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Dirty Horse - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Dirty HorseDirty Horse

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

96 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 96
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.11%
Wants: 631
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Lambic - Unblended |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Starting with a Lambic grist bill composed of 70% barley malt and 30% unmalted wheat. No yeast was artificially added to the wort, but was exposed for two days to the open air in one of our plastic tunnels at the Noordhoek Ostrich Farm. First fermentation took place in second hand sherry oak casks for six weeks. 200 grams of Northern cherries per litre and the Roeseleire yeast strain were added after six months, provoking a new fermentation process. Eight months later, we pumped over the young ale to oak casks and let it mature for another 3 years. This project was realized after a tasting of the same recipe Urbain once made 20 years ago and was barrel aging in his garage in De Panne eversince and while he was in Africa and forgot all about it. As this is a very limited version, this ale will not be suitable for export but rather for sale at the farm when available.

(Beer added by: ggaughan on 09-19-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 96 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by camil1mj:
Photo of camil1mj
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1983 unblended from a vial filled from a growler from Ebenezer's. Shared by Romulux. Never thought a single drop of this beer would pass over my tongue, but the little bit that did was amazing and left me wanting more.

A - Dirty reddish-orange with no head. This may be due to the small amount we had access to.

S - Vinegar and cherries.

T - The cherries are still there and taste great with a wonderful lemony/acidic finish. Not as much funk as described by others.

M - Nice dry mouthfeel.

O - The little bit I had lives up to the hype. Left me wanting more. So great. Big thanks to Romulux for sharing this rare treat.

camil1mj, Sep 10, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of kingcrowing
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap, 100% 1983, poured into a wine glass at Ebenezer's 7th annual Belgian feast (8/19/11), reviewed from notes. HUGE thanks to Chris & the whole Eb's crew for this surprise night cap!

Pours a very ruddy dark and hazy brown/red with a small light brown head that doesn't hang around - no lacing to speak of.

Nose is tart and funky, that classic old school wet horse blanket but I guess not so surprisingly after near 30 years the nose has mellowed a decent amount.

Wow, the taste on this is super balanced, much more so than any fresh lambics I've had. It's got all the funk, the tartness, and the sour but all together it's very well rounded and smooth which is quite surprising to me. Rhubarb is a flavor that stands out a lot as it lingers.

Mouthfeel is very light, smooth and very rich.

Overall this is a fantastic beer, lots of hype, but it really is amazing, very tasty, mellow, refreshing, and unique, it's certainly something I'd drink all the time if that was an option.

kingcrowing, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of azorie
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

azorie, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of ggaughan
4.97/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Samnpled at the Struise Farm from Urbain from a wine decanter. What a wonderful 5 year old treat. The beer poured a hazy orange color with nearly no head. The aroma of the beer had nice notes of fruit, cherry, and some wine like qualities. Slightly sour. The taste was the real treat. Although 5 years old the taste was very present. A nice cherry quality, not to acidic but had a good sour quality. There were some definite wood notes as well. I found there to be an excellent balance of the sweet fruit and the tart character as well. This is one very drinkable and well rounded beer. I just wish there was more to go around. I wanted to run with the decanter and drink it all but that would not be good form for a guest at the farm! Seek this beer out if you can find any.

ggaughan, Sep 19, 2008
Photo of jh1982
5/5  rDev +9.6%

jh1982, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of mchen
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

mchen, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Auction bottle # 5/250. Shared at a tasting 6/4/11. This is the 90% 1983/10% 2005 blended version. 5oz. pour from a 750ml waxed and capped bottle into a Cantillon oversize wine glass. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a .5 finger thick, creamy white head with poor retention. Beer is a semi-clear reddish-purple. Lacing is spotty and stringy with poor cling. Pretty standard for the style.

S: Nose is overripe cherry puree mixed with aged smelly cheese. Notes of barnyard and barn animal funk round out the experience. Very robust, deep, and balanced. That the fruit is still so prominent is miraculous after all this time.

T: Opens sweet cherry, band-aid, straw, and a mellow Brett funkiness. Light crisp tartness comes in towards the middle but isn't overwhelming. Finish is a soft cherry sweet tart embedded in a cheese wheel. Big cherry notes in the aftertaste. One of the most balanced and subtle beers I've had to date.

M: Light to medium bodied, lightly carbonated, smooth and oily in the mouth and soft and mellow going down. Finish is mellow with a soft, pleasantly lingering aftertaste.

O: The hype is real with this one. One of the best fruit lambics I've ever had the pleasure of having. Not over the top and bursting with flavor and nothing outrageous going on here. But incredible balance, incredible feel, and just amazingly mellow and subtle all the way around.

SpeedwayJim, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of mikey711
4.2/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle graciously shared by Jim.

A: Deep red, near purple pour with good clarity with a mild carbonation of prickly white head

S: Someone at the tasting put it in the elegant terms "Garbage has never smelt so good." I would say that is a fair description, it reeked of funk with notes of hay and stinky old cheese, but there is still a nice fruit aspect which was a big surprise to me

T: Very prominent cherry notes followed by some hay and earthy barn yard notes. The flavor profile was very mellow and delicate, but still had lots of cheesy and cherry notes

M: Extremely mellow, very little acidity or vinegar quality, each sip was refreshing as i found myself trying to savor it over a long period of time

D: What impressed me the most about this beer was the fruitiness that was still present after such a long period of time. Overall just a very nice lambic

mikey711, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of Seaba
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Seaba, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -34.2%

GRG1313, Jun 15, 2012
Photo of drowland
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Yeah... got a sample of this at RBWG 2010 because of fata... and I couldn’t believe it - what a great guy! Wow. Nice red pour with a small pinkish head. Awesome cherry and sour going on in this stuff. Just enough malt in there to balance it out. Really good, but you knew that.

drowland, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of alleykatking
4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #1000. Poured from 750ml bottle. Many thanks to Mark for busting this gem out for shits and giggles. Review from notes...

A- Pours a hazed plum color toward the middle with some light ruby grapefruit color on the outer edges. When held to the light there is some golden yellow hues on the edges of the glass. One and a half finger pink head shows light retention. Pink edges on the top of the beer after everything dies down. Spotty lacing on the glass when taking sips.

S- First thing that comes through on the nose is soured cherries. This is light overall and blends together with musty barnyard funk. I have never really smelled wet leather before in a beer but I did in this one. Wet hay also comes through. There is a nice vinegar like aroma that blends with some oak aging. Hints of soured cherry come back once again with a little more to it than in the front. Alcohol that comes through in the ending is inviting and lightly tingles the nose.

T- Soured cherry in the front of the beer which I expected to be more tart than anything else. This has some vinegar notes in the front as well. Some light barnyard funk with hints of hay toward the middle. This kind of takes over and makes the cherry die down almost completely. Oak comes through on the backend with more cherry bursting through. This gets acidic when it warms a little more toward the ending. Alcohol doesn't really seem to be an issue in the flavor at all. The flavors blend all into each other and make this beer taste wonderful.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Low carbonation on this beer but this is expected considering how old this beer is. Soured cherries, oak, and some light funk are left on the palate. Aftertaste is mostly acidic cherries, some light oak, and wet leather and hay. Medium alcohol drying on the palate with each sip. No off flavors were present when drinking this beer. Overall this beer was very balanced with and I enjoyed the mix between cherries, oak, and barnyard funk.

D- This beer was very inviting from the sound it made when it opened to the ending of the last sip. I could and would have easily drank this entire bottle by myself but I had to take only my share of it. A nice drink that wasn't harsh on the stomach or on the palate. This is one beer to seek out and I would do it soon before it is gone forever!

alleykatking, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of claaark13
4.97/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Urbain for sharing. The bottle was without a label, and "yeast burn" was on one side. It was also great to share with the people at the sampling, cheers to you all. Thijs this wouldn't have been possible without you! Ok, thanks to Urbain too!

A - Dark ruby. The head retained, but it was poured at a distance so its hard to say if it would've retained the head if poured closely. Great color though, looks like a good Flanders red.

S - Some sour aromas mixed with honey and cherry. It seems that this will be much more sour than the taste provides. Very interesting and impressive aroma for something this old.

T - There is some sort of honey and sour mixture up front. The sour is faint, as the age has mellowed this one out. There is no dominance between the two, as the years have merged them well. Then, cherries kick in. The entire last 2/3 of the flavor develops with the cherries. They fit so well. Upon the second third sip, they really appear as the dominant flavors. After the first sip, the cherries stick to the lounge. It's not like a Kriek, its not like a lambic, ts not quite like a Flemish Red. Well, I guess if I guess if I had to compare it to something, it would be like a 25 year old Earthmonk but less sour. Just to think about it makes me want a bottle right now.

M - At first I had this lower, but I boosted it to a 5. Each sip is thicker than the last and it cakes onto the lounge. I mean the cherry flavor was there until my next beer almost 20 minutes later. There is almost not carbonation on the tongue. It's a lot like a brandy on the tongue as far as feel, but without the burn. Considering the age, quite impressive. Also, considering the amount yeast caked to the side of that bottle, I bet the body was thicker in the past.

O - I'm not sure what else to say. I could literally drink bottles of this one. I know its a hyped beer due to the availability, but its great in reality. If I had a bigger tasting group, I would seek this one out. During my trip to Belgium, this was the best beer I had. Damn, this is a beer. It seems Urbain has been doing it right for longer than most of us know. Cheers to you, my friend.

claaark13, May 17, 2011
Photo of tendermorsel
4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

5 oz pour 100% 1983

Dark cherry color. Minimal head. Cherry was pretty muted in the nose. Musty barnyard aromas mixed with the slightest cherry aroma.

Great tasting beer. Considering the age of this beer the cherries were shockingly in the forefront. I could taste the slight almond flavors what I would assume is from the pits of the cherries. Wonderful taste and insanely complex.

Struise are the kings of mouthfeel and this is no exception. I could pound this beer!

I have been hunting this White Whale for 4 years now. It did not let me down. Awesome. I cannot believe this nearly 30 years old. So fresh and vibrant even after all that time.

tendermorsel, Aug 24, 2011
Photo of zach60614
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

zach60614, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of Bardwashrind
4.93/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes taken after Popkas's initial Summer sour tasting (10/2010).

Thanks so very much to the genius of Popkas and his unreal dedication. I almost didn't believe that this was real when seeing the fuzzy horse on the bottle from across the room.

Bottle 012/250 from the 90% '83- 10% '05 blend.

A monolith of a bottle. Even among the other incredible beers had, this was the one where silence filled the room and only gasps were to be found. The top was covered in an almost bomb proof thick layer of a black plaster/concrete. Fragments fell to the ground and the luscious liquid was released from the imprisoning vessel.

Firm layer of crisp bubbles atop the dark ruby color didn't give was to the actual age of the beer. The initial aroma came Immediate as it was being poured. Cherries, leaves, dried tea, cranberries, spices, wood and some leather unraveled themselves before us. There wasn't as much dusty/damp aromas as I thought, more vibrant with tartness coming across and quite a bit of earthiness. This smelled unlike any other beer. So many high notes and yet there was the leather depth that just made it a pleasure to contemplate.

Finally tasting Dirty Horse nearly made my eyes only see black and white. Such a focus of sourness but such a fundamental balance to the oak driven center of the beer. Unreal. It had aged notes, but not of oxidation. There was a great deal of tart cherry and funky hay, but it still had refinement. SIp after sip and the beer kept persisting with a range of truly lovely complexities. Just when the flavor seemed as if it was to be comprehended, things changed and more subtleties came to light.

Some Lambic comparisons were made but that was almost too easy. This didn't have the Rodenbach chewiness nor the distinct lemon juice flavors of a Lambic. This was unique and utterly baffling with it's rounded intensity. Truly delicious and an experience of a beer that will most likely rarely be equaled.

I feel fortunate to have gotten a chance to share a taste of this liquid. Seeming like this couldn't have been made by the hands of a mere mortal, but then again, Struise is not a typical brewery. Believe what has been spoken, it's that good and worth a cellar in obtaining a bottle.

Bardwashrind, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of largadeer
4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed this at nerd's pre-Toronado 23rd anniversary white whale tasting. Brewed in 1983, this might be the oldest beer I've had. Thanks, Michael.

Burnished amber, pale toward the edges and semi-hazy. Beautiful color with a thick frothy white cap that retains well.

It smells predominantly of funk, but there's also a solid backbone of sour cherry and lactic acid. Only a light acetic character despite supposedly being partially fermented with Rodenbach yeast. On the whole it smells nice, but fairly mild.

The taste, however, is amazing, far exceeding the aroma. Cherry pie, restrained sourness, a hint of vinaigrette. The balance between cherries, acidity and oak is brilliant, wonderfully mellow yet flavorful. The body is silky, almost buttery, and it finishes with a blend of sweet and sour cherries and drying oak. Taken as a Flanders style red, this is great, better than most anything else I've had in the style. Taken as a lambic, it's on par with some of the greats.

largadeer, Aug 16, 2010
Photo of JamesOtey
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle 001/250. 100% unblended 1983, hand signed- thanks Urbain!!! Drank with my Dad, Carl, Jamie, and Chris. After about 5 minutes at chipping away at the bombproof wax job, I am finally able to see a cap. Upon prying it off, I am met with some mild gushing. After a proper lambic pour by Chris, I am met with a gorgeous brownish tinted garnet body and a robust off white head. The aroma is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. A huge old must character gives way to sour cherries, geuze cellar, leather, and the most profound funk profile I’ve ever encountered. The flavor holds tons more old must with a beautifully balanced cherry acidity that gives way to a mouth puckering finish. The mouthfeel is ultra dry and ultra crisp. My mouth felt just as dry even 10 minutes after finishing my last sip. Easily the best example of sour beer I’ve ever encountered. I don’t know how beer could get any better.

JamesOtey, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.9/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

There are so many people to thank for helping/allowing Trey and me to procure this bottle. To Masterski for alerting Urbain, thanks, Alex! And to Urbain, for his incredible generosity, there aren't quite words enough to express my gratitude.

Auction bottle 94/100, 100% 1983 vintage, sent from Urbain himself. The centerpiece of the tasting, this was 2nd on the 2nd day, and 8th overall.

The bottle opens with a slight hiss, but generally, there isn't much carbonation left in this one. The body of the beer is a clear brownish garnet, highlighted by ruby hues in the presence of light. Touches of bubbles as a result of the pour (like you would find if you added water to your glass), but nothing there from carbonation.

The aroma is one of the most complex I have experienced in any style. This is going to be a fun one to pick apart. Immediately, there are tart apples, cherries, and a drying funk. There is a light lactic sourness as well, though it is far from as sour as other reviewers here have mentioned...I wonder if the latest batch is more sour. Oaky tannic notes from the eternity that this spent aging while it was forgotten, but there are no vanilla notes, due to the old and seasoned oak. This aroma is earthy as all hell, too.

I usually smush the aroma and flavor into one paragraph, but doing so would just be a disservice to this beautifully crafted brew. The flavor opens with apples, much as the aroma did, but it leads into a wild and gamey but sweet honey flavor. Completely unexpected, and wow, what a great bit of character to add. Earthy tannins and a touch of dark molasses in the mid-palate are also extremely evident. There is a touch of vinegary acetic character that comes along with sherry-like notes of oxidation...how has the oxygen not let the acetobacter take off??? Everything in this flavor is perfectly balanced and subtle, but at the same time, very intense and concentrated. The finish is sweet and complex with apple cider and candied apples. There is another wave of funk and honey that make another appearance before the beer is gone.

The mouthfeel is still with just a hint of absorbed CO2 that comes through only on the palate. Looking at the beer, you would expect the carbonation level of tap water. Completely integrated, well rounded, and perfectly textured. This is by far the most delicate and subtle beer that I have ever enjoyed. Insanely nuanced and balanced, this beer is a true testament to Urbain's craftsmanship. Truly a world class offering, and I hope that I am able to try the new batch to be able to compare my experiences.

NittanyBeerFan, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of oline73
4.48/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had the 1983 version on-tap at the Copenhagen Beer Celebration. I was extremely excited to get to try this rarity. Served in a tasting tulip.

Appearance: Pours a clear reddish amber color with a layer of off white head that fades to a thick ring around the pour.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt with some tart red fruit notes. I'm also getting some vinegar and a hint of cranberries.

Taste: The tartness is a bit stronger than the malt sweetness in the flavor. The vinegar and red berry notes are both here. The finish is tart but extremely smooth. There is no real bite to this beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Getting to try this beer was a real treat. Very smooth and I loved the level or sourness compared to the other flavors. I would love to have it again, but who knows if that will be possible.

oline73, May 13, 2012
Photo of Beerinabelle
4.97/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thank you Urbain! XO

Beautiful red/orange colour with a nice amount of head for a sour beer.

There is a very strong smell of aromatic acidic fruit and funk.

mmmm....a hint of sweetness added to dark sour fruit (cherry, plum, strawberry). The hint of funk adds to the overall balance of this amazingly complex brew.

Just enough effervescence. It is smooth and full with layers of flavour as it passes over the tongue.

I could drink a whole bottle of this by myself! Sorry I didn't write more, but I am enjoying it way too much.

Beerinabelle, May 23, 2010
Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

'83 served on tap

Opaque dirty red color with a fluffy white head.

Rustic funk with sour notes. Cherries have fallen out of the aroma obviously. The aroma has sort of evolved and perfected itself into one of the best smelling lambic aromas.

The flavor is very interesting. The sourness is relaxed, fairly dull, on the palate and let's you take in all that funk and muddled old cherry pit flavor. Once swallowed, the mellowed sourness kicks into the back of your jaw. The flavor comes in precise stages.

This beer offered more than I expected being so old. It's showing it's age but still feels like it has many more miles to go. It's especially unique since I haven't had many krieks that I thought were holding up after 10+ years.

BearsOnAcid, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of beerpirates
4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted at Struise school in Oostvleteren togheter with urbain

A: pink reddisch in colour with slight carbonation and small, quick disappearing white foamy head , .no lacing .

S : Aroma is complex and very refined. Berries of all kinds, wood, sous bois, old top class wine and antique furniture.

T: Taste is smooth, soft tart, with lots of berrie fruit ,
balance between sweet and sour is perfect and it has a very unique deep complex taste . cedar wood, fresh tobacco and old hops. Taste is crisp, A most wonderfull beer that earns respect .

D/M : very drinkable and smooth , medium carbonation Aftertaste is very refined and clean. Thanks Urbain for this awesome beer

beerpirates, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of ChrisPro
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

ChrisPro, Jan 08, 2013
Photo of pperez38
5/5  rDev +9.6%

pperez38, Aug 17, 2012
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Dirty Horse from De Struise Brouwers
99 out of 100 based on 96 ratings.