Archive for the ‘Belgian Strong Dark Ale’ Category

Raison D'etre by Dogfish Head

October…on the verge of Halloween…snow.  Wait…what?  Snow?  Yep…take a look at the photo above.  That is not a left over photo from the winter time.  Did I ever tell you how much I hate the white stuff and the cold?  Give me the sun and the heat…give me summer all year long.  Anyone want to move to Arizona with me?

Beer #335…wow…only 30 more to go…is Raison D’etre by Dogfish Head.  Brewed in Milton, Delaware, this Belgian Strong Dark Ale has an ABV of 8%.  What about the name?  Well, Raison D’etre is a French phrase meaning “reason for existence.”

Appearance – Dark amber with a nice tan head.

Nose – My first thought was molasses and cola.  There was a faint aroma of alcohol also.

Taste – Brown sugar, molasses and dark fruits, mostly raisins.  A bit of burnt caramel and some spices.  It gets bready tasting near the back end.  Even know it is heavier on the nose, the alcohol is hidden nicely.

Mouthfeel – Fairly low in carbonation, medium bodied.  It was quite smooth.

Overall – Not bad but not great either.  Not one of my favorites from Dogfish.

As I sit here typing this, I’m looking out my window.  I really can’t believe it is October with the snow coming down.  Feels so damn gloomy and depressing.  Until tomorrow…

Rating: C

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Allagash Black by Allagash Brewing Company

This is a tough day for me.  With what happened 10 years ago on 9/11, this is also the day I lost my father.

So with a heavy heart I will have beer #287, Allagash Black by Allagash Brewing Company.  Brewed in the great state of Maine which is the same state my dad was born.  This is brewed in the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with an ABV of 7.5%.

Into my tulip glass went this black brew with a tan head.  The nose was coffee, dark roasted malts, and a very faint cocoa aroma.  It tasted just like it smelled with the those nice coffee and cocoa (showed up more in the taste than the nose) flavors being the star here.  There is also a smoky and burnt flavor that goes well with the coffee and cocoa flavors.  With all of that going on, there was also a slight sweetness of dark fruit like plums or raisins that I was also able to pick up on.  It all ends with a mouth pleasing bitterness.  The body isn’t as heavy as it appears…think of it as a medium bodied brew.  There is quite a bit of carbonation going here, very prickly on the tongue.  The alcohol is hidden very well also.  One thing to remember about this is to let it warm up a bit.  The flavors open even more so as it gets warmer.

This was an excellent beer.  Yummy in every respect.  Try it, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Here’s to you dad…I know you will be watching the Cowboys later on tonight hopefully beat up on the Jets.

Rating: A

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Guido by Brouwerij Smisje

Beer #253 is Guido by Brouwerij Smisje from Belgium.  This beer is brewed in the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with an ABV of 8%.

It poured into my pint glass with a dark reddish brown.  The head was huge, tan, and very fizzy at first but it receded very quickly to nothing.  Very malty in the nose with raisins being the most prominent along with a bread aroma…raisin bread anyone?.  There was a fruitiness here also with a bit of green apple also in the nose coupled with a spicy Belgian yeasty thing.  Very interesting nose overall.  I took a sip…whoa baby…this was sour and sweet.  It had a apple cider type or grape juice flavor with a taste of crackers, including the dryness of them, near the back end of this.  It was kind of like wine.  Lower carbonated with a medium body and that sourness make it mouth puckering.  The alcohol was nowhere to be found, neither in the nose or the taste.

Very interesting beer quite unlike anything I have had.  It was very refreshing and would make a nice drink on a hot summer day.  Op uw gezondheid or A Vorte Sante! (Cheers in Belgium depending if you are Dutch speaking or French speaking)

Rating: B

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Terrible by Unibroue

After a week of getting caught back on the Harry Potter movies, today was the day to see the final one, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. In a word…fantastic!  In my humble opinion, it was the best of the Potter movies and one of the best movies I have ever seen.  It had everything from awesome action sequences to bring a tear to your eye moments and everything in between.  Great, great stuff.  It was also an opportunity to take a break from the Horny Goat fest…and seeing how that was going, that was a good thing.  On to beer #237.

That beer is Terrible by Unibroue from Canada.  Terrible is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with an ABV of 10.4%.  Lets hope Terrible isn’t truly terrible.

Terrible didn’t look terrible at all…it had a nice dark black color with a nice off white head that left some fantastic lacing.  The nose was heavy, malty and sweet.  I picked up some cherries, a bit of apple, alcohol, a smokiness, raisins, and a faint spice…cloves?  The dark fruits take over in the taste (raisins and cherries mostly) with the apples, kind of reminded me of Granny Smith, in the middle.  The booze takes over about mid drink too and it finishes with the cloves that I detected in the nose.  Couple all of that with a sweetness a bit like brown sugar and you have one fine tasting brew.  It had a very dry finish to it along with that boozy burn.  It was on the heavy side body wise with light carbonation…it was kind of creamy.  This was a sipping beer for sure.

This was quite a nice beer that I enjoyed as I was watching Crazy Heart (another good movie BTW) and just relaxing.

Rating: B+

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Brooklyn Local 2 by Brooklyn Brewery

88 degrees here today…sounds like perfect weather (though I didn’t check the dew point…I will leave that for Dr. DewPoint) to go mountain biking.  Over to Six Mile Run Reservoir with my single speed Haro Mary for my typical out and back of 10 miles had me hot and sweaty and hankering for a beer.

Enter beer #224, Brooklyn Local 2 by Brooklyn Brewery from where else…Brooklyn, New York.  9% ABV was in store for me in this Belgian Strong Dark Ale.  Lets see how this compares to Local 1 which I had a little over a week ago.

Local 2 poured an opaque dark brown with a huge off-white fluffy head with some fantastic lacing.  Lets take a whiff, shall we?  The first thing I got was apples and alcohol.  At times I got a bit of chocolate…odd.  Fig Newtons make an appearance here in the nose also.  This is quite a bit more malty in the nose than Local 1 with a sweet molasses thing going on.  Sure enough the taste of raisins and Fig Newtons along with maybe plums and grapes…yep grapes…appear first.  The malts take hold after the fruits with some caramel and molasses type flavors.  Alcohol rears its head towards the back end of the sip.  It had a medium body with some heavier stinging carbonation.  I had to take my time with this…sipping…sniffing…swirling…generally enjoying the experience.

A very nice beer but I didn’t like it as much as I liked Local 1.  It was a tad bit too sweet for me, odd…since I like sweet things.  Still worth a look if you like Belgian style brews.  One last thing, my last after ride brew was Brooklyn Local 1.  I’m sensing a Brooklyn Brewery  after ride thing going here.  Maybe I will have to try Brooklyn Sorachi Ace after my next jaunt through the deep dark woods of the kingdom of Somerset.  Till we next cross paths…

Rating: B+

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Trois Pistoles by Unibroue

Lets take a journey to our neighbor to the north (that is if you live in the USA), Canada.  Beer #219 is indeed from Canada…Chambly, Quebec to be exact. That beer is Trois Pistoles by Unibroue.  This is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale and strong it is with an ABV of 9%.

Trois Pistoles (Three Coins) is named after a small village in Quebec and has many legends associated to it with the most famous being about a black horse, a good devil in fact, who helped a local bishop build a church.  Trois Pistoles pays tribute to that black horse.

This beer poured a very dark brown, almost black but not quite, with a thin off-white head.  Lets smell it shall we?  I got big aromas of dark fruit like raisins and even some black cherries.  Massive amounts of that Belgian yeast like smell along with a caramel malt presence and even maybe some brown sugar where also recognizable.  There was a ton of stuff going on nose wise and the more I swirled and sniffed, the more things came out like apples and even a Fig Newton like aroma.  This was really sweet up front in the taste and fruity (cherries, figs, etc.) with a spiciness similar to black pepper and a decent amount of bready flavors.  The alcohol started making itself known as it warmed up.  It had a nice medium body with some fizzy carbonation.  The sweetness here made this a sipper for me.

This was another fine beer from Unibroue.  I enjoyed this one quite a bit and urge you to do give it a go if you like dark Belgian style brews.  Sante!

Rating: B+

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Moinette Brune by Brasserie Dupont

Happy Valentines day all!  How about a big round of applause for the card companies bringing us this day so we can spend money on cards, flowers, chocolates, and just about anything red.  All that red means lots of green for those same companies.  I too fall pray to the valentine day festivities so much so that I figured what better way to spend the evening with my wife than by watching a nice movie…a horror movie that is.  Paranormal Activity 2 sounds just about right for this day of love.  Don’t you agree?

Beer #78 is Moinette Brune by Brasserie Dupont.  From Belgium with love comes this Belgian Strong Dark Ale.  The ABV is a lovely 8.5%, more than enough to get Cupid a little high.

It poured a dark brownish orange with quite the head to it.  The nose was full of apples and maybe some bread?  There was something else that was distinct but I couldn’t identify. I almost think it may have been caramel but I’m not quite sure.  Perplexed with the smell, I gave it a swallow.  I got a spicy raisin flavor that every once in a while had a cider-like taste to it.  It finished very dry.  There was a ton of carbonation in the medium bodied brew.  The alcohol had a way of sneaking up on me with this one.

A solid Belgian style ale that I think Cupid might enjoy once he finishes shooting all of those love arrows.

Rating: B

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Trappistes Rochefort 6 by Brasserie de Rochefort

Another weekend is upon us which means time for revelry, frolicking and merriment.  With all of that comes good food, good company, and hopefully good beer.  Will today’s beer be good, or just average like the last two?  Read on to find out.

Beer #68 is Trappistes Rochefort 6 by Brasserie de Rochefort.  This Belgian Strong Dark Ale with an ABV of 7.5% comes to us from Belgium.  It is brewed by Trappist monks at the Abbey de Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy near the town of Rochefort, Belgium.  The Abbey has been brewing since 1595 and they only brew to make enough money to support their monastery.

This was a nice looking beer.  The color was brown, quite cloudy, and had a nice fluffy head that quickly went the way of the dodo bird.  It smelled of fruits (in particular apples), that Belgian yeast aroma, and some sweetness (possibly the malts?).  The taste wasn’t nearly pronounced as the nose was.  The apple fruitiness I got in the nose wasn’t as noticeable in the taste.  I really had a hard time picking out different flavors in this beer other than the slightly sweet apple taste.  It was a medium bodied drink that was high on the carbonation scale, it was very fizzy at first but that settled down as the beer got warmer.  At first with all that fizz, it was quite a bear to drink.  That changed as it warmed up as that fizz all but disappeared making it quite easy to drink.  I could not notice the alcohol as it was hidden really well.

As puzzled as I was about my inability to pick out more flavors in this, I thought it was a pretty nice beer.  I was expecting something more, what that more was I’m not quite sure.  I think I may have gotten caught up in the hype that I have heard about this beer.  Rochefort has two other beers, Rochefort 8 and Rochefort 10 that I will have to try one of these days.

Rating: B

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Ommegang Adoration by Brewery Ommegang

I would like to wish everyone out there who has been following along on my beer journey a very Happy New Year!!!

The last beer of 2010 will come from Brewery Ommegang.  Ommegang is from the home of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY.  Beer #33 is Ommegang Adoration, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale or as Ommegang likes to call it, a Special Winter Ale.  This brew checks in at an ABV of 10%.

The appearance was a dark cloudy brown with a two finger width tan head.  My nose went into the tulip glass and the first thing that hit me was booze.  I also picked up citrus notes and raisins all along with a spicy aroma and plenty of  malty sweetness.  Taste was sweet malts with orange and lots of spiciness.  It had quite the boozy finish with that warming sensation you get from higher alcohol drinks.  This brew was a bit syrupy and felt slightly thick in the mouth.  There wasn’t much carbonation going on.  This is definitely a sipper and probably great for cold winter night.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of my favorites.  I felt it was too boozy and a bit too sweet.  Not that it isn’t a good brew, definitely above average, it just wasn’t for me.  I did find it kind of grew on me as it warmed up.

Again…to everyone out there…Happy New Year!!!!

Rating: B

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N'ice Chouffe by Brasserie d'Achouffe

On a day when a blizzard is going to dump at least a foot of snow on us here on the east coast, what better way to spend the day then with a nice beverage.  Todays beverage of choice, beer #28, is N’ice Chouffe by Brasserie d’Achouffe.  This was  another Belgian Strong Dark Ale with an ABV of 10%, very similar to yesterdays Mad Elf.

The color was very similar to the Elf, reddish amber hues but this had a much nicer head, big and fluffy.  There was some very nice lacing going on in the tulip glass all throughout the drink.  For those who are wondering what lacing means, it is the ability of the head to cling to the glass as the beer is being consumed.  The nose on this was also similar, dark cherries & sweet malt, but I also picked up that familiar Belgian yeast and some herbs that puzzled me.  A quick look at the label and then it hit me, the smell of thyme.  Taste was malty sweetness followed by dark cherries.  It finished with just a bit of bitterness.  The cherry lingered for a while in the mouth of this medium bodied drink.  Carbonation was fairly high.  This was another sipper due to the higher ABV.

I enjoyed this one from first sip to last drop.  Even though it had similar properties to Mad Elf, it was a completely different beer.  I bought another bottle to cellar until next year, as I did the Mad Elf.  N’ce Chouffe is the last of my Christmas week brews and it does seem I saved the best two for last.

Off to shovel more snow…at least I will be warm with N’ice Chouffe flowing through me!

Rating: A+

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