Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Beer Advent Calendar Day 25- St. Bernardus Brouwerij Christmas Ale

Good evening all, and Merry Christmas! I didn't drink that much this time round- in fact, I didn't even get to open the Mikkeller Red/White Christmas magnum that I bought for the family due to mutual fatigue in the aftermath of a titanic dinner- so in lieu of a compilation post I quickly chose something festive from the cellar to bring this year's advent calendar to a fitting conclusion. The offering in question is Christmas Ale, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale from St. Bernardus Brouwerij (Watou, Belgium). Because my family opted for champagne or wine I've got the entire 750ml bottle to myself, so at least I can savour this bad boy for the rest of the evening. Hope everyone had a great day, and I'll be resuming the regular service of sporadic reviewing from tomorrow! Also, let me take the opportunity to thanks anyone who read the blog during 2012, and here's to another year of great beer in 2013. Review after the pic....

Christmas Ale (10.0% ABV) pours a dark brown colour with a thick, creamy white head that maintains itself well throughout the course of drinking. The aroma is rather Christmas-centric, with marzipan, yeasty phenols, blackcurrant, raspberry, allspice and some caramelised sweetness in the background supporting everything. None of the aromas are particularly powerful, but they are balanced very well and don't show any dominance. The Belgian yeast character and candy sugar have their usual complimentary interplay on show, whilst the fruits add a slight tartness to help break up the proceedings. The spice in the background (mainly cinammon and cloves) gives the beer a satisfying Christmas flair without overpowering the other aromas, which can sometimes be a problem with Christmas-oriented offerings. The taste delivers more intensity, with blackcurrant, phenols, caramel, Brett-style funk, marzipan and a noticeable amount of chest-warming alcohol during drinking and in the finish. The fruits deliver a pleasing amount of tartness along the sides of the mouth, which is amplified to some extent by the subtle presence of yeast extract early on in each sip. The phenolic Belgian yeast character works well with the slight sherbety funk, and soon afterwards the sweetness comes through to offset the aforementioned funk and diversify everything. The finish is slightly dry and has a light hop profile, whilst the alcohol burn lingers on long after drinking. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy and the beer is well-carbonated, which compliments the flavours on show and takes away some of the initial power quite nicely. Overall, this is a great beer with a decent Yuletide twang that works well with the fruity sweetness and boozy intensity- definitely recommended!

Until next time....

No comments:

Post a Comment