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Notes on beers in the style

Belgian Strong Pale Ale

28th
Anniversary

An anniversary beer, from an old school player from back in the day, allegedly in a style that I gravitate toward? Those things trump my aversity toward cans so I'm in - for a single at least. Doesn't get off to a great start. For me, the color is all wrong. Copper body is too dark for me and somewhat makes a mockery of the name of the beer, if not entirely the style. For the style, I need a golden hue. Head is about right for a 12% beer. Speaking of the ABV it's just too big. It falls over...

Coucou
Puissant

Bottled 20SEP22, Best Before 20SEP24. "Dry-hopped quad"? For all intents and purposes this is a sweet, hoppy Tripel/BDSA, or at least something that resembles that particular description. Good looking, fluffy white head with a lightly hazed golden body. The nose offers a sweetish, hoppy nose. Tastes deliver some soapy notes, as the hop forward beer threatens a bit at the beginning. However, this gives way to a significant, sweeping sweetness. Paradoxically there is also a lot of bitter, orange...

Duvel
Jamaican Rum Edition

Batch 6. Bottle # 21421 out of 101325. 390 Barrels. Packaged in a box with an open face and comes with a small, highball type glass (pictured). If you've ever read any of my notes regarding barrel aged Belgians of any descriptions, you know I just don't see the point and I never believe that the base beer is improved or enhanced. You'll also know that I'll try anything once. So here we are. The rum barrel has imparted a light copper colored to the otherwise golden Duvel. Nose offers some...

BDB
(Blonde De Blaugies)

Corked and caged 375 mL bottle. A lot of visible yeast sediment in the bottle. The orange cap of the cage has U2-06:22 dot-matrixed on it. This seems to be a relatively new beer, maybe from the middle of 2023? A hazed orange pour -  as I said there is a LOT of yeast here, and even with a careful pour a decent amounts gets into the first pour. Head is sufficient, a thin film left, lace minimal. Nose is a lovely, fruity bread with some light funk. The mouthfeel is where this beer begins to come...

24th Anniversary
Grand Cru

To be fair, a Belgian Strong Pale can take on a range of hues, and I would say that this is within parameters, but I’d love a Duvel clone (at least to look at). It’s a honey amber colored. Admittedly I’m not in great light at the BJ's bar, even at lunchtime. Head not great, but within acceptable ABV limits. Medium carbonation, and with agitation we get a decent head if somewhat induced. Nice light esters in the nose increasing with warmth of course. Smells pretty good. Tastes bring the nose,...

Tsjeeses Reserva
(Porto Barrel Aged)

I don't understand this beer. Vintage 2020, bottled on 15/11/22 and good for 5 years out. Now branded as Blond Winter Ale matured on Port barrels. Not a great head - to be expected at 10% - but also a weird colored pour that is reddish brown, not exactly the advertised "Blond Winter Ale". I suppose that's because of the aging on Port barrels that would appear to have taken a couple of years IF I am reading the label correctly There's a thin film retained, and a little lace but not much. Nose...

St. Feuillien
NINE

11.2 oz bottle, 8/10/21. Bigger brother of FIVE and SEVEN, and smaller brother of ELEVEN. I suppose we can argue at what point something described as a Belgian Strong Blonde becomes a Belgian Strong Pale, or if it does at all, or if it matters at all, but at the end of the day it all boils down to much the same thing in the glass. Fairly standard alcohol solvent on the nose. As one would expect. Described as a Strong Blonde the beer pours as one would expect. Golden body, bone-white head with...

Bush Prestige
Cuvée Spéciale 2013

2013 Vintage, purchased late 2022 and opened in 2023. Bush Ambrée aged in oak for 6 months, and then re-fermented with sugar and yeast in the the bottle. This gets the ABV up to 13%. These used to be in gold foil adorned, Deus type bottles, but this is simply a regular 750 mL. Modest pop on opening but there is some carbonation present - always a relief. At ten years old, the beer is certainly past its best IMO with perhaps a tiny touch of oxidation present, BUT it's also still quite drinkable...

Mont de Cats
Bière trappiste

330 mL bottle, BB 08/2024. Dark, copper colored body with a light, high, white and fluffy head. Good lace; nice retention. Body color doesn't really match the style. Nose offers little TBH. Only very, very simple bread malts are detectable. No problem per se, but in terms of the style I'm not in love with it. A surprising, malty bitterness for the style, and also rather dry to start. Lacks significant depth of flavor (again in terms of the style), and maybe the *slightly* lower ABV than...

Delirium
Deleria

Odd that I have no notes on this beer until now, I've had it several times previously. Appearance as expected with decent lace and a lingering film on the surface of the golden body. Crystal clear. Nose is very sweet - surprisingly so, and the overwhelming experience in the aroma for me is wave after wave of pear drops. No oily slickness or cloying elements in the mouthfeel - dry. The pear drop experience follows into the initial tastes, but it dries VERY quickly. Again, surprisingly so....

Angel’s Paw
(French Oak Edition)

Well, the French oak spirals certainly changed the original beer! First out, the original beer has taken on a much darker hue here. In the mouth this is much rounder, and the oak is surprisingly rich. It really changes the beer from the clean edges of the original BSPA, into a much flabbier offering. For me, even though this is quite drinkable and has all of the characteristics that one might expect, the treatment doesn't make the original beer any better. Different? Sure. Better? Not really....

Grand Cru 2022

OK, OK, I'm biased! Certain styles speak to me, and a great Tripel/Belgian Strong Pale is one of those things. 750 mL capped and foiled, dimple-bottomed brown bottle from Tavour. Label has a strong Bruery vibe about it, which I have absolutely no issue with. High, very light, fizzy head that recedes to nothing pretty quickly and leaves almost no lace. In that regard not great, but carbonation levels are obviously good. The head is a the only weak point for this beer. Light golden body. Nose...

St. Fuellien
Grand Cru

Additional notes 07/15/22 33 cl bottle. It's a beautiful beer to behold. A massive white head that forms fantastically and perfectly, leaving behind rich lace that sits splendidly atop a classically golden body. Nose offers clean bread notes and a little yeasty sweetness. The beer starts with banana esters and a light hop touch, but soon enough the ending becomes much more bitter. There's pineapple, and the hop element builds a little with time. The dry hopping definitely has a distinct...

Angel’s Paw

Thank God for Hop River Brewing Co. in Fort Wayne! Now, before you get ahead of yourself and you think that I think that Hop River makes the best beer in the universe, let me dispel that thought immediately. I certainly do not like absolutely everything that Hop River brews, but in the context of the contemporary US beer scene, I do tend to gravitate toward both their beer and their philosophy over there on Harrison Street. What is that philosophy? Well, I’m not necessarily 100% sure, mostly...

Hoegaarden Grand Cru

Hate me if you want, I love this beer. Is this nostalgia? Partly. But it’s also a yeasty treat that hits the spot and never disappoints. There’s plenty of alcohol, plenty of yeast, and a ton of fruit esters that hit the palate. It lingers and it builds. It’s sweet, reminds me of slightly drunken days in Belgium, and great friends. The nose is tremendous, and it brings on the taste experience. They interlock perfectly. Again the yeast and the fruit are the characters that come together and...

La Mère Noël

Pour is as expected for the designated style, if not necessarily for that of a beer that is a Christmas offering. Clear golden body, and a large bubbly white head to accompany it. Minimal lace (but some), and the head is lighter and more wispy than one might expect. Mouthfeel is a nice combination of smooth and creamy, and has a little prickly liveliness about it. Tripel, Belgian candy nose with requisite alcohol. Tastes are similar, with a drier bite at the back end than the initial burst...

Bon Secours
Noel Bière Blonde

33 cl, flip-top bottle from Finest Belgian Beers. A healthy pop on opening, a good sign. The body is an orange, hazy affair with an above average rocky white head with good lace. Retention slightly above average too. Nose offers a very attractive light spice, and some alcoholic sweetness. The initial tastes do much the same, but the sweetness is greater in the mouth than the nose might suggest. Champagne feel on the larger gulps, but with a lower carbonation than that might suggest. More...

Leffe Rituel 9°

Leffe gets plenty of abuse from plenty of beer snobs, but if those folks are being honest, it’s really hard to knock the appearance of almost any of their offerings. Rituel 9° is no exception, and it looks resplendent in the Leffe glass. A beautifully clear, deep golden colored body sits underneath a white head that’s better than average, and that leaves good lace. It's also decently persistent. Pretty. There's a lot of deep-seated, estery fruit in the nose, coupled with a touch of alcohol....

Chimay Blonde 150 (Green)

Here we go with the much anticipated, already a little vaunted, Chimay Green. Shipped into the USA from Belgian Shop. With transit cost, the six bottles were approx. $10 a piece. An absolute steal at that price. The usual Chimay presentation, but with the forest green coloring and the '150' wreath moniker. Light golden, slightly hazed pour with a superb, generous, pillowed, dense white, pitted head. Great retention. Chimay glass does its job with a constant flow of carbonation rising from the...

Ommegang
Bend the Knee

32 oz growler, Cherie Armand, Villa Rica, GA, USA (used the Hop City growler). If anyone can do a Belgian Pale outside of Belgium, Ommegang can. Disappointing appearance if I am honest, a lemon, hazy body and a head that is not great. Fades badly. White pepper nose and initial taste. Follows up by not biting as much as I would like. Alcohol is there, but seems under control. The beer is within style limits but really never works its way up to my expectations. To be honest, that’s a reflection...

Incarceration

Described as a ‘Golden Ale’ on the bottle, I am wary of such a bland and non-descript title. I suppose it’s a Belgian inspired beer? We’ll see. 22 oz bootle with a high head initially. Complete clarity. Yeasty tastes - good. Sweet up front, drier in the back. Tropical fruits are there but muted. Ordinary (as in unspectacular) but that's its strength. I learned later that this was inspired by Duvel, and not to overstate anything, but I can a t least see the thinking if not the need to draw any...

Trader Joe’s Providential
Belgian Golden Ale

750 mL corked & caged affair. Best before 02-04-2015. Delighted and surprised to find this on the shelves as I went to pick up my annual fill of Trader Joe's Vintage Ale. The vintage ale and Unibroue are two of my favorite selections at this time of year, so I was delighted to find this 'new' (this is the first yea that this has made its way to TJ's in GA) beer, in a style that I generally enjoy, on my visit - a really nice surprise. Pop is small on opening and the hazed golden pour has a...

5 Golden Rings

Additional notes 08/08/2021 Aged bottle. Carbonation almost completely gone, and for this beer, that’s not good. Look, I’m not about to ding a beer for being this way after all of these years, but it’s a pretty important reminder to drink beer pretty much as soon as one can. Outside of the carbonation issue, this beer remains pretty true to the original notes. That’s all. Additional notes 12/22/2013 One year on and frankly, not much change. I was hoping for a slight tempering of the fruit and...

Brewery Ommegang
Duvel Rustica

OK, what are the differences between this and Duvel? The question really seems as though it should be at the forefront of any discussion of Rustica, since it is being declared as Ommegang's, "American Farmhouse interpretation of Duvel'. Let's just say that Ommegang had better be confident (and careful) about deliberately drawing comparisons in this manner, because they are opening up a whole can of worms if the beer fails to reach those dizzy heights! For me, it's a high risk endeavor. For a...

10th Anniversary Ale

Into the Terrapin snifter it goes. Modest head and modest lace on opening and pouring and virtually neither remain after 2 minutes of sitting (all to be expected given the ABV). Bright, profoundly orange/golden body with some delicate carbonation. Bready nose with some fresh, sinus clearing alcohol. A small, green, herbal element if you try hard to pick it up - not obvious but present. Quite sweet up front with both Tripel and Belgian Strong Pale notes. The spice is there but not strong, so...

Dogfish Head, Faithfull Ale
(Pearl Jam Twenty)

Paid about $12 for the 750mL bottle from Macs in Midtown Atlanta, GA, USA. Yellow, dot-matrixed date on the bottle shoulder that declares 'Bottled in 2011, 103 1'. Pour delivers a golden macro colored body and a slightly above average (although not spectacular) head, retention and lace. Small ring of foam left after initial pour. The nose and tastes have weak, yeasty, lager notes about them with perhaps a very mild hint of white pepper, alcohol and fruit. The tastes exaggerate the fruit part...

True Blonde
Dubbel

SKA is perhaps the American brewery I would most like to see available in Georgia. Over the years I've enjoyed many of their products, and True Blonde Dubbel is a beer that I have tasted on several prior occasions to this, so it's about time for a formal review. This, latest 22 oz bottle, came from the Chicago road-trip. The bomber with the yellow wax is something I really enjoy visual taking in. The blue label with the SKA black and white checks works very well. The beer pours a light golden...

Ommegang Gnomegang/Gnommegang

Additional notes 03/17/23 (pictured) Almost 12 years ago since I last made notes on this. Note the new spelling. 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...

Hop Ruiter

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,...

Triangle Belgian Golden Ale

Same beer as this review; http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/16186/38572/?ba=Ding but this time from the 12 oz can. Purchased at The Beer Dispensary in Apex, NC, USA. Very much the same feel as before with the sweetness coming through as the main asset. This beer is sweet enough to be firmly in the Tripel category for me. You've GOT to enjoy some phenolic esters and a LOT of sweetness to get your head around this. The color does seem lighter, clearer and more golden compared to the last...

Stone 10.10.10
Vertical Epic Ale

Updated review 03/11 Curious to see what this has done in a few months. Definitely more Belgian yeast character for me, and the grape elements seem to have dropped off quite a lot. This is not good news for me, since I really embraced them in the fresh beer and that is what I enjoyed the most, back in October 2010. Alcohol seems a little more prominent too. A few peppery notes have come to the fore as well. I still really like this, but it has changed somewhat over the last few months and for...

A Little Sumpin’ Wild

22 oz bottle from Smyrna Beverage Center, Smyrna, GA, USA. $4.69. Pour is a beautiful, tangerine orange body with tremendous clarity, good carbonation and a light and wispy head that offers some great lace. The nose offers a LOT of west coast, medicinal, sinus clearing, grapefruit and citrus based hops. I'm almost instantly annoyed by the beer as soon as it hits my taste buds. For all intents and purposes (in least in terms of its taste) this is an IPA. Not a problem, but in the beeradvocate...

Invocation

Small pour at Ormsby's. Surprised to see this brew on a recent afternoon visit. Presented in a small snifter. Beer does DEFINITELY not have the color of a Belgian Pale, and on the menu it was advertised a "Strong Golden Ale" which again, it most definitely isn't. Not sure what they are going for here. To me it has more of the character of a dark(er), Belgian "single"/"simple" with perhaps a hint of Belgian IPA character in there too (American influence - unwelcome in my book). The pour is...

Bière De L’Amitié (Green Flash & Brasserie St. Feuillien)

750 mL, corked and "banded". An interesting collaboration, and on top of that an unlikely one. Green Flash are not exactly a subtle brewer (their existence in San Diego is unlikely to produce much of that), so I was concerned about their influence on a beer that would NOT benefit from a typical West Coast battering. The beer is very highly carbonated to the point of being a little annoying. The corked pops with alarming ferocity and the beer pours all the way to the bottom of the bottle with a...

Struise Tsjeeses

11.2oz bottle, $6.99 from CBX, Charleston, SC, USA. Lot B 9 09. Deweer's ABB describes the name being derived from the brewer exclaiming, Tsjeese wat een lekker biertje, or "Gee, what a nice little beer"! I'm not about to disagree. Pour offers up a clouded, well-hazed orange body with some sticky lace and froth. Burnt marmalade in color. Nose offers some fruit peel and perhaps a touch of spice but it's not strong. The tastes deliver some more, biter citrus notes including a lingering...

Vapeur En Folie

750mL bottle, capped & corked from Green's on Ponce, Atlanta, GA. Cork comes out pretty easily with on a dull pop. Champagne style with large dimpled bottom. Green. Pour is a golden orange with a fine, light froth for the head. Some good haze and the fine carbonation leads to some nice smoothness in the mouth. Nose has some floral notes and a does of medicinal, estery, phenol. Not strong but noticeable. There is a fairly large hop profile for a beer of this type. Of course, that's not to...

Lips Of Faith Belgian Style Blond Ale

Golden pour with some delightful looking, full, frothy head that leaves some great lace. Good clarity on the pour. Attractive looking beer. Smells and tastes replicate a light yeast note with a touch of sweetness. The beer is pretty well balanced and as such it *could* be a potential stepping stone for a non-craft drinker. However, the problem is really the ABV. Even though the alcohol is very well hidden, the beer still creeps up on you a little, and even though the alcohol does not...

Bush Blonde

750 mL corked & caged bottle from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Opens with an alarming, large pop with lots of gun smoke. The pour into the Duvel tulip yields a darker than expected, orange colored body with a pretty good head and some really nice lace. This is a confusing beer since it also has the word "Tripel" on the label (along with Blonde). It's really quite a sweet beer than lacks any kind of white pepper notes or spice. The beer is really quite bland in many respects and lacks even...

Funky E Star

Green's, Ponce de Leon, Atlanta, GA, USA. 750 mL, plastic (don't like that) corked, caged and foiled. VERY difficult to get the cork out - annoying. Getting the cork out produces a weak pop - disappointing. Disappointingly dark pour, with an amber hue. Head is also weak and leaves watery lace. No retention. Nose yields a little funk but a confusing, and unexpected sweet caramel note. The sweetness increases dramatically over time and the tiny funk recedes as the beer warms. The tastes are also...

Mischief

$9.99 for the 750 mL bottle from Arbor Place Beverage, Douglasville, GA, USA. Pour is is slightly darker than expected color with some nice looking head and lace. The beer lacks much clarity and is a darkish, honey-orange hue. (The final pour from the bottle into the Duvel tulip gets quite soup-like from the bottle conditioned sediment). Nose has a significant hop aroma, and the tastes also have quite a hop forward presence. In that respect this beer is horribly mis-categorized as a Belgian...

De Proef Signature Les Deux Brasseurs Ale (w/Jason Perkins)

I've been eyeing this for months and finally pulled the trigger on the $13.99 corked and caged bottle from Green's on Buford, Atlanta, GA, USA. Pours offers a cloudy, slightly watery looking light orange body and a decent rocky head. Some lacing but not the best I've seen. Appearance no the very best and I suspect that the beer will taste much better than it looks. Nose has light acidity but seems quite sweet. The tastes reflect this. There's a lot of fruity sweetness that comes with the mild...

Scratch Beer 10 – 2008

12 oz bottle as a single. Pour is very dark for a Belgian Pale of any description. Has a copper hue with (obviously) limited lace, head and retention. Film forms on the surface white a white collar. Nose has some serious sherry and liquor notes alongside the alcohol. It seems quite aggressive. Tastes come on strong with loads of alcohol. It's hot and unbalanced. Drinks a little Quad-like and has plenty of solvent like character. Thin in the mouth which adds to the obvious alcohol. Some organic...

Brooklyn Cuvee De Cardoz

64 oz growler sourced at Charleston Beer Exchange, Charleston, SC, USA. Pour is a very pale, slightly hazed macro lager, yellowish color. Looks like a slightly watered down Duvel and lacks the large, fluffy head and retention and lace that one would expect to find in that classic. Nose has a massive pear ester character. Absolutely HUGE! We still get the esters in the taste, but it is less pear based and more of a general alcoholic solvent. Some light, white pepper and spice, but not as large...

USAlive!

750 mL (synthetic) corked & caged, dimple-bottomed, brown bottle. Silver foil adorns the top. It came from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA a few weeks ago. Pour is a mid-orange body (slight haze) with a high, frothy, cream soda/float like head. Lace is random. Decent retention. The nose suggests (like the color) a dry-hopped IPA with some floral bitterness and a touch of brett. Drinkability is slow for me at first, but improves slightly as the bottle is consumed. The tastes replicate the nose. To...

Triangle Belgian Golden Ale

22 oz bottle, $9.75 via mail from Bruisin' Ales. Thanks J & J. Pour gives a large, rocky head with is persistent and leaves tremendous lace. The body is a touch darker than I would like for the style, exuding a hazy, cloudy orange rather than the golden yellow I was looking for. Still, the combination is pretty good looking nevertheless. Nose has a great combo of BIG Belgian style yeasts and some white pepper. Tremendous promise in the aroma. Tastes reflect the nose which is great, but also...

Inferno Ale

750 mL corked & caged bottle. Not much pop on opening. Poured into the Duvel tulip (seemed like the most natural glass) it forms a lovely, whipped ice-cream head with nice lace on top of a golden body - very Duvel like! Nose is classical - Belgian yeasts, light sugars, alcohol, a touch of pepper and all the esters that you would expect. Tastes replicate the nose and the tastes, BUT it's drier, a tad warmer (in terms of alcohol), a touch more bitter and a touch less fruity than the nose...

Piraat Ale

Additional notes 06/23/21, pictured 05/27/23 Very little to add even over twelve years on from the original review. It's one of those beers that in terms of its appearance, and the overall experience, virtually nothing has changed. That's on the back of my palate no doubt changing over that time, but it's incredibly comforting find such consistency both in product and in my feeling and perception of the beer. Original Notes 04/14/2009 Having drunk this several times before, I decided it was...

Alpha Kong

22 oz bomber, thanks to BA sprinkle for giving me the opportunity to get up to speed with this MONSTER! I may be mistaken, but I thought this beer used to be classified on BA as a tripel AND I have never paid any attention to the ABV - now I'm regretting that I didn't get a chance to share this one rather than drink it all myself! Oh well.... The pour surprised me at first because it comes down as an orange, slightly viscous body with Barleywine appearance and a lack of head and lace to match....

It’s Alive!

750 mL (plastic) corked and caged with silver foil. Green's on Buford, Atlanta, GA, USA. Not much of a pop on opening. Pour is a light, cloudy orange body and a smallish head. Head fades quickly to a thin foam and a light collar of foam. Mild brett and grapefruit combine nicely to give a nice stimulation of the palate. this is a consistent note throughout the beer. A very mild dry, bitter grapefruit aftertaste - good stuff. A very subtle Belgian IPA IMO. Very easy drinking with an extremely...

Celis Grand Cru

12oz bottle, thanks go out to stopbarking for the chance to try this one. Straight into the Ommegang chalice with a deliberately aggressive pour on my part. Clarity is good, but it is a very pale, macro lemony color. Head is gone quite quickly and the lace left behind is minimal. Nose is fairly sweet with sinus clearing alcohol and a little spice. Soft esters greet the taste with a little warming solvent alcohol too. The ester fruits are not very well defined and the alcohol bitterness hits...

Moinette Blond

330 mL bottle from Tower on Buford, Atlanta, GA, USA. $3.95. Surprised to see that I had not reviewed this before now. Pour in one go into the Ommegang chalice. Body is a honey colored orange with a distinct coudiness present and some serious floaties - typical for the bottle conditioning. Thin, soapy film forms on the surface of the brew. Looks solid. Honey and medicinal yeasts cut across the nose. Similar taste profile, but it is sweeter than the nose would otherwise suggest. Residual...

De Dolle
Bos Keun

Additional notes 05/20/23 (Pictured) Same rocky head, but this time no gusher. Cap says MAR2024 - this is a Best Before date. ABV is now quoted on the label as 9% rather than the original report 10. Still plenty of syrupy goodness, white pepper and Belgian yeast. The retention and lace are excellent. This is much more drinkable to me these days compared to my notes below. Still some orangey, bitter pithy notes. Original notes 10/13/08 $4.99, Green's on Ponce, Atlanta, GA, USA. 330 mL bottle....

Quatre-Centième
Brassin Commémoratif

750 mL corked & caged tyical Unibroue affair. Thanks go out to Josh for the trade just before this made it to Atlanta! Poured this baby into the Duvel tulip. Celebrating 400 years of settlement of Quebec City. Pale, honey orange body as expected. Large head that falls back to give spotty, light head. Nose and tastes are as expected with simple Belgian yeast notes, mild alcohol and sweetness in the finish. Light medicinal/herbal notes too. Some non-ripe, crunchy pears in there too. This is...

Cuvée Van Der Keizer Rood (Red)

Here we go with a "new" (2008) version of the Keizer. The older, dark version is one of my favorite brews of all time so the expectations are very high - we'll see. 750 mL corked and caged bottle from Green's on Buford, Atlanta, GA, USA. Opens with a stunning pop and some white gun smoke - impressive start. Typical, well-carbonated pour with lots of fine bubbles. Obviously this fades, but still leaves impressive lace and thin, fine head across the surface. The head is a little better than...

Reinaert Flemish Wild Ale

$7.99 for Mac's Midtown, Atlanta, GA, USA. Corked & Caged 750 mL. Pour is a bright orange in the Terrpain 22oz snifter. Large initial head with some nice retention across the body and a little lace. Carbonation is high. Not sure if this should be categorized as a simple Belgian Pale, but I am not as preturbed as I sometimes am with style considerations and the BA database, since this has "Flemish", "Brettanomyces", "Saccharomyces" and "Wild Ale" on the label. That means that I am NOT surprised...

Lucifer

New, updated 330 mL stubbie bottle. Purchased as a single from Total Wine, Kennesaw, GA, USA. Alarming pale color on the pour and an equally alarming, large head that is VERY, VERY wispy and lacks any kind of density. Honey colored body eventually settles out as the bottle conditioning yeast hits the color. Some lace after the head subsides BUT it is VERY light. Nose has a little of everything that you would expect, PLUS some white pepper. Plenty of candy sugar and yeast along with the...

Abbaye D’Aulne Triple Blonde 9°

750 mL corked and "braced" (as opposed to caged). No: 144302 on the cork. Best Before 03/10/07 which almost certainly means Oct 3 2007. Past that date, but I have no qualms about the ability of this beer to withstand that. Healthy pop on the release of the cork. Poured into the Abbaye des Rocs chalice it provides a simple, golden honey colored hazy body, a lively but light head, and some nice lace. Very light in the mouth and lacks much body. There is a white pepper note about the beer (in the...

Allagash Victor Ale

$12.99 from Jax, Sandy Springs, Atlanta, GA, USA for the 750 mL corked & caged affair. Poured into the tall, stemmed, Abbaye des Roc Chalice to reveal a honey colored body with a small head that fades to give a surface of foam and a tiny amount of lace. Nose has light alcohol, and the mild, solvent like character associated with wine - the grape notes coming through strong. This is NOT a Belgian Strong Dark by any stretch of the imagination. It's much more like a Belgian Strong Pale with some...

Allagash Victoria Ale

Not retired unless this is a new recipe and therefore a different brew. I passed on this when I was in Greensboro, NC in November as it was quite pricey. Now it has made it to GA in the latest wave of Allagash products to come into the state, and I'm delighted. $12.99 from Jax in Sandy Springs, GA, USA for the 750 mL, corked & caged bottle. Green lettering for the Allagash name. Poured into the new, 22oz(!) Terrapin snifter, this looks great. A great choice to christen the new glass. Lovely...

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale

11.2oz bottle labeled as 7% ABV rather than the 8.5% listed in the beeradvocate database. Orange/Red pour with very little sustainable head or lace. Hazy appearance. Slightly acidic, apple based taste. Quite a high carbonation and not really in tune with the style as listed on BA. Light fruits but not much there. Slight floral nature. Some mild tangy, sour character. I'm really not sure what this is, or what it supposed to be. Either way it's largely forgettable for me.

De Proef Reserve Signature Ale (w/ Tomme Arthur)

On-tap at The Brick Store, Decatur, GA, USA. WOW - classy! Mid-orange pour with a super high, dense, bone-white head. Nose has a mild grapefruit which is reflected in the taste. It is isn't until the ending that you get the Brett/Funk/Saison/Farmhouse notes. All melds together to give a deep, satisfying experience in the glass. Some bitterness in the finish but it comes together beautifully to give a memorable beer. Smooth on the palate, I would characterize this in the mould of a Belgian IPA,...

Atomium Grand Cru

Enjoyed this one on tap at Deep Ellum, Boston, MA, USA. Surprisingly I had never seen this beer or this brewer with beers on tap in the USA, so I was delighted and excited to try it. It was served in the brewery's own glassware - an impressive, bowl-like goblet that really looked great! Allowed me to take some lovely, large, satisfying gulps that swirled around inside the mouth. Beer feels bigger than it really is. Very solid example of the style. Lovely pale yellow color with nice head and...

AleSmith Horny Devil

Updated notes 01/18/23 (pictured) The 2022/23 version is advertised as 10% on the bottle, the original being 11. The appearance is exactly as notes below. Great golden clarity with a fizzy head that fades to nothing very quickly. The nose is VERY strong immediately - noticeably so. Plenty of alcoholic, Belgian yeast based fruit and sweetness. I do still like this beer, but it seems a little one-dimensional to me now. The tastes are similar to what I remember, but the body now seems thinner to...

Serafijn Christmas Angel

$11.99, Cheers, Carrollton, GA, USA. 750 mL bottle, capped. Poured into the Urthel goblet. Big frothy head sits atop the burned orange colored body. Carbonation is a little too lively for my liking - seems kind of fizzy. Musty yeast in the nose. Fruits are all over the place on the initial taste, but these back off quickly to leave a dry and surprisingly balanced beer. Not much sweetness in fact. A mild white pepper bitterness sits against the Belgian candy and yeast, and the overall...

Matilda

=== 2007 Vintage, Updated Review 02/09 === VERY similar (almost identical) experience as detailed below. I don't dislike this beer, but I must admit I don't quite understand it. === Original Review 02/08 === 12oz single, thanks to Mikesgroove for this little gift! 07/27/05 dot-matrixed on the rear label as the bottling date, Batch #? 0850, and the label claims the "Flavor will continue to develop over five years" - plenty of time then. Big foamer. Poured into a regular wine glass, the...

Grotten Flemish Ale

$8.99 at Brawley's, Charlotte, NA, USA. Corked & Caged 750 mL. Since this said "Flanders Ale" on the bottle, I was wondering if this was going to be a Flemish Sour/Red style - Mike put me right. Poured into the Duvel tulip (seemed appropriate), the head is initially big, but slips away somewhat disappointingly but leaving some lace. Very yeasty nose with an element of tart fruit. The yeast is replicated in the taste, but the tartness is not. Simple mouthfeel and a pretty average Belgian Pale...

Stone 07.07.07 Vertical Epic

Had a chance to try this for the first time back in July (just after its release) at a Brick Store, BA get together but I didn't take notes. Thanks go out of Bleedingshrimp for the trade, and for the opportunity to get a crack at this one again. 22 oz bomber. Poured into the Duvel tulip. Very deep, bright orange color (marmalade like) that belies the "Pale" part of the moniker. Alcohol and citrus based spices in the nose. Wow - there's a lot going on here. Hot alcohol, spice and citrus notes....

Allagash Fluxus 2007

On tap at the Brick Store, Decatur, GA, USA. Small serving in a goblet. Hazed, orange pour with a huge head and plenty of great lace. Very good carbonation. Looks super. Belgian base (yeast and sugar) but a significant level of herbal notes. Grassy hop feel and significant organic feel. This really takes the edge off the sugar and sweet notes. Certainly Belgian, Strong and Pale, but at the same time NOT typically Belgian Strong Pale! Less sugar sweetness, and a far more savory angle on this...

La Seigneuriale

Purchased on a recent trip to Greensboro, NC, USA. 750 mL Corked & Caged. Subsequently at Mac's Midtown, Atlanta, GA, USA on sale for $3.99. Typical Unibroue presentation. Poured into the Duvel tulip this beer has a dark orange body (peach/tea like) with superb lace and a decent, smallish head. Carbonation is good, no doubt helped by the Duvel glass. Fine bubbles form on the surface. A big, wine-like grape taste up front. Persistent bitterness with some pepper, and a noticeable lack of...

Southampton Grand Cru

Thanks go out to Brewfan for this in a recent trade. I've been waiting on this one for a while. Corked & Caged 750 mL bottle. Part of the "750 series". Not much pop on release of the cork - has me a little worried. Pour is a real, golden/orange pour with very little lace or head, but with a thin film of carbonation on the surface of the beer. Maybe a touch more carbonation would be nice. Nose has a mild spice with some whisky like alcohol smells. Tastes are superb. Pretty much exactly what I...

Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale

Dave pulled this one out of the back at The Brick Store for a quick, Friday afternoon sampling. A couple of 12oz bottles. We did it blind, so I had a guess at what I thought it was. I said a 9.00%, Imperial Pils type. That was the closest that I could guess, even though it really lacked any sharp, crisp hop bite that one might expect in that case. Pour was a typical golden, macro yellow, but the head was large, and well retained. All I got was a vaguely sweet, slightly bitter smooth beer with...

Malheur 10°

Notes added 09/12/21 Bottle pictured. Somewhere I have a Malheur glass or two (which look a lot like the Leffe glass this beer is currently sitting in), but I think that’s part of the garage stash. Drinks the same as ever, like classy, super-high ABV Tripel, with even more added depth. A beer with real presence. The necessary and quintessential white pepper and wave after wave of sweet, alcohol sodden goodness. The alcohol is perfect here. Big, bold and upfront without ever getting...

Hades Ale

Additional notes 01/08 In the bottle, $5.99 Toco Giant, Atlanta, GA, USA. This experience pretty much reflects the original, draft review. A little more white pepper in the finish. Original notes 08/07 On-tap at the Brick Store, Decatur, GA, USA. A lighter, less sweet Duvel. A pretty good beer then? Good golden color but lacks a little body and depth, and although the head is there it lacks great retention and is not as big as I would have liked. Aroma has some mild spice and banana, but these...

Affligem Blond

Six pack, $9.99 from Arbor Place Beverage, Douglasville, GA, USA. Deep orange color in the body and an impressive and encouraging head sitting in the Duvel tulip. A very simple Belgian Pale - no frills, not much to report but solid. Alcohol is present but not overpowering, however there was a hottish finish to this beer. Typical Belgian candied sugars and yeasts, but all in check. Very mild spice - a steady example. Nice introduction to the style, very simple, very compact and an easy...

Brooklyn Local 1

=== Updated 07/08 === This bottle was either $7.99 or $8.99 from Highland Beverage, Hiram, GA, USA. Sweetness is very prominent on this tasting, with a warming glow from the alcohol. Still love it! === Original Review 06/07 === $8.99 at Green's, Ponce, Atlanta, GA, USA. 750 mL corked & Caged. Ridge on the neck reminds me of the Westmalle or Westy bottle on steroids. Review written BEFORE reading the review in BA Mag! Simply the best American beer I have tasted in a LONG time. Bought one last...

Wostyntje

Michael's, Marietta, GA, USA. Stubbie 11.2 oz bottle, I think I paid either $3.99 or $4.99. Poured fairly vivid orange color with some unpleasent looking floating sludge. Even with the sediment in the glass there was still a LOT of yeast in the bottle that simply wouldn't come out. I don't think this bottle is the freshest sample, but without any dates on the bottle it's difficult to make an assessment. No head and no lace apart from a little film on the top of the beer. Thinnish in all...

Unibroue 16

Pictured 2014 Original notes (06/09/07) Green's, Ponce, Atlanta, GA, USA. 750 mL, corked & caged. Much darker pour than many of the other Unibroue "pales". A peachy, tea-like color with good head and lace in the Westmalle chalice. Aroma is clean. Plenty (and I mean plenty) of residual sweetness amongst the Belgian yeast and mild spice. The best Unibroue anniversary for a little while - enjoyable.

Jacobsen Saaz Blonde

Odd shaped 750 mL bottle. More marketing claptrap. $6.99, Jax, Sandy Springs, Atlanta, GA, USA. Tea colored pour with a nice head, but this fades very quickly to not much. No lace of any description. Good clarity. I would describe this a combination of a Belgian Pale (some yeasty, spice and candied sugar characteristics) and a malt liquor (it has a oily consistency and is still very sweet with alcohol prominent). A little hop bite in the finish, but not much. This was OK, but not as good as...

Rader Ambrée

750 mL corked & caged. Green's, Ponce, Atlanta, GA, USA. $6.95 from memory. 06/06/09 on the label. Given that this is the Ambree (compared to the Blonde) I was expecting a deeper copper colored hue than I got. It was surprisingly light in color. Huge, billowing head in the Duvel tulip, it looks pretty good. Some nice lacing. Fine carbonation, slightly prickly in the mouth. Sweet nose, a little Belgian yeast. As others have mentioned, the label says 10.5% ABV and it certainly drinks above the...

Le Pavé De L’Ours

Shared this one with Dave at the Brick Store, one that he brought back from his recent Belgian trip - thanks, man. 11.2 oz plain brown bottle with an attractive label. Pours typically golden with a fluffy, billowing head - looks good. Smells yeasty, with typical Belgian Pale characteristics. Some mild pepper and hop profile in the nose makes you think this is going to be a dry, hoppy Belgian but the taste is MUCH sweeter than you would initially be led to believe. The sweetness is NOT...

Gouden Carolus Ambrio

I've been wanting to try this for some time, so I was delighted to find it at Green's on Ponce it Atlanta, GA, USA. $6.99 (I think). Corked and caged 750 mL bottle. The pour is interesting in as much as the color is very much that of a Belgian Dark rather than a Belgian Pale. However, once you get into the taste, the Pale moniker begins to ring more true than the appearance would suggest. Quite dry and light, mild spice and mild candy, and although nice, there is a lack of depth of fruit...

De Ranke Père Noël

Additional Notes 1/24/22 (pictured) This is such an extraordinarily great beer. It really has nothing to do with Christmas in terms of taste, and were it year round it would be a constant for me. There are some very good beers in the USA under the style moniker of American IPA, once example would be Bells Two Hearted. This beer is simultaneously reminiscent of it, and absolutely NOTHING like it. It's what Two Hearted would be if it were brewed without silly, aggressive, American bravado. The...

Triple Moine / Deugniet

750 mL corked and banded, shared with clvand0 and BEERchictect at Pazzo's in Lexington, KY. Typically Belgian, but with one or two odd twists. Firstly the body was very clear - almost like a macro lager. It did come with a great, rocky and pillowed frothy head and some chill haze, AND all the other usual Belgian attributes were in place; plenty of fruit character, typical Belgian sugars and yeasts and lots of spice character. Just like BEERchitect suggested, I got some salty tastes as well....

De Dolle Arabier

Notes added 06/26/2022 (pictured) Still bitterish (see notes below) but I have an infinitely deeper appreciation of this beer a couple of decades forward. Pretty golden body with a competition of sweet and bitter that add up to a very distinct beer. There’s a lot of fruit that starts off as grapefruit but soon cuts across the palate in a much sweeter finish. Clean, tasty and now a favorite despite the notes below. Original notes 09/13/2006 Poured into the Duvel tulip there is an enormous...

De Dolle Stille Nacht

Notes added 09/12/21 (pictured) It’s SO hard to pin this beer down for me. An alcohol bomb, but so full of flavor; the color of a mid-point pale and dark; the unexpected pour when looking at the label (for some reason I associate the artwork with a stout - maybe the Export Stout has a hold on me). It’s rich, it’s big, and it’s great. It’s a beer that hides nothing and comes across as being exactly what it is. On the downside that’s absolutely ‘no more’, but on the upside it’s ‘no less’. A...

Unibroue 15

Corked and caged 750 mL brown bottle with screen-printed label. Bullock's, Marietta, GA, USA. Opens with a gentle "pop" and some champagne like vapors. Poured into the Gouden Carolus flute. Orange butterscotch pour with a large white, dense head and some lacing. Carbonation is good. Alcoholic pepper notes dominate the nose. Tastes are dominated by hard, winter fruits; apples, gooseberries & pears. The obvious yeast and alcohol Belgian influenced overtones are present. The spices are difficult...

Belzebuth

Pale orange pour with a little chill haze and some very lively carbonation. Well, this is what it is - not much more, not much less. A massive sweet, malt bomb, very high alcohol. Nothing much more than alcohol in the nose, but, if like me you are a fan of sweet beers, then this is very drinkable (considering the style) and a decent late night sipper. I can see how many people will not like this at all - it certainly fills a certain niche - but for those that are partial to this type of beer...

Pangaea

Bottled 11/14/05 Poured into the St. Bernardus chalice from the capped 750 mL bottle, it is absolutely crystal clear with an orange/golden hue. For those with British connections the body is a Lucozade color. Fine bubbles of carbonation form on the surface, but produces no head or lacing to speak of. There is a slight (and I mean slight) ginger aroma in the nose and a sweet lemony smell. This is a thirst quencher alright, and if you are English this tastes almost identical to a basic bitter...

Lunacy

Golden, honey orange pour with excellent fine carbonation that leads to a thin filmed head and some lacing. Poured into the Val-Dieu chalice, this looks very good. Sweet tastes, sugary but finishes short and dry with a little bit of bitterness. Some yeasty flavors. Some alcohol in the finish. Not a bad interpretation of a Belgian Pale. It lacks a bit of body and depth, but I enjoyed it.

Damnation

Batch 003, 750 mL corked & caged. Deep golden yellow poured into the Trois Pistoles chalice. Small, but beautifully formed, dense white pillowy head, but the retention and the lacing are both below average. Lots of banana, cloves and spice, but comes with an acidic edge too. In simple terms it drinks like a high alcohol Hefe, but at the same time is very, very reminiscent of a Duvel. That of course, is high praise indeed. Finishes with a slight grapefruit/citrus twang. Lovely creamy and full...

Bush Ambrée/Scaldis Ambrée/Bush Caractère

Additional notes 12/17/22 (pictured): This beer has gone by a number of different names over the years as evidenced above. This particular bottle is dated BB 31/08/2023. Alcohol is the major player, but this feels a little lighter than it has in the past. Less viscosity than I remember, or that my notes suggest. Still that orange gold body. Plenty of Belgian Candi sugar. Lighter than the sugar or the alcohol would suggest. Drinkability is higher too. Original notes 01/16/2006: 250 mL bottle,...

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale

What an unusual beer. Poured into the Duvel tulip, there is an orange/golden body (looks a lot like lucozade) with a big frothy/rocky head but very little lacing to speak of. We get some spotty thin head left on the surface of the beer, and the Duvel tulip engraving continues produce bubbles of carbonation. Yeast and peach/apricot are the overwhelming aromas - the peach/apricot is really strong and reminds me of an aromatic shower gel! I know this doesn't sound really nice, but it is not bad!...

La Moneuse Spéciale Noël

Updated notes 04/15/2022 This is the bottle that is pictured, same presentation as the original notes. Close to 100% sure that Special Winter Ale is the same as “Spéciale Noël“. The high carbonation of this beer remains a feature, even seventeen years later. The beer has plenty of Belgian yeast character, and gives a lovely, extremely light hop touch underneath the typically Belgian candy and light spice. When I say that, it’s all very muted in terms of many similar beers, and the finish is...

Caracole Ambrée

330 mL bottle poured into the Duvel tulip. Good white head, with nice lacing and retention. Pale amber color. Typically Belgian, yeasty nose and some sweetness and pepper spice in the initial taste. Some sharp bitterness in the finish, quite surprising. To be honest, a little watery in the mouthfeel - not its best feature. Alcohol is there, but relatively well hidden. Solid example, but not a stunning brew. Definitely worth investigating but not a great beer.

Salvation

Beautiful, golden clarity with a good head, but it disappears quickly to leave little or no lacing. More retention would be nice. Initial tastes are like a strong Euro lager, but the Belgian yeasts kick in to give an authentic Belgian feel to the long finish. Some cloves in the aroma and taste. Very nice rounded mouthfeel with alcoholic esters and sweet candied sugared fruits coming through strong. Especially noticeable is the pineapple taste. As it warms the Belgian character fades and it...

Nounette [Brasserie Des Rocs Blonde]

Nice presentation with the very attractive yellow label. Poured into the Duvel tulip (which happens to be very appropriate) with a cloudy orange color, a fantastic head and the yeast sediment finishes the pour by dropping on to the white head with a lovely rich, brown "splat"! Lots of dry fruits in the yeasty alcoholic aroma and taste. Nice alcohol in the finish. Massively quaffable, this is a Duvel clone and it's a worthy one!

Don de Dieu

Updated notes, 03/31/22 This is the beer pictured. Very different pour when compared to the original notes, with this being clouded organge and not ‘crystal clear’ as noted below (albeit, 17 years ago!) Most of the other notes remain the same, with a exceptionally smooth mouthfeel (the wheat), and alcohol hidden making the drinkability a little dangerous. More acid on the fruits noted by me this time, by hey, palates gonna change! Original notes, 06/14/2005 Golden, crystal clear pour with a...

Saxo

$5.99 for a 750 mL, corked and caged brown bottle. Excellent value. Typically pale Belgian, with all the usual characteristics. Super, pale yellow pour in my Duvel tulip with a lovely frothy head and some minor lacing. Final pour incorporates the remainder of the yeast to add to the body and taste. The Duvel glass helps the head by focusing the carbonation, but still a lovely looking pour. Quite spicy with lots of cloves present. The beer is overall really quite acidic and had a fairly dry...

Delirium
Tremens

Additional notes (pictured 05/02/23) Head and retention are usually much better than my original notes suggest. I still enjoy this beer close to two decades on, and over the years it has grown on me. Original notes 02/23/05 Very unusual, and an attractive looker, with at first, a deceptively ordinary macro lager look, but a closer observation reveals a slightly cloudy, quite viscous solution. Zero head retention and zero lacing were a little more disappointing. There's a definte syrupy,...

La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (Reserve Special – USA)

Very spicy and bitter with pepper being the most overwhelming sensation for me. There's plenty of other spices in there too, with coriander especially prevelant. Some lemon in the nose as well. Dark orange pour with a large, ivory colored head that hangs around some. A little lacing, but nothing to speak of. This is a a bitter, quite harsh beer, with only very minor fruit character. There are plenty of pineapples and mandarin oranges in the aroma, but very little in the taste. Having said that...

La Chouffe Blonde

Pale orange and some chill haze adds to the cloudiness of the pour. A thin but persistent head is present with some mild, fluffy lacing. Aroma displays Belgian yeast character. I didn't notice much of the spice that is advertised, but there is a little hint of cloves(?) and some orange. A nice, solid pale Belgian with a decent kick too. Quite ordinary for a quality beer, but goes down well. This was very expensive ($9.90 for a small bottle - yes I was shafted) and there are a multitude of...

Au Courant

A lot of sweetness is the abiding memory imparted by this brew. Pours a lovely, attractive golden color with a decent head, but one that disappears very quickly. The slickness in the mouthfeel is not unpleasant but really is true to form for beer that has a much higher ABV. This has the mouthfeel of a Barleywine, but lacks the kick. In some respects that's not at all bad, since you get the sweetness and the feel without the "kick in the ass" alcohol. Currants? Au Courant? I have no idea about...

Pauwel Kwak

Pictured 11/28/23 Notes added 08/20/21 I’ve been drinking Kwak for many years, and long before the original notes that are below from 2004. I’ve always enjoyed it more than those notes might suggest! I think the notes reflect a little naivety in note taking rather than the beer itself. These days I note the dry esters, the beautiful color, the richness of the aftertaste and the pronounced banana notes that layer on top of the dryish, malt base. These days this is listed at 8.4% and to be...

Pranqster

Butterscotch pour with little or no head. Distinct aroma and taste of citrus spice, with cloves large up front. The alcohol acidity was a little too much for me. Bit of a bite on the way down that I didn't care for very much. The cloudiness was really quite pronounced and some prickly acidity in the mouth made this a little less enjoyable that others of the style. OK, but not one I'm rushing back to.

Duvel

$13.90 for 330 mL, 4 pack, Arbor Beverage, Douglasville, GA. (Yes, I was ripped-off, but this is the first time in four years I have been able to buy this in the US, so give me a break). I drank Duvel for years in the UK before coming to the States four years ago, and today was a great day, when I cracked my first bottle since that time. God I forgot what a stunning brew this is. It seems to have everything in the perfect proportion. The color and the voluptuous head, the lemon and yeast...

Edition 2004

July 2006: Now a two year old beer and things have changed dramatically. Much more mild now in all respects. Two distinct changes. Now there is a real British shandy taste upfront, and that in turn increases the drinakability immensely. July 2004: $7.99, 750 mL, Arbor Beverage, Douglasville, GA, USA. Somewhat disappointing, not very good value for money. Way too spicy for my taste with the spices overpowering the drink as a whole. Cloudy, orange pour (again somewhat unattractive) despite...