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Dirty Horse - De Struise Brouwers

Dirty HorseDirty Horse

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

93 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 93
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%


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)
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Ratings: 93 | Reviews: 67 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2012 01:42:01 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2012 23:24:04 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of JamesOtey
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2012 06:38:57 | More by JamesOtey
Photo of drowland
drowland

Georgia

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 21:24:45 | More by drowland
Photo of Beerenauslese
Beerenauslese

California

4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-18-2011 19:02:15 | More by Beerenauslese
Photo of Bardwashrind
Bardwashrind

Colorado

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2011 14:52:17 | More by Bardwashrind
Photo of drseamus
drseamus

New York

4.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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?

Serving type: on-tap

09-07-2011 21:24:34 | More by drseamus
Photo of kingcrowing
kingcrowing

Vermont

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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-26-2011 21:44:52 | More by kingcrowing
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.05/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

100% 1983, on-tap at Ebenezer's. Gigantic thanks to JAHMUR for making this review possible.

A: Cloudy pink-orange body with a minimal ring of fine tan bubbles; practically still, but for a beer that's nearly 30 years old I think it looks quite nice.

S: Rich cherries (shockingly), moderate lactic sourness, some oak, and even more fruit. Just a faint bit of musty, barnyardy funk. Enjoyable, yes, life changing, no.

T: Juicy cherries, vanilla, acetic acid, and lemony tartness. Delicious, clean finish. Very mild + smooth, with rape cherry flavor persisting for an impressively long time. While amazingly delicate and fairly complex, this honestly isn't the best-tasting Kriek I've had.

M: Smooth, soft, velvety. Terrific.

O: I'm not sure which is more amazing to me: the fact that I got the chance to try this beer, the fact that it still has a huge cherry presence, or the fact that it didn't blow me away. I honestly expected this to be the most delicious pour of beer I'd ever had, and it just didn't deliver. I've had it, I've ticked it, and I'm over it.

Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

08-25-2011 16:37:12 | More by woosterbill
Photo of tendermorsel
tendermorsel

Massachusetts

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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-24-2011 02:07:45 | More by tendermorsel
Photo of BearsOnAcid
BearsOnAcid

Massachusetts

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.

Serving type: on-tap

08-22-2011 01:11:03 | More by BearsOnAcid
Photo of fisherman34
fisherman34

Manitoba (Canada)

4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Draft sample at Délirium Hoppy Loft. Pale red in colour with moderate carbonation. Ethereal nose of cherry, funk, wood, lemon, and leather. In the mouth, more cherry, slightly cheesy funk, lemon rind, and savory/earhty kitchen herbs. Delicate on the palate, but not short on flavor or acidity (especially on the finish). A unique masterpiece.

Serving type: on-tap

08-12-2011 18:45:34 | More by fisherman34
Photo of mikey711
mikey711

New Jersey

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

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2011 18:04:10 | More by mikey711
Photo of SpeedwayJim
SpeedwayJim

New York

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2011 11:56:19 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of ktrillionaire
ktrillionaire

Florida

4.95/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2011 15:38:15 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of Brabander
Brabander

Netherlands

4.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2011 21:37:50 | More by Brabander
Photo of claaark13
claaark13

Indiana

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2011 00:15:19 | More by claaark13
Photo of SpencerDB
SpencerDB

North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to tarheels86 for sharing this one at the DC epic tasting. Auction bottle 00X(was a single digit but forgot which bottle)/250. This was a blend of the 83 and newer Dirty Horse and not the unblended 83.

Poured a ruby red color with a light frothy pink head. Nose is beautiful with heavy cherries that is very pleasant. Definitely has the fresh cherry pie on the windowsill effect going on.

Sadly, the taste doesn’t follow through. Should be a kriek, but the mouthfeel is so lacking. Hardly anything to note for the palate as it’s so thin. Taste is just light cherry, cough drops, hardly sour.

It was pleasant to drink, but nothing close to the level of the other great brews we sampled that day.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2011 21:14:32 | More by SpencerDB
Photo of fewa
fewa

Belgium

4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From my notes: had this highly sought after beer at the Alvinne festival. The beer pours a hazy ruby color, with white head. Smell: Fruit all over the place, sour cherries, and woody smell. Taste: ver well balanced. Starts with some sweetness, followed by a well balanced sourness. Fresh cherries are all over the place again. The woody hints observed in the smell are also clearly present in the taste.Overal, perfect

Serving type: on-tap

04-11-2011 18:43:49 | More by fewa
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
NittanyBeerFan

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 23:22:56 | More by NittanyBeerFan
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps

Oregon

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!

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2011 02:52:02 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of treyrab
treyrab

California

4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Video of this beer being poured at our testing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEAyazwUE3M&feature=related

First, I have to thank Urbain for sending this beer to Nittanybeerfan and I. By a stroke of luck, Urbain was having a tasting with Tod Mott while brewing the most recent batch of Kabert over in Oostvleteren, Belgium. Thus, the timing worked out perfectly that he wanted some rare American beers and as such he parted with two bottles of Dirty Horse. We cannot thank him enough for his generosity. He is a true advocate to the beer community.

100% 1983 Unblended Version. Bottle Number 94/100.

The bottle looks very antiquated, but with a new label. The beer was originally unlabeled in 1983, but Urbain subsequently printed a few labels for the 1983 version for the few that he sent out. The bottle has been laying on its side for over 28 years in his personal cellar, and even with a trip across the Atlantic, the yeast sediment was caked onto the side of the bottle. Even after the rigor of that trip, and standing upright for six months before drinking, the sediment never moved from the side. It is permanently glued to the side of the bottle.

The beer was the second beer of the main tasting day on March 26, 2010.

A: The most anticipated beer for most of us popped with a slight hiss with a ever so slight ghostly smoke that crept out of the neck. After 28 years, the carbonation was slight on this, but that was expected. Dirty Horse poured into our glasses a beautiful, clear, brick, mahogany, crimson red with a very slight eggshell white head. The pour was slightly rigorous, and even then, the head was only slight. Apparent carbonation, but just a touch. Held to the light this was more of a glowing orange with some peach hues and grapefruit tones. The yeast caked on the side of the bottle never budged, and was still there after the pour, thus we did not get much yeast in our glasses.

S: The smell was unlike any beer (lambic or other) that I have tried. It starts with an intense earthy, leathery, and tobacco scent. The dry leather then morphs into a pungent, sour maraschino cherry. But the cherry scent is intriguing as it is sweet smelling as well, as if dipped in clover honey. The honey aspect was very nice and blended well with the cherry sourness, leather earth, and hint of lactic sourness. I also get a slight hint of cocoa, and upon swirling, a nice red wine vinegar.

T: The delicacy of this beer is unparalleled. So many intricate flavors, but none of which are overpowering nor do they clash to beat out one another. All the flavors blend so well together into a delightful beer. Starts with the sour cherries, then blends nicely with the earth, slight mushroom soil, and sweet honey. Not mouth puckering sour, but the lactic lemons are apparent, but just enough to let the other flavours shine. Swirling this around the palate, it really coats the mouth from having a very slight carbonation, and you can really pick out all the delicate nuances of the beer. One of the most interesting, and well balanced lambics I have had. The fact that this is unblended, 28 years old, and is this complex, is remarkable.

M: As noted, the carbonation is light from sitting on its side in Urbain's cellar for 28 years. But it complements the beer nicely as it lets the beer really coat your tongue so you can get the full effect of the complexity of the flavours in the beer.

O: Overall, we were all very impressed with this. One of the most interesting and complex unblended lambics ever. The fact that it has had time for all the flavours to meld together over 28 years has really made this beer stand apart. From the taste of this now, and for being 28 years old already, this one definitely has some more time to get more interesting.

We have to thank Urbain one more time for this one!

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2011 16:08:38 | More by treyrab
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Cmack15

Massachusetts

4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I was very fortunate enough to have this on tap at the Alvinne fest this year. The beer has a soft pink/rose color and just looks beautiful in the glass. Slight sour/funk in the nose but not in your face. The taste was a well balanced gueze/sour in my opinion. The funk and sourness was there in the taste especially upfront but then it all blended together and ended so nicely. The age has really helped this beer mellow out and become a true gem. This by far is one of my all time fave beers.
Cheers

Serving type: on-tap

03-22-2011 21:03:27 | More by Cmack15
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alleykatking

Indiana

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!

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2011 03:23:59 | More by alleykatking
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beerpirates

Belgium

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

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2010 06:30:55 | More by beerpirates
Dirty Horse from De Struise Brouwers
99 out of 100 based on 93 ratings.