Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Trappistes Rochefort 10


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As I sit here waiting to taste this beer I cannot help but feel a bit impatient. But it is a very pleasant impatience, for I know this beer is going to taste great! I’ve had the Rochefort 8 before, and as most Trappist beers are, it was quite tasty. There’s something magical about the fact that actual Monks in Belgium were involved in brewing this beer I’m about to taste. If you don’t know what a Trappist ale is, I’ll give you the short version: It was brewed by no-shit Monks to upkeep their monastery. There are only 7 certified trappist breweries in the entire World! Chimay is the largest and most well-known trappist Ale, and it’s pretty damn good. I do prefer Rochefort IMAO (in my alcoholic opinion) but that may just be my rebellious side because honestly they both taste excellent. Well enough chit-chat let’s get down to bidness!

The pour is much like one would expect from a Belgian Dubbel. A big foamy luxurious head with oh so tiny bubbles! It’s a dark brown, slightly red color that is as opaque as, well something solid I suppose…Fill in your own analogy, I’ve got beer to drink! Well, I better stick to my own rules and just smell it first.

Oh yeah, I can smell that 11.8% right there baby, and I love it! It’s accompanied by that yeasty-spicy-fruity-holy smell that often goes hand in hand with Belgians. Belgian ales that is, not the people. This aroma, however, is quite a bit stronger than most Belgians I have sampled. Maybe this one didn’t bathe as much…*insert rimshot*  Now if your a fan of the darker richer Belgian ales you will recognize this brew as smelling “fan-freakin-tastic”. Alright time for a taste!

Ohhhh yeah, complex for sure. I’m gonna have to take this one step at a time:

Alright the first flavor I notice is a subtle fruitiness quickly followed by spice and carbonation. The carbonation is pretty bubbly here, but not overwhelmingly so in any way. In fact quite the contrary! It helps you experience all of the flavors in this brew. After the carbonation subsides your left with a nice bitterness to counter the sweetness. It creates a very pleasant and well-balanced aftertaste.

The body, my god the body on this beer. I’ve often thought that the texture and feel of a beer is as important as taste, and this beer is another point for my case I believe. The texture is rich and extremely smooth… like Will Smith in Hitch. The carbonation is perfect for the texture, and the bubbles swirl around to let you taste each nuance. It’s rich without being heavy, if that makes any sense at all.

Overall, this beer is a god-damn win. Excuse my french, but it’s that damn good! It’s easily my favorite Belgian now, ranked above even Goulden Carolus Kaizer or whatever it is…you know, that blue ribbon bottle I love so much. Personally, I just call it the Kaiz but it has a longer name. I’m just really good friends with the Kaiz so he doesn’t mind. Well the Kaiz is much too sweet in comparison to this brew right here, this is how I feel a Belgian ale should truly be…well at least a strong dark Belgian ale. I’d highly recommend this brew if it didn’t cost so damn much, but grab one as a special occasion now and then. Savor it, it gets better with warmth!

Until Next Beer this is Brian G signing out!

Categories: Beer, Belgian Strong Dark Ale | 8 Comments

Collaboration Not Litigation Ale


Ah what a fine Sunday evening it is. As I wind down and watch all my Sunday animated favorites I happen to have a very interesting beer in my possession. It’s a collaboration between Avery Brewing which I know, and Russian River Brewing which I don’t know. Apparently the owners became friends and realized one day they both have beers named “Salvation” Well instead of litigation they made collaboration, which Vinnie’s (of Russian River Brewing) wife suggested they name it. So here I have a bottle from the 4th batch. I’m pretty excited to try it since Avery makes some fine beer. Russian River is new to me however. This should be quite interesting.

Well here’s a surprise, the pour is much lighter than I expected from a strong dark Belgian ale. Hopefully it won’t be lacking flavor, but I’ve had some light beers that really packed flavor in so I’m not too worried. It has a decent amount of head but nothing that excited me. Actually, it was a bit less than I expected. Well let’s see how she smells.

Ah…This brew has a very subdued smell. Let me try my hardest and see what I can detect…mm, sweet and tangy. A slight scent of alcohol and a lot of that yeasty smell that’s present in a lot of Belgians. I hope it’s not as sweet as a Leffe. Well enough hoping, let’s find out!

The taste….my god this is good, a beautiful bouquet of varying flavors. There’s some spice and some sweetness. It has an underlying bite with a very smooth body. A great feel to it for sure! The alcohol is a perfect contrast to the sweetness, and the warmer this beer gets the more nuances you can detect. This is definitely a prime example of Belgian style brews.

Overall I’d like to highly recommend this beer, a delicious brew through and through.  Not only is it delicious, it shows that companies can work together for the benefit of the consumer. These two breweries obviously love their craft and it shows quite easily. I’m gonna have to find some Russian River beers now.

Until next beer this is Brian G. signing out.

Categories: Beer, Belgian Strong Dark Ale | 1 Comment

Brasserie des Roc Triple Imperiale


Ah I hope you all had a good Memorial Day weekend!  I hope you all enjoyed some great beer over the holiday, I know I did. I know I’ve been away for a bit but I’m back now so don’t you worry. Let’s get back into things with a nice Strong Dark Ale.

Ah… another day, another beer. In fact, I’ve made a special trip this time. I’ve purchased 4 high quality 750ml Belgian brews of all types, mostly Dark Ales because I’m partial to a beautiful dark brew. I have no doubt they will all be delicious and am looking forward to one specifically, but more on that later! For now I have a beautiful Belgian right in front of me. Let’s find out a bit about this brew, shall we?

This is abbey ale, brewed in Brasserie des Rocs which started brewing in 1979. So this is a very new brewery in comparison to other Belgian breweries for sure! I remember the brewery that was a Castle which started in 900 A.D. years and years behind this one.  Eggenberg, I believe is the name. Regardless, they are surrounded by knowledge and I have faith in this beer.
The specific type is a Strong Dark Ale although it is named a Triple Imperial which is actually a type of Russian Stout if I remember correctly. I probably don’t….
This is nowhere close to a Russian Stout, which happens to be my second favorite beer type. I need to pick some up next time… ok mental note taken! Alright let’s get on with it already I’m sick of waiting….

Wow, it pours a beautiful auburn hue with an incredibly foamy head. I really like the color of this beer. It just makes me smile for some reason. It’s extremely opaque as well, which usually means I’m in store for some serious flavor. Hopefully the good kind of flavor, I think it will be if the aroma is any indication.

Rarely have I experienced an aroma as strong as this beer’s. It jumps right out at you begging to be tasted…for now I must refrain and describe my aromatic experience. The first aroma to grace my nose is apple, then sour, then alcohol. It’s a beautiful combination, a very alluring scent. There’s also an underlying apricot or some other sweet fruit that is barely noticeable…maybe I’m imagining things again. I’ll have to blame marijuana as usual, on to the taste!

Slowly….slowly…truly an inspiring taste. Let’s see what words come tumbling out of me. First of all the texture of this beer is superb. It’s extremely rich and smooth, like Billy D. Williams. It’s not overly rich like a dopplebock, its closer to a dubbel. The carbonation is perfect, just enough bubbliness (is that even a word?) to give it some life. The taste, my god the taste. As you are drinking this beer you get a fantastic whiff of the aroma because it is so strong. It accentuates the strong points of the flavor. It’s hard for me to put my finger on any one specific taste. No, they all mix together in a malty, yeasty, slightly alcoholic orgy of fantastic taste…in my mouth. Sorry, I won’t do that again.  All innuendo aside, it’s truly a fantastic beer. I would place easily place this in my top 3 beers.

Overall, I’ve found a new lover. It’s a younger brewery who has obviously done a lot right over the past 30 years. I highly recommend you sample this brew at some point in your life, after all you only get one.

Until Next Beer this is Brian G. signing out.

Categories: Beer, Belgian Strong Dark Ale | 2 Comments

Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van De Keizer Blauw


Ah, what a gloriously fine day it is. I solved a few problems I’d been having with some computers at work and I just finished a delicious steak dinner complete with au gratin potatoes. As we used to say in the military, “I’m fat and happy.” To top it all off I recently found an Ultima Online freeshard that is a lot like the one I used to play, so I’ve been able to relax and have some nostalgia. I’m in a very content mood as I sit down to write this review. And what a beer I have today!  Brewed by the old Het Anker brewery,  I know this one is gonna be fantastic. I can just feel it, and it makes me smile.

First of all, this beer has a hell of a name. Cuvee Van De Keizer Blauw…which I am almost certain means something about a Keizer and his choice of beer. Let’s see if we can find out more, shall we?
It’s a strong Dark Belgian ale, as you may have noticed if you read my blog, it is my favorite type of beer. Well, I cannot find an exact translation but it has the words Blue Emperor in it. Blue label is usually reserved for top notch liquors so I am not too surprised. Ok  now I feel silly because the translation is on the back of the bottle: “Grand Cru of The Emperor”. I do like Grand Cru although it’s usually a bit on the sour side.

As I poured out this blue beauty I almost fell in love. It’s an extremely dark amber with around one finger width of head. The head dissipated at a moderate pace and left a decent amount of lacing, oh god the lacing…like the accents of sexy lingerie. This beer certainly has a seductive quality to it. I just can’t resist it any longer.

The smell is fairly subdued in this particular brew, perhaps it is still too cold. I detect a hint of tart apple and a small trace of alcohol. This little lady packs a whopping 11% and I can barely smell it. I wonder if I can taste it. Regardless, I’ll have fun finding out.

Wow…not really much at all, it’s easy to forget this baby is 11%. Now THIS is a beer that packs in flavor, it’s immediately among my top 3 choices now. I’ve said that twice now, I only have room for one more. Ok, let me slow down and back up to describe the taste.
Immediately I taste the plums, then possibly caramel apple believe it or not. Mind you it’s a very SUBTLE taste here. It leaves a fantastic aftertaste of caramel with just enough bite of alcohol before it.
The body on this beer is amazingly complex. It’s extremely smooth and rich with the perfect amount of carbonation to really let you taste all the flavors. It has a great feel to it, velvety even. God this is good beer, I’m glad I have a whole bottle!

Overall I am extremely impressed but not overly surprised. Het, I can call you Het right? Het puts out quality beers and I was expecting this to be a great one, but it truly took its place of honor in my personal favorites. I wasn’t expecting it to be THIS good. I HIGHLY recommend trying this beauty out, it’s soft and silky and dances on your tongue like a daffodil caught in the wind….uh sorry I’ll lay off the weed.

Until next beer this is Brian G.  signing out!

Categories: Beer, Belgian Strong Dark Ale | Leave a comment

Brother Thelonious


What a cool beer I have today. Named after the jazz master Thelonious Monk, this beer is a Belgian style Strong Dark Ale. Since I love both jazz AND beer, it’s only natural to combine the two. In fact, I may have to include a jazzy track that I made a few months back on this post. Actually, here it is. Enjoy!

Let’s see what we can find out about this beer…
This beer is brewed by the North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg California. I do like American-brewed Belgian styles. Ommegang is fantastic beer and hopefully this one will be as well. Oh, apparently they also brew a Russian Imperial Stout called Old Rasputin. Now I am truly excited because that was a fantastic beer! The brewery opened in 1988 and has many award winning beers. Well it certainly looks great.

It pours a very dark brown leaning more towards red. It’s extremely opaque, which is just how I like it, and left about a half fingers width of head. It fell at a moderate pace leaving a small amount of lacing. This is how I think beer should look, Superb. You know the more I think about it the more I realize I think every beer looks great…they just all look so…enticing. Ah well, on to more important characteristics.

The smell is quite intriguing. It’s got this funkiness to it which is very enticing. That’s not surprising, Jazz and Funkiness go hand in hand after all. It is very malty with a hint of dark fruit, if that makes any sense. The aroma is an extremely understated one, unlike the last dark ale Belgian I’ve tried. Well on to the good part, I’m sure it will bring out some of this baby’s secrets.

Mmmm, now this is a nice dark Belgian for sure. It has an ultra-smooth texture while maintaining a very rich body. The carbonation rolls off your tongue nicely with just the right amount of bubbles for a Belgian IMAO (in my alcoholic opinion). The taste is rich and complex, definitely a muted taste accompanied by subdued malts. The gentle flavors combine to make a whole greater than the sum of all parts. I am extremely satisfied. There’s nothing like a nice full-bodied dark beauty to make you smile, and the beer’s not bad either!

Overall she is a winner,  although the last Dark Ale stuck with me more than this one. This brew feels more mature and stable.  The last was a free spirit comparatively, that’s not to take anything from this excellent beer however.  I applaud another New York brewery for making an excellent contribution to the line of Belgian style Ales.

Until next beer this is Brian G signing out!

Categories: Beer, Belgian Strong Dark Ale | 5 Comments

Gouden Carolus Classic


Ah back again to write another review. I happen to have a smile on my face…nothing to do with beer though. No, I just finished some rounds of Call of Duty online with my friends and we did extremely well… for the most part. Ah, now that is truly an excellent way to have fun. Hop on with a couple of friends on voice chat and kill some people together! Isn’t the future grand?
I digress…
I sit here with a Belgian beauty titled: Gouden Carolus Classic
The bottle emanates class from every angle…well if round surfaces had angles. Regardless, the bottle does bring the adjective classy to my mind. This is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale brewed at the Het Anker brewery. It has some interesting tidbits on the side.
The beer itself named after the golden coins of Emperor Charles V. Wow…The Anker Brewery was established in 1369…now these guys should know how to make beer! I love old, old breweries, more often than not they have excellent beer. You can tell this one will be from the appearance alone!

Ah, what a classy pour this brew has. It pours fairly dark brown with a finger’s width of head. The head dissipates at a moderate pace and leaves a nice ring of lacing. Oh man, I love it when beers leave lacing, I have high hopes for this girl. Let’s see how she smells. (Don’t take that sentence out of context)

Alright, this is a very faint aroma. I can smell the alcohol…and perhaps some pepper or other spice. It’s one of the faintest smelling brews I’ve sampled yet. Try as I might I cannot smell much else….so on to my favorite part then!

Oh yes, this is extremely rich and smooth. I really enjoy the body of this beer. It just feels very warm and cuddly if that even makes sense. A very pleasant feel and texture. The taste, oh the taste! It’s a fairly complex flavor…let me see here….
There’s a definite bite but it’s just the perfect amount. It’s the perfect complement to balance the complex flavor. The first taste that I can describe is a chocolate covered fig. Then the bitterness comes through and balances the flavor, it’s sweet but definitely not too sweet. It’s just barely definable as sweet…ah that’s the line I love to see beers walk. I must admit my last beer Samichlaus was much too sweet for my liking, it’s nice to be back to a semi-sweet rich Belgian ale. The carbonation is very smooth across the tongue, almost like a bubble bath. Alcohol lingers a bit on the tongue which reminds me a bit of a whiskey aftertaste, but at 1/100th the strength mind you!

Overall this is yet another fine Belgian Dark Ale. It’s not as fruity or chocolatey as some others but it is refined in its taste and should easily be considered as a contender among other great Belgians. The subdued flavor is complemented extremely well by the texture.

Until next beer this is Brian G singing out.

Categories: Beer, Belgian Strong Dark Ale | 4 Comments

Chimay Grand Reserve (Blue)


As I sit here I cannot help be feel a bit of frustration. Not due to alcohol, my goodness what blasphemy that would be! No, I am amiss because the episode of Conan last night (4-20-11) has not yet been uploaded to the web. Usually they post around 4:00pm EST and I had quite an after work routine going.
Ah well…as they say “easy come, easy go”. But do not expect an unwelcome bias due to this my faithful reader! The alcohol is cheering me up as I write this and I haven’t even tasted it yet. Today I have another Belgian. Not only is it an import, it is in fact a certified Trappist brew.

A quick Wikipedia search on Trappist yields quite a bit of information, I’ll tell you the neat bits.
There are only seven Trappist certified breweries left, Chimay is actually the example picture they have. The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist Abbey which must be under control of Trappist Monks. So this is as genuine as you can get to having Monks brew your beer!

I picked this one up on a BeerAdvocate recommendation. After sampling Rochefort’s “number 8” I noticed Chimay was on the same list. Chimay, apparently, is widely known. The brewery has been brewing since 1862, and making cheese since 1876! They still do both, offering 4 types of brew and 4 types of cheese. Now that’s classy!

The Blue is a Strong Dark Belgian, right up my alley. It pours exceedingly smoothly (maybe some grammar genius can correct that phrase) with a luxurious foamy head. It leaves no lacing and settles at a moderate pace, That’s a bit of a shame because I really love lacing, especially on fancy underwear.
The color is extremely close to caramel. Wow, I’ve seen darker ones that weren’t as thick however, there is no looking through this baby! That speaks a lot to me about how rich this brew is going to be, maybe I’m completely wrong though. (Not bloody likely)

Ah, one to the fun part..oh wait I have to smell it first nevermind.
Some people would “tsk, tsk” me for that last remark, ah well I’ll never hear it. The smell is abundant with different flavors. At the end is the distinct smell of alcohol. Well this is a 9% brew so that’s not entirely surprising, in fact it’s strangely reassuring to me. The beginning of the aroma reminds me of dried fruit and peppers, very unique and very light.

Ok now here is the fun part, the taste!
Wow, very complex flavor here. I taste the fruit and pepper together, it give it this nice little bite you’d never really expect that is immediately sedated. I can’t taste the alcohol whatsoever. Once again I am surprised at how well Belgian brews hide their high ABV. The body is somewhat rich with a decent carbonation. I wouldn’t say it’s bubbly but its at the point right before you call it bubbly. It really helps the flavors replace one another, a very complex taste to this.

Overall I would say this is a fantastic brew, but in my heart Rochefort 8 takes the crown still. Unfortunately, both these brews are out of my normal price range so they are nice visits once a month perhaps.
Now La Rossa…that’s another story.

Until next beer this is Brian G. signing out!

Categories: Beer, Belgian Strong Dark Ale | 3 Comments

Gulden Draak Ale


Here we are once again. I’ve decided to sample another Belgian Ale today, an imported Belgian at that! Nothing like the official taste of another country.

This particular brew has a striking white bottle which caught my attention easily on the shelf, even when surrounded by other beers. It has some foreign words on it which always gets me a little excited. When I see letters that don’t exist in our alphabet I start imagining the possibilities. But we’re not here just to talk about the bottle…. are we? God I hope not….

Well even if we are lets bend the rules a little and pour this baby out…
Alright, I really like this color. It’s like a Belgian Dubbel but a bit more on the brown than red side.
Actually let me go on Wikipedia and see what type of brew this is…..

Wow very interesting, I should Wikipedia every brew I sample. The name literally means “Golden Dragon” and it is a dark tripel ale. Ah I didn’t know dark tripels existed, my world has officially been rocked! While I do enjoy the tripel I often choose dubbel over it since it is darker. With tripel dark ales now in my mind I’m going to be searching high and low for them.
*EDIT* I’ve done some more research on the matter and this brew generally receives the same classification as “Strong Dark Ale”. I’ll agree and classify it as such. *EDIT*

This beer was crowned the best tasting beer in the world by the American Tasting Institute.  Where do I sign up for that job?? Well now I am thoroughly excited about this beer. Let’s see if it smells like a winner.

Oh my…wow this smell is beautiful! It smells like sunshine, no really it does!
Alright, realistically it smells very fruity with a floral tone. There is also alcohol present in the smell, there’s no hiding this 10.5% brew. Alright well, I don’t know about you guys but I’ve been waiting long enough, time to let this beauty dance on my taste buds.

The taste, well it certainly lives up to my expectations which were pretty darn high considering this is supposedly the best tasting beer in the world. Would I agree to that sentiment? Well my friend, I have many a beer to taste before I come to that conclusion. Finally, my life has meaning and purpose! The answer was always there just under my bloodshot eyes: Alcohol! Speaking of which, the taste is very hidden at first. You can barely taste the alcohol. I’m surprised considering how apparent it was in the smell.

Upon swallowing (again people please try to be mature!) it leaves the most delicious and pleasant aftertaste I have come upon to date. Bravo to Van. Steeneberge. It’s very sweet but not so much as to not call this ale. I also can taste…I want to say cherry…wow.

Excellent taste overall, the body is nice and bubbly and compliments the taste. It dances off your tongue gaily.
(Again people…maturity please!) It’s extremely light and fun, the opposite of my first girlfriend.
I’d highly recommend this to people who can’t drink heavier tasting brews, it’s truly delicious. Just be careful it’s easy to forget this is a 10.5% beer!

Until next beer, this is Brian G signing out!

Categories: Beer, Belgian Strong Dark Ale | 2 Comments

Ommegang Rare Vos


A Beautiful Belgian Dubbel

Well here we are with a Belgian Style brew. Brewed in New York city at 2.99 a bottle this could easily become a regular sighting in my household. I noticed this alongside another Belgian style from this brewery that I can’t remember the name to, regardless I decided to pick them both up. After tasting Rochefort Trappistes 8 I am hard pressed to find another Belgian, be it Dubbel or Strong Dark, that can live up to the standard Rochefort has set so high.

Hopefully this will be a contender since Rochefort is 5.79 a bottle…that’s an 11.2oz bottle.
Ah, a nice golden/amber color. This really surprised me as this is a Belgian Dark Ale. It pours with a good amount of head, oh about 4 fingers width, 2 if you have sausage fingers. The head died down after around 35 seconds and leaves a nice medium thin layer. I really think the amount of head on this brew is perfection, its in that area I so love.

The smell… oh wow! Now this is a great smelling brew, it smells like spring with a hint of summer. Very light smelling but it almost smiles at you…if that makes any sense at all.

Now for that special part I’ve been oh so longing for…
Wow…fantastic taste. Simply superb! Allow me to elaborate: Upon entering my mouth…ok let me re-word that.

The first thing I noticed was the feel of this brew. Very nice carbonation, the bubbles dance off your taste-buds with pure delight!

Too much?

It is a fantastic mouth-feel, all hyperboles aside. It’s a very light initial taste with a touch of apricot or peach or some other fruit among that taste category. On swallowing..again get your mind out of the gutter.
The beer allows just enough bite once you swallow it, followed by a floral aftertaste that reminds me a lot of the
taste extremely good weed leaves with you. A great beer to compliment fine grade ganja.
I must say I am quite impressed with this new york brewery and look forward to trying the other beer from them
whose name has so easily escaped my vapid mind.

I digress….
Please, enjoy this brew if you like Belgians. At 6.5% and 2.99 a bottle it could easily be a staple.

Categories: Beer, Belgian Strong Dark Ale | Leave a comment

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