So I’ve been eying this 750 mL bottle in the store for some time and assumed (from afar) that it would be a Belgian IPA (considering the name), but was a little surprised to see it in the BA db as simply a BSPA. Additionally it was reviewed in this months BA magazine and was given the moniker ‘Belgian Strong Golden Ale’! Seems like the beer has a identity crisis. Either way I’m pretty confident that I know what this beer will taste LIKE, it really depends to what degree that the white pepper, spice notes, alcohol, Belgian yeast/candy and hop character kick-in, before we can assign it its rightful place on that particular sliding scale.
Into the Duvel tulip she goes.
A pretty deep orange gold color on the body with some really lovely head, lace and retention. Beer looks bright and lively.
Nose gives up a little bitterness but not a great deal.
The tastes are a confusing mixture of things for me. what I would call a threatening hop base and a lurking Belgian yeast note but neither really come to the fore with any force. There is also an underlying sweetness that makes me almost think ‘tripel’ for a second, but then that is snatched away too. There are plenty of surprising floral notes too, which all adds up to a crazy package. I don’t dislike it, but at the same time it never really delivers one thing or another. It’s not a Belgian IPA, nor is it a really clean BSPA, and in that respect to be honest it disappoints a bit.
In addition I like the alcohol in a beer of this style to bite a little more than it does here. Needs a dash more pepper or solvent bite.
A beer that really doesn’t know what it is. Like I say, not unpleasant, but a beer that falls between several stools for me and slightly lets me down. I wanted to like this more. Shame.