November 1, 2014

Belgium

St. Bernardus Abt 12

A / 4.5
St. Bernardus Abt 12

The absolute top quality in the hierarchy of the St. Bernardus beers, it is also the beer with the highest alcohol content (10.50 %). A dark ivory coloured beer with a high fermentation. The show piece of the brewery. Thanks to its soft and unconditionally genuine aroma, the beer can be smoothly tasted. The Abt has a very fruity flavour.

Westmalle Tripel

A / 4.5
Westmalle Tripel

Westmalle Tripel is a clear, golden yellow Trappist beer that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle (9,5% alcohol). It is a complex beer with a fruity aroma and a nice nuanced hop scent. It is soft and creamy in the mouth, with a bitter touch carried by the fruity aroma. An exceptional beer, with a great deal of finesse and elegance. And with a splendid long aftertaste.

The Westmalle Tripel is indeed called the “mother of all tripels”. This type of beer was first brewed in Westmalle abbey in 1934 when the new brewing hall came into use. The current formula has stayed practically unchanged since 1956, thus more than 50 years.

This beer is generally served in 33 cl bottles, precisely the volume of the accompanying glass goblet. The bottles are sold individually, in handy packs of six or in crates of 24 bottles. And of course this beer is served in the better horeca outlets.

Tripel is also available in 75 cl bottles. It is remarkable that the beer matures differently in these larger bottles. The fruity aroma is somewhat softer and riper, and the beer gets a light touch of vanilla.

Westmalle Dubbel

A+ / 4.9
Westmalle Dubbel

Westmalle Dubbel is a dark, reddish-brown Trappist beer with a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The creamy head has the fragrance of special malt and leaves an attractive lace pattern in the glass. The flavor is rich and complex, herby and fruity with a fresh-bitter finish. It is a balanced quality beer with a soft feel in the mouth and a long, dry aftertaste.

Since 1856 the monks have also been brewing a dark Trappist beer along with their table beer. Since the recipe was modified in 1926, they have been brewing slightly heavier beer. This is the foundation of today’s Dubbel.

The 33 cl bottles are distributed individually, in baskets of six or in 24 bottle crates. The Westmalle Dubbel is also the only dark Trappist beer available on draught in some 300 selected hotels, restaurants and cafes, from kegs of 30 and 50 litres. Dubbel Trappist continues to ferment, making the draught version slightly sweeter than the bottled version.

Dubbel Trappist is also available in 75 cl bottles, in which the beer matures differently than the smaller bottles. You will particularly notice a more subtle aftertaste.

Tripel Karmeliet

A- / 4.0
Tripel Karmeliet

Tripel Karmeliet is still brewed to an authentic beer recipe from 1679 originating in the former Carmelite monastery in Dendermonde. Written over 300 years ago, this recipe describes the use of three kinds of grain: wheat, oats, and barley.

Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)

B / 3.5
Gulden Draak

Information:
Did you know that the Gulden Draak is named after the golden statue at the top of the Belfry in Ghent ? The statue was originally donated to the city of Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey) by the Norse king Sigrid Magnusson in 1111, during one of the first crusades. Approximately a century later, Boudewijn IX, Count of Flanders, ordered it to be transported to Flanders. In 1382, the cities of Bruges and Ghent even waged a battle over this statue. And who do you think won ?

At the table :
This “barley wine” blends in well with and in stews and specifically in Ghent or Flemish beef stew. It also comes into its own in sauces that accompany red meat, especially in a bordelaise. It is also eminently suited for desserts, especially pure chocolate desserts.

In the glass (according to the brewer):
Color: dark with a caramel-coloured head
Gravity: 23° Plato
Flavor: alcohol, burnt malt and coffee
Taste: very full body with hints of chocolate, caramel and alcohol
Finish: bitter-sweet, very long finish

Thanks to the re-fermentation in the bottle and the cask, this beer can be cellared for years imparting new rich flavours!

Duvel

A- / 4.0
Duvel

To commemorate the end of World War I, the Moortgats named their main beer Victory Ale. But during the 1920s, an avid drinker described the beer as “nen echten duvel” (a real devil in Brabantian) – perhaps in reference to its formidable alcohol content (8.5% ABV) – and the name of the beer was changed to Duvel. It has become the brewery’s flagship beer. Considered by many the definitive version of the Belgian Strong Golden Ale style, Duvel is brewed with Pilsner malt and white sugar, and hopped with Saaz hops and Styrian Goldings, the yeast still stems from the original culture of Scottish yeast bought by Albert Moortgat during a prospection-tour in the U.K. just after WWI.

Orval Trappist Ale

B- / 3.0
Orval Trappist Ale

Often referred to as The Queen of Trappists. It was first made in 1931, and has a complex and unusual flavor and aroma produced by a unique strain of yeast. The beer is light in color, slightly cloudy, and has a large, foamy head. There is a complex aroma of leather, horse blanket, spice, and many other earthy components.

As with all other Trappist breweries, the beer is only sold in order to financially support the monastery and some other good causes. All of the profits from the sale of the beer is distributed to charities and for community development around the region.

Beer critics consider Orval, like most Trappist beers, to be world-class quality, but it is definitely an outlier within the group. Its very distinctive taste is largely attributed to two parts of the brewing process. One of these is the use of dry hopping, in which large meshed bags of hops infuse the beer during the three week maturation period. The other is the use of Brettanomyces yeast during this same maturation, which are a local wild yeast.
Orval beer is bottled exclusively in a distinctive skittle shaped 33 cl bottle. The bottling plant has a capacity of 24,000 bottles per hour. The beer is then matured at 15°C for a minimum of four weeks on site before being distributed. Beer that will be sold at the Abbey or local cafe is matured for six months.

As the beer is bottle conditioned, its flavour can improve over the years with ageing, although its hop character and relatively low alcohol make it less suitable for this purpose than some other Trappist ales.

Trappistes Rochefort 10

A / 4.6
Trappistes Rochefort 10

Reddish-brown colour, with a very compact head and an aroma of figs, feels like honey in the mouth. The alcohol profile is a major component in the flavour of this rich ale. It is very similar to 6 and 8, but has much more of everything. Some may find the high alcohol content to be disagreeable.

Chimay Bleue (Blue)

A+ / 5.0
Chimay Blue

Chimay Bleue (Blue), 9% abv darker ale. In the 75 cl bottle, it is known as Grande Réserve. This copper-brown beer has a creamy head and a slightly bitter taste. Considered to be the “classic” Chimay ale, it exhibits a considerable depth of fruity, peppery character. The taste continues to evolve and develop with a few years of age, and is extremely popular with the Belgian population.

This top fermented Trappist beer , refermented in the bottle, is not pasteurised.

Delirium Nocturnum

B+ / 3.9
Delerium Nocturnum

Delirium Nocturnum is the sister Belgian ale to Delirium Tremens. Delirium Nocturnum is Belgian ale that is strong, complex, and has lots of flavor and character. Delirium Nocturnum is a triple fermentation beer with refermentation in the bottle.

Delirium Nocturnum is brewed in Belgian Family Brewery in Brouwerij Huyghe which is just outside Ghent, Belgium. The brewery is over 350 years old. It began in 1654 and is still at its original location and is still family owned. It’s known by many beer fans as the brewer of the well-reputed and amusingly named “Delirium Tremens”.

When Delirium Nocturnum (and Tremens) began being imported into the United States and Canada, it was quickly banned and taken off the shelves because of its name and the law that forbids the sale of an alcohol product that promotes “excessive drinking”. It was refused to be allowed to be licensed for consumption, fearing the beers’ names would encourage alcohol abuse. The dictionary defines the word ‘delirium’ as: ‘an acute mental disturbance characterized by confused thinking and disrupted attention usually accompanied by disordered speech and hallucinations’, and, ‘frenzied excitement’. It was also found offensive to people who have had the “DT’s” which indicates a violent sickness induced by withdrawal after alcohol abuse. To avoid not being imported, Delirium was imported under the name ‘Mateen Triple’ for a while until the ban was lifted in the United States and Canada.

Because of the living yeast added for refermentation in the bottle (bottle conditioning), the taste of Delirium will change (and often improve) with age due to both metabolism by the yeast and the effects of oxidation in the bottle.