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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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Abstrakt AB:13

July 12, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

My third beer from Brewdog’s Abstrakt series now, this one follows on from their outstanding AB:10 that I tried way back in late 2013 and their AB:19 that I finally got around to trying around Christmas time last year. This one is a 2013 release from the brewery that I’ve had since then and it’s a cherry imperial stout that is aged for fourteen months in sherry whisky barrels to give it some of its taste. I believe I picked this one up from the Brewdog online store roughly five years ago and had always been saving it for around Christmas time each year but I’d never get around to trying it so I decided to scrap that recently and finally crack the bottle open and see how it tastes now it’s five years old. I’m expecting big things from this one given how good their AB:10 was all those years ago, I still enjoyed the AB:19 but that didn’t quite hit the same heights so at the very least it should be interesting to see  how this one turns out; the beer itself is numbers 8659 of 9972 so there can’t be too many of these left kicking about either.

Appearance (4/5): A very dark, cola like black colour with very thin, bubbly lacing on top that was a fiery brown in colour but faded quite quickly to leave not much of anything upstairs but that was to be expected given both the age and strength of this one.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a dark, oak like nose with a lot of roasted malts and liquorice upfront alongside a solid base of alcohol grain and an earthy bitterness from some coffee and chocolate notes. It’s slightly sweet with some caramel and dark fruits showing, mainly some dates and prunes but also a few sugars come through to help out. It’s a heavy aroma with some raisins and toffee towards the end to see things out; very strong stuff.
Taste (7/10): Dark fruits and alcohol flavours kick things off, it’s definitely got a sherry taste to it with some darker malts and chocolate following on behind, I managed to get some cherries alongside prunes and dates with a few raisins following on behind. It’s slightly sweet the caramel and a toffee taste further on alongside molasses and a few hints of vanilla and oak.
Palate (4/5): Fill-boded but after five years there’s very little carbonation showing, although it doesn’t seem flat given the type of beer it is. It’s loaded with alcohol from the start and shows pretty much all of it’s 11.3% abv. from the first sip. Some touches of sweetness by way of the chocolate and vanilla, not to mention the dark fruits and cherries helps to make it a drinkable offering but it’s not one to be rushed.

Overall (15/20): This one was a very strong and boozy beer from the start with a tonne of alcohol showing and a little sweetness further on from the dark fruits, molasses and vanilla. It’s a beer to take your time with and sip rather than rush through it given the strength and the age of the beer, although it holds up quite well for a bottle that’s been sitting in my attic for the best part of five years. It’s a thick and chewy, full-bodied beer that I’m glad I’ve finally tried but it was just that little bit too strong for my liking so I doubt I’d have picked it up again had it been a regular from Brewdog and it doesn’t quite hit the heights of either of the previous two Abstrakt beers I’ve tried.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: BrewDog
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 11.3%
Serving: Bottle (375ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £10.00

Hapkin

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.
Hapkin

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)

Trooper Hallowed

Rating: 3.35

Apparently the fourth the a series of beers inspired by the band Iron Maiden, although it is only the second the series that I’ll have tried after not being much of a fan of the 2013 original Trooper when I tried it not long after it was released. This offering from Robinsons is a Belgian style dark ale which is the only reason I picked this one up when I spotted it in the shop last year, well that and the fact the bottle cap was a good one. The beer is the sixth from the brewery that I’ll have tried with the last being their Mojo Pale Ale last year and that wasn’t particularly great either, in fact the only okay beer I’ve had from Robinsons is their Old Tom English strong ale from five years ago so I’m not holding out much hope for this one now and likely wouldn’t have bothered with it had I remembered this before picking the beer up.

Appearance (4/5): Caramel amber in colour with a surprisingly clear body and a thick looking, creamy head that was a light tan colour and holds about a centimetre tall after starting roughly double that size.
Aroma (5/10): Surprisingly light and one-dimensional on the nose, there’s some semi-sweet malts with touches of sugar in the early going as well as some faint butterscotch touches. Further on there is some darker fruits and touches of smoke, I got a little plum and fig but neither truly grabbed your attention and it seemed a touch weak at times without being a really bad nose.
Taste (6/10): Opening with a lot of sweet malts, there was more here than with the nose as well as a lot of dark fruits that included some of the plum and fig from the nose as well as some raisin and prunes. It was a little more pronounced at this point too with some alcohol grain and basic spices before some caramel malts and touches of banana came through to add to the sweetness.
Palate (4/5): Quite a sweet beer with a medium body that was slightly lighter than anticipated, the beer was a finely carbonated offering that had some alcohol showing which I thought could have been better hidden given it wasn’t an overly strong beer. There was some sweet malts and spices nearer the end and the balance was fairly good too without it being a beer that grabbed your attention.

Overall (13/20): This one was a bit up and down at times, it started well with some nice sweetness from the malts and dark fruits but there wasn’t a whole lot to it after that it seemed a little weak and one-dimensional at times. It was Belgian influenced at times as the bottle suggested but it fell far short of what I’d expect from a Belgian brewed beer of this style. It’s a better beer than the original Trooper beer in this series from Robinsons but it didn’t do enough for me to make it a beer that I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Stockport, England
Brewery: Robinsons Family Brewers
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Dubbel
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: B&M Bargains (Glasgow)
Price: £1.25

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)

Straffe Hendrik Tripel

Rating: 3.75

A fourth beer from the De Halve Maan brewery now, this one also being the fourth from them that I tried when visiting Bruges earlier this summer and is one that I had on my last morning in the city in the beer garden of the oldest pub in the city too, Café Vlissinghe. This one follows one from Brugse Zot and Brugse Zot Dubbel that I tried in Bruges, although I had previously tried the former of those two beers a couple of years ago as well and the beer falls under the same banner as the brewery’s Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel that I tried a couple of days before this one as well. This particular offering from the brewery is one that I was close to picking up when visiting the brewery itself on my first day in Bruges but since it was a nice day I opted instead for their flagship Brugse Zot again before trying their dubbel for the first time so I thought it fitting that I eventually tried this one as my last beer in the city since I seen it available in almost ever bar I stopped at and I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to pick up once I was back in the UK.

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber to orange with a quite a large, foamy white head sitting several inches tall before settling as a thick surface lacing with some touches on the side and a creamy texture towards the centre.
Aroma (7/10): Quite fruity on the nose with some spice and biscuit notes coming through in the early going, there was some lemon and citrus in there too. I detected quite a flowery and floral nose to this one with some herbal touches towards the middle and subtle sweetness as well thanks to the malts. It was light and summery with some apple, pear and grapes as well as faint banana and some yeast in there too.
Taste (7/10): Biscuit malts and quite a fresh, floral taste kick things off here with some pine and herbal touches soon after. The beer was fruity with apple and grapes both showing along with some of the banana from the nose and a little orange too. The beer was pleasant tasting with a hint of tart and some yeasty, spice-like flavours to see things out as well.
Palate (4/5): Very fresh and quite sharp too, the beer was dry with a lot of spices and yeast showing as well. The beer was medium-bodied and effervescent with quite a lively feel from the strong carbonation levels and the balance meant that a lot of the alcohol content was hidden save for a touch right at the end.

Overall (15/20): Quite a light and floral tasting tripel with plenty of herbal touches and a lot of yeast coming through along with some spices. The beer was interesting with some nice pine and biscuit flavours in there on top of quite strong carbonation and a very lively, sharp feel to the beer. It’s flavoursome without being too complex and it proved easy to drink throughout but it’s not quite up there with some of the other Belgian tripels I’ve had of late sadly and the quadrupel from the brewery was a much better beer too.

Brewed In: Bruges, West Flanders, Belgium
Brewery: Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan
First Brewed: circa. 2008
Full Name: Straffe Hendrik Bruges Tripel Bier 9°
Type: Tripel
Abv: 9.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Café Vlissinghe, Bruges, Belgium
Price: €4.20 (£3.68)