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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: 632
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:
Photo of jh1982
5/5  rDev +9.6%

jh1982, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Seaba
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Seaba, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of JamesOtey
5/5  rDev +9.6%

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 pperez38
5/5  rDev +9.6%

pperez38, Aug 17, 2012
Photo of digita7693
5/5  rDev +9.6%

I was very excited for the chance to try this at Pré ZBF, and had very very high expectations. And this did by no means disappoint, really it was perfect!

a nice copperish- red color, cloudy, nice white head

s earth tones, sour cherries, wood

t pretty much exactly what was in the smell, sour cherries, wood

d could easily drink this over and over. Had it not been for the ridiculously good selection of other beers at the fest I might have just had this all night.

digita7693, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +9.6%

spycow, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Ineedabeerhere
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Ineedabeerhere, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of whartontallboy
5/5  rDev +9.6%

whartontallboy, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Doodler
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Doodler, Dec 28, 2011
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of spdyfire83
4.98/5  rDev +9.2%

226th Review
On-tap at the Copenhagen Beer Celebration 2012 (highlight of the event and worth the trip to Denmark alone)
Poured in a CBC taster
Enjoyed on 11/12 May 2012

Vintage: 1983 100% unblended

A: Deep cherry red (almost maroon, but not quite). Single (off-white) fingernail head fades slowly.

S: Smells of soft sour cherry, oak, and faded mixed berries. Touch of funk and must, but not terribly pronounced. Hint of lemon, spice, and vanilla fade to aged, worn leather. Definitely old, but soft earthiness makes this quite appealing. The complexity of the nose is very inviting!

T: Wow - this beer is quite deep, rounded, and complex considering its age! Loads of soft cherry tartness up-front followed by touch of lemon zest, vanilla, oak, and plum. Mixed berries follow along with soft yeast and mild spice. Sourness and funk is smooth and slightly faded, but very enjoyable nonetheless. The complexity, yet simplicity, is what makes this beer amazing and so tasty!

M: Medium body with almost no carbonation. Soft, crisp, and dry. Very smooth and easy to drink!

O: What can I say...this beer lived up to the hype for me and I thought it was absolutely stellar. I was happy to enjoy multiple pours of this each day at CBC and think the character, fullness, and depth is brilliant. I'd be curious to see how this holds up in the bottle. Superb beer that is worthy of the hype! Urbain doesn't disappoint and neither does this beer. Standing ovation!

spdyfire83, Jun 25, 2012
Photo of ggaughan
4.97/5  rDev +9%

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 claaark13
4.97/5  rDev +9%

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 Beerinabelle
4.97/5  rDev +9%

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 22, 2010
Photo of ToasterChef
4.97/5  rDev +9%

Reviewed from my notes. I was provided a small goblet of this beer by Chris Lively, who cracked open a large decanter of this beer for my wife and I when we visited Ebenezer's on fine Sunday afternoon. He called the beer Dirty Horse 40/60, as it was actually a blend of the 28 year old batch and 3 year old. I was very honored to get to try this great white whale. It is one of those beers I never thought I'd ever get to try.

The beer has a great deep plum color. There is some carbonation clinging to the sides of my glass. A tiny ring of white bubbles encircles the beer like a halo.

The aroma was not what I was expecting. It has a good fruit character, with lots of cherries, but not nearly the amount of funk and sour that I was expecting. It did smell a bit musty and old. So perhaps it is the inclusion of a 28 year old lambic that tones down the funk; I don't believe I've ever had a blend with such an aged component. I found it to be very nice.

It tastes like a cry kriek at first. It is truly awesome. It tastes slightly chalky, but not powdery. It is very acidic (Chris says this is compliments of the 28 year old lambic). It finishes with an odd, out of place but very welcome peach flavor.

I find the beer to be slightly puckering, but it is hard to judge what kind of physical effect the beer has because of the giant smile I have on my face. It is tart all the way through. There is some coating that possesses a tiny amount of sweetness. No real carbonation to speak of. To me, this is what a fine sour beer should feel like.

This beer is exceptionally drinkable. Sure, it's tart and sour, but it goes down so well. Plus, I don't think anyone would be able to try a glass of this brew if they didn't love sour beers. I only got a small pour, but every drop is worth savoring. [Perhaps you know how great the food is at Ebenezer's; I let my lunch get cold so I could fully enjoy this beer] I am so glad I was able to have this beer.

ToasterChef, Apr 29, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.95/5  rDev +8.6%

Bottle shared by Urbain, a very generous guy.

A - It pours a brilliant color of red; red like fire engine, red like lipstick, red like grenadine, just intensely red. It looks like it'd stain if it was (unconscionably!) spilled on anything. There is a miniscule head, or more accurately, an encircling ring of bubbles, that persists for most of the glass; Lambic isn't about head or retention though, obviously.

S - The nose reveals a striking depth of fruit flavor as well as perfect funk. For the fruit, there is a seeming melange of berry flavors, including cherry, but extending to blackberry, blueberry, et al., and also revealing generally bushy notes suggesting foraged drupes. For the funk, it is equal parts medicine cabinet and band-aids, lactic cheesiness, horse-y barnyard, cobwebs and musty basement, and acetic rotten peaches; something that sounds so bad never smelled so good.

T - The flavor is exquisitely complex, and is comprised of the same balance of delectable fruit melange, led by tart-sweet cherries but accompanied by impressions of bushy drupes, then coalesced with a medicinal-horse-cheese-cobweb-overripe funk. Tartness is moderate; it is not bracingly sour, it is exactly right to sharpen the funk while allowing the individual nuance of the fruit-flavor to shine. The cherry comes through intensely and delectably on the finish, whereas it is mostly sublimely stated during the quaff. This is the best Kriek I've had, hands down.

M - Feels good man. Lighter than medium-bodied, intensely silky, and with enough soft carbonation to keep it lively.

O - A masterpiece. Big thanks to Kristina from WLV, and Bryna and Alex, for the instrumental role they played in making this happen.

Oh, yeah, this is review #1000. A nice wale, every bit as good as hype would suggest.

ktrillionaire, May 18, 2011
Photo of Travlr
4.95/5  rDev +8.6%

Bottle courtesy of Urbain at the schoolhouse brewery in Oost-Vleteren. Urbain brewed it in 1983 and bottled it in 1988. "It's our calling card."
A: Deep copper color with a few large bubbles. Bottle had significant diesel marks.
S: Aroma of dark sour cherries with notes of vanilla, a hint of anise, and musty earth.
T: Incredible deep sourness, dark fruits, bits of dust and must. Amazingly complex and totally unique.
M: Body is slightly lighter than expected, but still rich.
D: What can I say? Urbain said it best: "Life sucks...but not here!!"

Travlr, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of Bardwashrind
4.93/5  rDev +8.1%

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 NittanyBeerFan
4.9/5  rDev +7.5%

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 01, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
4.88/5  rDev +7%

Tasted Jun 7, 2008
Wow!!! This is one hell of a Sour/Lambic. Shared a decanter of this 5 year old Horse with Urbain, Peter, Phil, and Joe at the Struise Farm. Pours into the glass as an orange/hazy color with hardly any head. This is where fun begins; the aroma was fruity and vinous with a hint of cherry, along with a light hint of wood. Flavor is a light cherry goodness, while remaining lightly vinous, lightly acidic, along with a light hint of wood; an exceptionally complex brew. The balance of this stunning sour and intermixing of sweet and sour flavors, with an underlying hint of cherry is just superb! Perfectly smooth light body and juicy funk to balance the sourness. Absolutely a world class beer and one that I would love to try again; words can't do this brew justice! Thanks Urbain for this rare treat.

ygtbsm94, Sep 23, 2008
Photo of Brabander
4.85/5  rDev +6.4%

I NEVER drink a beer when i have to drive in my car...untill yesterday. Who can i blame? The big man himself; Urbain.

As always i take a few Ba's with me on tour when i go the the Saint Sixtus abbey and after that to the Struise Brouwers. This time B0rderman and Claaark13 and his WIFE!! (sorry Sean that i called her your girlfriend) joined me.

Urbain is one of the best hosts you can imagine. He magicly 'found' a 1983 bottle of this heavenly brew. It could be that the bottle was not good enough he told us. without cherries. Boy, were we lucky. This bottle was with cherries and it was superb.

I only drank a little bit of it because i still had to drive my guests safe back to Brussels and Antwerpen but i was very impressed by this beer.

Every sip gave me three different mouthfeels, very edgy and very surprising, i never had this with a beer. The sour was flattened which made this beer very accesible for a non lambic lover.

About the taste you can read enough in the other reviews. I am going to open an elderyhome in the old schoolbuilding for retired BA's. There we can drink his beers all day and get old very easy.

Thanks Urbain from the bottom of my heart for your extraordinary hospitality!!

Nectar of the Gods...

Thijs

Brabander, May 17, 2011
Photo of drseamus
4.85/5  rDev +6.4%

Served on tap at Ebenezer's under the name Vuul Peird

A: Nice red body with a thin white head. I'm a little surprised that there was head.

S: All sour cherries. All good.

T: Intense tartness. It hits hard with cherries followed by continued tartness. It is almost singular in its tartness. This isn't the tartest beer I've had but it's easily top 5. Off hand, the Peach Raspberry Lambic that was served at EBF was more intense but not by much.

M: Light body with an intense puckering character. Finishes with a clean puckering finish. Lots of pucker in this fucker.

D: How do you rate the drinkability of a beer of which only 1 keg exists and cannot be reproduced?

drseamus, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of tendermorsel
4.83/5  rDev +5.9%

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 waltonc
4.83/5  rDev +5.9%

Thanks to popkas for generously sharing this bottle. This is one of those beers I just assumed I'd never have the chance to try. Pours hazy ruby with white head. Smells of cherries, lactic funk, and earthy must. The flavor is amazing and definitely the highlight beer of the night in our massive tasting of great sours - again, lots of cherries in here, with drying oak and lactic funk. Sour but restrained and quite mellow. The fruit is still remarkably bright. Amazingly well balanced. This beer has held up great for being mostly 27 years old, and seems like it will continue to hold up for some time to come.

waltonc, Oct 03, 2010
Photo of Beerenauslese
4.83/5  rDev +5.9%

On tap at the Alvinne Craft Beer Festival March 4, 2011. Review is from notes.

Body is reddish copper with a small quarter-inch head that dissipates to a ring of bubbles.

Smells of light malt and cherries, with oak and vanilla notes.

Tastes deliciously tart from cherries with a nice dry and spicy finish.

Bodi is light and the carbonation is fizzy. Very lively and refreshing mouthfeel.

A lovely wild sour ale that is very drinkable. Could drink lots of this. Very well balanced and smooth drinking.

Beerenauslese, Sep 18, 2011
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Dirty Horse from De Struise Brouwers
99 out of 100 based on 96 ratings.