Good evening all. Following on from last night's epic tasting session, it's time for a dual review so that tomorrow I can resume the one-a-day beer reviews for the rest of the advent calendar season. Tonight's beers are Gueuze Cuvée René from Brouwerij Linedmans (St Pieters Leeuw-Vlezenbeek, Belgium) and Tsarina Esra Imperial Porter from Brouwerij de Molen (Bodegraven, Netherlands)- certainly a diverse selection, but I'm looking forward to the Lindemans offering in particular based on its critical acclaim. I'll resume the capsule reviews for this post to help with clarity, before returning to the usual method tomorrow. Reviews after the pic....
Brouwerij Linedmans Gueuze Cuvée René
Appearance: Straw colour, slight haze, effervescent white head that settles to a patchy covering over the surface of the beer.
Aroma: Plenty of funk, cooking apples, bittering hops. Tartness isn't intense and whole thing is remarkably light. Some barnyard mustiness comes through after the initial aromas have subsided.
Taste: Cooking apples, lemon juice tartness, honey sweetness. Tartness hits along sides of the mouth but disappears before the finish, which is slightly dry and has some lingering hop flavours. Hint of wheat towards end of drinking.
Mouthfeel: Light, amplified somewhat by the tartness, barely carbonated.
Verdict: Great gueuze with a pleasing amount of tartness and a very high drinkability- well worth trying. Similar offerings include De Cam's Oude Geuze and Oud Beersel's Oude Geuze Vieille.
Brouwerij de Molen Tsarina Esra Imperial Porter
Style: Imperial Porter
Appearance: Ruby-tinged black colour, lively light brown head that maintains itself well throughout drinking.
Aroma: Coffee, lactose sugar, rich sweetness, light chocolate. Coffee is slightly astringent but compliments the sweetness very well. Not much else going on, but it's certainly what you would expect from an amplified porter.
Taste: Caramelised sweetness, coffee, lactose sugar, roasted malt, some fruity tartness (blackcurrant), yeast extract. Some burnt sugar notes hit the back of the throat and can cloy occasionally. Hints of licorice, finish is on the dry side with some light hop flavours in the background. Alcohol is very well hidden, almost unnoticeable. Some cocoa comes out towards the end of the beer.
Mouthfeel: Thick, well-carbonated beer, works well with lighter flavours and doesn't get in the way.
Verdict: Solid beer, very smooth and light but still packs a variety of flavours. Fans of Evil Twin's Biscotti Break and Flying Dog's Imperial Porter should definitely give this a go, although the latter has a lot more sweetness compared to this offering.
Until next time....