Beer Squared #13: Belgian Ales

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Beer Squared, Beer: Belgian Ales
Tags: , , , ,

Our Belgian friends.

Once again it’s time to take a look at a few more beers, but before we get to this one, let’s back up a bit. Bob has been telling me all about Duvel beers for, well the entire time I’ve known him, but until last year, the term ale has turned me off of it and I didn’t want to try it considering the cost involved in a four pack of Duvel Golden Ale. Well, Father’s day was this year, and a pack of Duvel may have made it’s way into Bob’s hands from the wife and myself…so now, if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have to feel guilty! Score.

We did blonde ales. These are a light variation on pale ale, often made with pilsner malt.Some beer writers regard blonde and golden ales as distinct styles, while others do not. Duvel is the archetypal Belgian blonde ale, and one of the most popular bottled beers in the country as well as being well-known internationally. (source)

Schalfly Quadrupel (12% ABV)

Quadrupel

Nik: I had been wanting to give this bomber a try for awhile, but knew I couldn’t do the whole thing by myself. A bottle conditioned, Belgian ale with a strong malt character…this sounded to be right up my alley. The Quadrupel has a great aroma and a cloudy, bronze color.  It’s got a weak head. It does have a maltier flavor than it’s brother, Tripel, but I didn’t enjoy this beer at all. It just didn’t have enough maltiness for me to get past the bitter, fruity taste. This will be the last time with the Schlafly Belgian Ales.

Bob: This Belgian Abbey style ale was not to my taste at all. Poured in the glass to a nice reddish-brown color. The head and the aroma were both OK, but the taste was distinctly unpleasant, like several other abbey ales I have had, and I poured mine out before finishing it. Although I am a big fan of Schlafly, for my money this is not one of their better efforts.

Crown Valley Brewing Barnwood Blonde Ale (5.5% ABV)

Barnwood Ale

Nik: I have had a few of the beers from Crown Valley Brewing in Ste. Genevieve and I am really loving this brewery, so I was excited to try this one. I was thinking it might be similar to the Blonde Ale at the Square One Brewery. It has a weak, floral aroma and a cloudy yellow color. It also has a small head like the Quadrupel. It  has a somewhat bland, yet tangy flavor. I didn’t enjoy this beer either and I won’t be drinking it again.

Bob: Poured to a light golden color, just slightly cloudy in the glass. Had a pleasant, malty aroma. Tasted a little lemony, like a wheat beer. Wasn’t terrible to drink, but also wasn’t anything I’d go out of my way to buy again.

Duvel (8.5% ABV)

Duvel

Nik: I was excited to try this beer…as I said…Bob’s been telling me about this stuff for years. I followed the pouring instructions on the carton as best as I could and it came out with a big, foamy head full of tight little bubbles. It also had a cloudy yellow color to it and a floral taste, but the taste and bitterness seemed to be much more refined and pleasant.  The flavor of this beer lasted a very long time as we each savored our full glasses. I would definitely drink this one again.

Bob: First a disclaimer–this has been one of my all-time favorite brews for several years. I’ve been reserving a few bottles in the beerfridgerator as a special treat, because my tasting compatriot had not yet tasted Duvel. We chose to include it in this mixed-bag session, but upon reflection that might have been a mistake. For some reason this particular glass of Duvel didn’t strike me as magnificently as it always has in the past. Perhaps it followed too closely behind the two beers listed above that I didn’t like all that much. It still poured into the glass with a wonderful golden color and a very nice head that lasted and even tasted good. Pleasant though mild aroma, as always, and very smooth and drinkable despite its relatively high alcohol content. What I didn’t like was the amount of fruitiness, which is characteristic of the yeast Duvel uses, but struck me as stronger in this glass than when I have drunk it previously. Still a good beer, but I am reserving judgment until I drink it once again. (I have a few left, even though its price continues to increase–currently at nearly $4 for an 11 oz. bottle!)

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Comments
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