Dirty Horse - De Struise Brouwers

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Dirty HorseDirty Horse

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

67 Reviews
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Reviews: 67
Hads: 97
rAvg: 4.55
pDev: 5.93%
Wants: 651
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:
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: 97
Photo of waltonc
4.8/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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. (612 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.63/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (1,416 characters)

Photo of Jmoore50
4.73/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dirty Horse, what an honor to have consumed this magnificent beverage with some fellow beer lovers. All of the credit goes to Nerd for opening this at a great tasting pre-Toronado 23rd Anniversary. To date, this is the oldest beer I have ever consumed.

Nerd had a tough time working through the wax, the rubber bands, and finally the cork. With a hard pour the beer produced a white finely carbonated head that did not stay around for very long. The heart of the beer was a dark plumb color with having it gradient out to a ruby red. Thick oily legs coated my glass, even after the beer was gone the glass had a solid coating of beer in it.

The smell was of barnyard and musty basement notes, funky blue cheese, and a smell that I associate with Schaerbeekse cherries and Krieks that use those specific cherries. It is a specific smell that has not been replicated anywhere else in my life.

A beer so rare and old and with so many people holding this beer up on an almost unreachable pedestal, it reached my expectations. It had a great ripe cherry flavor that was unbelievable given how old this is. A great funk flavor that captured all of those great barnyard, must, and vintage lambic flavors. Incredibly complex with its sourness, really effecting the entire palate with its combination of flavor, carbonation, and thick oily mouthfeel.

It was a bitter sweet feeling tasting this beer. It was so delicious and such a complex beer that I was awestruck. Unfortunately it will be a very slim possibility that I ever get to try this beer again, but I was grateful to nerd and the tasting group for participating in such a great experience. (1,647 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.68/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (980 characters)

Photo of HopHobo
4.48/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From mental notes at White Whale tasting #1. Contributed by MasterSki and poured into a 6 oz. snifter.

A - pours a deep plum color with two fingers of off white head. Very clear and settled looking.

S - The smell is that of funk, horse blanket, cherries and vinegar. I don't get a ton of sour smell from this beer, its more funky than anything.

T - the taste is not what I expected from an unblended lambic. Not a ton of up front sourness, but a good amount of funk, vineousness, and cherry juice.

M- the mouthfeel is medium not to heavy, but not as thin as I would expect from a beer of this age....I actually think the mouth really contributes to this beer.

D - this is the best part of this ale, its highly drinkable....seems like something that could be drank all night without becoming overpowering in any regards. All and all a good beer, maybe not as good at the hype, but still pretty happy to have gotten the opportunity. (936 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
4.6/5  rDev +1.1%
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. (1,007 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
4.55/5  rDev 0%
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. (1,413 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.72/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (1,965 characters)

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

Thank you Urbain! XO

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

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

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

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

I could drink a whole bottle of this by myself! Sorry I didn't write more, but I am enjoying it way too much. (533 characters)

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

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. (1,954 characters)

Photo of tpd975
4.1/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Urbain and the guys at Struise for sending this one over gratis for the group to try at the ratebeer winter gathering.

A: Pours a nice brillant red with a small whitish pink head. Lite retention and no lace.

S: Aromas of tart cherry, mild spice, and bretty funk.

T: Light cherry, raspberries, oak, spices, and a mild brett tartness.

M: On the lighter side of medium. Nicely carbonated, lighter and less tart than I expected.

D: Good, a nice little sour beer one I am honored to try as I never thought I would get a shot at it. Cheers to Urbain for being so generous. (586 characters)

Photo of digita7693
5/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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. (470 characters)

Photo of Travlr
4.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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!!" (548 characters)

Photo of PapaEugene
4.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the many brews that I had on the AMAZING & GREAT Borefts Bier Festival 2009 organised by De Molen brewery. Served by the Struise Brouwers.

A: Hazy ruby-red color with a white head.

S: Sour cherries, almonds and a bit woody.

T: Good, no chemical shit ruining this beer. High similarities with the Cantillon kriek but without the funk that normally disturbs me. Some grains, well balanced cherries, almond and something woody.

M: Medium carbonation and a light body.

D: Just great. After returning to this style after 10 odd years, this is surely the best for me until now. Just too bad that it was just on tap at the festival. Would have loved to buy some of these. (676 characters)

Photo of rvdoorn
4.73/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this unique beer at the 1st Borefts bier festival (BBF 2009).

Poured into a de Molen sniffer. The beer pours a dark hazy ruby-red color, with a very persistent white head, leaving a great lacing.

Smell: Full of fruit, mainly tart sour cherries. Woody and a bit musty. Nice

Taste: what an incredible balanced beer was the first thought that crossed my mind. Up front, there is a hint of sweetness (this one is natural, not the artificial crap that is present in the more commercial fruit beers), followed by a great, balanced sourness. Cherries are all over the place, but also some hints of malts and almond. The woody oak taste is also there.

Mouthfeel: Normal bodied for the style (a bit watery). Medium carbonation

Overall: I have to say that I normally really not like this style, actually, I almost avoid it. But after the Crianza Helena and Blabaer from Cantillon, this is the 3rd I love. Pity all of them are limited brews.... (943 characters)

Photo of ygtbsm94
4.85/5  rDev +6.6%
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. (821 characters)

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

Samnpled at the Struise Farm from Urbain from a wine decanter. What a wonderful 5 year old treat. The beer poured a hazy orange color with nearly no head. The aroma of the beer had nice notes of fruit, cherry, and some wine like qualities. Slightly sour. The taste was the real treat. Although 5 years old the taste was very present. A nice cherry quality, not to acidic but had a good sour quality. There were some definite wood notes as well. I found there to be an excellent balance of the sweet fruit and the tart character as well. This is one very drinkable and well rounded beer. I just wish there was more to go around. I wanted to run with the decanter and drink it all but that would not be good form for a guest at the farm! Seek this beer out if you can find any. (775 characters)

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