St. Feuillien Tripel

Brewer: Brasserie St. Feullien, Le Rœulx – Belgique
Style: Belgian Tripel
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This beer has a white, smooth and very compact head. Its pale amber colour is very characteristic revealing a distinctive maltiness. It has a rich aroma with a unique combination of aromatic hops, spices and the typical bouquet of fermentation – very fruity. Secondary fermentation in the bottle gives it a unique aroma due to the presence of yeast. St-Feuillien Triple has a very strong and exceptionally lingering taste thanks to its density and its long storage period. Whether served as a refreshing aperitif in summer or savoured during the winter months, the Triple is a connoisseur’s beer par excellence.

Tasting Notes: This beer is certainly consistent with what I’ve come to expect from a Tripel, and in some ways, reminiscent of Duvel. It is straw golden in hue, semi-cloudy, and has hints of clove, honey and spice on the nose. These come through in the flavor department as well, starting subtle and lingering on the palate, and with a yeasty tang to punctuate things. A good sipping beer, refreshing despite its strength.

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Vichtenaar Flemish Ale

vichtenaarBrewer: Brouwerij Verhaeghe, Vichte, Belgium
Style: Flemish Red-Brown Ale
ABV: 5.1%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Named after the town in which it is brewed, this beer is brewed in the tradition of Flemish reds. This includes combining deeply burned malt, spicy and fruity hops, and soft water pumped from a local well. It then undergoes primary fermention using wild yeast strains, a second lagering, and then a third fermentation in oak casts, where it matures for several months.

Tasting Notes: This beer get solid marks for its commitment to tradition, but I deducted several because of the flavor, which was far too vinegary for my taste. When you initially smell it, you get strong traces of apple cider vinegar and sugar. When you taste it, you realize that’s pretty much all its got going on. In many ways, it reminded me of Krampus, another vinegar-heavy sour ale that really didn’t do much for me.

Appearance: Deep red-brown, clear (appears opaque at first), mild foam and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, yeast
Taste: Smooth start, sugars, vinegary bite, yeasty effervescence
Aftertaste: Lingering sweetness and vinegar flavor
Overall: 7/10

Bornem Dubbel

bornem-dubbelBrewer: Brasserie Van Steerberge, Ertvelde, Belgium
Style: Dubbel
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This abbey ale is made in the traditional Belgian double-style, employing a rich, darkly roasted malt base that undergoes primary fermented in the barrel. It undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle (or the barrel) with active yeast culture.

Tasting Notes: This beer is rather mild and easy drinking as dubbels go. It has all the expected elements, like a rich, sweet malt base, notes of dark fruits, brown sugar, some minerals and and some yeastiness. But it finishes quite mild and does a pretty good job of concealing its alcohol. Glad I found it!

Appearance: Deep brown, translucent, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Smooth, rich malts, dark fruit, brown sugars, minerals
Taste: Smooth malt, mineral tang, mild brown sugar, raisins, dates, yeast, mild hops
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, fruit and sugars, minerals
Overall: 8/10

Corsendonk Agnus Tripel Ale

Corsendonk-Agnus_tripel-33-1_1024x1024Brewer: Brouwerij Corsendonk, Turnhout, Belgium
Style: Tripel
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Corsendonk Agnus is the brewery’s take on the traditional Belgian Tripel. True to this tradition, it combines a generous dose of pale malt with a mild hopping, and is then bottle-fermented using active yeast cultures. And the end result is a brew that is rich, malty, crisp and bubbly, and none too shy about its alcohol content.

Tasting Notes: Corsendonk is kind of a big deal as far as the Belgian beer game goes. In the past, I’ve had their Pater a few times, so I was pretty pleased to see their Tripel available locally. And I was quite impressed with it. In addition to all the things I’ve come to love about Tripels – rich malt, strength, lots of yeasty flavor – the Corsendonk Agnus manages to pull all of that with a degree of subtlety. Its drinkable and refreshing on top of it all, which is a nice plus.

Appearance: Golden-orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, sugars, citrus, floral nose, coriander spice, yeast
Taste: Rich, crisp malt, hint of sugar, honey, coriander spice, yeasty effervescence
Aftertaste: Lingering notes of honey, yeasty bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Brouwerji Van Steenberge Gulden Draak

gulden_drakBrewer: Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V., Ertvelde, Belgium
Style: Dark Triple Ale
ABV: 10.5%

Description: This brew takes it name and logo from the dragon that sits atop the Belfry of Ghent, one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city center of Ghent, Belgium. This dark triple is one of several beers brewed by the Van Steenberge brewery in the town of Ertvelde and uses dark malts, a mild dose of hops, and wine yeast for secondary fermentation in the bottle.

Tasting Notes: I first tried this beer back in Ottawa, many years ago. Lucky for me I found a steady supply again and decided to give it a proper review, for I seriously forgot what it tasted like, which is pretty fantastic. Rich, sugary malts packed with notes of dark fruits combine with a yeasty backbone, resulting in a tasty, velvety flavor that is surprisingly smooth in spite of the alcohol content. Definitely something that requires re-re-sampling!

Appearance: Dark brown/amber, very cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark malt, yeasty, demerera sugar, white wine
Taste: Smooth malt, brown sugar, flavors of dates, raisins, grape, yeasty effervescence
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and yeasty notes, hint of spice
Overall: 9.5/10

Brasserie des Rocs Grand Cru

Brasseriedesrocs_GrandCruBrewer: Brasserie des Rocs, Montignies-sur-Roc, Belgium
Style: Strong Brown Ale
ABV:
9.5%

Description: This strong Belgian brown ale is fashioned using 7 different varieties of malts, a mixture of three kinds of hops – Belgian, German and Czech – and is brewed without any sugar. The end result is then double-fermented and unfiltered to create a malt-forward, strong special ale.

Tasting Notes: This was a surprising experience, being very malty and sugary – despite the lack of Candi sugar in the brewing process. However, it was what one would expect from a strong Brown ale or a Belgian Dubbel. Basically, it was packed with flavors of dark fruit, brown sugar, and had a nice, smoky finish that reminded me of Christmas and figgy pudding. Another good intro to a previously-unknown Belgian brewery.

Appearance: Ruby/brown, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugars, fruity notes, plums, dates, raisins, rum-like essence
Taste: Smooth malt, strong sugars, dark fruit, hint of smoke, mild alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering smoky, dark fruit and sugary aftertaste
Overall: 9/10

Het Anker Golden Carolus Cuvee van der Keizer Rood

cuvee_van_de_keizer_r_75clBrewer: Het Anker, Mechelen, Belgium
Style: Special Blonde Ale
ABV: 10.5%
IBU: 17

Description: Launched in 2008 on the 10th anniversary of the Cuvee van de Keizer Blauw’s release, this special blonde ale that contains added varieties of malt, an exclusive Belgian hop variety, and three kinds of herbs.

Tasting Notes: As blonde ales go, this one was rather “special”. The strong malt, sugars, and yeasty notes are true to a blonde ale, but the infusion of herbs, notes of honey and fruity esters give it a flavor that is somewhat reminiscent of mead. It’s also very smooth despite its high alcohol content and diverse array of flavors. Definitely an interesting experience and a worthwhile buy!

Appearance: Deep golden, slightly cloudy, heavy foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich grainy malt, yeast, honey, sugars, sweet herbs, white wine
Taste: Smooth start, tang, yeasts, sugar and honey, fruity esters and herbs, oak,
Aftertaste: Lingering honey, malt flavor, yeast bitterness and esters
Overall: 9.5/10