Posted by Neil Churgin / No comments



Posted in All, Craft beer

Brewed with licorice; a proprietary, hand-smoked malt; and almost a pound of East Kent Goldings hops per barrel.

Opaque brown in color, with muddy brown edges and a cola-colored head that drops quickly to a ringed lace. Strong and dominating licorice aroma with an underlying robust molasses-ness and highly roasted malts. Thick-ish, deep blackstrap molasses character (sweet, tangy nectar), quite robust.

Dusting of cinnamon. Orange zest flavors become more pronounced as the beer warms, pulling through toward the finish. Man, this beer is all over the place. Quite dry in the finish, with a lingering yeasty character, touch of toasty sweetness and a bitey feel on the palate.

The short, stubby, 11.2-ounce Duvel-style bottle releases a dark, leathery-brown brew, with a tan-colored, super-tight, creamy, fluffy lacing. Amazing head retention. Malted milk balls, spicy yeast and a soft herbal Saaz aroma. As soon as the beer hits the palate, it creams up with a light and fluffy feel and lively carbonation. Slight up-front sharpness, a meld of light hop bitterness and slight medicinal phenols, with a warming alcohol bite riding its wake. Notes of pith and leaf. Herbal tea and a tease of pepper tucked beneath a moderate residual sweetness, with flavors of toffee, brown bread, dried fruits and fermented honey. Some spice emerges from the alcohol as it warms. Finish goes dry, with some residual malt sweetness and bready yeast in the back.

A blend of lambic beers brewed at 3 Fonteinen, with an addition of 30% whole fresh raspberries from the fabled Payottenland and 5% sour cherries. This unfiltered beer will enjoy a spontaneous refermentation in the bottle. No artificial colors or flavor enhancers are added. Lambic is brewed only from 60% barley malt, 40% unmalted wheat, hops and water.

Nose shows some clove and banana bread, with a soft wheat-husk background, nutty yeast, hints of citrus and a brush of floral. In the mouth, the beer is smooth on the palate, light and uplifting. The palate is piqued by crisp carbonation and a watery, lemony edge that segues into a slightly grassy wheat twang, with very soft phenolic image clover-like and thin banana flavors. Pithy floral, nutty yeast, gummy notes. Hops are non-existent, but somewhat expected for the style. Malt characters are weak, lending just a hint of residual sweetness. The finish on this brew is bone dry, with a mouthful of rough and husky tannins and yeast flavors that, unfortunately, linger long past their welcome.

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