Ommegang Valar Morghulis Dubbel Ale

ommegang_valar_morghulisBrewer: Ommegang Brewery, Cooperstown, NY
Style: Dubbel Ale
ABV: 8%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: As part of Ommegang’s limited edition Game of Thrones theme, this beer’s name is a tribute to the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, specifically the continent of Essos where these words are a popular saying (meaning “all men must die”). This beer is brewed in the Belgian Dubbel-style, employing a dark, rich malt base and fermented in the bottle with active yeast cultures.

Tasting Notes: This is my third sampling from the GOT lineup, which has now grown to five beers. And it was really quite good, and consistent with what a Belgian Dubbel usually has to offer. The dark malts possess a rich, brown sugar-like sweetness and a slight mineral tang, plenty of yeasty goodness and some trace amounts of spice. And of course, there were lots of dark fruit esters to accompany it. It was smoother than I am used to, but this was hardly a bad thing. Looking forward to the next two!

Appearance: Deep amber.brown, clear, thick foamy head, good carbonation
Nose: Smooth malt, yeast, oak, hint of spice, cherry and dark fruit, minerals
Taste: Rich malt, mild tang, brown sugar, plums, raisins, yeast, hint of clove, minerality
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, yeast, and mineral finish, quite smooth
Overall: 8.5/10

Ommegang Take the Black Stout

OmmegangIf there’s one thing I can appreciate almost as much as beer, its an inspired yarn, the likes of which that authors like George R.R. Martin (aka. “The American Tolkien”) has been known to spin. So you can imagine how enthusiastic I was when I found out that a craft brewing operation from Cooperstown, New York was partnering with HBO to create a series of beers with a Game of Thrones theme.

And this week, as part of my series on holiday beers, I finally managed to get a bottle of their Take the Black Stout, the first beer in the series. Currently, the only other is their Iron Throne Blonde, with a third – Fire and Blood – due to come out in spring of 2014. In truth, the only reason I waited this long to get into this series is because I’ve been so backlogged with new beers and just haven’t found the time to try them all. But the holidays are a good time for imbibing and catching up on things!

Named in honor of the oath taken by all the Night’s Watch, the men who stand the Wall in the GOT series and defend the Realm against all the threats from the frozen north. The stout consists of a malt base composed of Caramel, Chocolate and roasted barley, as well as Northern Brewer and Columbus hops. It is then spiced with licorice root and star anise to give it a full-bodied flavor that is coarse, slightly sweet, and has a distinct Belgian yeast flavor. And of course, it ranks in at solid 7% alc/vol, making for a

game-of-thrones-beer-take-the-black-stout-zap2itAppearance: Dark black, opaque, thick lacy dark head and good carbonation
Nose: Roasted malts, espresso, licorice, mild yeast
Taste: Bitterness, yeast, anise and citrus hops, giving way to espresso beans
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness giving way to hint of licorice
Overall: 8.5/10

Not a bad beer at all, and this is coming from a man who doesn’t normally enjoy extra strong stouts, especially ones flavored with licorice. In all honesty, it really didn’t make me think much of the Night’s Watch or the wall. Perhaps it’s because I’m a committed geek of the franchise, but I can’t imagine them enjoying a Belgian-style stout flavored with spices. That just seems to high-end for the Black Brothers! 😉

What I was reminded of was Unibroue, another Belgian-inspired operation that is also in the habit of serving its beer in three-quarter liter, corked bottles. And much like this Quebec-based operation, these folks do seem to appreciate traditional recipes while still remaining open to crossovers and experimentation. Onto the next beer and hopefully more in this brewery’s GOT series!

And be sure to check out the brewery’s website. It promises for some interesting reading 🙂