New Belgium Brewing Company / Anne-Francoise Lips of Faith Spiced Imperial Dark Ale – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9.5% ABV | 25 IBU

New Belgium Brewing Company / Anne-Francoise Lips of Faith Spiced Imperial Dark Ale Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9.5% ABV | 25 IBU (C$6.49 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, best before 28-May-2017, acquired 27-Mar-2017, reviewed 28-Dec-2017)

Appearance: clear amber-brown with one finger of loose beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: toasty malt, spruce, citrus, black pepper, cedar, dark stone fruit, herbs, leather. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry mildly warming finish. (4/5)

I assumed it was a pretty safe bet to ignore the BB date for this thing, and I certainly detect nothing to suggest that was an error on my part. (I got it late last winter, and was desperate for summer – and IPA season! – to start, so into the cellar it went.) Today, on our third day of 100km/h+ winds sounding like a freight train outside my window, I felt in need of some warmth. I was slightly hesitant about this, since New Belgium’s track record with some of these LoF collabs has been less than impressive (e.g. the Hof Ten Dormaal Golden Ale, or any number of the Fat Tire collabs). This, however, is quite nice, especially once it warms. Its aroma is fairly atypical, and took some getting used to, but eventually grew on me. There’s a fair degree of complexity, with a variety of spice and fruit notes against a toasted bready malt background. Definitely a seasonally appropriate slow sipper to take one’s time in appreciating. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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