DBB Text Banner

Notes on beers in the style

Belgian Dark Ale

River Horse Belgian Freeze Belgian Style Winter Ale

12 oz single, thanks go out to finewinemike as part of my Secret Santa 2010. Pour is a murky brown, Dubbel like affair with some decent head and some fairly significant lace. In that respect, pretty nice to look at. Some Belgian yeast notes in the nose and tastes, but also a fair amount of hop character that I wasn't really expecting. The hops, although fairly muted and reserved, still sing out too much for the style for me, and frankly don't belong there, even in the relatively muted manner...

Black Orchard

Happy to come across this on my recent trip to NY. This never made it to GA (The Bruery got here after this was done), so happy to hook myself up! Also glad to to see a more sensible ABV from The Bruery on this one for a change. Popped the cap on the 750 mL, usual style Bruery bottle (I do like their labels) and the pour is an impressive JET black! A few gold highlights at the extremities, but otherwise pretty solid. Carbonation is annoyingly fizzy. It detracts from the smoothness, leaves...

Rare Vos (Amber Ale)

Apparently the house beer brewed by Ommegang for BXL in NYC, NY is actually not a new beer at all, but it's actually Rare Vos. Reported as an alias. Consumed today at BXL East on 51st. Pour is a mid-amber one with impressive head and lace. The lace is especially pleasing. A LOT of yeasty, bread notes in this beer that dominate both the nose and the taste. Excellent combination of sweetness and competing dark(er) dry character. Some fruit as well, the beer almost has a plum or other dark fruit...

Van Twee (w/ John Mallett)

750 mL corked & caged bottle, plastic cork (I hate those), $13.99 from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. BA pghlee at The Brick Store gave me a sneak taste of this a couple of weeks ago, now I get a chance to have a proper crack at it. Pour is almost black with about 3/4 of an inch of frothy, light head. Mocha colored. On the pour at least the beer seems quite carbonated and fizzy. Things settle down to give some nice lace and a classic, spotty, creamy surface on the beer. Nose gives the lightly,...

Werewolf

This has been sitting in the DBF for a while - how bad can it be? I guess we're about to find out! Pours a light amber color with some carbonation from the 500 mL bottle. Has a malty, sweet nose and a taste to match. Very sweet with some cloying. Belgian Dark? Not in my book. Alcohol is there and it kicks in at the finish. Decent alcohol delivery vehicle for the winos and kids, but for me it's a pretty nasty combo. Some metallic bitterness in the finish and a solvent/aftershave note at the...

Chocolate Indulgence Stout

Not at all sure what to make of this - a bit odd in many respects. 750 mL corked & caged. First off I bought this several months ago at Minks on Delk Road, Marietta, GA, USA. When I took it to the register the guy tried to convince me that this was the follow-up to Donkey Punch by Sweetwater - Jeeezzz! When challenged he told me, "that's what the distributor told me". Good God, my six year old knows more. Anyway... ....turbid brown pour into the Urthel stemmed tulip. Spotty head and some lace....

Tilburg’s Dutch Brown Ale

Purchased as a single from Michaels (I think). 11.2 oz bottle. Poured into the Koningshoeven small goblet. Good depth of color with a deep brown body, but small head and virtually no retention. Plenty of caramel notes in the nose with a little alcohol. I like the taste; plenty of malty sweetness, good sugary caramel notes and some bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is where this beer fails. "Thin" might be pushing it, but it's not great. Very lacking in depth for the style, but a decent...

Bink Bruin

11.2 fl oz bottle, Green's, Buford, Atlanta, GA, USA. $3.99 purchased in conjunction with the Blond. Notched label with Lot number ABDE showing and a date of Best Before 2/06. Some moron as written "Belgium Beer" on the label. That REALLY pisses me off. Poured into the Duvel tulip it shows a huge head that is gone pretty quickly. Dark, dark brown body that looks very viscous. Muted sweetness in the nose. Very mild fruits. Thin mouthfeel with a mild smoke element. Dry fruits present but the...

Hell For Certain

12 oz bottle, thanks to BEERchitect for the trade. Mild Belgian characteristics but this is NOT an authentic Belgian Dark by any stretch of the imagination. Pretty weak and insipid. Somewhat murky brown pour, Dubbel looking. Small head with no retention and no lacing. Sweet, bubblegum character. Dry finish with very thin mouthfeel. A little fruit - not much. Not good.

Leffe Brune / Brown

Original notes: 11/05/2006 On tap at Pazzo's, Lexington, KY, served in the Leffe glass. Bottle pictured from Jan 2021. Several years ago this was one of my favorite beers - I used to drink it a lot on regular trips to Northern France and Belgium. Since leaving England and coming to the USA, I have not had an opportunity to get hold of any, and as a result I have been craving it for a long time. I was worried that nostalgia was getting the better of me, and that I would be terribly...

Petrus Speciale

Overall a rather disappointing experience. Special? I don't think so. Belgian Dark? Not in my book. Poured into the Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs chalice I get a golden body with thin, watery lacing. That's fitting because the whole experience is somewhat thin and watery. Lack of body, taste and alcohol makes for a letdown. Dry bitters in the taste and the finish, a metallic twang and little less apart from some citrus (mainly lemon) notes. It lacks a lot of the sweet and spice notes and the...

Noire De Chambly / Chambly Noire

Thanks to zrrbrrt for the trade (this was before this got to Atlanta). 750 mL corked and caged. Poured into the Duvel tulip, the color is VERY black, almost of Guinness proportions, and is completely opaque without a hint of any other kind of colored highlights. Thin creamy layer of head on the surface of the black body. Well, no mystery here. Typical Dark Belgian attributes all over the place from the aroma to the tastes. Yeast and spice with a couple of slight differences. Mouthfeel and...

Het Kapittel Pater

In the Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs goblet it sits as a murky orange with a decent head that hangs on with soem impressive retention. Lots of sweet fruits dominate, but there is a definite dry and bitter lingering finish. Alcohol is mild and the mouthfeel average. A little acidic too, but the Belgian character shines through in the yeast character. Pretty good example of the style, but I always feel that a Belgian Dark that doesn't carry a larger ABV can sometimes seems a little too...

1554 Enlightened Black Ale

Dark, dark brown with plenty of ruby red highlights. Not much head and what little lacing there is, is fairly watery. Nice malt aroma with a very sweet, burned sugar type taste. Reminds me a lot of a brown ale crossed with a schwarzbier. Above average drinkability, but at the same time give me a well-crafted brown ale everytime instead.

Grottenbier

Poured into the St. Bernardus Chalice with a mid-dark brown body, a fantastic looking half-inch creamy, dense head with excellent lacing that fades to a stout-like, spotty and creamy film. Carbonation is very nice with miniscule bubbles making up the head. A damn good looking beer. Lots of balance with malts and hops competing for the palate's attention, but not as complex as it first appears. Actually a distinct lack of fruitiness, but some definite dark, dry and bitter highlights especially...

Rare Vos (Amber Ale)

First time I'd seen this offered as a single 750 mL bottle in GA. Before it was usually only hanging around in the Ommegang, triple sampler packs with Three Philosophers and Hennepin. By no means Ommegang's best offering, in fact I was a little disappointed. That may be because they have set such a high standard with Hennepin, Three Philospohers and Ommegang The pour is a much more orange/red color than I was expecting with a huge head and lacing too. The overwhelming experience in the taste...