Beer 382/365 – Tripel Karmeliet

Tripel Karmeliet

Style: Tripel

ABV: 8.4%

Purchased at: Vintage Estate Wine & Beer – Boardman Ohio

What makes this beer different: Very sweet/sugary even for a Tripel

Will I be drinking this again: Yes it was damn good for the price.

Grade: A

3/15/2011: I bought this beer on a recommendation from a friend. She lived in Belgium and said this was one of her favorite beers ever, and I was crazy for not having tried it yet. I would love to visit Belgium because their bottles only run about 1-2 American dollars, as opposed to at least 5 dollars here in the states. Someday!

I already know this beer is going to be sweet as there are chunks of candy sugar around the mouth of the bottle (you can actually see it in the picture above). The nose is even parts sweet and spicy, maybe cardamom? The flavor at first is very very sweet; toffee, caramel, honey, candy sugar. About halfway through my glass a lot of the spice starts to show up; cardamom, clove, maybe some orange peel? Lots of good carbonation keeps the beer from getting cloying. Overall this was one of the best tripels I have ever had. Highly recommended.

Picture of the day: Put that candy away!

Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 8:29 am  Comments (6)  
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Beer 376/365 – De Struise Tsjeeses

De Struise Tsjeeses

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

ABV: 10.0%

Purchased at: Sent as an extra

What makes this beer different: Strongest BSPA I have ever had, yet the ABV is hidden very well

Will I be drinking this again: Not sure if I will be able to find anymore, but I would love to.

Grade: A

1/24/2011: Wow I can’t believe its been over two weeks since I have updated. Sorry about that! Crazy busy at work, and my part time job has been taking up a lot of my time as well. I do have about 30 beers I need to update. Now I just need to find time to update!

Tsjeeses is not a beer for the meek, very bold! The nose is somewhat like a tripel, with a bunch of non-descript spices. The flavor is just great, sweet, sour, spicy.. just a great great balance of flavors. Some white pepper, nutmeg, sour apple, peach, maybe cinnamon? I gotta be honest in saying that I am having a hard time picking out exact flavors because of the complexity. The ABV is hidden amazingly well too. If I had to guess the alcohol content, I would have guessed around 7%. This is my 4th beer from De Struise, and every single one has been amazing and unique. De Struise is now officially my favorite Belgian Brewery.

Picture of the day: This makes me miss college.

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 364/365 – De Struise Black Damnation III – Black Mes

De Struise Black Damnation III Black Mes

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 13.0%

Purchased at: De Struise Online Store

What makes this beer different: So many strong flavors that somehow mesh together so well.

Will I be drinking this again: I bought three total, so yes. Loved this stuff.

Grade: A+

11/7/2010: A few months back I made my first ever purchase from an online beer store, which is where I got my Black Mes. Why not go big and have that beer store (De Struise) be from Belgium? Sounds expensive right? Well the bottles themselves are so cheap that when you roll in the price of shipping it ends up being $5-$6 per bottle. You figure you are going to pay that much here for a good Belgian beer so why not? Plus it allows you to purchase beer that otherwise would not see on the shelves here in the states. Sidenote: For whatever reason they print these labels off on uncoated crappy looking paper, not sure if you can see that from the picture. You would think they would spring for some decent labeling considering the quality of the beer.

The nose is just amazing, very potent; coffee, whiskey, chocolate and smoke are apparent (in that order). There are 5 main flavor components to this beer, and they seem to be spread out evenly at 20% a piece; Roasted Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Dark Fruit, Whiskey, and Smoke. Each flavor makes itself completely known with every single sip, while not overshadowing the other 4 flavors. Mouthfeel was on the rich side, but it was amazingly creamy like a Belgian Strong Dark would typically be. Overall I would have to say this might possibly be my favorite beer EVER. Off the top of my head at this point I would have to say this is the case. Its not for sale on the webshop anymore, but if you can find this you NEED to try this.

Picture of the day: Whats that you want tea partiers?

Beer 361/365 – Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze

Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze

Style: Gueuze

ABV: 6%

Purchased at: Vintage Estate – Boardman OH

What makes this beer different: Sour/Funky as hell, to be honest any Gueuze I have had so far is about the same.

Will I be drinking this again: Maybe! Not too expensive so I just might.

Grade: A-

11/4/2010: I am really trying to make an effort to appreciate as many styles as possible, and Gueuze is one that takes a lot of getting used to. Actually any of the “sour” type beers take some getting used to. Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze is the highest rated Gueueze on Beer Advocate that is also readily available, so why not go for the best if you are trying to get used to a certain style right?

The nose is very sour and funky, almost smells like a musty basement. The flavor is very tart, funky, semi-yeasty, some wood, and some sour lemon/sour apple in the mix as well. Like every other sour beer I have tried you start off hating it, and by the end you can’t stop drinking it. Typically I have a hard time picking out particular flavors in a sour beer, but Drie Fonteinen did a great job making all the individual flavors very pronounced. This is one of the most carbonated beers I have ever had. It was still bubbling away like a science experiment gone wrong even with only 1/4 of the bottle left. This is no knock though, as the airiness helps lighten the funk going on. Overall very good for the style. Would be interested to see what this would taste like with some age too it.

Picture of the day: A painful way to exit the field.

Published in: on November 4, 2010 at 4:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Beer 359/365 – St Bernardus Tripel

St Bernardus Tripel

Style: Tripel

ABV: 8.0%

Purchased at: Vintage Estate – Boardman OH

What makes this beer different: Lots of pineapple flavor.

Will I be drinking this again: Yes, one of my favorite Tripels ever.

Grade: A

11/2/2010: This is only the third St Bernardus beer I have had to date, and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite Belgian breweries. I have had the abt 12, and the Christmas Ale, both of which were excellent. I’m going to have to pick up the prior 8 next time I am up at Vintage Estate.

The nose of this Tripel is fruity as all hell; pineapple, honeydew, honey, and yeast. The flavor isn’t overly complicated in my opinion, but it is really good. Pineapple stands out the most to for sure, pears, honey, and a pinch of white pepper. Medium mouthfeel for the style, with good carbonation. Not quite as creamy as some other tripels out there, but thats about the only knock on this beer in my opinion. I knew St Bernardus made a good tripel, but i didn’t think it would be THIS good.

Picture of the day: What your smart phone says about you.

Published in: on November 2, 2010 at 8:33 am  Comments (2)  
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Beer 353/365 – Fantome Saison

Fantome Saison

Style: Saison

ABV: 8.0%

Purchased at: House of 1000 Beers – New Kensington, Pa

What makes this beer different: Best Saison I have ever tried (Although I have not had that many)

Will I be drinking this again: Would love to, but at $14 a bottle its a bit steep.

Grade: A

10/27/2010: I bought this almost a year ago when I was first really getting into the craft beer scene. I didn’t know much about Saison’s at that point, but knew Fantome was one of the best out there. I was surprised that House of 1000 beers had it, as most Pittsburgh bottle shops don’t carry it. If you live in the Pittsburgh area you should definitely check this place out. They have a lot of stuff most pgh places don’t get. Figured this was a good time to drink it considering Halloween is just around the corner.

Lemon is the main smell I am getting in the aroma, musty, and some spice. The flavor is super complex, but really good. Lemon sour patch kids, floral, yeasty, spicy, zesty. All of the flavors blend well together, but not one of them is too dominant which makes this amazingly drinkable. No sign at all of the 8% ABV. Mouthfeel is creamy, medium body and nice carbonation. If this were $10 a bottle I would buy a ton of it, but the price tag is a little steep.

Picture of the day: If it weren’t for CNN.

Published in: on October 27, 2010 at 9:49 am  Comments (6)  
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Beer 352/365 – De Struise Pannepot Reserva (2008)

De Struise Pannepot Reserva

Style: Quadruple

ABV: 10.0%

Purchased at: Vintage Estate – Boardman OH

What makes this beer different: The most expensive beer (per ounce) at $9.99 that I have ever purchased, but might also be the best Belgian I have had as well.

Will I be drinking this again: So expensive but so freaking good. Might have to buy another bottle or two.

Grade: A+

10/26/2010: The old saying “You get what you pay for” doesn’t always apply in the beer world, but I was hoping it did when I decided to pull the trigger on a $10 bottle. I knew the regular Pannepot has a reputation for being a great beer, so I am banking on the 2008 Reserva being even better. The Reserva is aged in two different kinds of oak barrels, while the original only one.

Cherry is the first thing I get in the aroma, some chocolate, sweet caramel, and some non-descript dark fruit.The first sip is nothing short of amazing, very complex but I will try to do my best to pick out some flavors here. Cherry is there for sure, some woodiness, raisins, cinnamon, prunes, and a rum like aftertaste. Mouthfeel is perfect, medium, rich, creamy, and barely any sign of alcohol at all. I have had a bunch of beer “wow” me on the first sip, but most don’t hold my attention like that entire way through… This beer did. I honestly might go as far to say this is the best Belgian Style beer of any kind that I have ever tasted. Yes even better than a Westvletern 12, Rochefort 10 etc. The aforementioned brews are great in their own right, but this beer exceeded great in my opinion. Wish I could put into words how much I enjoyed drinking this beer. Worth every penny of the $9.99 price tag.

Picture of the day: What a crappy tattoo.

Published in: on October 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm  Comments (1)  
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Beer 348/365 – St. Bernardus Abt 12

St Bernardus Abt 12

Style: Quadruple

ABV: 10.5%

Purchased at: Vintage Estate – Boardman OH

What makes this beer different: Almost as good as a Westy 12, but not quite.

Will I be drinking this again: Yup! Wish it was a little bit more affordable though.

Grade: A

10/22/2010: Trying to knock off as many of the top100 on BeerAdvocate as I can before I reach 365. St Bernardus currently ranks in at #10 overall, which means I have tried eight of the top ten beers. The other ones will be almost impossible to get a hold of. Pliny the Younger is only available from the brewery, and Trappist Westvleteren is only sold in Belgium. Oh well, 8/10 isn’t bad!

The plum in the nose is pretty typical for a quad, but the chocolate I am smelling is not. Lots of flavor going on but they all mesh well together, in order of strongest flavor: Caramel, dark fruit (figs?), bready, chocolate, earthy, and a little bit of spice. Is it just me or is it easier to pick out specific flavors in a Belgian beer as compared to an American Beer? Not sure why this is, or if I am losing it. Anyways, the mouthfeel is A+, smooth and creamy. The alcohol is completely hidden at 10.5%. Amazing beer, easily ranks up with the other top quads; Westvleteren 12 and Trappistes Rochefort 10.

Picture of the day: This is why girls should avoid mosh pits.

Published in: on October 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm  Comments (3)  
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Beer 345/365 – Chimay Première (Red)

Chimay Red

Style: Dubbel

ABV: 7.0%

Purchased at: Vintage Estate – Boardman OH

What makes this beer different: Its the most popular of the Trappist beers for sure. Can find this one almost anywhere.

Will I be drinking this again: Yup! Its a classic.

Grade: A-

10/18/2010: Is this seriously my first Dubbel? Up to this point I have tried 75 different styles of beer so it shocks me that this is my first Dubbel. Regardless I knew I had to try this one because is a classic example of what a Belgian beer should be. I would also guess that this has to be the best selling Belgian beer here in the states.

The smell is slightly fruity, but not as strong as other Belgians. A little bit of spice as well, maybe clove? Bready malt in the flavor, yeasty, a bit of grassy action, and a bit of dark fruit, Plum maybe? A pretty straight forward easy drinking beer, but thats correct for the style as a Dubbel is not supposed to knock you over with flavor. The mouthfeel is just a tiny bit light for my liking and my only major knock on Chimay Red. A great beer to introduce your non-beer geek friends into the craft beer world.

Picture of the day: She is hot right?.. wait a minute!

Published in: on October 19, 2010 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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