DBB Text Banner

Notes on beers in the style

Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Grand Réserve 17 (2016)

Grand Réserve 17
(2016)

Picked up on the recent mercy mission to Pine Knob Wine Shoppe In Clarkston, MI, to release old beer into the wild. A no-brainer at $14.99, with a BB date of 08-12-21. This is one of three or four bottles from the $200+ worth of old beer that I bought, that I had supreme confidence would be OK. Let's see if I that confidence was well placed. For reference, here is the review of the 2011 version of this beer. Pop is encouraging with removal of the cork and cage. Head looks great (dense and...

Gouden Carolus D’Or

Gouden Carolus
D’Or

Undated bottle from a recent mercy trip to Michigan to release some ancient bottles into the wild. This could be anywhere from the early 00s to approx. 2012. Purchased in early 2024, this could be 20 years old. Expecting nothing, purely experimental. Corked has no date, is slightly "stubby" and the removal reveals zero pop. Carbonation is essentially zero. Pour gives a turbid brown. Nose offers some sweet malts. Tastes are a simple, watery malt base with some light sherry notes. Body is thin....

Abbaye D’aulne Winter Triple Ale

Abbaye D’aulne
Winter Triple Ale

I *think* this is the former Abbaye D'aulne, Christmas Triple Ale rebranded, but I'm not 100% sure. The pour is fine, but the initially nice head fades to not much. No significant lace, although the color is pretty. A clear, garnet hue with a real eye-catching red in the right light. Tripel? I dunno, more like a WW or BDSA. The beer is a little thin in terms of body, but there's a decent winter spice about it, and some bitter, drying fruitiness in the back end. A few contradictions in there!...

Delirium Barrel Aged Black 2022

Delirium Barrel Aged
Black 2022

I'm not one for barrel-aged Belgians of any type, but I'll try anything once, so here goes with Black. $36.99 for the 750 mL corked and caged, Will it be three times as good as Nocturnum and/or Noel? I think I know the answer. Impressive pop once the thick black foil and cork and cage have been removed. Pour is great. Huge ice-cream head a top a body that looks basically like Nocturnum/Noel with a brown body and a touch of chill-haze. Color is a bit drab, dubbel-like brown. Not that...

Father Christmas Holiday Ale 2022

Father Christmas
Holiday Ale 2022

750 mL, capped bottle from Tavour. Categorize this beer as you will, hence my three designations. Pour is a pretty, dark-red brown affair with some good tan head. Some decent lace. Nose is not the greatest, and gives a slightly artificial smell. Difficult to describe Tastes are some alcoholic chocolate up front, and then even more alcohol. It seems hot, and a bit muddled and messy. There's no definition here, and while there are some Belgian notes (yeast, dark fruit, sugary solvent), it comes...

Gauloise Christmas

Gauloise
Christmas

Dark brown pour with some sumptuous, cherry red, garnet highlights. Head is decent, and fades to give nice, sticky lace and some thin, creamy foam on the surface of the beer. Looks good. Nose has some sweet raisins in the typical, BSDA tradition. It is sweet, and it offers very little in the way of spice. I really don't find this beer especially 'spiced', and certainly not compared to similar Christmas beers. In fact, there really isn't a huge amount of flavor beyond the sweetness here. It's a...

Zundert Trappist 8

Zundert
Trappist 8

For something that is categorized as a BDSA, this beer is a very strange color. There is a light brown, chestnut appearance, not a typical, blackish, darker body. It looks like a, "slightly-better-than-usual" Dubbel. Head is initially good, but lace doesn't form and the retention isn't great, however the thin film across the surface of the beer that lingers, is pleasing. Light fruits greet the nose and tastes. There's a touch of bitterness up front, but I get very little spice that others have...

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) Whisky Barrel Aged

Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) Whisky Barrel Aged

As is the case every time I make notes about a beer and then publish them on the site, they are no more than my thoughts, for my own records, and for my own reference. They really aren't for any other purpose, but if others enjoy reading them or even find them useful, then great! If not, so be it. I say that here because I think that these notes are likely to run counter to many others thoughts about this beer, and that's just fine! Right off the top I'll admit that I'm just not a huge fan of...

Strong Dark and Belgian

Strong Dark and Belgian

22 oz bottle, courtesy of Mark, and directly from the brewery. The color of this beer is very attractive. A deep, garnet red hue in certain light, and clear as a bell. I saw bunch of pictures on Untappd which had me worried in relation to the carbonation, because almost every one of them appeared flat. The carbonation here is better than those pictures would suggest, but not great, and if there's one criticism in terms of the pour and appearance is that personally, I would like a more...

Bière Du Boucanier Dark

Bière Du Boucanier Dark

Poured from the iconic, ceramic stubby bottle, on first look this appears like an ugly Dubbel brown - my favorite color complaint - but in better light there are a ton of red hues and the beer is significantly less dull than it first appears. Head is decent, and consummate with a 9% beer. Retention and lace follow a similar pattern. Fruity yeast on the nose, that is carried into the tastes a bit, but in those tastes we find a drier beer than the aroma might first suggest. Still plenty of...

Trader Joe’s Vintage Spiced Ale 2021

Trader Joe’s
Vintage Spiced Ale 2021

Here we are at the beginning of June with the final bottle of the 2021 vintage. I usually get a case plus a few. I'm in the habit of saying that this beer is annually one of the best value beers available in North America, and the 2021 vintage is no exception. A high quality BSDA, brewed by a brewer with a great pedigree for the style, and that used to come in at $4.99 a 750. Even at the $6.99 price tag of these days, it’s still great value. Pour is close to black with a highly carbonated...

Vicaris Winter (2018)

Vicaris Winter (2018)

33cl bottle. Best before 19/09/23, so plenty of life left in this yet. Belgian Strong Dark? Maybe not. It has some Winter Warmer character too, and no, I’m not being fooled by the name, but in the end this seems almost largely brown ale-like. ‘Imperial’ of course. Pour is a dark brown, chocolate colored body. Looks like a better version of a dirty dubbel. Head and lace do a good job. A ton of bread in the nose, with a touch of oxidation. The beer feels older than it might be right off the bat....

Hoegaarden De Verboden Vrucht

Hoegaarden De Verboden Vrucht

Just like Hoegaarden Grand Cru, I like this beer. Shoot me. Pour is a dark burgundy body, with a resplendent head, that takes on a light tan hue, and a lovely, “noisy”, pitted, dense look. This looks great. Right out the bottle there is plenty of banana sweetness in the nose. The tastes continue to bring the same, and we get some really nice dry alcohol soaked dried fruits. More banana based yeast, and then some more vinous notes. There’s a fruity, jammy, red wine based element in there, and a...

Abbaye des Rocs Spéciale Noel

Abbaye des Rocs Spéciale Noel

33 cl bottle. Finest Belgian Beers. Lot L2006 02369 26/10/2022 Turbid brown, murky Duddel like pour, with a decent but poorly maintained head. Nose offers a few, light fruit, and bitter notes. Something similar breaks across the plate early. This smooths out over the course of the bottle, and really becomes quite sweet. If one concentrates it is possible to pick out a touch of nutmeg, and little prickly carbonation, and some deeper plum like fruit, but this is one of the those odd times when...

Slaapmutske Christmas

Slaapmutske Christmas

330 mL bottle. Rich, blackish-brown pour with a lovely dense head that lingers and produces some sweet lace. Nose offers mainly simple malts. Tastes start with those same malts but with added sweetness. However this never rises too far on the sugary scale. Kept in check by some hop bitterness, and some nice balance. No spices to speak of here, this feels like a relatively high alcohol, English brown ale in some ways, and not a Christmas Belgian Strong Dark. In stylistic terms I guess one can...

Leffe Biere d’Hiver (Winter)

Leffe Biere d’Hiver (Winter)

This is one of the prettiest beers that I've seen in a while. A truly deep red-brown pour, with a great head and some fantastic lace. Bone white layers are left behind in the glass. Unfortunately, the look is the high-water mark for it. The beer drinks very light, considering the style and the look. That's both a good and a bad thing. It makes the beer drinkable and easy, but TBH it really lacks the depth that it should have, and that either style (see below) demands. Plenty of caramel, plenty...

Leffe Radieuse

Leffe Radieuse

18/03/22 43 08.03 Leffe is much maligned. I've always liked/enjoyed/loved their beer. Partly nostalgia? Sure. But I simply don't drink beer that I don't enjoy, so shoot me! Radieuse is a pretty beer. A beautifully clear, red-chestnut body with an acceptable, if not great head. Nose offers a ton of malt, and this comes through in the initial tastes. The alcohol blends beautifully with the malt and creates a rich, but highly, highly drinkable beer. A touch of solvent (which is OK), the beer...

Ommegang Soothsayer

Ommegang Soothsayer

Re-branded Art of Darkness? Not much excites me in the beer world these days, but a new Ommegang beer is always something that has the potential to do so. Strong Belgian Dark makes it even better, and I’m anticipating much joy. The pour into the Ommegang chalice is as expected, and after a mild pop on opening, the body is a dark, dark almost black brown, and a huge, pitted, mocha colored head. It looks fantastic. Some lacing too. Nose and tastes deliver exactly what one would expect. Dark...

Brooklyn Cuvée Noire

Brooklyn
Cuvée Noire

An apparent jet black pour with a tan, very modest head. Some lace. Nose offers a touch of sinus clearing alcohol and a decent bourbon whiff. Light burn in the mouth and in the throat, nothing too offensive but you know that the bourbon and the 10.6% are both in the house. Quite a light mouthfeel with no density to speak of or any oily syrup. Low viscosity, light burn. Belgian notes are mostly suppressed by bourbon - a shame. Bourbon/Belgian yeast combo not working for me. The bourbon pushes...

Brewery Ommegang XV Reserve Anniversary

Brewery Ommegang
XV Reserve Anniversary

$15.99 for the tin and the corked bottle. Love me some Ommegang, but even before I open the tin or the bottle I feel that the price here is unlikely to be kind in terms of value. We'll see. The corked and caged bottle opens with a modest pop and only a touch of gun-smoke. Pour is a dark chestnut brown that borders on black. There is a lovely mocha head that is deep and pitted, but it doesn't last long at all. A shame, since this was set up to be a real treat on the eye. The nose offers plenty...

Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale

Stone 12.12.12
Vertical Epic Ale

Here we go with the final in the vertical epic series (neither a vertical or in most cases 'epic'), but nevertheless always beers that I look forward to trying each year. On the face of it, 12 sounds like a beer that will suit me a lot. We'll see. Pour is inky black with a small, but well formed head. Nice dark mocha color with some equally good coffee-like, thin lace. Nose has a lovely, cinnamon based, mixed all-spice note that definitely has a strong 'Belgian/Christmas' element. This is...

Ommegang Art of Darkness

Ommegang
Art of Darkness

The usual Ommegang Limited Edition series presentation. Cork pops with modesty. Brewery Ommegang says, 'A spellbinding homage to brewings' dark arts'. Really? Who brewed this? Harry Potter? Nice dark brown color which gives away a slightly olive green hue. Head is pitted and mocha, leaving a thin, spotty film, but not much lace. Perfectly acceptable. Nose is simple. A few dark fruit notes, but mainly simple bread. Tastes do not really give as much Belgian dark character as I was hoping for,...

Grand Réserve 17 (2011)

Grand Réserve 17 (2011)

Bottled in 2011, No. 2011-100254, best before 12-12-2016. Parchment like label, information on the back describing the 2007 beer and the process it went through to become the 'Grand Reserve'. I've been (generally) a huge fan of the Unibroue anniversary series, and indeed enjoyed 17 very much, so even at $12.99 for the corked and caged 750 mL it was a no-brainer for me. A healthy pop on opening (good) is followed by a light chestnut, brownish pour. The carbonation is pretty good and gives a...

4 Calling Birds

4 Calling Birds

Additional notes 07/04/23 (Pictured) Almost 12 years old. A little fizz on opening and for a few seconds the head doesn't look too bad after av try aggressive pour. After that the carbonation drops off dramatically, but 100% as expected. Apparently a jet black body, but on closer inspection and different light we see chestnut browns and reds. Lots of the early reports of this beer 12 years ago was that it was hot with alcohol. Frankly, even after all of this time it's still quite feisty! It's...

Brasserie La Botteresse de Sur-Les-Bois Brune

Brasserie La Botteresse
de Sur-Les-Bois Brune

This beer did something for me that happens pretty infrequently these days - it really WOWED me! One of the best beers I have tasted in quite some time, and a beer that for me, really took me back to some other classics. Spectacular pour that looks brooding with its big, dark chestnut body and creamy, mocha colored head. It's big and dangerous and looks like it! Lots of medicinal notes amongst the more typical Belgian Dark notes - in that respect, a little surprising. There's a touch of...

Monk’s Blood

Monk’s Blood

12 oz single can from Mac's, Midtown, Atlanta, GA, USA as part of their new "Pick/Mix a Four pack" as opposed to the pick/mix a 6 pack. The beer pours a hazed, reddish-copper color with some cream colored head that does not linger. Not much lace. Nose gives up a little maltiness but to be honest it really is nothing to crow about. Some sweetness and a dash of alcohol but not much else, even on warming. Tastes are pretty sweet which is OK for the style, but follows up with some significant...

Monk’s Blood

Bink Grand Cru

750 mL bottle with a synthetic 'cork', silver foil and cage with black cap. Cork is wedged in pretty tight, it is a pain to open. Also, the lack of 'pop' and lack of gun-smoke is a little disappointing. In anything other than bright light, the beer looks black. In stronger light the body is seen to be a shade or two lower getting into the very, very dark brown region with even a few red notes/highlights in the extremities. Aggressive pour was required (at least by me, since I am a fan of...

Monk’s Blood

Grand Cru

22 oz bottle with the usual, Great Divide presentation. Red foil on this one. Dark copper, garnet colored body with good clarity and a small, off-white head. In the Chimay chalice the beer leaves some decent lace and a thin, creamy spotty head on the surface of the beer. The nose is where things get interesting to say the least. There is some sweetness that I was expecting, but there is also a dose of some hop character. The tastes are also pretty odd. There's a lot of sweetness, but not...

3 French Hens

3 French Hens

Notes added, 10/17/21 (This is pictured) It is SO gratifying when a beer drinks like this after cellaring. Carbonation is great (always the first worry), and the pour is so good as a result. 10+ years has mellowed out the oak here tremendously, and the depth of flavor is absolutely intense and immense. Smooth, beautifully balanced, drinkability off the chart, and a beer to remember in a way that it wasn't 10 years ago. The bottle conditioning has saved the carbonation here. Subtle, fruit...

Monk’s Blood

Panic Attack

12 oz single, Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. When a beer has the generic words, "Belgian Style Ale" on the label it makes me nervous. When it's from the Holy Mackerel stable as well, it makes me even more wary, and to be honest I do not have high hopes for this beer before I open it. A copper hue with a decent amount of lace and some creamy head that sits on top of the brew, Firstly this is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination a beer that should be categorized as a Belgian Strong Dark. It fails...

Monk’s Blood

Trader Joe’s 2010 Vintage Ale

A release that I look forward to every year for two reasons; the value associated with this beer is generally exceptional, and Unibroue is simply a brewer that rarely misses when it plays in its own, Canadian inspired, "Belgian" ballpark. Corked & Caged 750mL in the usual Unibroue style bottle, with a blue "U" on top of the cap that is reassuring. Best Before date on the rear of the bottle, 09-10-2013. J221 01 953Q dot-matrixed on the shoulder of the bottle at the side. A very dark brown...

Monk’s Blood

Long John Ale

12 oz single from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Word on the street is that this is essentially the same beer as this; http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/864/46125 but the beer has been "tweaked" a little in terms of the recipe, and (obviously) it has been re-branded as part of Red Brick's image overhaul. The pour gives a nice, mahogany body with some light chill haze. The head is tan and light and bubbly. Retention and lace are below average. WOW! The nose and tastes are ENORMOUS bubble-gum...

Kasteel Cuvée Du Chateau

Kasteel Cuvée Du Chateau

Updated notes 10/31/21 This is the bottled pictured. Best Before 24/11/2025. Just about 11 years since I made the original notes below. I’ve drunk this beer a few times in between, but without additional notes. Pour looks more black, and the head and retention are both better than the original notes. Again, not quite as sweet as one might think, and it does maintain that burned, almost licorice element. In fact, the licorice notes are strong here. Smooth, still very drinkable, the beer warms...

Gouden Carolus Easter Beer

Gouden Carolus Easter Beer

Pictured 03/09/2014: Original notes 11/05/2010: 750 mL corked & caged bottle. MASSIVE thanks go out to Steve for the opportunity to finally get my hands on this beer. I've been trying to get hold of it since I came to the US, and until very, very recently it was generally "not" available here. Despite several trade attempts I never managed to get one until Steve just simply gave me one! That's an amazing piece of advocacy that I will always remember. Color is frankly a not particularly...

Monk’s Blood

t Smisje Grande Reserva

11.2oz "stubbie" bottle from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. WOW! This happens about every 6-12 months, i.e. a beer that truly blows me away. A truly magnificent, regal beer. The pour and the appearance are most definitely the weakest points. A light brown, murky affair with an annoy over-carbonation that leads to a difficult pour and foam that snakes out of the bottle. After the somewhat disappointing appearance things REALLY take-off in a serious manner. The nose and tastes yield a pretty much...

Monk’s Blood

Adriaen Brouwer Dark Gold Ale

750 mL corked & caged bottle from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Beer pours with a brown, Dubbel like color but with more clarity than one associates with the Dubbel category. The bottle opens with a disappointing lack of pop, but pours in a very much better manner than the opening would suggest. the beer yields a lovely, creamy, cream colored film on the surface of the beer, and produces a small amount of broken lace. Nice, light booze in the nose that produces some decent sherry aromas. There's...

Santa’s Little Helper 2009

Santa’s Little Helper 2009

750mL, corked, caged and red-foiled affair. $12.99 from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Rich looking dark brown pour with a creamy, tan head. Some nice, creamy lace and a thin film forms on the surface and around the rim. A few cocoa notes and some Belgian yeast in the nose, along with a bit of hop presence. The beer doesn't deliver many (if any) typical Dark Belgian character. Outside of the look, it gives a slightly odd cocoa note (that I don't much care for) and is low on the advertised spices....

Monk’s Blood

Demon Hunter

750 mL bottle, paper wrapped as in the BA database picture. Pretty impressive presentation. $15.99 from Arbor Place Beverage, Douglasville, GA, USA. Cap has an extra plastic appendage on the underside and it comes off with some force. Pour is a very attractive, orange copper color with some excellent creamy head, with persistent, spotty coverage on the surface of the beer and some nice lace. Head characteristics (in terms of retention) are especially pleasing. Somewhat musty, light sherry...

Monk’s Blood

Terrapin The Dark Side Belgian Style Imperial Stout

22oz bottle. Had this a few times in the last few weeks, time for some formal thoughts. Pour is a good looking black with a few brownish highlights. Head is initially nice and creamy but the retention and lace are both very poor even when considering the ABV. Marked down for that. A nice rich nose with some light roasty character, some chocolate and a touch of alcohol. Considering the word "Belgian" is used in the name of the beer and the label, the beer lacks much of a Belgian yeast element....

Monk’s Blood

Trader Joe’s 2009 Vintage Ale

Additional notes 01/11 About 14 months old. Nose seems stronger than ever (in a good way). The carbonation is still quite prickly, and I think this is probably the weakest part of the beer, but paradoxically it lends a pretty lively element to the beer, and I would rather be it that way than the other, Still fruity and rich, the value here is indisputable. Yeasty elements seems a little higher than originally. Super beer. Original notes 12/09 Trader Joe's have been in Atlanta for about three...

2 Turtle Doves

2 Turtle Doves

Additional notes 08/06/23 Almost 14 years on, and WOW. WOW! The pour (pictured) is extraordinary. A decent pop on removing the cap, and a little gun-smoke - surprising. Head is inexplicable for the age and the ABV. I have no words. Lots of bitter licorice first. Hang on though. Rich, malty notes beyond a barrel experience and creeping into a Madeira element. In fact, the more I drink it this feels like Madeira laced with a touch of charcoal. Light roasty coal. More charcoal, but oh so gentle....

Ommegang Adoration Ale

Ommegang Adoration Ale

750mL corked & caged bottle. Found this at Mac's, Atlanta, GA, USA. Delighted and surprised, wasn't anticipating getting hold of this. Black dot-matrixed on the neck: PKG on 08/28/09, Best by: 08/2014. Pour is a pretty bright, darkish bronze color but at the same time not quite as dark as I was expecting. Head is good and fades to give a lovely, creamy, spotty film on the surface of the brew. Classic look. Nose and tastes give plenty of layered Belgian candy, winter spices and alcohol. The...

Monk’s Blood

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

Surprised to see so few reviews of this (only 5 at the time of writing), since I've had this in my posession since last week. First time that I've drunk a VE on the actual day! Pour has a jet black body with a lovely, high head with fine bubbles. The bubbles are extremely fine in the way that creates that almost perfect, horizontal line between the body and the head that one finds in many nitro pour beers, or more commonly in Guinness. The head is not amazingly well retained, but it does leave...

Fantôme Black Ghost

Fantôme
Black Ghost

750 ml, capped and corked from the latest batch to make it to GA. Delighted to see this back in GA after a fairly lengthy absence due to production and distribution inconsistencies. I think it's worth saying right off the top that this beer is fairly atypical of Fantôme. It lacks some of the excessive funk that one often finds and whilst certainly "spiced", it's in a herbal manner which is somewhat out of the ordinary for them. Pour is a turbid, murky brown Dubbel like body (not very...

Monk’s Blood

Allagash 11th Anniversary Ale

750 mL corked & caged. I was delighted to get hold of this as I was pretty sure that this would be a beer that I would never get the chance to try, but thanks go out to the generous trader that hooked me up. One of my favorite brewers and one of my favorite style - hopefully, that will add up to success! The pop on opening was not big, and I wonder if this has lost a little carbonation over the years. The pour also lacks much life. The body is a orange/amber hazed affair with very little head...

Monk’s Blood

Noir De Dottignies

Paper-wrapped 750 mL, capped bottle in typical De Ranke presentation mode. This came from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Popping the cap produces a touch of gunsmoke but the pour produces a pretty lively beer. Some really substantial, thick, bubbly head that lingers and leaves good lace. Body is a slightly murky, dark Dubbel like affair. Nose is quite frankly not huge, but it does give a strong whiff of a hop base rather than a Belgian fruity/estery/yesty/candy note. I suppose this is in line...

Monk’s Blood

10 Commandments

Well, I'm always holding my breath when I crack open a Lost Abbey these days as I wait to see if the carbonation is going to be an issue. Luckily this open opens with a decent pop, not huge but enough to leave me confident that this beer is carbonated correctly. 750 mL corked & caged with the usual, elaborate LA presentation. Looks classy. Poured this one into the Gouden Carolus, small chalice. The beer looks near perfect. Beautiful, dark mahogany clarity with a super, rich, dense mocha...

Brooklyn Local 2

Brooklyn Local 2

Pictured 03/25/17 Original notes 02/21/09 750 mL corked & caged affair, $7.99 from Tower on Piedmont, Atlanta, GA, USA. I must admit, when I saw the description that included the honey and the citrus peel I was expecting a beer that fell more into the Belgian Strong Pale category, so to see a Belgian Dark flow from the elaborate bottle was a slight shock. I love the green and gold color scheme. Pour is a rich looking, thick, tight-headed beer with a reddish Dubbel appaerance. Head has a...

Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown Ale

Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Special Brown Ale

Additional notes 04/27/24 BB 2014 bottle purchased on a recent Michigan trip. A gamble that I could simply not resist. (Pictured below) Carbonation is magnificent for the age. Decent pop, nice head. Great for the age with plenty of Belgian Strong Dark notes that are amazingly full for the vintage. No oxidation signs, and plenty of lively mouthfeel. Dark fruits and light sweetness. A true triumph for a beer of this age. Notes added 02/10/22 (pictured) 13 years since I last took notes on this...

Canaster Winterscotch Ale

Canaster Winterscotch Ale

Additional notes 12/18/22 (pictured): Still gushing 13 years later. A cleaner beer in terms of floaties than previously noted, and to me, now this drinks more like a Belgian version of an imperial brown ale rather than the original designation of BDSA and/or a Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy. Now, I suppose that you could say well, that's what a BDSA/Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy is, but this feels extra malty and very smooth that somehow makes it an amalgamation of all of the styles. Light acidity, very little...

Monk’s Blood

Equinox

750mL capped and corked from Duke's package up on US-41 in Marietta, GA, USA. Green, heavy glass with a champagne dimpled bottom. Dark brown, hazy pour with a decent amount of head and lace. VERY Dubbel like as opposed to BSDA, and lacks the sweetness and fruity nature of a typical beer from the style. Lots of yeast sediment in the final pour from the bottle. Quite bland in the grand scheme of things and lacks any winter spice element or significant Belgian yeast tastes. Distinct lack of...

Monk’s Blood

La Madragore

Draft, Brick Store, Atlanta, GA, USA. Pours with the look of an RIS. Much thinner though. Lactic, sour notes hit the nose and the combination of that and the thin mothfeel make this one a non-starter for me. Nasty, lacklustre effort that has a sour milk note. This would be bad enough if it were some kind of stout but to put this in a Belgian Strong Dark category is a travesty. Acidic and tasteless. Another really disappointing beer from this stable. Avoid.

Monk’s Blood

Serafijn Grand Cru

750 mL bottle from Green's on Ponce, Atlanta, GA, USA. $8.95 for the orange foil topped, capped bottle. Lot 06/07 on the cap. A little gunsmoke on opening and a slight burst of carbonation. Into the Duvel tulip it goes. Smells a bit "old". Big head and very nice lace. Dark orange body. Sweet, malty yeasty nose that reminds me of another brew that I just cannot put my finger on. Tastes are a really earthy, rustic feel. In fact it seems to remind my of OLD beer. It's a bit odd and it really...

Monk’s Blood

Urthel Vlaemse Bock

750 mL corked & caged, Arbor Place Beverage, Douglasville, GA, USA. Slightly cloudy, reddish Dubbel-like pour that starts with a good head but fades rather badly giving no lace. Nose has plenty of Bock notes with rich alcohol and some depth - promising. Tastes are interesting because I was expecting a degree of acidity associated withe the brew but got NONE. Essentially this was a simple, Dopplebock/Dubbel crossover brew with Belgian yeast notes and German alcohol and malt character. Good,...

Monk’s Blood

Santa’s Little Helper 2007

$14.95 from Green's on Ponce, Atlanta, GA, USA. 750 mL corked & caged affair with a red foiled neck. Poured into a small wine glass whilst on vacation in a villa on Hilton Head Island. Deep, dark Porter colored body. Close to jet black with some brown highlights. Nose and tastes are both VERY complex. There are all the requisite dark Belgian chracteristics. Plenty of dark fruits, figs and raisins; warming alcohol. The finish pulls the whole package together with a lovely mildly acidic note...

Monk’s Blood

Abbaye D’Aulne Triple Brune 9°

750 mL, corked & banded (as opposed to caged). Picked this up at Arbor Place in Douglasville, GA, USA. Date on the bottle is 03/10/07 which probably means October 2007, but either way this will not have suffered much. Anyway, when I pointed this out at the register it was given to me at 75 cents - RESULT! Very healthy pop on opening (good sign), and a good looking pour into the Duvel tulip. The body color is darker (and better looking) than a Dubbel and has a good head and some lace. Nose is a...

Monk’s Blood

Unibroue 17

750 mL Corked & Caged bottle with the usual Unibroue, silk screened presentation. $8.49 from Bullocks, Marietta, GA, USA. Had a bit of a job to track this down. Big pop on opening, it's poured into the Ommegang chalice. Dirty brown, Dubbel like color (not attractive) with a high head that is dense, creamy and off-white (this IS attractive). Nice lace. Big, herbal nose with some interesting notes of freshly cut green leaves - quite odd! Mint? Very, very, very mild smoke?? Large alcohol...

Monk’s Blood

t Smisje Calva Reserva

11.2oz "stubbie" bottle that is different from the picture in the BA database. $4.29 for the bottle. It lists the ABV as 11.0% which leads me to believe that it *could* possibly be the Grande Reserva version, but there is NO mention of this on the label, so I'm running with the Reserva. Dark rust colored pour that is still in the glass - no head or lace to speak of. Consistent with the ABV. Nose has pleny of sweet alcohol. Replicated up front with sweet alcohol, but the finish s dry and...

Monk’s Blood

Allagash Odyssey

750 mL corked & caged from Jax in Sandy Springs, Atlanta, GA, USA. I think this was $12.99 for the bottle. The January 2008 bottling. I was a little wary of this, as I am with the majority of Oak-Aged beers. Often I find the oak tastes simply overwhelming. As a result I opened this with a little trepidation. Poured into the Ommegang chaice this sits nicely in the glass with a creamy, dense head (if somewhat small). Not much lace. Lovely dark brown body, almost black. Nose reveals some sweet...

Monk’s Blood

Extra Brune

On tap at Tyler's Taproom, Durham, NC, USA. Served in a Brooklyn snifter, $6.00. Flanders Oud Bruin? Not to me. This appeared to be an overly sweet Dubbel. Typical, dirty brown Dubbel body with some floaties. The overwhelming sensation and taste here was sweet, sweet, bubblegum. The bubblegum aroma and taste were extraordinarily strong to the point of being distracting. No hint of any sour notes that one might expect in a more typical example of the (alledged) style. Hubba-Bubba aged?? I...