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Dirty Horse - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Dirty HorseDirty Horse

Educational use only; do not reuse.

67 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 67
Hads: 98
Avg: 4.55
pDev: 8.13%
Wants: 648
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their website

Style | ABV
Lambic - Unblended |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ggaughan on 09-19-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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 ever since 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 67 | Hads: 98
Photo of BucketBoy
4.42/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Bottle 94 of 100, vintage 1983 unblended generously shared by Trey and Dan 3-26-11. Thank you gentlemen!

L - Brilliant clear copper that looks to suck in light and then let it back out. As I gaze into my swirling glass, strokes of alcohol glide around, hoping to give way to aroma and flavor.

S - Apple and apple cider vinegar immediately jump out of the glass, followed by sweet yet faint maraschino cherries. Deep clover honey happily joins the party, with seemingly long strands of dark raw sugar that pulls the entire package into one. The subtlety of funk and acetic acid interact with a simple, light wooden cask to bring the aroma together.

T - Delicate apple skin and cider meets with a sherry and light oak up front. Dark clover honey and light molasses make the flavors pop. Perfect bland of acetic acid, the restraint really is majestic and the gentle funk, touch of mineral, and green vegetal flavors finish the structure perfectly.

M - Essentially imperceptible carbonation makes the smooth liquid just break over the tongue. Glides like a blanket of satin into my throat.

O - Truly a thing of beauty for something this old! I am thrilled and thankful to have drunk this masterful homebrew (twice).

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.28/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

big thanks goes out to GrumpyOldTroll, jbuddle, Sean9689, SpeedwayJim, AgentZero, dtmets84 for sharing in the greatest day of beer that i have ever been a part of. huge thanks to mike for providing this bit of unobtainium.

notes from 1/12/2013

90/10 blend consumed from a de struise tulip glass.

poured a murky maroon almost brown with a thin foamy head that hung out for a bit. smelled rahter musty and fruity at the same time. apples and old berries...tastes pretty great. tart fruit with must. like overripe berries with must and age. tart. really nice lambic, but this is no don quijote. the mustiness is fairly heavy all around this beer. it is very good for a beer that has some 30 year old beer blended in there and it is extremely drinkable and had some really nice fairly bright fruity flavoring as well.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.09/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes, sample from an auction bottle opened at Ebeneezer's summer 2010, thanks for the opportunity Chris!
Pours a lightly hazed light red color with a smallish pink and white head that dissipates quickly. Smells of cherry pie, leather, funk, a bit of lemon and raspberry with a hint of acetic. The flavor is tart with a nice fruity edge to it. Lemons cherries and raspberries meld nicely with a hint of vinegar some leather, oak, and funk. Medium body with a light level of carbonation and a tart puckering mouthfeel. Very nice kriek, it seems to have held up very nicely.

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Photo of Samichlaus82
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cherry pie like aroma; cherry, vanilla, caramel, slight funk, apple and grape. Lots going on in the nose. The flavor is mirrored by the aroma; sweet cherry and fruit notes with some overarching funk to it. Not as funky or sour as I would have expected. Balanced. Overall, am I impressed by this? Yes and no. Yes in terms of how this has held up and the overall experience of getting to drink this. No in the fact that if this was a "new" beer I would have been a little let down. Some carbonation would have been nice. Medium mouthfeel. I find myself saying that I could drink this all day.

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Photo of camil1mj
4.5/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of tarheels86
4.26/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

1983 Unblended on Tap pouring at Copenhagen Beer Celebration like boss. Beautiful hazy purple pour with pink foam. Impressive webby lacing. Nose is sharper raspberry. Taste is seedy raspberry, grapefruit peel, big lactic acid, citric acid, zippy all the way. Quenching palate. No acetic. No sweet cherry. Could even be framboise. Excellent. Rich cherries come in and out and provide some amazing complexity- sweet and sour playoff. Amazing. Couldn’t believe this was on tap for hundreds of people. Manna from the gods! 5/12/2012 8/5/8/5/16=4.2

750mL Auction bottle 20/250 courtesy of Urbain. This was of course the beer I looked forward to the most during our sour epic. But this was very disappointing. It pours a beautiful dark pink with a small, white/light pink head. Aroma is stellar: it is probably the best kriek/sour nose I have ever encountered: it is full of cherry pie, wet oak, soft leather, tannic acid, horsey Brett. Very soft nose and refined. Taste is a little bit sweet, slightly medicinal, full of sweet cherries, sour raspberries, and light vinegar/acetic acid. But overall is light-bodied, a bit thin, and not too acidic/tart. 6/8/2010 10/4/7/3/14=3.8

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Photo of birchstick
4.09/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. Big thanks to bsuedekum for getting this and sharing!

100% 1983 version

A - pours rustic reddish orange without a head

S - tons of tarts cherries intermingle with a layer of funk; lemony citric lambic is in the mix, along with a little bit of musty blanket and a touch of BO

T - starts off with a boat load of cherries as to be expected. I am surprised just how well the cherries have held up given the age of this beer. The cherries yield to a little bit of sour lambic notes. Ends with a blanket of funk and oddly enough a little bit of grain malt.

M - medium smooth decent carbonation

D - can't believe I had a chance to try this one! Held up fantastically over the years. It's sour, but not Cantillon sour, and the cherries still shine. Thanks again for saving some Blake!

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Photo of Chico1985
4.3/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Woahh, 1983 unblended Dirty Horse, wuddup? Thank you Ebenezer's. Poured from a keg to a sampling glass.

Pours maroon, no head, some flecks. A small white ring is formed with some agitation. Fine considering the age.

Nice scent, big cherries and lemon juice.

Taste brings on pretty intense cherry+lemon sourness, some musty basement funk but it's mostly fruity. Some red grapes/red wine presence there as well. Quite fruity+bright considering the age, impressive.

Good mouthfeel, surprisingly lively and drinkable for the age+ABV.

Happy to finally bite the bullet and try this - though it's not quite world-changing, it's very good and you'd probably never guess it was nearly 30 years old.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.47/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1983, Unblended. like a boss

A - A moderately cloudy garnet body with no head (surprise, surprise).

S - Tart cherries, light vinegar, black pepper, barnyard, gym socks, woody notes. It's a good array of things.

T - An almost spicy tart cherry flavor is up front, with a strong wood presence throughout. There's a touch of salinity, an acetone-like dryness and heat (esp. on the finish).

M - Dry and smooth.

O - I mean...this is a 30-year old lambic, poured from a keg, into a glass, then into a 1.5 ounce vial, and then into another glass at a rather hefty price tag. It's really good, and quite complex (but I haven't though this much about other beers in a while, so it's complexity might not be out of the ordinary). I like it, I'd drink it again.

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Photo of Mark000
4.67/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1983 Unblended Version

Not a bad looking brownish red and definitely hazy. Basically no head except for a tiny ring around edge that is now gone. The musty aroma is there, but the cherry still comes through pretty strong with some barrel. Flavor is slightly sour at first, followed by the cherry and then I get the vinous flavors coming through. It is hanging around between sips and very enjoyable. The feel is pretty thin, but I think it's fitting. Overall very enjoyable. I am very grateful to have been able to try this legend.

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Photo of mistakebythelake
4.77/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1983 Unblended version.

Finally able to ride this Dirty Horse. Pours a hazy reddish/brownish color into the Cantillon sherry tasting glass. Little to no head on the pour. A nice cherry, musty, and leathery aroma wafted from my glass that I greatly enjoyed. The taste combined some sour cherries, with a slight lactic souring. Red jammy and dark fruit also present in the taste. Mouthfeel was medium to thin, very smooth and I was surprised at how the carbonation held up. Very drinkable and I was glad I tried this gem. Would like to see how the blended bottle versions are tasting right now for some comparison.

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Photo of seeswo
4.47/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

100% 1983
Pours a slightly clouded reddish color with little head. The nose is slightly musty with sour cherries and a big of barrel. Smell is really nice. The taste shockingly still has a solid presence of cherries. Vinous and slightly sour/funky. Very nice flavor. Age has treated this one well. The mouthfeel is light and low carb. Drinks very easy. Overall, this is a very good one to have tried. The effort at this point might be a little much to justify, but it is a really good beer.

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Photo of cbutova
4.47/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

100% Unblended 1983 keg, finally ponied up and got some this year at Ebenezers.

In small plastic sample cup. Great ruby red with some stuff floating around but not too murky. No head or lace at all.

Aroma has some musty hints like my tent after being in the basement for many months. Big cherries that are nice and sour but seem fresh somehow. Some oak and fruit peels.

Very fruity and vinous. Shows no age to me here besides a hint of cellar must. Oak, cherries, wine, grapes and some acetic as well.

Thinned out most likely from age with low carbs from the keg. Tartness builds nicely to a very good level of acidity combined with the vinegar aspect.

Not overly funky at all but it certainly shows up with some barnyard horse funk. Outstanding and impressive fruit flavors for its age.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.67/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1983 unblended 100% version On tap...
Pours a dark hazy reddish maroon. Looks like an old kreik. A touch of bubbly head that dissipates almost immediately.
Smells really nice, tons of cherry aroma with a kick of tart sourness on the nose.
Tastes very tart, a bit of funky. Very mellow while still being acidic. Amazingly not oxidized for a 29 year old beer.
Nice light carbonation, sits very nicely on the tongue. Overall, a stellar beer. Worth what it costs? Well, maybe not. But well worth the experience

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Photo of illidurit
4.42/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at Blue Palms during RBSG 2012. Pours a dark berry-amber color. Tart raspberry and cherry throughout, not terribly sour but with a solid lactic presence. Funky citric, leather, brett, lots of complexity. Well deserving of its prized status.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

You’re the best, Jer!

Pours a hazed cherry red color with a small head. Nose is sweet cherry pie with a nice lactic tartness underneath. A bit of musty wood, grass, apples, and berries. The flavor is nicely tart, mostly lactic with just a hint of red wine vinegar. Musty oak along with lots of cherry flavor. A hint of red fruit (berries?), some leather, and a definite citrus zest quality. Was not expecting this to be that good, but I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes from July 4th 2011. Big thanks to Urbain for sharing this with us as well as purchasing a grill so we americans were able to bbq on the 4th. Offered us both the unblended '83 version as well as the unblended '05 version side by side. Score is the higher one.

We'll start with the '83. Pour is a dark copper with orange edges and thin bit of light tan head. Nose is pretty solid for how old it is. Some leather brett like notes up front with accompanying cherries. Some dusty cob webb and lactic acid notes behind. The taste has dry, dusty cobwebs with a leathery note behind. The cherries are nicely blended with some vanilla and lactic notes behind. Very faint sourness in this. The body is light and creamy with a gentle carbonation and fairly dry finish. Solid beer for the age, held up well. Flavors are a bit muted, not very bright, but well integrated and deep character. 747415.

Now the '05. Pour is dark ruby red with light pink head. Nose is dusty, dry brett, light leather, brighter tart cherry and some low pleasant acidity. Taste is well integrated cob webb funk and leathery brett blended with very tart cherry and assertive sourness. Lactic notes in back. Body is light and soft with a gentle carbonation balancing enough and a very dry finish. 848416

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Photo of Sean9689
4.3/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

**Review #1200**


"THE" Chicago Crew's 3rd Annual Mega Tasting aka Epic Tres. 750ml bottle bottle brought by Alex (Masterski). 90% 1983, 10% 2005 purchased at auction some time go. Poured into Narke tulip.

A - Pours an rusty orange/yellow/brown color, white head.

S - Fruity & funky, nice tartness, musty, berries, light acidity, and oak. The balance is amazing...perfect amount of fruity & tartness. Nothing too sharp or acidic as well as nothing too sweet. Just right.

T - While the nose is really nice, the taste is even better. It's more fruit-forward then I was expecting, but in subtle nuances. It doesn't scream "fruit", but the tartness and sweetness work together to create it. I would say mostly tart berries & sour cherries, with a light jammy character. The oak helps balance the tart & sweet notes. Finish is tart fruit.

M - Light body, good carbonation, dry finish.

O - Well, I really wasn't sure what to think of this beer because I've never been totally "wowed" by Struise. This one lives up to the hype and stood tall amongst a mountain of super-rare beer that we opened on 6/23. I hope Urbain releases some more, because I want a bottle all to myself! :D

Thank you, Alex, for sharing! You're a super-generous dude!

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Photo of spdyfire83
4.97/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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!

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Photo of Jeffo
3.86/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The illusive Dirty Horse. Got a chance to try a sample of this at The Copenhagen Beer Celebration this past weekend. Cheers to Urbain and the gang for bringing this one to the festival as part of the mind-boggling thirty beer collection. For some reason I thought Urbain was going to bring the 2005 version only, so I was thrilled to see the 1983 starting at me in the face. This was definitely a highlight for many of us.

Tap into a tasting glass
100% 1983

APPEARANCE: Pours a medium sized, tight, rose-white head with great retention. Kind of a maroon or burnt umber brown, hazy, with no visible carbonation. Head eventually fades to a nice wisp that remains the whole way and leaves some nice dots of lacing down the glass. Hard to imagine that this is almost thirty years old.

SMELL: Somewhat mild at this point, but you can tell it's old. Some funky notes with some sweet fruit on the nose. Some sweet melon and lemon, but the red fruits are still there. The cherry is not the star of the show, but it blends well with the other components. Mild, yet well-integrated.

TASTE: Sweet-sour up front with funky yeast notes, lemon, citrus and some sweet melon flavors. Nice tart red fruit component with a definite cherry backbone still. More prominent than the nose had advertised. Mild yet lingering finish of tart red fruits and a touch of bitterness as well. It is obvious that this is quite old and not as bold as it probably once was, but it is very nicely balanced with just the right amount of tart sourness to work with the fruit flavors. This is quite enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly sticky.

OVERALL: This was a real treat. Dirty Horse has aged very gracefully after almost thirty years, but you can tell it's starting to get old. Consequently, while drinking this was a wonderful experience, is was probably not as memorable and impressive a beer as it would have been years ago. That said, this was very well balanced and the flavors mellow enough to drink is mass quantities. The cherry flavors, while muted after so long, still provide a nice, tart flavor to go with the funky sourness and light bitterness. It was great to finally try this beer, and I look forward to trying the 2005 batch at some point in the future. Thanks again for bringing this one to Copenhagen gents!

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Photo of oline73
4.45/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of craytonic
3.5/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at the DC Lambic & Sour Tasting on April 14, 2012. From Notes. 100% 1983 version.

Appearance: pour is a murky dark plum/raisin, not particularly impressive.

Smell: Heavy malt, caramel, toffee, brandy, slightly sweet with some oxidation. Not particularly sour or funky.

Taste: Similar to the smell, slightly sweet with malt, caramel, toffee, brandy, and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: a bit chewy, little-to-no carbonation

Overall: On my beer bucket list, but a bit past its prime.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review 1001 (it's all better from here?). 100% 1983 unblended version, bottle 96 of 100. Shared by craytonic. This review is going to be a little short since BA ate my previous attempt to enter it. Thanks!!!

Pours a murky, tawny brown with minimal ruby tinges and zero head. Flavor and aroma are mild and subtle with less sour or acidity than expected. Wet earth, bready malt, sherry and tart cherry dominate. Slight oxidization but nothing out of the ordinary for something this age. Medium thick, soft chewy body with trace carbonation. This and V005 were our most anticipated beers of the tasting. This bottle of Dirty Horse was an amazing experience, but was a little past its prime and the blend is probably a safer bet at this point.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.35/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle of 100% 1983 Dirty Horse courtesy of craytonic. Bottle 96/100. This beer gets me back to 100/100 on the top 100. Served in a Struise cervoise.

Pours a murky red-tawny color with no head and nothing in the way of lacing or even bubbles. Given that this beer is older than me, I'll give it some slack and go with the standard 4.

The nose brings some malt with a bit of oxidized bread and brown sugar with a touch of caramel, flowing into a nice base of cherry and earth, plus a touch of vanilla in the background. The flavor boosts the complexity level was a nice earthy cherry flavor plus heavy sherry notes. Faint oak in the background. Average duration on the palate with moderate acidity and light-medium funk.

The body is medium and a bit chewy with a bit of sherry-like creaminess. Obviously no carbonation, but this leads to a smooth, semi-acidic finish.

Overall, a beer that's obviously past its prime at this point, though still quite fantastic. I'd love to eventually try the blended version, which others have said has a bit more bite and complexity. Either way, fantastic work, and I'm glad Urbain started this experiment nearly 30 years ago.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From 04/14/12 notes.

1983 vintage, 100% unblended auction bottle 96/100. Huge thanks to craytonic for sharing this one; never thought I'd be trying this one.

a - Pours a hazy dark reddish brown color with a few off white bubbles and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells a bit musty, grapes, light cherries, light funk, earthy notes, and light vanilla. Nice but not overly funky or sour at all; a little weak.

t - Tastes of grapes, earthy notes, oak, bready malts, cherries and dark fruits, light funk, earthy musty notes. A little stronger then the nose but still a bit weak.

m - Medium body and no real carbonation, makes it very smooth and creamy. Crazy easy to drink and a great mouthfeel.

o - Overall I thought this was a good beer, but not great, and no where near deserving the hype. Very easy to drink and great mouthfeel, but the nose and taste are a bit old, musty, and weak; I think the beer is a bit past its prime at this point. Very fun and happy I got to try this, but not something worth the hype or what it takes to land.

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Dirty Horse from De Struise Brouwers
98 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.