-long length. This flavour is not for me (honeyed wheat with thin body).

Scaldis Noel Premium (Belgium)

Scaldis Noel Premium (Anno 1768) – Brasserie Dubuisson Freres, 13% ABV, Belgium

On the back label:

“The strongest Christmas Belgian beer. Brewed exceptionally fro the Christmas period, Scaldis de Noel, a brilliant, red-amber ale will delight the most demanding connoisseurs. The Scalcis [SIC] de Noel Premium is not filtered and refermented in the bottle”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: Very smooth for 13% ABV
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?), 2011
  • How much: ~$20, 750ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours amber reddish-brown, good sized head, .75cm micro CO2 retention, slow-moving lacing, LOTS and LOTS of CO2 streams – very active, slighty cloudy (unfiltered). Prunes and faint ethyl alcohol on the nose. Upon sipping, the high ABV is there immediately (the heat & burn) and persists until the finish. This is mixed with 7/10 smooth sweetness, very creamy texture especially in the mid, prune/fig/almost cherries at the start and the transitions into dark malty 3/10 semi-sweet bitterness. Medium-high complexity, Medium-high depth, good carry, good mouthfeel, excellent smoothness, good transitions, decent length. To me Christmas beer should have some spices; sadly this one doesn’t really deliver in that aspect but still solid and potent nonetheless.

Leute Bokbier – Brouwerij Van Steenberge (Belgium)

Leute Bokbier (since 1927!) – Brouwerij Van Steenberge, 7.5% ABV, (Belgium)

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: good depth and berryness
  • Where I got it: W. 16 (?), 2011
  • How much: $4.45
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: No

Tasting Notes: pours dark root beer brown, large foamy head, very sticky lacing, good foamy retention, lots of barely visible medium-fast moving CO2 streams. Honeyed molasses on the nose. 7/10 sweet honeyed-turbinado sugar rush up front (too sweet!), some caramel, hints of dark cherry, raisins. Medium complexity, medium depth, decent carry, medium length. Sweetness is manageable if you drink several sips at one; If slow sipping, too sweet. A decent beer but there are definitely better Belgians out there.

*Re-tasted: March 8, 2012*

Side note: The image of the billy goat is homage to the mispronunciation of “eisbeck” as “eis bock” (billy goat) due the Bavarian accent of Munich dwellers back in the 17th century. Source: wikipedia

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I like it: rich sweet malty beer
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours beer bottle brown, nice thick slowly dissipating foamy head, sticky lacing all around, thin layer of retention, lots of fast moving CO2 streams. Dense malts on the nose. 7/10-sweetness up front, heavy malts, chamomile, honey, tingly CO2 mouthfeel, slight creaminess. Finish is back-of-the-throat lingering bitterness and caramel malts. Medium complexity, med-high depth, long malty length, great transitions, great carry, great drinkability. Overall a solid beer.

Speciale Noel – Brasserie Artisanale La Binchoise (since 1836), 9% ABV, (Faubourg, Saint Paul, Belgium). First brewed in 1993, serving temp, 10C. Bottle condition, unpasteurized, and unfiltered.

  • My Rating: C+
  • Why I might like it: spiced winter beer
  • Who I recommend it to: full-bodied with huge ABV
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: <$5, Summer 2011

Tasting Notes: pours chestnut brown, largish high-retention head, lots of sticky lacing. Some malts on the nose. Tastewise, very smooth, highly spiced of nutmeg and cinnamon, honey, creamy velvet CO2,. Malted honey 5/10 sweetness up front, spices in the mid, minor bitter metallic finish. Medium complexity, med-high depth, short-medium length. The spices don’t particularly carry on, mainly the maltiness.

Satan Red

Satan Red – Brewery De Block, 8% ABV, (Belgium)

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I might like it: medium-complex, potent
  • Who I recommend it to: N/A
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: <$15 for 4pack, Summer 2011

Tasting Notes: pours orange brown with a medium foamy head, micro carbonation, thick lacing. Lots of CO2 streams – looks very inviting. Metallic copper on the nose, and a bit of apple fruitiness. Creamy thick going down due to the rich micro CO2, intense dried fruit malt with a 6/10 sweetness, and then quickly cuts sharp orange peel bitter dry, sustaining a long bitterness down the center of the throat. Medium complexity, medium-high depth, medium-long length. An enjoyable mix of sweet fruit, sharp bitterness, foamy creaminess, metallic nose, and potent ABV. More of an acquired taste, but appreciable once you unravel all the flavour properties.