1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Dirty Horse - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Dirty HorseDirty Horse

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

96 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 96
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.11%
Wants: 635
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 96 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

t0rin0, Sep 19, 2012
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +9.6%

spycow, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

zestar, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
4.38/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

Thorpe429, Apr 17, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -34.2%

GRG1313, Jun 15, 2012
Photo of ygtbsm94
4.88/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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 womencantsail
4.43/5  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.

womencantsail, Aug 07, 2012
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 JAHMUR
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

JAHMUR, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of MasterSki
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks Urbain for making this happen. After missing Dirty Horse on two(!) separate occasions at the farm all is now right in the world. Served in a tasting snifter. This was bottle #002, a blend of 1983 (90%) and 2005 (10%) vintages.

A - Pours with two fingers of eggshell foam that eventually settles to a thin collar and leaves some light haze as well as a few spots of lace. The body is a gorgeous golden ruby color with slight haziness. Hard to rate this to style, as it's not really unblended lambic, but it's also not really Kriek. Whatever it is, it's quite good looking.

S - Plenty of funk, horseblanket, barnyard and hay, but balanced by delightful vinous notes, cherries, graham cracker, acetic acid, and a touch of oaky vanilla. Takes the best elements of lambic and Flanders Red and combines them into something special.

T - The taste is initially tart and sour, with unsweetened cherry juice flavors balancing things out. The funk is more restrained here, and this grows more and more acetic as I work my way through the glass. There is no perceptible alcohol at all.

M - Lower but effervescent carbonation, and a body that is very light and refreshing. This finishes quite dry, with a light residual fruit juice texture. I might complain that it was too thin for 7%, but since I can't taste the alcohol it's not much of a complaint.

D - This is probably my perfect session beer. I can see why Urbain serves this in a giant decanter as I'd be reaching for refills all night. I could literally have consumed all 750ml on my own, although my digestive track might be unhappy the next day.

This beer is now at the 27 year mark, and it popped and sparkled with the complexity of flavor of a beer only days old. This might have been better appreciated had it not been consumed next to some significantly heavier, stronger, and more palate-busting beers. That being said, I think this bottle was the quickest to empty amongst the stellar lineup we had.

MasterSki, May 24, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
3.9/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

100% 1983 Dirty Horse supplied by craytonic at the DC Sour beer tasting, served in a Struise Cervoise glass because I am not a cave man. Thanks! At the time of this review, not only is this beer on the "Top Beers - Popular" list on beeradvocate (#17), as well as the "Top Beers - Belgium" list (#3), it is also #1 on the "Top Beers - Lambic - Unblended" list, and since this is an unblended version of this beer I guess I agree with that categorization. Another "best beer" for a style review for me, creeping ever so much closer to the impossible goal.

Beer is reddish / brown and completely hazy with a thin off white head of small brown bubbles nearly no retention at all, looks pretty good for a 30 year old beer.

Aroma is odd, it has a very weak aroma, it is a little sweet, a little musky, mild oak and funky, a little basement.

Beer is super creamy in body, great mouthfeel, wonderful finish, great great beer, chuggable, no hint of alcohol, perfect on the mouthfeel. I keep going on and on about the mouthfeel because it was the best part of the beer. The beer itself was a little bland, flat and mildly fruity with a musky oaky finish. I'm not saying it was bad but it is not the best "unblended" lambic I've ever had. I'd be interested in trying the blended version. I'm glad to have the experience but it wasn't nearly as good as it could have been.

drabmuh, Apr 16, 2012
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 mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

mdfb79, Apr 17, 2012
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of yourefragile
4.28/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

yourefragile, Apr 19, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.43/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by craytonic, this legendary beer kicked off the tasting yesterday. Thanks a lot Matt!

100% 1983
Auction bottle 96/100

The beer appears a rusty orange color with no head whatsoever. What do you expect from a nearly 30 year old unblended lambic?

The aroma offers caramel candies, cherry juice, a hint of chocolate. Not as big and bold as I was expecting, but definitely an inviting scent.

The flavor takes it up a notch. Cherry flavor is surprisingly present, with a lightly sweet caramel character. Not sour or acetic like I was expecting.

Silky smooth feel. Wow. This beer goes down so easily. Light without being thin. Like drinking old cherry juice from the barrel.

What a joy to sip this seemingly mythical beer.

Huhzubendah, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of afsdan
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

afsdan, May 22, 2014
Photo of HopHead84
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

8/13/2010

Huge thanks to Michael (Nerd) for opening this rarity at our tasting the night before the Toronado Anniversary party. This is one of my long time wants and I'm overjoyed to have finally tried it. Brewed in 1983, this is the oldest beer I've ever tried.

This is a blend of 1983 (90%) and 2005 (10%) vintages. It appears vibrant deep ruby red with a large frothy one finger off white head.

The aroma is funky and musty, with horsey notes accompanying wet hay, wet leather, and ephemeral blacksmith's bastard. The aroma is lightly tannic with evident oak and a moderate acetic quality. The cherries are strong, but not too strong, they have a nice flair to them, tending toward authenticity rather than artificiality. On the whole, the aroma is reminiscent of a fine Cantillon, with a similar funk profile.

The flavor is fantastic, boasting a nice restrained acetic quality with a tantalizing cherry sweet and tart combination. There's a moderate oak presence that has a slight buttery quality to it. The beer is moderately tart with a distinct lactic character. The fruit is more apparent in the flavor than the aroma, and cherry tartness lingers in the complex finish.

The mouthfeel is sticky and lightly tannic with prickly carbonation.

Overall, this was incredibly drinkable, much better than I expected, and something I would happily drink daily if I had the chance. A beer worthy of its accolades.

HopHead84, Aug 25, 2010
Photo of johnnnniee
4.08/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

johnnnniee, Nov 02, 2012
Photo of jrallen34
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasting with AgentZero.

750ml bottle #13/250.

Pours a dark pink, almost purple with a light pink head. Retention is light, meidum lacing...The aroma is on the lighter side, but does give off a nice combination of cherries and light funk. Not the typical Belgian lambic super funky horse blanket. Not sure if I like the lightness or like the stronger Cantillon more...The taste is also light for a Belgian lambic, you are not hit in the face with intense funk, this a lot more subtle and complex. On the front you get mostly tart cherries, in the middle some sweetness of the cherries and on the finish some light funk...Feel is on the lighter side but has a tannic touch, not particularly lasting...Very easy to drink.

Overall, this is very good, in between a fruit lambic and a strong Canitllon. Super easy to drink and appeals to many people as it is sweet and funky. It is worth a lofty rating, probably not worth giving an arm and a leg because of the rarity unless your just crazy like me and Zero.

jrallen34, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of bsuedekum
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

bsuedekum, Aug 31, 2012
Photo of DefenCorps
4.63/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Many, many thanks to Trey and Dan for sharing this this past weekend. Bottle #94/100, 100% 1983 version, best by 2015

Still deep copper/amber with a thin ring for a head, this has a real nice color. The nose is fantastic. Musty with apple cider and cherries, this is rich and deep. Dark honey with some floral aromatics, the sourness is mildly acetic with some oxidation - some sherry is definitely present. Vinous, this is a very delicate and well-rounded beer. There's also just a hint of molasses present. This brings to mind the 1982 Goudenband I had recently. Ultimately, though, the blend of the honey, mildly musty and cider is what makes this beer unique.

The palate opens with honey, a mild sourness that's cherries with a touch of vinegar and some cherry. The honey character is rich and deep, very complex, not quite buckwheat honey, but darker than, say, orange blossom honey. Rich and vinous on the palate, the mouthfeel is sublime, like an exceptionally smooth wine. A little musty, the funk is mild, and there's some grass and hay present. Wood character is noticeable but is very well integrated, with the honey tempering the tannins. Cidery on the finish with a little cherry, this beer is medium in body and has a very low level of carbonation. The molasses and honey character grow as this beer breathes. A beer of remarkable balance and finesse, I'm very glad I got to try it.

A couple of observations: one, there seems to be significant bottle variation here. At least one review from a different 100% mentions high carbonation and a drying finish, neither of which mirrored my experience. Two, it's remarkable that this beer hasn't turned into vinegar. Acetobacter isn't a forgiving souring agent, and I'm surprised that the oxygen that's enabled the sherry note to develop hasn't negatively affected this brew. Three, I wish I get to try the blended version, 'cos I can only imagine that will be brighter and have a more pronounced cherry character - not that this beer needs either, but simply because it'd be interesting to try. Very well done, Urbain, those ostriches of yours showed remarkable restraint in not drinking all of this!

DefenCorps, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
4.55/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

400th review, busted out something nice at a tasting with jrallen34.

A - Little hiss as the cap was popped off, nice for something made up of what is mostly a 27 year old beer at this point. A deep red/pink color that turned orange and then yellow on the edges. Off-white, slightly pink head that dissipated to a pink ring around the edges.

S - Some deep, tart cherry smell with a little bit of wet hay and a small amount of funk. The smell is a bit on the lighter side, as you really have to take some deep inhales to really get the breadth of this.

T - Not nearly as tart as you would expect, more sour than just tart. A little bit sweet, features the cherries and the funk and hay comes through strongly on the end. The finish lingers for a long time showing off a wide depth of different tastes. The sweetness mellows to almost a grassy nothing in the middle and then comes back with a little tart bite and some nice funk. It leaves the mouth with hints of cherrys and some wet blanket at the end.

M - Light carbonation, it's close to flat, which removes some of the effervecence of this beer. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it might help to make the different stages of this beer more recognizeable, but it gets a little unpleasant flat as it starts to warm up.

D - No taste of alcohol, no overpowering sweetness or tartness, it has a nice mellow taste and could really just drink this all day.

AgentZero, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of illidurit
4.43/5  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.

illidurit, Aug 16, 2012
Photo of whartontallboy
5/5  rDev +9.6%

whartontallboy, Nov 14, 2011
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Dirty Horse from De Struise Brouwers
98 out of 100 based on 96 ratings.