If I’m honest I had no idea that this beer even existed. It’s pretty new, has flown under the radar of many folk, and I believe it may have originally been produced for a festival. I acquired by accident too, when it was used to replace a beer that was unavailable in an order from Belgian Happiness that I had placed previously.
Almost black body on the pour. Great creamy head, and the lace and retention are both amazing for a 10.0% beer. Flawless appearance.
Some delicious raisin and dark plum notes on the nose, and the aroma matches what my eyes tell me about the beer. The initial tastes are much more bitter than the nose suggests though, and things are a bit paradoxical at this stage. Almost a stout feel to about it up front, but things soon change.
The early burned, roasty notes are complemented with licorice- a bit more than I was expecting. The aftertaste lingers a bit and dries out the palate slightly – again, not really what I was expecting. Of course, this is categorized as a Winter Warmer so the robust bitterness makes sense, and it’s a psychological game because you might be expecting a BSDA/Quad-like beer. Rich and full in the mouth. Satisfying.
Not as sweet as I thought this might have been at first, BUT as the beer warms it starts to open up and gets a lot more Quad-like. Plenty of sweetness comes with warmth, and the beer starts to get into the fruitier, plummy notes, but it baulks at going all the way into BSDA territory. The beer is big and warming, and alcohol plays a central and full role.
Very complex, utterly delicious and multi-layered, with the harsher, more bitter elements dueling delightfully and expertly with the softer – but still aggressive – sweeter, Quad-like notes. A bruiser, but with fantastic potential for change over time. Wow.