Brouwerij Boon Oude Geuze Boon à l’Ancienne – Gueuze at 7% ABV

Brouwerij Boon Oude Geuze Boon à l’Ancienne Gueuze at 7% ABV (€9.99 at Belgian Beer Tradition Rue au Buerre Bruxelles, 750 ml, best before 31-Jul-2034, acquired 21-May-2015, reviewed 4-Aug-2016)

Appearance: hazy deep gold with two fluffy and growing fingers of light ivory head, moderate retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: lemon zest, barnyard funk, green apple, vinous white grape, light woody. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, light funk. (7/10) Medium-light body, lively champagne-like carbonation, dry crisp lightly funky finish. (4/5)

Not quite as good as I was hoping for, if I’m honest. All the elements are there for a classic Gueuze, but all seem to come up just a little short, especially by comparison to e.g. Cantillon. The appearance, tartness, and funk are all in the ballpark for the style, but it just doesn’t pop the way some others do. Even their own Mariage Parfait, for example, is a much better example of the style. I know this is brewed in Lembeek (the home and namesake of “lambic,”) and I suppose it’s possible that this is actually more representative of the traditional style (“à l’ancienne”), which means that I’m just an unwashed heathen, but this just seems to fall a little short. Good, verging on great, and damned with faint praise. (14/20)

My 231st from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die (221st from the 2013 edition), and 243rd combining both editions.

7/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Dageraad Brewing 10º (2016 Edition) – Abt / Quadrupel at 10.5% ABV

Dageraad Brewing 10º (2016 Edition) Abt / Quadrupel at 10.5% ABV (C$10.50 at Sundance Wine Market, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 28-May-2016, reviewed 4-Aug-2016)

Appearance: hazy deep amber with two fingers of growing rocky beige head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: burnt candi sugar, toffee, darkish boozy fruit, yeast. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (7/10) Medium-full body, moderate carbonation, mildly warming and slightly sticky finish. (3/5)

To be honest, I was expecting a little more… “presence”? “depth”? It isn’t unpleasant, by any means, but it’s not the smooth Belgian-style Quad I was expecting. The aromas start off promisingly, with burnt sugar dominating. Boozy fruit follows shortly behind, and things are looking pretty good for a while. However, shortly thereafter, the aromas seem to thin somewhat, leaving behind a medicinal booziness but not a lot of depth or character. Things aren’t a total write-off, though, because it continues to taste somewhat better than it smells, reminiscent of a crème brûlée. I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed by this, exactly, and it doesn’t necessarily make me re-evaluate my opinion of Dageraad, but it doesn’t really affirm my prior opinion, either. Not a strikeout, perhaps, but not a home run, either. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Victory Brewing Company Red Thunder – Baltic Porter at 8.5% ABV

Victory Brewing Company Red Thunder Baltic Porter at 8.5% ABV (US$8.99 at Knightly Spirits Williamsburg, 750 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 1-May-2016, reviewed 3-Aug-2016)

Appearance: clear amber-brown with one fat finger of rocky beige head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: vinous grape, coffee, cocoa nibs, vanilla, dark fruit, woody. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (7/10) Medium-full body, moderate carbonation, mildly warming and lightly tart, tannic and drying vinous finish. (4/5)

I don’t think I’ve ever had anything quite like this before. It’s sweetish, like one would expect for a Baltic Porter, but the wine barrel ageing gives it a vinous tart character that cuts the sweetness and even makes the body seem a bit on the light side. I’d like to try the base (Baltic Thunder) for comparison, but there’s still a fairly strong coffee presence, particularly in the finish, that I think gives me a pretty good idea of where it started before the big barrel presence came to play. It’s not subtle, but it’s interesting, and that counts for a lot in my book. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Council Brewing Co. Béatitude Raspberry Tart Saison – Saison at 4.5% ABV

Council Brewing Co. Béatitude Raspberry Tart Saison Saison at 4.5% ABV (C$19.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 1-Jul-2016, reviewed 3-Aug-2016)

Appearance: hazy pinkish pale amber with two fingers of growing fluffy light pink head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap, minimal patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: doughy yeast, tart raspberry, horseblankety funk, lemon, light oak. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high tart. (7/10) Medium-light body, lively carbonation, crisp lightly tart and funky finish. (4/5)

Upon decapping, I was greeted by the now-familiar (well, if you’ve tried Council beers before) doughy aroma of baker’s yeast, underneath which lurked a tart raspberry and light funk. I was then treated to one of the most bizarre beer displays I’ve ever seen, in which the fluffy light pink head receded upward from the fluid meniscus first, leaving the top layer of foam completely intact across the glass, as its interior eroded in ever-larger caverns. I was so enthralled I forgot to photograph it, and by the time I thought to grab my camera it was gone, replaced by a persistent thin cap. It’s not an unpleasant example of the style, and the raspberry seems pretty authentic, but I’m finding it hard to get behind that yeast. I really think a yeast with a cleaner character would improve these beers immensely. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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