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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

94 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 94
Reviews: 67
rAvg: 4.56
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 625
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)
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Ratings: 94 | Reviews: 67 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rvdoorn
rvdoorn

Netherlands

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
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....

Serving type: on-tap

11-02-2009 19:22:59 | More by rvdoorn
Photo of jbuddle
jbuddle

New York

4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

01-14-2013 04:32:46 | More by jbuddle
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 ggaughan
ggaughan

Pennsylvania

4.97/5  rDev +9%
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.

Serving type: growler

09-19-2008 19:57:03 | More by ggaughan
Photo of Ineedabeerhere
Ineedabeerhere

Rhode Island

5/5  rDev +9.6%

12-25-2011 00:58:03 | More by Ineedabeerhere
Photo of jh1982
jh1982

Nevada

5/5  rDev +9.6%

11-14-2011 12:54:15 | More by jh1982
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 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 waltonc
waltonc

Colorado

4.83/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2010 15:15:28 | More by waltonc
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
Photo of bschinelli
bschinelli

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

12-20-2011 01:44:13 | More by bschinelli
Photo of beerpirates
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
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CypherEnigma

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

09-04-2012 06:19:41 | More by CypherEnigma
Photo of azorie
azorie

Florida

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

11-16-2011 21:57:12 | More by azorie
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
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Romulux

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%

11-11-2012 19:58:24 | More by Romulux
Photo of Seaba
Seaba

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +9.6%

02-28-2013 19:08:18 | More by Seaba
Photo of Jmoore50
Jmoore50

Nevada

4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2010 00:54:23 | More by Jmoore50
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 spdyfire83
spdyfire83

Ireland

4.98/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

226th Review
On-tap at the Copenhagen Beer Celebration 2012 (highlight of the event and worth the trip to Denmark alone)
Poured in a CBC taster
Enjoyed on 11/12 May 2012

Vintage: 1983 100% unblended

A: Deep cherry red (almost maroon, but not quite). Single (off-white) fingernail head fades slowly.

S: Smells of soft sour cherry, oak, and faded mixed berries. Touch of funk and must, but not terribly pronounced. Hint of lemon, spice, and vanilla fade to aged, worn leather. Definitely old, but soft earthiness makes this quite appealing. The complexity of the nose is very inviting!

T: Wow - this beer is quite deep, rounded, and complex considering its age! Loads of soft cherry tartness up-front followed by touch of lemon zest, vanilla, oak, and plum. Mixed berries follow along with soft yeast and mild spice. Sourness and funk is smooth and slightly faded, but very enjoyable nonetheless. The complexity, yet simplicity, is what makes this beer amazing and so tasty!

M: Medium body with almost no carbonation. Soft, crisp, and dry. Very smooth and easy to drink!

O: What can I say...this beer lived up to the hype for me and I thought it was absolutely stellar. I was happy to enjoy multiple pours of this each day at CBC and think the character, fullness, and depth is brilliant. I'd be curious to see how this holds up in the bottle. Superb beer that is worthy of the hype! Urbain doesn't disappoint and neither does this beer. Standing ovation!

Serving type: on-tap

06-25-2012 08:55:04 | More by spdyfire83
Photo of Travlr
Travlr

District of Columbia

4.95/5  rDev +8.6%
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!!"

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 21:44:23 | More by Travlr
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SubpoenaDeuces

California

4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

10-20-2012 18:29:28 | More by SubpoenaDeuces
Photo of digita7693
digita7693

Germany

5/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2010 22:20:35 | More by digita7693
Photo of camil1mj
camil1mj

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1983 unblended from a vial filled from a growler from Ebenezer's. Shared by Romulux. Never thought a single drop of this beer would pass over my tongue, but the little bit that did was amazing and left me wanting more.

A - Dirty reddish-orange with no head. This may be due to the small amount we had access to.

S - Vinegar and cherries.

T - The cherries are still there and taste great with a wonderful lemony/acidic finish. Not as much funk as described by others.

M - Nice dry mouthfeel.

O - The little bit I had lives up to the hype. Left me wanting more. So great. Big thanks to Romulux for sharing this rare treat.

Serving type: growler

09-10-2012 14:04:20 | More by camil1mj
Photo of Doodler
Doodler

Colorado

5/5  rDev +9.6%

12-28-2011 05:20:45 | More by Doodler
Dirty Horse from De Struise Brouwers
99 out of 100 based on 94 ratings.