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Dirty Horse - De Struise Brouwers

Not Rated.
Dirty HorseDirty Horse

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

96 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 96
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.11%
Wants: 630
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
De Struise Brouwers visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Lambic - Unblended |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Starting with a Lambic grist bill composed of 70% barley malt and 30% unmalted wheat. No yeast was artificially added to the wort, but was exposed for two days to the open air in one of our plastic tunnels at the Noordhoek Ostrich Farm. First fermentation took place in second hand sherry oak casks for six weeks. 200 grams of Northern cherries per litre and the Roeseleire yeast strain were added after six months, provoking a new fermentation process. Eight months later, we pumped over the young ale to oak casks and let it mature for another 3 years. This project was realized after a tasting of the same recipe Urbain once made 20 years ago and was barrel aging in his garage in De Panne eversince and while he was in Africa and forgot all about it. As this is a very limited version, this ale will not be suitable for export but rather for sale at the farm when available.

(Beer added by: ggaughan on 09-19-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 96 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
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4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

fistfight, Dec 22, 2011
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4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

bschinelli, Dec 20, 2011
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5/5  rDev +9.6%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 26, 2011
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4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

azorie, Nov 16, 2011
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5/5  rDev +9.6%

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

whartontallboy, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

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

jh1982, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Beerenauslese
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.

Beerenauslese, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of Bardwashrind
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.

Bardwashrind, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of drseamus
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?

drseamus, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of kingcrowing
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.

kingcrowing, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of woosterbill
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!

woosterbill, Aug 25, 2011
Photo of tendermorsel
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.

tendermorsel, Aug 24, 2011
Photo of BearsOnAcid
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.

BearsOnAcid, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of fisherman34
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.

fisherman34, Aug 12, 2011
Photo of mikey711
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

mikey711, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of SpeedwayJim
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.

SpeedwayJim, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of ktrillionaire
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.

ktrillionaire, May 18, 2011
Photo of Brabander
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

Brabander, May 17, 2011
Photo of claaark13
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.

claaark13, May 17, 2011
Photo of SpencerDB
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.

SpencerDB, May 11, 2011
Photo of fewa
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

fewa, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
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.

NittanyBeerFan, Apr 02, 2011
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
Dirty Horse from De Struise Brouwers
99 out of 100 based on 96 ratings.