3 Stars, Brouwerij Van Steenberge, Strong Ale

Brunette by Hopduvel

Pours a dark brownish red… or brunette if you prefer. Very large beige head… Label derived bad pun possibilities aside. The beer gives off strong caramel and malt sweetness aroma right there with Belgian yeast spiciness. Caramel is the dominant flavor with a fruit sweetness undertone. Some bitterness but not enough to balance out the sweetness of the beer.

3 Stars.

4 Stars, Abdij O.L.V. Koningshoeven, Quad

La Trappe – Quadrupel by Abdij O.L.V. Koningshoeven

Poured a clear brownish orange; beige head with some real staying power. Dark fruit, fig, mostly spicy yeast ester aromas.   Smooth and creamy mouth feel. Malty sweetness, peppery at the back of the throat, not bitter, alcohol warmth. The beer mellows and the flavors mesh as the beer warms, or maybe that’s just the 10% ABV talking but I think not. I am not sure if there is such a thing as a Quad that I do not like

4 Stars.

4 Stars, Abdij O.L.V. Koningshoeven, Strong Ale

La Trappe – Isid’or by Abdij O.L.V. Koningshoeven

Brother Isidorus Laaber was the first brew master of the Onze Lieve Vrouw of Koningshoeven Abbey. Originally brewed on the 125th anniversary of the brewery’s founding but now part of the permanent lineup.

Poured a rich but hazy amber with small bubbles making up the white head. A combination of malty, caramelly, fruity aroma with some classic Belgian yeasty spiciness. Large amount of carbonation greats you followed by overwhelmingly caramel flavors, light bitterness with a fruity finish. Nice.

4 Stars.

4 Stars, De Dolle Brouwers, Strong Ale

Stille Nacht by De Dolle Brouwers

Poured a murky apricot with almost no apparent carbonation. Aromas of malt, caramel, fruit and some sweetness.  Full bodied, smooth mouthfeel. Loads of complex flavor; sweet fruit (apple, banana, tropical) flavors are at the front, good alcohol punch, faintly herbal, some yeasty spiciness, lightly bitter with fruit and malt as a long lasting finish. Great sipping beer, which is probably a good idea since it weighs in at a hefty 12% ABV.

4.5 Stars.

3 Stars, Brune, Maredsous Abbey

Brune by Maredsous Abbaye

Appears dark reddish-brown with ample long lasting beige head. Smells of malt, caramel, faint alcohol warmth. Taste reveals fruit, bready malt, some bitterness but very smooth with the alcohol detected by the nose hidden on the tongue.  Nothing wrong but nothing stands out either.

3.5 Stars. 

3 Stars, St. Bernardus

Pater 6 by St. Bernardus

Pours a dark reddish-brown with long lasting biscuit colored head. Yeasty, bready aroma. Loads of carbonation, slightly bitter, a bit thin and watery, toffee, raisin, bread. This beer definitely improves and becomes more flavorful as it warms with complex fruit flavors coming forward. Perhaps I am being a bit harsh and I love St. Bernadus’ other beers but this one just tastes like a watered down version of the much bigger and better 8 and 12. 

3 Stars.

Blonde, De Struise Brouwers

Kloeke Blonde by De Struise Brouwers

Very light cloudy straw color in appearance with white head collecting in the center of the glass. Strong, strange, herbal aroma with some yeasty esters. Same strange aroma is the predominant flavor, though not as strong.  Fairly dry. Overall an odd beer that is full of a flavor I cannot quite place and do not think I have experienced in another beer. I also cannot say that I particularly like it.  This beer has no expectation date on the bottle but I am going to surmise that it has passed.

De Struise Brouwers, Wit

Struise Witte by De Struise Brouwers

Pours a cloudy, light golden color with a small amount of rapidly dissipating white head. Herbal, citrus and yeasty notes, very balanced and quite inviting. The first sip reveals loads of citrus flavor. The second more citrus followed by coriander. Semi-sweet, a bit watery but still a flavorful beer. This beer is really quite a pleasant surprise as the bottle say best before 2014 and in a style not expect to age well.  I would love to taste a fresh bottle.

Simply not fair to rate at this point (but 3.5 as is).

4 Stars, De Struise Brouwers, Tripel

XXX – Rye Tripple – Reserva 2013 by De Struise Brouwers 

Best before November 2019, only half way there. Pours a murky dark reddish brown with a small amount of rapidly disappearing head.  Complex aroma of peach, spice and faint bourbon. Fruity at first quickly switching to bourbon and charred oak, honey like sweetness, leading to a spicy, peppery finish. At 10% the alcohol doesn’t disappear but complements the other flavors very nicely. I would bet this will continue to age well. Aren’t all bourbon barrel aged beers stouts? Not this one and that’s a good thing.

4 Stars.

4 Stars, De Struise Brouwers

Pannepot Grand Reserva – 2010 Vintage by De Struise Brouwers

Old Fisherman’s Ale Aged On Oak.

Appears black in the glass but pours a dark brown with a very small amount of head. Aromas of chocolate and oak with some whiskey character. Creamy mouthfeel with plenty of carbonation, particularly for a beer with this much age. Bitter chocolate, fruit and spices finishes with oak followed by subtle vanilla. Full flavored; a great sipping beer.

4.5 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.

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.