Every once in a while—okay, almost all the time—I’ve got a backlog of beers that I’ve taken notes on but not posted. Also, I sometimes realize that the list is getting far too long. So, I proposed to myself that I could write a few of the same brewery in one post. So, here are some Lost Abbey reviews to suck on.
10 Commandments: I first tried this beer at Dark Lord Day last year. I remembered thinking it was pretty good. I know that Nate and my brother simply loved it. It’s a seasonal brew, so, whenever the time came, I picked up a few bottles. One to try and a couple to age for future use. FYI 10 Commandments was $11.99 per bottle, which is not too bad a price for a 750ml bottle at 9% ABV.
The Pour: Strange to say, this beer was a deep, dark color with an almost purple highlight to it. Odd to look at indeed. A nice, light brown, foamy and stable head sat atop this beauty. As I sipped the glass, the lacing was evident and nice looking on the glass.
The Nose: Given that this brew has rosemary in it, the nose certainly had remnants of that aspect. Those herbal qualities on the nose were, I’m sure, enhanced by the character of the yeast, which was evident and powdery on the nose. Raisons/dried fruits could also be noted and hinted at a sweetness that would balance the herbal character the beer promised to have.
The Taste: If there was any doubt about the rosemary content of the brew, it was certainly resolved on the palate. The rosemary taste was definite and pronounced. As suspected, the raison quality, along with the residual sweetness, kicked in to provide a balance to the whole. The combination of the elements from above gave the beer a perfumey herbal character that lasted for quite awhile. Throw in a bit of iron-like metallic tones, vinous (wine-like) alcohol qualities, and a nice, dry finish, then you have quite a beer.
Overall, my criticisms of this brew would very likely be different if I didn’t like rosemary. Actually, I’m not a huge rosemary fan, but it works for 10 Commandments. If you really hate rosemary, then don’t buy this beer. Yet, despite the fact that it could seem over-bearing in the brew; I really enjoyed it. Perhaps the beer was a little drier than I would have liked, but I really don’t have much critical to say beyond that. Definitely pick up this brew if you see it.
Among other Belgian Ales:
Lost and Found: Having been deprived of Lost Abbey beers, I just kept things rolling along. It’s hard to tell you how it will taste because the ABV seems to be variable. For instance, Lost Abbey lists this as a 7.5% ABV ale while Beer Advocate has it as 8%. The bottle I drank was 8.5%. The only fair assumption to make is that the variance in ABV would change numerous aspects of the flavor profile. Describing a beer is already a challenge, but it’s even more so when there are such variances. Perhaps others could fill in the other percents. As for me, there is my review.
The Pour: Unlike some of the other problematic brews (at the time) from the Lost Abbey, this one had ample carbonation. I knew this when the cork offered a big pop. A tall, stable, light brown head emerged. The fact that the body was pretty active helped keep the head firmly in place and provided lacing as the beer emptied. I personally think Lost and Found was the color of a murky, hazy brown ale, perhaps something between a Sam Smith’s and Thomas Hardy blended together.
The Nose: Candy sugar tones and powdery yeast were immediately evident on the nose of the brew. Residual sweetness took the form of caramel qualities, vinous (wine) like aromas, and dried fruits (raison). A touch of iron hardness and hints of vegetable. A bit of burnt smokiness was also present.
The Taste: The first sip testified that there was a bit of alcohol warmth to the brew, which combined with those vinous notes to give some wine-like impressions. The dried and burnt fruit raison qualities combined with a nice touch of residual sweetness to balance out the alcohol heat. I also noted a almost tart acidity and smoke along with metallic aspects. The caramel candy sugar tones combined with the vegetable hints at which the nose hinted.
Overall, I think this is a good and complete beer. The metal and vegetable qualities might seem off-putting, but I think they are preferable in a beer such as this. From what I understand, Trappist yeast is used in this brew. The metal and vegetable tones are entirely characteristic of these strains (in my opinion). The grain profile with, perhaps, the exception of the wheat (the ostensible cause of the haze) is very characteristic of the grain profile for a dubbel. Because of this, I think the flavors are consistent with the style of dubbel which has the above characteristics. I personally prefer a bit more of a bready undergirding to a dubbel, but this is a good beer.
Among other Belgian Ales:
Judgment Day: A good beer in its own right, this beer is maybe better known as being the basis for Cuvee De Tomme and (I’m not sure) Angel’s Share. At an already hefty 10.5% ABV, this is a pretty big beer. Of course, the attenuation level of 1.014 doesn’t leave too much sweetness. At any rate, this is the biggest beer of the normal line-up.
The Pour: Judgment Day poured with a very deep brown, almost black color. The bottle I drank had no head retention whatsoever.
The Nose: If this beer comes off as having a similar redolence to Lost and Found, it’s because it is very similar in structure, just an upped version. Plenty of raisons on the nose along with hints of chocolate evoked a craving for some Raisonettes. A burnt/smoke tone was, like Lost and Found, present. Again, the vegetative qualities were noticeable. Vinous port-like aspects were also readily present. Yeast and, unlike Lost and Found, the wheat were evident. Alcohol and residual sweetness factored into the overall complexity of the brew.
The Taste: The port alcohol qualities were evident immediately. I don’t think the beer drank like it was too hot on the alcohol, but it was big. A small hint of residual tenuously held the ABV in check. Burnt, dry fruits, chocolate, and yeast hit very nicely. The raisons and a notable biscuit tone, which was missing in Lost and Found was within the structure of Judgment Day. Again, the Trappist vegetative qualities were in abundance. Of course, the strain is proprietary, so I can’t be certain about what was in the mix. I will say that the yeast aroma and flavor very much reminded of half Aventinus Wheat Double Bock, half eisbock of the same brew.
Overall, again, I cannot complain that this beer isn’t doing what it sets out to do. It’s made in the Belgian tradition and it has the deep caramel of the dried fruits and special B malts. It certainly is a tweak on a Belgian Strong. I think maybe calling it a quad or a dubbel-dubbel works well. Another excellent beer. I’ve post about this beer before with similar thoughts.
Among other Belgian Ales:
[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Reinhardt. Michael Reinhardt said: http://tinyurl.com/35whpn7 Lost Abbey reviews I've been holding on to. [...]
I’ve noticed discrepancies on BA when it comes to ABV several times before. I really did not know about the Rosemary in 10 Commandments.
Of the three you review, I’ve had the Judgement Day and agree with your assessment of flavor and quality. Also the Rosemerry in Ten Commandments is very intriguing. Does Lost Abbey make any lighter beers?
Yes.they do. Their Avant Garde, Carnivale, Red Barn and some sours. All of them are pretty good. They just don’t make any bad stuff.
Nate, apparently they Rosemary fades over time quite a bit (normal). I do remember that you remarked on the Rosemary when we tasted it at DLD.
10 commandments is delicious. I stil have my 2 bottles. I think I will crack one next time the sun comes out in Indiana. Looks like that may be a week.
It’ll be out plenty when you come to CA. I think we might be able to find some 10 Commandments, too.