Month: September 2015

5 Stars, De Struise Brouwers

Black Albert – Batch ‘0’ by De Struise Brouwers

Bottled December 2012, best before February 2018. The label states “very strong beer” and at 13% ABV I would have to agree.  Pours a deep black with a dark brown head.  Aroma is very inviting with dark chocolate and roasted malt with some alcohol punch.  The first sip reveals coffee, chocolate, coffee flavors (in that order). Some sweetness but not overly so. The alcohol lingers on the tongue but is well balanced and complementary.  Very mellow with no hot alcohol bite.  I am happy to sip this one all night.

5 Stars.

4 Stars, Deca Services

Vleteren – Blond by Deca Services

Golden orange in appearance; lively carbonation but no appreciable head retention. Fantastic aroma of fresh fruit, oak and alcohol. Thick mouth feel, sweet and lightly bitter. Complex flavors of fruit, oak, subtle honey and vanilla with a large alcoholic punch. Not sure where a 12% oak aged blond fits as far as style but this is a big beer and a must try.

4 Stars.

2 Stars, Abbaye de Abdij van Leffe, Brune

Leffe – Brune by Abbaye de Abdij van Leffe

Pours a deep brown with a tinge of ruby red when held to the light.  Beige head, not a lot, but what there is has staying power clinging to the side of the glass. Inviting aroma of malt sweetness, dark fruit with a touch of herbal notes. The aroma gives way to roasted malt flavors, nutty, light bitterness, same as the blonde something oddly chemically in taste, grainy finish. I will say it is a fairly unique tasting Belgian but not for me.

2.5 Stars.

3 Stars, Abbaye de Abdij van Leffe, Blonde

Leffe – Blonde by Abbaye de Abdij van Leffe

Pours a bright golden blond color with loads of rapidly dissipating frothy white head. Herbal (clove?) and banana notes; the aroma reminds me a bit of mead. Light bitterness, fairly sweet, odd bubble gum slightly chemical flavor, finishes malty. Despite the description an easy drinking beer. Does not stand out as having the Belgian character I would expect for the style. Not bad but not great either.

3 Stars.

4 Stars, Blonde, Deca Services

Antiek – Blonde Old Strong Ale by Deca Services

Another in my recent run of 8% Blonds, each by different brewers but all brewed at the same brewery, Deca Services.  So how does the brewery who brewed all brews own brew hold up?

First look shows a crystal clear blond with a small amount of long lasting bright white head.  Bitter hop aroma, apricot and classic spicy Belgian yeast character greet the nose.  Well balanced and smooth, flavors lining up with the aroma, not a trace of alcohol to be found.  Long lasting spicy aftertaste.  Very reminiscent of Trappist Blonds.

4 Stars.

4 Stars, Blonde

Papegari by Brouwerij Verstraete

Pours a golden straw with no head accumulation.  The nose picks up a strong spicy yeast aroma, some earthy fruit notes as well. First sip, wow, this is the spiciest Belgian Blond I have ever tried. Bitter orange peel, pepper, finishes dry with a long pleasant fruity aftertaste.  Leaves a tingling feeling on the tongue. 8% but not a hint of alcohol to be found. Very interesting beer, I am not accustom to a Blond that packs so much flavor that it almost overwhelms the  palate. I really like the beer, it may push the boundaries of the style but it is great to see what different flavors a Brewer can accomplish with the same set of ingredients.

4.5 Stars.

4 Stars, Blonde

Klets by Brouwerij Bier & Karakter (B&K)

Pours a crystal clear blond (at least until I emptied too much of the bottle into the glass and clouded it up). Loads of bright white fizzy head. Luscious aroma of mandarin oranges, sweet malt and spicy Belgian yeast character.  Complex flavors greet the tongue; spicy, peppery, mild hop bitterness , pleasant long lasting aftertaste. 

Label aside a solid 4 stars.