Popped in for a lunchtime brew today and decided to give the Black Beauty a run.
Described on the beer menu as a Dubbel, this looks, tastes and drinks much more like a Quad, and even has a few RIS notes. I spoke to Crawford and he agreed about the Quad descriptor, but was less sure of my RIS comparison. He LOVES to brew these “style-defying” Belgian beers and this is another example of the fine art he is in the process of perfecting.
Pretty much jet black on the pour as far as I could tell with some billowing, tan head. The head is the color of a typical RIS, but MUCH lighter in appearance and consistency.
Wave after wave of rich toffee and molasses notes compete with the Belgian candy for your attention. This is certainly a mighty sweet beer, but a delicious, rich and full one. I described it as simply being SUMPTUIOUS. A few touches of licorice in the back it finishes with a flourish and with more, after dinner sweetness.
Very tasty, but at around 12% (I don’t think that 15% in the BA db is accurate) this is strictly a one and done on any visit for me. Nevertheless a “must have” next time you’re at 5SN.
Although there is clearly NO bitterness to speak of, I’d put his down as a Quad or even (despite Crawford’s protestations!) a Belgian Stout. Either way, it’s SUPERB.