Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Beer Advent Calendar Day 19- De Struise Brouwers Tsjeeses Reserva PBA (Port Barrel Aged)

Good evening all. Almost on the home straight now, so it seems quite fitting and cyclical that tonight's offering is the sequel to the beer that started off this year's advent calendar- it's Tsjeeses Reserva PBA (Port Barrel Aged), a Saison from De Struise Brouwers (Oostvleteren, Belgium). As with the Bourbon Barrel Aged version, this beer is a barrel-aged reworking of De Struise's winter seasonal Tsjeeses, and has spent time in port barrels prior to being bottled. Looking forward to seeing how this compares to to the Bourbon edition, so let's get to it! Review after the pics....

Tsjeeses Reserva PBA (Port Barrel Aged) (10.0% ABV) pours a hazy amber colour with a thick white head that maintains itself well throughout the course of drinking. Despite careful pouring, some of the sediment still managed to find its way into the glass. The aroma is Saison-like, with yeasty phenols, earthy esters, malty sweetness, but also has some fruits residing in the background (both red fruits and light citrus fruits- clementine, orange). The fruits hit more prominently early on, with some vinous notes from the port barrel-ageing, but these soon retreat and the characteristics of the beer base become more significant. The spiciness of the yeast is very much at Saison level, and the sweetness isn't too overpowering. There's also some perception of the alcohol after a bit of time has passed, but again this isn't too overwhelming. The taste delivers some more power to the proceedings, with phenols, spice, yeast extract, a hint of port, blackcurrant, some caramelised sweetness supporting everything and a light grapefruit flavour in the finish. The main source of intensity when tasting is the fruity tartness that comes along midway through each sip; prior to this the beer base characteristics are at their most discernible. The yeast extract and hoppy notes come out towards the end of drinking and linger on into the finish, which isn't too dry and contains some burnt sugar flavours. The mouthfeel is thick and the beer is well-carbonated, which compliments everything on show nicely. Overall, this is a very balanced and drinkable offering that I would happily have again, but unfortunately the barrel-ageing hasn't contributed a significant amount to the proceedings and so it seems a but unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. Personally I'd rather just have the original Tsjeeses over this, and the Bourbon Barrel Aged edition is definitely the superior of the two. 

Until next time....

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