Archive for the 'de Proef' category
I haven’t had myself a nice Flemish Ale in a while. These beers are usually characterized by a lot of sourness, some wild crazy flavors, and a party in your mouth that you either love or hate – this is mostly due to some crazy yeast like Brettanomyces and, in this case, some Saccharomyces to boot. Brett is notoriously finicky and unpredictable, so you always get something interesting with these beers. De Proef makes some good stuff most of the time, so I’m anxious to see how well they can harness the power of the Brett.
This beer pours a light and wispy golden color with a medium cloudiness. There is a very thin white head that separates from the sides of the glass and floats around the surface of the beer in one large island. The aroma of this beer is, on the surface, a relatively light one. However, when you really get a noseful of this, you sense a spicy burn in the nose along with some serious lemon zest citrus tints. I really like this scent – it’s much lighter than some Flemish ales, but it really has a nice complexity once you get into it. In the mouth, this is a very accessible beer, for a Flemish wild ale – that means it’s not THAT accessible, but it’s a nice place to start for someone new to the genre. In the mouth, there is initially a light citrus acidity on the tongue. This light burn becomes sour and musty very quickly, but then moves on to a lemon drop sweetness. This flavor then moves to another, more pungent sourness that is truly ‘wild’. It’s abrasive and sharp and is no doubt the Brettanomyces rearing its head. This sourness sticks through the finish of the beer and is the predominant presence in the aftertaste, along with a light soapiness – a knockout punch, indeed! It’s a pretty big aftertaste for a non-hoppy beer, and it might be a bit much if it weren’t for the flurry of flavors that preceded it. However, under the circumstances, it’s more of a grand finale at the state fair fireworks show after a number of less impressive explosions. This is overall a rather complex beer, but it’s subtle enough in all of the flavors to not throw you too far off. I’m going to stick with my previous statement that, while this is a big beer, it’s a rather subtle Flemish ale. While this is tasty to a fan of the genre, I think this would be a great place to begin for anyone new and curious about this variety of beer.
During these last months of summer, it is imperative that we, the beer-drinking community, drink as many white ales, hefeweizens, and summer ales as possible. Also probably some kolsches and a few saison ales. Better toss in a couple of lagers, too. And pilsners. Tonight, however, I’m focusing on the first, as I try out de Proef’s La Grande Blanch Belgian white ale.
This big bottle of goodness pours a pale and cloudy light golden color with a few chunks of large-ish debris floating around. The head on this is dense and uneven, but seems to persist for quite some time, also leaving lots of foam along the sides of the glass. The aroma of this is sweet and brisk – it has a citrus tint, some sweetish cake-like aromas, and a surprising candy sweetness. In the mouth, this beer is very sweet, light, and refreshing. There is a surprising effervescence on the tongue, considering that the cork slid out without so much as a pop. The beer is mostly brisk and citrusy on the tip of the tongue. However, about the middle of the mouth, we get an unexpected dose of candi sugar that gives this beer some impressive presence and gives it some flavors akin to a Belgian tripel. On through the mouth, this candi sugar sweetness diminishes, leaving us with a little bit of citric sourness in the aftertaste, but otherwise a rather clean and crisp finish in the mouth. I really really enjoy this witbier. Of course, I’m a huge fan of tripels, and this has some tripel characteristics that you wouldn’t typically find in a white. So, for me, this is an excellent hybrid. Sweet and rich, but refreshing and crisp. Tres bien!
The initial aroma of this ale is almost overwhelmingly sour. The taste entering the mouth is heavy on carbonation with quite a burn and sour undertones. Through the mouth, the flavor moves to the roof of the mouth and into the nasal canal. The flavor isn’t entirely undesirable, and certainly lives up to the expectations from this ‘wild’ ale. Overall, however, I would consider the experience to be less than satisfactory and a bit too far from the beaten path. I won’t likely try this beer again
Of course I had to pick this beer off the shelf. First of all, it’s a tripel, which I love. Actually, they call it a “Tripel Nightcap” on the bottle, which sounds even better. In addition it’s got a name that is very fun to say – Slaapmutske. Round all that out is a picture of the man in the moon smiling and wearing a nightcap on the label. Does it get much better? Not really.
The pour of this beer is typical for a tripel. It is a slightly cloudy and translucent golden color. The aroma is quite sweet with definite elements of spice. In the mouth, this beer is more of a Belgian tripel than an American, for sure. The flavor indicates some sweetness, but not near as much as most American varieties. Furthermore, there isn’t a huge amount of spice in the flavor. Rather, there are mild indications of both of these flavors with a larger presence of a grainy malt and some metallic flavors at the back. It is, generally, a tasty brew. I certainly wouldn’t consider it top of the pack for tripels, but it does do the variety justice in a rather generic way.