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Category Archives: Van Steenberge

Review of Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale

For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be sampling Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale produced by Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. located in Ertvelde, Belgium.

I haven’t had a Sour Ale in a long time, so I’m really looking forward to getting this in a glass and giving it a test drive.

Before we do though, let’s see if we can find a description of this beer from the website, vansteenberge.com.  Well, I couldn’t find anything there, so let’s look on ratebeer.com.

We blend young and old beers to make this mildly tart sour ale.  Light bodied with a lactic/sour nose and a bit of sweet and sour in the finish.  Very refreshing.

Into the glass it goes.

This Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale has an ABV of 5.5% and comes in a 25.4 oz. bottle.

The beer poured a very deep ruby red/burgundy/purple color.  An enormous light tan head was formed from a relatively easy pour.  It looked kind of soapy, rocky and soft, but the retention was pretty good and the lacing was “so-so.”  After the brew warmed and the chill haze diminished I could tell that the beer was fairly clear.

The aroma started with a medium dose of sourness.  A little bit of funk came forth along with some fresh, ripe cherries and sour grapes.  At first, I didn’t find much of a vinegar note, which always seems to accompany Sour Ales, however after the brew had been sitting for a few minutes it began to get more exposed.  I thought this brew smelled nice and tart.  Not overly pungent or astringent, but just an all around good, solid aroma.

The taste let the cherries step out a bit more.  They were very sugary, sweet and pleasant.  Additional ripe grapes made the sourness significantly more poignant.  It was not so much to make it undrinkable or off putting, but rather just to remind me that this is a “Sour” Ale.  It really started to favor a red wine profile the longer I sipped.  I didn’t think the tarty aspect nor the vinegar was very forthcoming either.  Finally, a little bit of oakiness sat in the background to add further complexity to this very nice taste.  I liked it.

The mouthfeel was medium to thin.  It began sharp, but smoothed out ever so delicately the longer I sipped and let the palate adjust.  The beer had good carbonation and finished clean and dry.  Also, it left a good dose of flavor on the palate after the swallow.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty good brew.  It’s very enjoyable and has a relatively high drinkability factor due to the low ABV.  It’s not quite as robust or gargantuan as some Sours can be, but it still represents the style well.  I think it’s worth a try and would be a good one to pick up if you are interested in exploring the wonderful world of Sours.  I liked it and would have no trouble drinking it again if it was offered.  Be sure to let me know what you thought of the Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale if you’ve sampled it.  I would love to hear a few opinions.

Thanks everyone.  I really appreciate you taking the time to read my beer reviews.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  3.8 out of 5
Grade:  B+   

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Review of Van Steenberge Piraat Ale

How’s everyone doing today?  I hope all is well.  I have another craft beer to review for you and it’s the Van Steenberge Piraat Ale produced by Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. located in Ertvelde, Belgium.

I’ve never had this beer before and I don’t know much about it so let’s just go to the website, vansteenberge.com, for and introduction.

This light amber coloured Piraat with full foam head overwhelms with an aroma of bitter, spicy, malty alcoholic scents.  What follows is a perfect combination of malty, sweet and hopbitter tastes, after which you are drowned in a very long, semi-sweet after taste with bitter undertones.

In the glass it goes

This brew stands in at 10.5% ABV and comes in an 11.2 oz. bottle. 

It poured a slightly hazy, deep orange to amber color.  The head was barely off white and it was comprised of huge bubbles.  It was rocky, somewhat soapy, full and very large.  The retention time was only average, but the lacing looked really nice.

The aroma smelled funky.  A little bit of “barnyard” and “horse blanket” I thought.  It wasn’t overpowering or anything, but I could still detect a slight note.  Plenty of peppery spice swirled through my nostrils along with a sturdy fragrance of Belgian yeast.  A little bit of lemon citrus and other sour fruits also.  A worthwhile alcohol presence was noted too.  The nose is striking and forward, although it seemed to be balanced fairly well. 

With the first sip I found a distinct splash of alcohol.  It’s funky, yeasty and spicy.  Fruity aspects along the lines of apples and lemons supported a solid bitterness.  It’s almost like someone dipped some sliced apples in alcohol.  Somewhat tart, but the yeasty goodness restrained the sourness quite a bit and made for a much more enjoyable taste.  After the brew warmed, the yeasty and spicy flavors took over and the funk and sourness became an afterthought.

The mouthfeel was medium, dry, very snappy and prickly.  A very robust warmth was left after a significant burn on the initial sip.  The palate was drenched with plenty of flavor to enjoy between tastings. 

I must say that I don’t think that I have ever had a beer with the same characteristics as this one had.  It was a little difficult for me to drink at the very beginning, but as my palate adjusted I started to enjoy it more and more.  The drinkability was never very high due to the heavy alcohol presence, yet the other flavors kept me interested throughout the entire experience.  Overall, it had a real nice aroma, flavor and mouthfeel.  I would be happy to sample this brew again.  If you guys see it, make sure you pick up a bottle and give it a try.

Thanks for reading and commenting folks.  Be sure to let me know what you think of the reviews.  I would greatly appreciate it. 

Cheers.

Score:  3.8 out of 5
Grade:  B+ 

 
 

Review of Gulden Draak Ale

For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be sharing with you another Belgian beer.  This time it’s a Belgian Dark Triple called Gulden Draak produced by Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. (vansteenberge.com) located in Ertvelde, Belgium.

This will be the first brew I’ve ever had from this brewery, so I hope it’s a good one. 

Here’s the commercial description on the Gulden Draak Ale.

Gulden Draak is a dark brown Triple ale, which makes it an exception among the Belgian Triples.  The second fermentation offers the nice creamy head, the full body and all the vitamins of the centuries old brewers yeast.  It is a “thick” beer, that you can actually “eat” to adventure the complex taste.  Gulden Draak balances a natural malt toffee-like sweetness with a mellow happiness and some hoppy accents.  The aroma is round, sweet and reveals the 10.5% alcohol by volume

Let’s have a taste.

This brew comes in a very cool looking 11.2 oz. bottle and has an ABV of 10.5%.

It poured a hazy, very dark brown to burgundy color with minimal ruby highlights around the edges when held directly toward a light source.  With a very easy pour I received a 2-fingered head that was light tan, tight, creamy and smooth.  The retention was outstanding and the lacing was thick and consistent.  A steady film was left behind for the entire drinking experience.  It’s truly a very, very nice looking beer. 

The aroma began with hints of well ripened bananas, sweet cherries, raisins and figs.  A wonderful, yeasty/doughy fragrance was noticed along with hints of bubblegum and a prevalent spice of clove.  As the brew started to warm a bit I received ample amounts of alcohol.  This beer is very sweet smelling and very complex, yet remains considerably cordial.

The taste was very boisterous in regards to the alcohol.  Once I got past that, I noticed sweet, dark fruits of cherries, prunes, grapes and figs.  They were almost tart in that regard.  The spicy cloves could not be denied either.  They were very rich and robust.  Further hints of bubblegum intermingled with doughy bread characteristics were also relished.

The mouthfeel was medium to full, thick, chewy and sharp with a forceful burn that gave way to a compelling warmth deep within the chest.  More than enough flavor was left behind until the next sip.

Man, this is a great beer, but it’s somewhat tough for me to drink.  The alcohol is very convincing.  It’s chocked full of flavor and character.  It’s, without a doubt, a sipper.  I would love to cellar a bottle of this for a few years and see if the alcohol subsides a bit.  The Gulden Draak Ale is worth a try for sure, but I doubt that I could have more than one of these during an evening.  This is not a beer that I could drink very often either.  Maybe just a few times a year.  Other than that, I can tell this is a well made, thought out and very good brew.

Have you guys ever tried the Gulden Draak Ale?  What did you think of it?  Leave a comment and let me know how you perceived it.

Thanks for reading everyone.  I’m always grateful.

Cheers.

Score:  4.15 out of 5
Grade:  A-   

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Country: Belgium, Van Steenberge

 
 
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