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Category Archives: Country: Belgium

Review of Bellegems Bruin

Hello everyone.  Thanks for checking in on another craft beer review.  Sorry that’s it’s been a bit since I last posted.  Well, for today’s tasting I’m going to be trying the Bellegems Bruin produced by Brouwerij Bockor N.V. located in Bellegem-Kortrijk, Belgium.

I’ve really been craving an Oud Bruin lately, so I figured I’d give this one a go.

Let’s check on the website, bocker.be, and see what they have to say about this beer.

Originally called “Ouden Tripel”, this ancient West Flanders Brown beer has found a new élan as a regional specialty under its current name: “Bellegems bruin”. The main ingredients of our Bellegems Bruin are malted barley, wheat, hops, water, and caramelized malts. These are used to brew a bottom-fermented beer. Blending this beer with lambic beer aged in oak for 18 months results in this specific West Flanders Brown beer. Its typical flavour is characterized by a well-balanced, hardly noticeable sourness. This first flavour impression is soon followed by a second pleasant discovery: a slight bitterness followed by a hint of sweetness.

Sounds good.  Let’s drink.

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This beer came in a 25.4 oz. bottle and it had an ABV of 5.5%.

It poured a brown color with some ruby highlights showing through when held toward the light.  A fairly well sized, off white head was formed from a relatively easy pour.  It was a bit fizzy and soapy in texture and it subsided a little quicker than I’d hoped.  The lacing was thin and a touch inconsistent, however a small ring of foam was left on the liquid around the edge of the glass.

The nose brought forth hints of soured grapes and cherries.  It smelled tart and acidic.  Only a minor amount of oak was found and it seemed to be buried deep within.  It was very “red wine” like with the bouquet, which is always a good thing in my opinion.  It wasn’t overly complicated, yet solid and true to the style I thought.

The taste let loose of more of the soured grapes and cherries.  I also detected a dab of soured red apple, which added to the semi-tart profile.  A slight relish of acidity and vinegar was found along side a nice savor of wood/oak.  Towards the end some earthy goodness intermingled with all of the characteristics to create a very nice and harmonious palatableness.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Bitey, semi-sharp and mostly dry.  The carbonation was of medium strength and a good deal of seasoning was left behind of the roof on the mouth and tongue for me to enjoy between each sip.

Overall, I found this to be a very, very nice and proper brew.  It wasn’t extraordinary, however it still had plenty to be happy about and enough personality to sit and ponder.  I know I really enjoyed it that’s for sure.  It was plenty easy to drink and I wouldn’t have a bit of a problem sharing or recommending this beer to anyone interested in trying a traditional Oud Bruin.  So, if you guys happen to run across a bottle of the Bellegems Bruin, pick it up and give it a go.  I think that you may find it to be very satisfying.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I’m forever grateful.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.05 out of 5

Grade:  A-

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Posted by on November 16, 2013 in Brouwerij Bocker, Country: Belgium

 

Review of De Ranke XXX Bitter

Hello everyone.  It’s time for another craft beer review and today I’m going to be trying the De Ranke XXX Bitter produced by the Brouwerij De Ranke located in Wevelgem, Belgium.

I’ve only ever had the De Ranke XX Bitter and I thought it was wonderful, so I’m guessing that this beer should rank right up there with it.

I checked on the website, deranke.be, and didn’t find any info for the XXX Bitter, but I did check on ratebeer.com and found this.

Brewed especially for the Shelton Brothers “The Festival” 2013 in Portland, ME.  Limited kegs and 75cl bottles productions. Not to be confused with the regular XX Bitter.

Not much to go on there, but that’s ok.  Let’s drink this thing.

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This beer came in a 25.4 oz. bottle with an ABV of 6.0%.

It poured a beautiful, mostly clear, golden color.  It formed a billowy, soft, fluffy, rocky, white head from a very easy pour.  It was sized great and the retention time was awesome.  The lacing was patchy and soapy, but very nice looking.  This was a gorgeous looking beer and just staring at it in the glass made me want to turn it up and take a sip.

The nose was very floral.  Tones of fruity green apple and pear made their way into my nostrils while spices of pepper and coriander followed.  Fresh smelling grasses, yeast and bready goodness added more complexity, depth and roundness.  This brew smelled very, very nice.

Within the flavor a fresh grassy, grain and hay-like component began first.  The fruitiness didn’t seem as strong, however it was still noted.  The green apple gave it the slightest bit of tartness.  The yeast and bready characteristics were rather profound though.  At the back end a very nice hop bite tickled the tongue while a peppery sting complimented.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Very crisp, refreshing and dry with a wee bit of bite.  A good, medium strength carbonation allowed a lot of flavor to completely cover the palate for enjoyment between sips.

I tell ya.  I thought this was a great beer. It was very easy going and it would be a great Spring time brew.  The freshness would totally match that point of the season.  It was well balanced and intricate in both the aroma and the taste.  Not to mention that it looked spectacular standing in the tulip.  I have no doubt that this beverage could be appreciated by even the most advanced craft beer enthusiast as well as someone just getting started in the world of better beer.  I know that I really enjoyed it and I hope that De Ranke brews the XXX Bitter again sometime because I’ll definitely pick it up.  Did any of you guys get the opportunity to sample this brew?  What did you think of it?  Feel free to leave a comment and tell me all about your experience.

Thanks for reading everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.5 out of 5

Grade:  A

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Country: Belgium, De Ranke

 

Review of Duchesse De Bourgogne

It’s time for another craft beer review everyone and today I’m going to be reviewing a classic.  Well, a classic in the eyes of a lot of people anyway.  For this tasting I’m pouring the Duchesse De Bourgogne brewed by the Brouwerij Verhaeghe situated in Vichte, Belgium.

Let’s just go ahead and get to the website, proximedia.com, and see what they have to say about this beer.

Duchesee de Bourgogne is the traditional top fermented reddish-brown ale from the West-Flanders region of Belgium. This refined ale also known as “The Burgundies of Belgium” is a blend of 8 and 18 months old ales following careful maturation in oak casks. 100% natural and unpasteurized.

Nice!!!  Let’s get to it.

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This beer came in a 25.4 oz. bottle with an ABV of 6.2%.

It poured a deep burgundy/deep brown mixture of color.  A relatively easy discharge produced a very rocky, soft, fluffy, soapy, light tan head.  It was wonderfully sized with a great retention time.  As the crown receded it left behind some very attractive, patchy lacing.

The nose was very earthy.  Stale musty notes with a very light sourness.  A delightful hint of wood along with a slight tone of black cherry and other unidentified dark fruits.  Deeper into the aroma it had a spicy bread type of fragrance.  Almost like rye.  Whatever it was totally complimented the overall profile.  A very pleasant bouquet on this one for sure.

The flavor was very enticing.  It was almost like a cherry cola or something.  Sweet and sugary at the beginning, which eventually gave way to the woodiness as it warmed.  Some delightful, but soft, raisin bread characteristics came through once it opened up too.  It wasn’t near as tart or sour as I was expecting it to be, however it divulged enough to keep me wanting another sip.  The balance and harmony were spot on I thought.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Dry and smooth, although somewhat crisp.  The carbonation was of the medium strength variety.  No warmth or heat from the alcohol, yet a very nice shot of flavor was left behind for me to enjoy between sips.

Yeah, this is a great beer.  It’s a certified classic.  Easily worth a try if you have yet to do so.   It may not be as robust as some of the “newer aged/extreme” Sours, but this one is much easier to drink and deserves the utmost respect.  It’s very well made, complex and an excellent beer.  It seemed to get a little more varied and elaborate as it warmed and opened up.  I believe this brew would totally hit the spot during the crisp, cool days of Fall.  One interesting thing that I found was that this brew worked the opposite of most Sours that I’ve had.  It got more sour and tart as I went along.  Most of the time, at least with my experience, the sourness starts strong then the palate adjusts.  This one didn’t seem all that sour to begin with, however became more so later. It still wasn’t over the top though.  Just pleasant and enjoyable.  Have you guys had the Duchesse De Bourgogne yet? What did you think of it?  Be sure to let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.2 out of 5

Grade:  A-

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Country: Belgium, Verhaeghe

 
 
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