Art Of Darkness - Brewery Ommegang
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Ratings: 554 | Reviews: 121 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Chrysostom:
3.86/5 rDev -2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
As always, I am reviewing to style (ala BJCP), modified by personal taste (contra BJCP), not to personal taste alone, unlike the "hedonic scale" of some beer-review sites. If I rated to taste alone, some beers, poor exemplars of their style, would receive better marks consistently from me than certain other beers, which were perfect exemplars of styles that are not my personal preference.
As always, the review is live, not from notes, as I puzzle out the libation as it is consumed. Without further ado, a review.
Presentation: $13.99 750mL corked and caged bottle (thank you to Blacklick Wine and Spirits in Columbus, OH) served around 45ºF and warming as the review is written, poured in to a Chimay chalice/goblet. The new label (and there is a new label - maybe this wasn't brewed once only after all?) is much cooler than the last one - it grabbed my eye and made me buy it - and is vaguely reminiscent of SPQR (ancient Rome), printed or screened directly on to the bottle, including copious amounts of gold leaf.
A: It looks like a stout porter, thus my marking down for colouring way outside the style. It's a beautiful beer: based on looks alone, a 5. One-finger head on a gentle pour recedes at a moderate rate to leave moderate lacing down the side of the glass. It's a dark, dark, dark (and darker) red bordering on the pitch black, with few to no highlights when held to a source of light. Holding it to a source of light is the only way I can tell that it's not pitch black, as glimmers of red appear and disappear just as quickly from certain angles, like phantoms.
S: Dark fruits, cherries, bready (earthy) Belgian yeast with its attendant funk, a dry character from the yeast and malts, and a damn big wallop of alcohol. (Maybe the breadiness comes from malt, and blends well with the yeast?) A little too much like a stout, and too alcoholic in the nose. Smells like beer-y booze, or boozy beer. It smells like a stout porter when cold, and begins to get a strongly Belgian nose as it warms.
T: The nose prepares you for it. Guess what? Dark fruits, cherries, bready/earthy Belgian yeast with its attendant funk, bready (and maybe a bit toasty) malt, and a slightly smaller, but still large, wallop of warming alcohol. It works quite a bit better on the palate than it does in the nostrils. Some spiciness. Sweet, not dry. Quite sweet indeed. Everything pulls together pretty well, but it's a bit too sweet and boozy: the alcohol kicks in mid-palate and rides all the way down. An absolute malt bomb, fermented by what is quite obviously an authentic yeast from Belgium. Like too many (if not all) of the American Trappist replicas, there's a cloying sweetness which becomes present with warmth.
M: Lively carbonation up front, moderate stickiness in the middle, smoothness in the back. A bit thin, but not bad. Above average.
D: On the high end of low, or the very low end of moderate. Too sweet.
O: As one word has echoed throughout this review, from the appearance to the mouthfeel - the word "moderate" - to this word does my overall rating of the beer return.
For an American imitation of a Belgian beer, it is very good - as I've come to expect from Ommegang, the Belgian-owned American brewers(?) of Duvel, the quintessential Belgian pale. I believe Ommegang is even owned by Duvel Moortgat, which explains why their imitations of Belgians tend to rise above the crowd, whereas other American imitations of Belgians fall flat (and hard) on their faces. The beer doesn't "come together" properly; each part seems that it would be excellent, but the sweetness, combined with the tartness of the cherry and fruits, and the breadiness and earthiness of the yeast and malts, are not held together by a common thread, leading to a pretty complex, and pretty disjointed, beer.
For the style, 75/100. For personal taste, 82/100. Overall, 79/100.
Serving type: bottle
03-23-2013 09:14:41 | More by Chrysostom
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Art Of Darkness from Brewery Ommegang
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