Posts Tagged ‘belgian strong pale ale’


July 10, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

A third beer from Brouwerij Alken-Maes now, this one follows on from their Judas and Grimbergen Ambrée offering despite the fact that the later of those two is actually brewed in France as well. This one is the last review of a beer that I managed to try in Belgium last month and leaves me with only a couple more from the country that I brought home with me left to try. The beer itself is one that was actually brewed by another brewery, Brouwerij Louwaege, between 2001 and 2007 until brewing switched to Alken-Maes. I sampled this one on my last night in Brussels before returning home when I stopped by the À la Mort Subite bar in the city after reading about it online but to be honest the beer selection wasn’t what I’d hoped for when compared to other famous Belgian bars so I settled on this one since it wasn’t a beer I’d seen or heard of before, here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): A light but bright golden colour, the beer is slightly hazy with a lot of fizz in the body and a large, fluffy white head that eventually settle just over a centimetre tall with a lot of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly spicy with a lot of citrus and biscuit notes opening things up followed by some yeast and light alcohol towards the middle but nothing too strong. There was some floral hops around the middle too with a nice bite to it and some banana and apples seeing things out.
Taste (8/10): Floral and quite fresh with a lot of biscuit flavours that were a touch stronger than the nose. There was some nice yeast and light fruits further on with banana and apple both showing as well as some grapes and pears before orange flavours and some spice seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Floral and quite tangy with plenty of spice and a dry, crisp feel. The beer was relatively sharp with some alcohol showing at times and a lot of yeast at points too. It was very well-carbonated with a medium to full body and quite a fluffy feel.

Overall (16/20): Quite a nice and light beer with a fluffy feel at times but one that had strong carbonation and a sharp, crisp finish with a dryness throughout. It was well-balanced with only a touch of alcohol showing and although the nose could perhaps have been stronger there was nice apple and banana flavours coming through with some yeast and spice as well. Fresh and easy going, the beer was surprisingly good and one that I’d happily pick up again if I found it in the UK.

Brewed In: Jumet, Walloon, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Alken-Maes
First Brewed: 2001 (Brouwerij Alken-Maes since 2007)
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: À la Mort Subite, Brussels, Belgium
Price: €5.50 (approx. £4.87)


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)

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)

Bush Ambrée Triple (376 of 1001)

June 14, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 4.05

My first new beer from the 1001 list since back in April when I thoroughly enjoyed the bottle of Oerbier that I had then, this one is the first of several beers from the list that I managed to try when visiting Belgium at the end of last month and into this one. The beer is a fairly new offering by Belgian standard for the 1001 list, first brewed ten years ago in 2008 and available as a rotating offering from the Dubuisson brewery, I was lucky enough to find this one on-tap on my first night in Brussels and quickly ordered a glass. The beer will be my 376 from the list and it’s not one that I can ever recall seeing in the UK so I’m glad I’ve been able to finally give it a try, especially considering it turned out to be one of my favourite and most memorable beers from the trip.

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber in colour with a thin, foamy white head on top that is about a quarter of a centimetre tall and slightly patchy on the surface but looks pretty good considering the strength of the beer.
Aroma (8/10): Strong without overpowering, the beer was a sweet one with caramel malts opening proceedings alongside some alcohol notes early on. There was a nice combination of apple and pear that was complimented by some floral touches and fruity esters before some banana and apricot showed at the end to round things off.
Taste (8/10): Slightly more fruity than the nose, there was some banana and pear flavours kicking things off with some touches of apple and grape not too far behind. The beer was again a strong one with some alcohol around the middle and a caramel sweetness coming through to mask some of it followed by some sugars and a hint of spice. Towards the end there was a strong herbal taste to the beer with a little plum thrown in for good measure.
Palate (4/5): Quite strong and complex with a good balance that stopped it overpowering at any point and the caramel sweetness done well to mask a lot of the alcohol content, some of it did show from the middle on though. It was a full-bodied beer with moderate carbonation and a dry feel towards the end that was slightly sweet too.

Overall (17/20): Very pleasant but very strong stuff too, this beer was quite complex with a good combination of fruits kicking things off, most notably apples and pears but some grapes and even a little plum showed at points too. There was plenty of alcohol coming through at times but the caramel sweetness partially covered this and the balance was great which made it easier to drink than expected too. It was warming towards the end and great to sip away at; definitely a beer that I’ll seek out again if possible.

Brewed In: Pipaix, Hainaut, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie Dubuisson
First Brewed: 2008
Also Known As: Scaldis Refermentee
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Abv: 12.0%
Serving: Keg (500ml)
Purchased: Brasserie du Lombard, Brussels, Belgium
Price: €5.50 (approx. £4.84)

Piraat (339 of 1001)

January 31, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.95

Beer number 339 from the 1001 beers list now, this one being my fourth review of a Van Steenberge beer in quite succession but one that I fully expected to be an improvement on the Bornem Dubbel and Tripel offerings that I reviewed recently from the brewery. Like those two beers, this one is another that I received over Christmas in the form of a Belgian beer gift pack with the other recent review being of their Gulden Draak 9000 which I enjoyed without it going down as a classic. This particular offering is one that I’ve been aware of for some time now and since it featured on the 1001 beer list I’ve been keeping my eye out for it but I’ve never been able to get my hands on a bottle until I cracked this one open a couple of weeks ago. The beer will be the fifty-first Belgian offering from the 1001 beers list that I’ll have tried and my ninety-second Belgian beer in total, not a bad ratio for beers from the country and hopefully I’ll get to pick up a few more over the course of this year as well. First brewed back in 1986 after the success of another Belgian strong pale ale, Duvel, this one was definitely a beer I was looking forward to and it didn’t disappoint.


Appearance (4/5): Copper amber in colour, slightly darker than I’d thought and with a very slight haze to the body. There was a centimetre tall, foamy white head at the top that had the odd bubble sitting on the surface too and there was pretty good retention for the strength of the beer. After about thirty or forty seconds there was a slight reduction in size as the head faded to about half a centimetre tall then eventually started to break up a little in the centre of the glass too.
Aroma (8/10): Quite sweet on the nose initially, there was some nice caramel and toffee notes with a couple further sweet malts as things began to open up a little. Towards the middle the bread malts base made itself more known and I got some background fruits coming forward too; mainly apples, grapes and pear with the odd floral touch too. It was a relatively fresh offering that seemed lively with some yeast, cloves and a little spice to round things off.
Taste (7/10): Opening with a lot of toffee and caramel flavours, there was an almost syrupy taste in the early going with touches of sweet malt from the nose too. Around the middle the grapes and apples from the nose showed themselves alongside some apricot with pear and a few other nondescript fruity flavours. There was some brown sugar and yeast nearer the end with the faintest of alcohol touches seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite a lively, strongly carbonated offering with quite an effervescent feel to it that was relatively crisp too. There was a nice balance to the beer with some dryness nearer the end that complimented the slightly boozy, warming finish that helped the beer down easier than expected.

Overall (17/20): Quite a nice, very well-balanced and lively beer with an excellent bubbly feel to it that was slightly boozy near the end thanks to the strong alcohol content. There was some nice, lighter fruits and the odd sweet malt in the early going that made it quite easy to drink despite the 10.5% abv. but the warming kick near the end was still appreciated. It was easier to drink than expected thanks to the balance and I particularly liked the light, crisp feel to the beer; it’s an offering that I’ll hopefully have again at some point.

Brewed In: Ertvelde, East Flander, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Van Steenberge
First Brewed: 1986
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Abv: 10.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: North of Ireland
Price: Gift

De Dolle Stille Nacht (335 of 1001)

August 3, 2016 2 comments

Rating: 4.4

Translating as ‘Silent Night’, this one is my second beer from De Dolle and follows on from their Arabier that I reviewed here back in August of 2014, with that particular beer being another of the four beers from the brewery that features in the 1001 beers list. Originally a dark Belgian ale when launched in 1980, the recipe was completely changed two years later and it’s now a Belgian strong pale ale. The beer underwent another change in the year 2000 when the Rodenbach brewery stopped supplying De Dolle with the yeast strain they were using to brew this one through the 1990’s so since then the yeast being used is a stronger, less complex one but the beer is still held in every high regard. This bottle is one that I stumbled upon during a recent trip to Whole Foods Market in Giffnock and it was one I almost passed on grabbing before I realised it was a beer from the 1001 beers list, the reason for this being that I’ve still got quite a few stronger beers to get through and with this one coming in at 12% abv. I felt it could potentially take a while for me to crack the bottle open but as it’s a pale offering and features on the 1001 beers list I thought I’d open it sooner rather than later after getting it home. The beer will also bring my total from the 1001 beers list to a semi-respectable 335, meaning I’m just over a third of the way there; it’s taken me a lot longer than expected given the amount of times I get side tracked but it’s progress at least.

De Dolle Stille Nacht

Appearance (5/5): Quite a cloudy looking beer, this one is a dark amber colour that has a few bits of sediment floating about the beer with more of a build up nearer the bottom of the glass. There was a fluffy, two and a half centimetre tall head on top that was an off-white colour that had excellent retention in the early going and it left some nice lacing on the sides of the glass too, no easy feat for a 12% beer.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a strong nose in the early going, there was a bit of yeast and some orange notes alongside touches of peach to start things off. I managed to detect some grapes and a little pear on the nose with some spice and fainter citrus notes not too far behind. It’s definitely a varied aroma initially with some honey sweetness and a bit of malt towards the end that ushers in some sourness and faint alcohol grain.
Taste (9/10): Again quite a yeasty beer opening up, there was some faint sourness that carried on from the nose and I got a bit of spice coming through too. The beer was fresh with a solid citrus base and some nice orange flavours before the pear and apple from the nose showed itself. There was plenty of sugars throughout this one with an almost candy sweetness and a lighter bitterness towards the end; there was some cloves and a few malts around this point too and overall it was an excellent tasting beer.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite fluffy, this one was a fresh beer that seemed warming and very slightly boozy, mainly at the end but for the most part the alcohol content of the beer was quite well hidden. It was a dry, balanced and varied offering with some spice and a strong sweetness nearer the end.

Overall (18/20): This one was an excellent beer from De Dolle and came through with almost everything that I’ve come to expect from big, bold Belgian beers. There was a lot of flavour packed into this one and some good spice as well with a combination of yeast and citrus flavours opening things up and rich fruits following them up. It was a very well-balanced and easy to drink beer despite its strength and it’s definitely up there with some of the best the country brews; great stuff.

Brewed In: Diksmuide, West Flanders, Belgium
Brewery: De Dolle Brouwers
First Brewed: 1980
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Abv: 12.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Whole Foods Market (Giffnock)
Price: £4.36

La Binchoise Spéciale Noël (323 of 1001)

January 12, 2016 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.05

You know it’s Christmas time when I start knocking off beers from the 1001 beers list and in particular strong, Belgian beers like this one from La Binchoise. The beer is a Christmas one from the brewery that is labelled as Reserve Speciale in the United States and occasionally in the UK but the bottle I’ll be reviewing is marked as Spéciale Noël. Whilst the name indicates that it is definitely a Christmas beer, this one can apparently be found year round although I’m not entirely convinced even after reading that in the 1001 Beers To Try Before You Die book. First brewed in 1993, four years after the family brewery was founded, this one is a Christmas classic and one that I’ve been saving for over a year having ordered it in December 2014 but never getting round to drinking it until now so hopefully it will have been worth the wait.

La Binchoise Spéciale Noël

Appearance (5/5): Quite a cloudy looking, almost brownish amber colour with a few orange tinges that give it an appearance that is not unlike a dunkelweizen. The head is quite a large one with it sitting about three and a half centimetres tall in the glass and managing to hold well over the opening minutes, looking quite thick and creamy in the glass as it does so; not bad for a 9% abv. beer and there is even some lacing left on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (8/10): Definitely a fresh beer on the nose with a lot of yeast esters and fruits coming through early on; there was some nice pears, apples and a few floral smells too. I detected a small amount of bread and slightly more fresh hops around the middle with a bit of citrus not far behind. It was an easy beer on the nose with some hints of coriander coming through and a hint of tart plus touches of sugar right at the end.
Taste (7/10): The taste was kicked off with a combination of floral hops, bread and fruits with a few malts in the mix as well. This was followed by some nice citrus notes, mainly oranges as well as some apples and pears coming through from the nose. I detected a some pleasant hints of Belgian yeast coming through around the middle and touches of spice plus a hint of coriander that gave the beer a floral and fresh taste without coming through as overly complex.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied but still seeming quite light and fluffy, particularly for such a strong beer but the alcohol content did seem to be at least partially hidden. There was a nice balance to the beer with strong carbonation and a dry, fruity feel that had touches of sweetness and a faint bitterness right at the end.

Overall (15/20): A very nice and fresh beer with some good floral flavours and touches of fruit opening things up nicely without anything being overly pronounced. The beer wasn’t a particularly complex on to be honest but I’ll not hold that against it because it was done well and it went down quite easily given the 9% alcohol content. It was definitely a well carbonated and quite dry beer with some bread malts helping balance things out but it probably falls just short of being considered an absolute classic Belgian ale given how good some of the others from the country have proven to be.

Brewed In: Binche, Hainaut, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie La Binchoise
First Brewed: 1993
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Abv: 9.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Price: £2.49