5 Stars

5 Stars, Brouwerij Rodenbach, Flanders Red

Rodenbach – Barrel No 145 – 2009 Vintage by Brouwerij Rodenbach

Deep mahogany with a small amount of rapidly dissipating nutmeg head. Rich cherry, plum, subtle vanilla balancing with the strong sour aroma. The intense aroma belies the mellow, well balanced beer hiding behind. I was expecting something on the more sour end of the Flemish Red spectrum and am pleasantly surprised by the beers approachability. Juicy sour cherry followed by a rich vanilla oakiness, tingly acidiccness and a nice dry finish

5 Stars

5 Stars, Br. Verhaeghe Vichte, Flanders Red

Duchesse De Bourgogne by Br. Verhaeghe Vichte

Pours a fantastically clear ruby red with a large dollop of tawny head. Rich fruit aromas of cherry with undercurrents of oak and vanilla. Intense fruit flavor, primarily cherry but ripe orange as well, balanced by the sourness and tannic bitterness. Much has been written about this beer but I will simply say, a true classic and my personal favorite sour beer. If you think you don’t like sour beers or have never tried a sour do yourself a favor, find a bottle (preferably a big one that is caged and corked) and savor a few glasses.

5 Stars.

5 Stars, Brasserie Dupont, Saison

Saison Dupont 

Saison Dupont, the saison that all other saisons are measured by. What do you say about such an iconic beer?

Pours a bright golden body with ample pillowy white head. Complex nose with strong orange and apple fruit aromas, spicy peppery and a subtle grainy character. High carbonation and refreshingly easy drinking flavors closely follow the aroma, light bitterness finishes dry and spicy. The only problem with this beer is that the bottle I opened was not the larger 75cl variety.  One of my all time favorites and a true classic.

5 Stars.

5 Stars, De Struise Brouwers, Imperial Stout

Cuvee Delphine by De Struise Brouwers 

First let me start. Oh man, this is good.

Brewed in 2012, bottled in 2014, drank in 2016, best before 2019.  The disavowed offspring of Black Albert.  This beer takes Black Albert and was aged on Four Roses Kentucky bourbon barrels.  Described as a “Royal Stout”.  Artwork by Delphine Boel.

Pours a midnight black with a small amount of long lasting brown head. Inviting aroma of sweet roasted malt, subtle dark fruit and as the beer warms the bourbon becomes more pronounced. High carbonation gives this beer a smooth mouthfeel. Complex and well balanced makes the beer difficult to describe.  Roasted malt, bitter chocolate, vanilla, light bourbon and some sweetness as a counter to it all. Long bitter and bourbon finish. 11% alcohol as mellow as can be. No need to sip but you are going to want to savor this great beer.

5 Stars.

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.

5 Stars, Brasserie Dupont, Saison

Avec Les Bon Voeux by Brasserie Dupont

Pours a golden blond with loads of frothy white head. A fantastic aroma greats you as the glass is pulled close; apricot, floral, straw, mildly spicy. The first drink is an explosion of complex fruit and floral flavors, a pleasant peppery spiciness and mild bitterness with loads of effervescence making the beer feel like it dissolves on the tongue.

No alcohol bite, I would never guess it comes in at a stout 9.5 abv if I did not read it on the label. Very complex, very balanced, very good. I have had this beer on a number of occasions and I have to say it is one of my all time favorites. Dupont describes this beer as a blond ale but I have always thought of it as an imperial saison. They say this is a good beer to cellar but to be honest I keep opening every bottle I set aside. Saison Dupont gets all of the press but you need to try this one.

5 stars

5 Stars, De Struise Brouwers, Strong Ale

Rio Reserva – 2011 by De Struise Brouwers

Brewed in 2011, bottled in 2014, drank in 2015, best before 2019. “Golden quad” aged in 1 year in wine barrels then racked to bourbon barrels.

Pours brown but when held to the light turns ruby red-brown (trust me that’s a thing). Plenty of beige head; dissipated quickly. Aroma of red wine, oak, vanilla, toffee, fruit sweetness, enough alcohol to let you know it’s there. No sour notes but catching whiffs reminiscent of Flanders Red. One sip dispelles any thought of a Flanders. Strong flavor of oak, vanilla, bourbon, complex malt flavors. This is a thick beer with a pronounced alcohol punch. Finishes is very pleasant with lingering alcohol, some bitterness and fruit flavors.

I am going to call this one a Belgian strong for lack of a better category. Very unique, I really like this beer and I think this it could be even better with some more time, good thing I have another.

5 stars.

5 Stars, Quad, Westvletern

12 by Westvletern

Well here she is, after the blond and the 8 you had to know what was coming next, the big one, Westvletern 12.

I have to say pour is pretty unimpressive, sure it looks great sitting there in the proper chalice glass, but I am having a hard time coming up with any fancy adjectives so I will just say it pours a clear brown with a decent amount of very long lasting cream colored head.

Aroma, alright now we are talking, rich malt,  caramel, fruit, raisin, alcohol, mild spicyness, no one aroma stands above the rest.

Rich malt and high carbonation explode on the tounge followed a host of complex flavors; everything in the aroma is still there with the addition of a small amount of sweetness and a long last pleasant bitter aftertaste. Smooth and incredibly well balanced.

This is a fantastic, big beer and my review does not do it justice. Best beer in the world? I do not know, it’s hard to call any one thing best. But I will say I have done blind taste testing with other Trappist 12s and Belgian quads and the Westvletern was the unanimous number one pick.

5 stars. World class.

5 Stars, Blonde, Brasserie d' Achouffe

La Chouffe by Brasserie D’ Achouffe

Wow, this is a what the Belgian’s call a blonde? If only all tasted so good. You are immediately greeted with a strong apricot and herbal aroma. The flavor is the same, but slightly bitter with very pleasant carbonation.  I want to take large gulps, which might not be such a good idea with an 8% beer.  I have got to admit I have always passed on the brewery with a gnome on the label, I wont judge (on that criteria) again.

5 stars.