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St. Feuillien Triple (388 of 1001)

July 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.35

A first beer from the St. Feuillien brewery for me now, a brewery that only opened in 1988 by the same family that owned the Friart brewery that closed eleven years previous. This one is a beer first brewed in 1998 and unlike other beers from St. Feuillien, this one is not contract brewed at Brasserie Du Bocq but made in Le Rœulx at the brewery. This one is a beer that takes inspiration for Westmalle Tripel, a beer that I’m a big fan of, so I’m hoping for big things from this beer.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light and bright golden straw colour, the body is very slightly hazy too and the beer is topped with a foamy white head that sits just over a centimetre tall and looks quite creamy on the surface whilst sitting with very good head retention given the strength of the beer.
Aroma (8/10): Floral and fresh in the early going, the beer had a subtle sweetness to it from a nice banana aroma and touches of lemon in there as well. Around the middle some spices and faint citrus start to come through as well as light clove following on behind. There’s some grain and a little alcohol showing on top of the herbs and light malts to round off what was a light and zesty beer.
Taste (9/10): Following on well from the nose, the beer was floral and zesty with some banana, cloves and grassy flavours coming through with some faint coriander and Belgian yeast coming through as well. There’s a few nice hops and touches of malt, mainly bread malts, coming through from the middle on as well before some alcohol grain nearer the end. It didn’t seem the most complex Belgian triple out there but it was an excellent tasting one with pepper, apples and pear coming through at points too; great stuff.
Palate (5/5): Medium bodied but still seeming quite light and floral with a zesty, dry feel that was quite sharp and very strongly carbonated. The beer was fresh and tangy with a great balance and some nice sweetness, mainly from the banana at the start and it was seen out by a very nice warming alcohol feel that was a great way to finish things.

Overall (17/20): This one was a very nice triple with a pleasant sweetness in the early going from the banana before some nice floral flavours and spices started to come through alongside some nice yeast and touches of alcohol. It was very well balanced and quite easy to drink despite the strength with some bread and pale malts with a little apple and pear in there too. Perhaps not a beer that hits the heights of Westmalle Tripel but it’s not too far off it either and one well worth its place on the 1001 beers list too.

Brewed In: Le Rœulx, Hainaut, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie St. Feuillien
First Brewed: 1998
Type: Abbey Tripel
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Carrefour (Brussels)
Price: €1.52 (approx. £1.35)

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Kriek De Ranke (387 of 1001)

Rating: 4.2

A review of the last beer from the 1001 beers list that I managed to try over in Belgium recently, although I do still have two more reviews of beers I tried over there to add here as well as still having to try a few bottles that I brought home with me too. This one is a third review of a De Ranke beer for me now with it following on from their Guldenberg and XX Bitter offerings that I had back in 2014 but wasn’t particularly taken by. Like this one, both those beers featured on the 1001 beers list as well but thankfully this one was a beer I definitely preferred to those. I managed to try this one when I stopped by one of the Moeder Lambic on my last full day in Brussels before heading home and was pleased to see it available after previously spotting a bottle in the UK but opting not to buy it given the rather expensive price, so I’m please I got to try it eventually.

Appearance (4/5): Sitting a pinkish red in the glass with rose tinges, the beer was opaque and topped with a pinkish white head that sat about a half centimetre tall and was a little patchy towards on side of the surface.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a fruity nose with some sour notes in the early going too, it opened with a nice combination of tart and cherry with some further sweetness from the sugars towards the middle. Around the middle and towards the end there was some raspberries with a touch of bitterness and funk coming through followed by some acidity and grapes towards the end.
Taste (8/10): Definitely more sour than the nose, the beer opened with a lot of cherries and sugar on the taste buds with some strong bitterness too. It’s a lively tasting beer with a funky middle that has some orange and raspberry flavours backing it up. There wasn’t much alcohol showing at all and it seemed lighter than it was with some funk and further fruity flavours seeing things out.
Palate (5/5): Fresh and strongly carbonated, the beer was quite lively with plenty of funk and sweetness in the early going alongside a tart sourness. It was slightly more bitter than anticipated with a nice balance that hid the alcohol content and made it an easy one to drink.

Overall (16/20): Strong and lively with a lot of tart and cherry kicking things off, the beer was fresh and well-carbonated with some nice sourness in the early going too. I found the beer to be slightly more bitter than expected with the taste but it remained balanced with a nice fruity twist soon after with raspberries, some orange and more cherries featuring alongside a sugar sweetness; excellent stuff and one I’d happily have again.

Brewed In: Dottignies, Hainaut, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij De Ranke
First Brewed: 2000
Type: Lambic – Fruit
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Keg (250ml)
Purchased: Moeder Lambic Fontainas (Brussels)
Price: €4.90 (approx. £4.33)

Brugge Tripel

Rating: 3.7

A second beer from Palm now this one following on from their flagship Belgian pale ale that I reviewed here a few weeks ago after also trying that one in Belgium but now is the turn of the brewery’s Brugge Tripel. I picked this one up one night in Burges before saving it and trying it later on in my holiday having felt it wrong to leave Bruges without grabbing a bottle of this one. The beer was originally brewed in Bruges by De Gouden Boom up until 2004 when production switched to Palm Breweries but the beer is apparently still known as ‘The Beer of Bruges’ despite no longer being brewed there but it was still one that I wanted to try.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a bright orange colour with a bubbly white head on top that was about a centimetre tall, the beer had good head retention and it looked quite thick and fluffy too.
Aroma (7/10): Floral and spicy in the early going with some biscuit malt and pepper showing initially, there was some earthy touches alongside hints of Belgian yeast and some light alcohol notes further on. There was some oranges and cloves nearer the end with further spice and background fruits that were dominated by an apple aroma.
Taste (7/10): Biscuit malts and spice kick things off with some strong banana and apple coming through as well. I managed to get some bread malts around the middle with a little yeast and some fruity, floral flavours around the middle as well. It seemed quite fresh and herbal with a sugar sweetness and more background fruits seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Spicy and quite light with a fresh and summer-like feel that was sharp and came with a medium body too. The beer was strongly carbonated but well-balanced with a nice sweetness at times from the banana and sugars as well as some tangy touches further on but despite not being the most complex tripel it was still a nice one to sip away at.

Overall (14/20): Not quite as strong or complex as some of the Belgian tripels I’ve reviewed here of late but this one was quite a light and fresh version of the style with some nice banana sweetness coupled with tastes of apple and some nice bread malts too. There was a nice combination of spices, yeast and some herbal touches in there too but there’s definitely a lot better tripels out there that I’d go back to over this one in future.

Brewed In: Steenhuffel, Flemish Brabant, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Palm
First Brewed: Brewed by Palm since 2004
Type: Tripel
Abv: 8.7%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Pita Burger Snacks House (Bruges)
Price: €3.50 (approx. £3.09)

Malheur 10° (386 of 1001)

Rating: 3.75

My first beer from the De Landtsheer brewery now, this is actually one of four beers under their Malheur range that feature on the 1001 beers list with their Malheur 12, Biére Brut and Dark Brut all featuring on it too, not bad for a brewery that only opened in 1997. This particular offering is one I spotted on a couple of menus in Belgium starting on day one at the Delirium Café in Brussels but I ended up waiting the best part of a week before finally trying it in Antwerp at Paters Vaetje. The beer is my 386 from the 1001 list thanks in no small part to the amount of new ones I managed to try in Belgium and luckily I still have another three from the list to go, one that I tried in Belgium and another two bottles that I brought home with me and have yet to try.

Appearance (4/5): Light yellow to amber in colour with a slightly cloudy body and a thin, foamy white head on top that was white and sat about a quarter centimetre tall with some nice lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (7/10): Fruity and quite floral too, the beer was more bitter on the nose initially than is normal for a Belgian beer of this type. There was some biscuit notes and pepper bringing in the middle with some touches of sweetness thanks to hints of banana and a lively aroma that had some of the alcohol showing towards the end.
Taste (7/10): This one was quite a fresh and bitter beer with some nice orange and citrus flavours opening things alongside a few floral hops. This was followed by some biscuit malts and touches of pepper and spice with a semi-sweetness from background fruits that included some bananas, apples and pears/ Towards the end there was a taste of bread with a couple of subtle, earthy hops rounding things off nicely.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and well carbonated without being overdone, the beer was lively and quite fresh with a strong bitterness from the start and a smooth, dry feel towards the end. There was a faint citrus tang and some spices too but overall the balance was a good one and it was easy to drink too.

Overall (15/20): Quite a fresh and floral beer with a nice balance and good bitterness but it was a little lighter tasting than expected given the alcohol content. It opened with some nice citrus touches and a fruity sweetness from a touch of banana with apples and pear backing it up. It was definitely a well carbonated beer with a nice tang and touches of alcohol towards the end without it being an overly complex offering.

Brewed In: Buggenhout, East Flanders, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij De Landtsheer
First Brewed: 1999
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Paters Vaetje, Antwerp, Belgium
Price: €4.20 (approx. £3.71)

Brains SA (385 of 1001)

Rating: 3.1

My third Brains beer now, this one follows on from their SA Gold that I tried way back in 2012 after grabbing a bottle in Newcastle and thinking it was the regular Brains SA from the 1001 beers list that I’m reviewing now; the other beer was a bottle of Barry Island IPA that I picked up from Tesco a few years ago now. This one will be my 379th from the 1001 beers list and my first of seven Welsh beers on the list, beers that have proved quite difficult to find anywhere I’ve been so far and I can see it taking a trip to Wales at some point to actually check a few more of them off.

Appearance (4/5): After an aggressive pour this one sits a caramel amber colour and is topped with a half centimetre, foamy white head that starts turning patchy in the middle after thirty seconds or so with a little more build up around this sides.
Aroma (5/10): Quite earthy and bitter in the early going with some biscuit malts and a few nutty notes as well. It’s not overly pronounced but some caramel and butterscotch sweetness a little further on before some bread malts see things out.
Taste (6/10): Similar to the nose with some caramel malts and a background sweetness coming through, the beer was earthy with some hops and the odd touch of biscuit in the early going. The nutty notes from the nose aren’t as pronounced here but there is some bread malts and butterscotch as well with hints of citrus rounding things off, although it was relatively subdued throughout.
Palate (3/5): Somewhere around medium bodied and quite crisp, the beer is smooth and semi-sweet thanks to the caramel malts and butterscotch. It’s relatively well-balanced and moderately carbonated with a sharp tangy feel from the citrus around the middle. It’s earthy throughout and definitely basic but it was easy enough to drink and probably quite sessionable too.

Overall (12/20): Basic stuff but drinkable through, the beer was quite earthy with a combination of bread and biscuit malts along with the odd nutty flavours dominating for the most part, there was some caramel sweetness and touches of butterscotch though. It’s not a beer that I went into with high hopes but it was decent enough and much as I’d expect from the style too, a solid English style bitter that was easy to drink an inoffensive.

Brewed In: Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
Brewery: SA Brain & Company Ltd.
First Brewed: 1958
Type: English Bitter
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.70

Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor (384 of 1001)

July 4, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 4.15

Only my second review of a Gouden Carolus beer as well as my second from the Het Anker brewery responsible for that range of beers, this despite being tempted to buy a few of their offerings online previously but opting for something else instead. This one is another beer that features in the 1001 beers list and is a relatively hop-driven beer for a Belgian offering which is part of the reason I opted for it over others that were available in the Staminee De Garre pub were I eventually tried this one whilst in Bruges recently. This one follows on from my review of the brewery’s Gouden Carolus Classic that I loved when I tried it back in January of 2015 and I was able to try both those beers again when I visited the Het Anker brewery on a day trip to Mechelen a couple of days after trying this one, on that occasion I had a sample flight of the brewery’s Gouden Carolus offerings as well as their Lucifer strong ale, a beer that I hope to pick up a bottle of to give it a full review at some point in the future.

Appearance (5/5): Very bright looking with a slightly hazy body, the beer was a golden colour with the odd amber tinge and some touches of orange in there as well. The head was quite a big one, sitting a couple of inches tall initially before slowly fading to leave a two centimetre, foamy white head with good lacing on the sides too; an excellent start to this one.
Aroma (7/10): Quite hoppy without overpowering, the beer was fresh with some citrus and pine notes in the early going alongside a huge amount of Belgian yeast. It was lively with some biscuit malts and grassy hops towards the middle and a hint of both lemon and coriander a little further on. Towards the end some grapes and a further hop bitterness seen things out alongside touches of grape and various other light background fruits.
Taste (8/10): Lively with some of the lighter fruits from the nose kicking things off, most notably the grapes with some apple and pear not too far behind. There was a freshness to the beer that coupled with some spices and Belgian yeast towards the middle before some pine hops and strong floral flavours started to show themselves, as did some faint alcohol to see things out.
Palate (4/5): Quite a lively and effervescent beer with a bubbly and light feel, there was some nice alcohol touches further on too which added a slightly boozy and warming feel to this one. The citrus and floral touches gave the beer a good tang and I found it quite easy to drink with a nice balance despite the alcohol content, it was also quite interesting and complex for the style which made it quite enjoyable to drink.

Overall (17/20): Fairly light and easy-going for both the style and the alcohol content, this one was a fresh and lively beer with a good balance and quite a lot of hops for a Belgian offering too. There was a nice combination of pine and floral hops in the early going with some biscuit malts and background fruits helping with the balance and making it an easy on to drink with good complexity without being too heavy or strong; a great beer.

Brewed In: Mechelen, Flanders, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Het Anker
First Brewed: 2008
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale/Belgian IPA
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Staminee De Garre, Bruges, Belgium
Price: €4.50 (approx. £3.99)

Black Albert (383 of 1001)

Rating: 4.05

My second beer from Struise after their Pannepot offering and one that I managed to pick up when I stopped by their bottle shop in Bruges a couple of weeks ago in the hope of finding this and another of their beers that I’ll be reviewing soon, their Aardmonnik Flemish Oud Bruin that I was lucky enough to find as well. This beer is a 2007 release from the brewery and I managed to pick up a bottle from 2016 at a very reasonably priced €5, not bad at all for a beer that comes in at an impressive 13% abv. and isn’t the easiest to find, even in Belgium. Originally brewed for Ebenezer’s Pub in Lovell, Maine, this is now a year-round offering from the brewery and takes inspiration from American and Scandinavian attempts at the style, this was Struise’s first imperial stout and but it has since branched out to brew several more, including their Cuvée Delphine which is the same beer after it has been aged for a year in bourbon barrels; hopefully I’ll be able to try it at some point in the future as well.

Appearance (4/5): Jet black in colour with an opaque body, this one pours like oil with a thin, bubbly head on top that was a beige to brown colour but sat mainly to one side of the beer without managing to cover the entire surface. It was still and thick looking in the glass with a thin lacing around the circumference as well but that was expected given the strength of this one.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a strong nose with some liquorice and dark chocolate to kick things off, there was a solid coffee bitterness in the early going too but this was quickly followed by warming alcohol notes and some grain. The beer was very strong with some darker fruits coming through, mainly raisins and prunes with some spices showing towards the middle as well. Further on there was hints of vanilla sweetness and a couple of sugars too; a very strong beer without overpowering too much thankfully.
Taste (8/10): Very strong stuff with huge amounts of alcohol grain and warming touches showing immediately but there was some nice dark chocolate and coffee flavours soon after to help balance it out a little. It was an earthy and bitter offering with some nice sugars and the vanilla sweetness from the nose showing here too. Further on some dark fruits came through as well, both the raisins and prunes from the nose with some plums and figs as well before some subtle spices and more dark malts see things out alongside a boozy alcohol finish.
Palate (4/5): Full-bodied and very thick, this one was a smooth and oily feeling beer on the mouth with very soft carbonation and a warming, boozy feel that seemed every bit like the 13% abv. it was. There was a creamy feel to the beer but it was quite malty and earthy too with nice complexity but it was perhaps just a touch strong as times whilst still being a very nice beer to drink.

Overall (17/20): Strong and thick, this one was a beer I really had to take my time with given the alcohol content and how boozy and warming it was at times. It opened with some nice chocolate and bitter coffee flavours that were complimented by a vanilla sweetness and some sugars further on but it definitely wasn’t a beer to rush. It seemed a little too strong at times, particularly early on but it was complex and rich with some pleasant dark malts and dark fruits showing too; a beer well worth trying and one I’d happily pick up again for a special occasion too.

Brewed In: Oostvleteren, West Vlaanderen, Belgium
Brewery: De Struise Brouwers
First Brewed: 2007
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 13.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Struise Beershop (Bruges, Belgium)
Price: €5.00 (approx. £4.43)