Updated notes (03/22/23) (pictured)
This is such a hard, hard beer to review in 2023 given what has happen to it in the 12 years since my initial notes.
It’s not really because that much has changed, if indeed anything at all, but this is now brewed by a brewery that has long since lots its way in terms of the beer that it puts out generally, and now, God forbid, it’s in a can. Like most of the canned beer produced these days, the art is aimed at children, or beer drinkers under 40 as they are also known. Comparing this abomination to the resplendent, corked and caged original packaging just makes me sad.
As for the beer, yep it’s still super, and of course that’s the important part, but the loss of soul really, really does matter and it’s hard to shake. Plenty of drying Belgian yeast and fruits, and some solid solvent alcohol. All the things you’d expect, and a real throwback beer for Ommegang. See … they CAN still do this, just put it back in the 750s please.
Original notes (04/22/11)
750 mL, corked & caged in the usual Ommegang bottle.
Pop on opening is modest, with a little gun smoke.
Pour is a beautiful golden clarity, with a smallish head. Lace is present but not tremendous. Considering the ABV all is in order, and the color is truly pretty to behold. Carbonation seems somewhat restrained but again, quite appropriate. The nose is an absolute treat. A huge estery, lightly phenolic pineapple barrage that does not let up.
The tastes follow that lead with plenty of sugar coated, pineapple-cube candy and have decent levels of all of the elements one needs in a beer like this – white pepper, Belgian yeast notes, a little more candied sugar, some alcohol and a touch of earthiness in the back end. The alcohol is certainly present and dallied a little with a solvent edge but always manages to step back at the last second. Peppery bitterness cuts in in the finish and back-end of the beer to add to my satisfaction. As it warms the beer seems creamier, and the sweetness builds to give even more Tripel like character.
The kind of beer that Ommegang makes incredibly well, and the inspiration that they take from Belgium is easy to see.