Hopefully there are more people drinking it “with us Friday.” A special thanks to you, Dave, for sticking to our “regiment.” Here are my impressions of the beer. I started with the pour, which produced a rich light brown and creamy head. What is nice about this is that the head stuck around. I noticed that the carbonation bubbles were very fine in this beer. Although the beer appeared to be brown, it had some gorgeous deep amber tones, which match the colorfully dark label on the beer. It got on swimmingly with the glass (I actually drank it out of my Unibroue glass).
Next I smelled the beer. Delicious. There was a definite grapish/wine smell to the beer. No doubt (the expression, not the group), the beer got this quality from the lees. It also had a sweet, malty smell with little noticeable hops qualities. There were tons of wine characteristics in this beer, not only in smell but also in taste. The smell reminded me of ripe fruit (as the bottle suggests). Pinpointing the fruit was not easy, but I caught cherry or strawberry. (Unibroue actually makes a cherry driven ale called Chose.) I suspect that the yeast helped promote the fruity and spicy qualities to the beer as this is a bottle conditioned ale (i.e., extra yeast is added at bottling).
Now the taste. There was a good acidic or sourish bite to the beer. This was not overwhelming. In fact, it seems like it would stimulate the appetite. The alcohol tastes and warmth of the brew were noticeable, but for a 9% ABV beer, they were subtle. I feel that the alcohol tastes were negated by the popping flavors of the beer. In terms of the finish, it was long and lingering. Very little, if any, hop bitterness or flavors were present in the beer. Some of the ripe fruitiness of the yeast and nose came through, which I found delightful. The yeast also lent a bready, almost sweet sherry, hint to the beer.
After I had a bit of the beer on its own terms, I drank it while eating some Pistachio nuts. I thought the two complemented each other very well. Of course, it doesn’t help that I am biased (I love beer and I love Pistachios). Whether you drink the beer on its own or with a salty snack (or well-prepared dinner), I hope you enjoyed this beer as much as I.
Among other Unibroue products:
Among other Belgian Styles: