Art Of Darkness - Brewery Ommegang
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Ratings: 544 | Reviews: 121 | Display Reviews Only:
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
4.85/5 rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
A: A very dark brown beer with good clarity. The persistent, tan head is made of compact bubbles and leaves a fine lacing on the glass.
S: An initially wine/grape-like fruitiness that quickly gives way to rich fruity esters, notes of dried dark fruit, some spice and caramel with some cocoa in the background. Moderate malt sweetness and a low floral alcohol aroma.
T: Belgian yeast goodness dominate the flavor with fruit and spice r at a moderate being closely supported by dark malt flavors. There is a moderate sweetness that rounds out the flavor and helps give deep to the layers; it's not a dry beer but it's not cloying like some Dark Strongs can get. There is an almost juiciness to some of the dark fruit flavors ranging from plum to prune with some light orange character. The spice is black pepper and alcohol provide some of the balance against the malt sweetness along with a low hops bitterness but overall the it is a slightly sweet beer. It dries towards the end finish off-dry with an aftertaste of cocoa, pepper and a light hops bitterness.
M: A medium bodied beer with a very strong level of carbonation and a light alcohol warmth.
O: A love this beer, it's fruity, dark and spicy Belgium that goes down a little too smooth. I don't want it with dessert, I want it for dessert; that being said it would go great with a vanilla custard or berry tart.
Serving type: bottle
03-20-2013 00:51:56 | More by MadScientist
3.63/5 rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
On tap at Queen Vic in Houston.
A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black color. A two finger tan head forms and sticks around for a while. Plenty of lace is left behind.
S: Toasted malts up front. Some light chocolate. Then lots of fruity flavors going on. Cherries, stone fruits. Even a bit tart with some earthy yeast present.
T: Follows the nose with toasted and bready malts. Earthy yeast. Light coco powder. Then that fruity flavor again. Slight tart cherries and stone fruits. It just does not mesh right for me.
M/D: A medium body that is very effervescent. Almost to much carbonation. Very fizzy on the tongue. Not hard to drink. I finished the glass in not time. I am not sure how much I am coming back though.
I do enjoy this. Though the tart fruits just don't mesh well with the toasted and bready malts. I am not sure if that is what it is suppose to taste like, but there you have it. Still, I am glad I tried. Though not one of their better offerings IMO.
Serving type: on-tap
03-16-2013 00:33:32 | More by champ103
3.85/5 rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
Pours stoudt like, deep and dark . A never ending head sits on top. Well carb'd brew nowonder the head never fades.
The aroma is sweet, malty with some dark fruits too.
Taste is malty and sweet. There hints of fruits earth and spicy yeast.
Drinks thin and very dry and bitter. A solid alcohol presence almost dominates the beer.
Tastey and drinkable.
Serving type: bottle
03-09-2013 13:34:25 | More by micromaniac129
Art Of Darkness from Brewery Ommegang
89 out of 100 based on 544 ratings.