Beer 388/365 – Affligem Noel

Affligem Noel

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

ABV: 9.0%

Purchased at: Vintage Estate – Boardman, OH

What makes this beer different: Not much just a great holiday beer

Will I be drinking this again: Probably yes, the price tag was not bad at $9 for the big bottle.

Grade: A-

4/11/2011: Kind of a bitter-sweet day for me today. Just put in my two weeks at my current employer. Excited about the new job, but going to miss the people at my current job. Oh well you gotta do what you gotta do right? Either way this is a good excuse to open up a beer tonight.

The nose is really complex, caramel sweetness, some spice, some wood, and dark fruits. Lots of flavors going on here, but I’m not sure I can put my finger on all of them; dark fruit, caramel, clove, a little bit of chocolate, and some earthiness. Interesting combo of flavors, but wish it was a tiny bit sweeter (its a little dry). The alcohol is hidden pretty well, but the body could use thickening up just a little bit as well. Overall the flavor is there, just wish it wasn’t as dry and a bit thicker. Very unique though!

Picture of the day: A solution to the upcoming zombie apocalypse.

Beer 380/365 – North Coast Brother Thelonious

North Coast Brother Thelonious

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

ABV: 9.4%

Purchased at: Vintage Estate – Boardman OH

What makes this beer different: Not very unique, but a great beer for the price.

Will I be drinking this again: Yes, not many Belgians to be had for $3 a pop these days.

Grade: A-

3/2/2011: Andy, this post is for you buddy. I just need prodded every now and again haha. This is my third North Coast beer on my site. The first two were both very impressive; Old Rasputin and Pranqster. Lets hope this one is as good.

A nice dose of caramel in the nose, with a good helping of spice as well (can’t put my finger on exact spices). I always set the bar pretty low for American brewed Belgian’s because no one seems to do it like the monks from the motherland. This is why I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor. Lots of caramel, and some fruits come out as well (orange, raisin). Clove seems to be the spice that I was smelling as it really comes through in the flavor. Mouthfeel is excellent for an American brewed Belgian, but still not as good as the real thing. Overall for the price this is a great beer, and am really impressed with everything I have tried this far from North Coast Brewing.

Picture of the day: Poor Dog.

Beer 370/365 – Scaldis Noel

Scaldis Noel

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

ABV: 12.0%

Purchased at: Vintage Estate – Boardman, OH

What makes this beer different: $6 for such a small amount, not quite worth the price.

Will I be drinking this again: Decent. but not at this price.

Grade: A-

12/14/2010: Phill out at Vintage Estate highly recommended this beer, and our palettes are pretty similar so I figured I would give this one a shot. Even though the price is a bit steep at $6 for about 8.5oz of beer. Oh well you only live once right?

The nose is boozy as hell, with some cinnamon and cherries. The flavor is boozy as well, but not as much as I expected for a 12% ABV beer. Toffee is a big player in the flavor, with some cherries and a touch of cinnamon. Not overly complex, but thats okay its tasty. The mouthfeel is really nice, silky and full. Overall this was a good beer, but not worth the price of admission.

Picture of the day: Don’t ever let facebook know that you are in a relationship.

Beer 256/365 – Leute Bok

Leute Bok

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

ABV: 8.20%

Purchased at: On tap@Sharp Edge Brasserie – McMurray PA

What makes this beer different: Light bodied for a BSPA, but still flavorful

Will I be drinking this again: It was pricey but probably yes.

Grade: A

7/22/2010: Met up with my buddy Ryan and his girlfriend at Sharp Edge for happy hour. Ryan makes some really good homebrew, and helped me through my first batch. I actually will be making a batch in the next couple weeks for my buddies wedding. Probably a franziskaner clone, with some honey malt to make it a little different. I always like to put my own spin on things. Oh and a bit of a side note, this might have been the slickest beer glass ever. There was actually a piece chiseled out of the wood block in the picture, and the bottom of the glass was cone shaped so it could rest IN the block. Therefore if you are a few beers deep, and not paying attention you could easily just set this on the table and spill it all over yourself.

Leute Bok is brewed by the same people who brought us Gulden draak and Piraat Ale, so I am hoping the quality is similar. The nose is nice and fruity, with some charred smoke coming through. The flavor is green apples, cherries, light smoke, and some bakers chocolate. Light body and light flavors but they mix perfect. This is one of the more unique Belgian Strong Dark Ale’s I tried in quite some time.

Picture of the day: Little miss duckface is out of control.

Beer 253/365 – Troubadour Obscura

troubadour obscura

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

ABV: 8.2%

Purchased at: The Sharp Edge Brasserie – McMurray PA

What makes this beer different: A very fruity and mild stout

Will I be drinking this again: Yes it is a pretty unique beer.

Grade: A-

7/19/2010: Its been a while since I have had a good Belgian beer, so I decided it was time I stopped by The Sharp Edge. They are known for having the best selection of Belgian beer in Pittsburgh hands down. They also have a pretty nice happy hour; half price Belgian drafts from 4:30-6:30. The beer still ends up being $4-$5 per draft, which I guess isn’t terrible for Pittsburgh as far as pricing goes. A little bit of a side-note, why isn’t Belgian Stout a category on Beer Advocate?

Troubadour Obscura is a chameleon of a beer. It starts off drinking like a stout, and finishes with some Belgian dark characteristics. The smell is sweet chocolate, and some dark fruit, figs maybe? The flavor is bitter roasted chocolate at the start, and dark spicy fruitiness by the end. The flavors are very subtle, but work very well together. The body is very light, and it has the nice bubbly mouthfeel usually associated with a Belgian. Overall this beer is very unique, and an easy tasty drink.

Picture of the day: I dont see the resemblance.

Beer 231/365 – Gulden Draak

gulden draak

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

ABV: 10.5%

Purchased at: Sharp Edge – Pittsburgh PA

What makes this beer different: Very sweet and fruity, without being overdone.

Will I be drinking this again: I have a couple bottles in the cellar, so yes!

Grade: A-

6/27/2010: Craft beer geeks in Pittsburgh know there is only one place in Pittsburgh to go when you want a good variety of Belgians on tap, and thats Sharp Edge. They have a few locations around down, all with at least 25 Belgian Beers on tap. Only downfall is they are pricey as all hell. Just to give you an idea of their prices, a bottle of world wide stout to take home is $18 dollars. Thats what I paid for a 2006 vintage bottle.

It doesn’t come through in the picture (taken with cell phone) but this beer is a very nice dark shade of maroon. Smells very fruity, with some brown sugar mixed in there. I’m not going to act like I can pick out the difference between the flavor of dates/figs/prunes/plums, but there is a lot of dark sweet fruit flavor going on in this beer. What combination of the aforementioned fruits? Not real sure. Theres also this sweet rum like flavor going on. A lot of caramel/toffee flavor there to compliment the fruity rums flavors. Pretty heavy syrupy mouthfeel, but it works here. Alcohol peaks out just a little too much for me, but still a very solid belgian.

Picture of the day: I know all the guys out there have been through something like this.

Beer 162/365 – 21st Amendment Monk’s Blood

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

ABV: 8.3%

Purchased at: Jared send this to me as an extra in a trade.

What makes this beer different: Very sweet smelling and tasting, a little off on the mouthfeel

Will I be drinking this again: Yes I liked this one a lot, a pretty affordable BSDA as well.

Grade: A-

4/19/2010: My first beer from 21st Amendment. I am a huge fan of craft beer in cans, not quite sure why? This is also the first Belgian I have ever had from a can, so this should be interesting. I gotta admit a can looks kind of funny next to a chalice.

The text on the can mentions that figs, vanilla, cinnamon, and oak are used in making this beer. You crack this bad boy open and you instantly smell dark fruits and vanilla. Not as much head as a normal BSDA. The taste is very good, figs, cherry, a nice splash of vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon. I really am not getting any of the “oak” mentioned on the label at all. I give the taste of Monk’s Blood an A, but the mouthfeel is where it dropped a few points for me. It didn’t have that yeasty/bubbly/creamy feel that you love with a BSDA. Overall though for the price of this beer I was very impressed, and will be drinking it again.

Picture of the day: Not the place you want to actually want to take your kids on bring your kids to work day.

Published in: on April 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm  Comments (1)  
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Beer 61/365 – Unibroue Maudite

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Purchased at: Vintage Estate

What makes this beer different: Smooth and Crisp

Will I be drinking this again: Fo shizzle (Snoop just made a quick guest appearance on my blizog)

Grade: A

1/08/2010: Three A or better ratings in a row? Yes this is a first. This is one of the few mainstream Unibroue beers I have yet to try. Hard to believe because it is considered by many to be their best, but it actually isn’t super easy to find in the burgh.

The head on this beer didn’t come out quite like I was expecting. It was only slightly bubbly and not that creamy looking. The smell also was almost non-existent, but a bit fruity. The cliche “Don’t judge a book by its cover” without a doubt applies here. The taste is just awesome, so smooth. Very complex, with heavy malt to start, slight cherry, and a slight peppery taste. Also some spices in the background but I can’t quite pick out exactly what they are. ABV is hidden extremely well. The mouthfeel is a bit on the light side for a BSDA. I would have made this an A+ if the mouth feel was just a bit heavier, and if it had more of a good smell to it.

Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 10:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Beer 53 – The Bruery 2 Turtle Doves

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Purchased at: My buddy Kevin picked me up a bottle from Denver

What makes this beer different: Chocolatey but almost too strong

Will I be drinking this again: At the price probably not

Grade: B+

12/31/2009: This is one of the many beers my buddy Kevin from Denver brought back for me. Wanted to save it for a special occasion and figured what better than New Years Eve. I think they named this 2 turtle doves because after you finish the bottle, you get these little birds flying around your head just like in the cartoons. Similar to when Wile E. Coyote would fall off a cliff and smash his head, those kind of birds.

I was pretty excited for this beer because of all the hype behind it. Unfortunately it did not quite live up to the hype. The smell is strictly roasted malt with some alcohol behind it. Flavor overall was very good. The major flavor to this one is chocolate, with an almost charcoaly aftertaste. The pecans advertised on the label do not come through for me at all. This also kind of feels like a hybrid between a belgian dark and a stout to me because it is so heavy. The killer here to me is the alcohol burn. I usually like super strong beers, but they did not do a very good job of hiding the ABV at all. By the time I got to the bottom of the bottle I was kind of choking it down. For the price I probably will not be drinking this one again.

Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 1:12 pm  Comments (3)  
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Beer 51 – Chimay Grand Reserve

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Purchased at: Vintage Estate

What makes this beer different: Drinkable as hell for 9% ABV

Will I be drinking this again: Pricey but yes

Grade: A-

12/29/2009: A couple months back I picked up a Chimay gift pack for $16 from Vintage Estate that included the Grand Reserve, Tripel, Premiere and the Chimay Chalice. That same gift pack in Pittsburgh runs $26-$28 so I couldn’t pass it up. Plus the chalice might just be the coolest looking beer drinking apparatus ever created.

Onto the beer. The Chimay Blue (Grand Reserve) is widely regarded as one of the best of the Belgian Trappist beers, and I would have to agree. This isn’t quite as good as my favorite beer of all time Trappistes Rochefort 8, but it is top tier.

The head on this beer is awesome and what you expect from a Belgian Dark. I have to say when people compare the taste of beers to dark fruits; currants/figs/plums, I am not able to pick that out. Mostly because I have never tasted any of these fruits on their own. All I know is this is a super easy drink for a 9% ABV beer. The taste and mouthfeel is actually much more mild that what I was expecting, but again it amazes me that they can pull this off while maintaining 9% alcohol by volume. If this beer was just a tiny bit sweeter I would have given it an A or A+. You have probably tried the Chimay Red (Premiere), but you need to give this one a try as well.

Published in: on December 29, 2009 at 9:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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