Augustijn Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
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Ratings: 465 | Reviews: 393 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by Revvy:
4.18/5 rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Appearance - They bill this as having a staying head, and indeed it does. Before even a third of the bottle was poured into my snifter, a massive head shot up (think Star San.) The first head took forever to dissipate, as did each successive head following a pour (it took three pours to empty the bottle. The head is thick and bright white, made up of small bubbles, reminiscent of the meringue layer on a lemon pie. As it receded, it left behind an impressive lacing from the lip of the glass to the 3 liter marking on the back of the snifter.
And eighth inch of surface foam remained throughout the entire drinking of the ale.
The beer itself is a creamy gold in color resembling dark, or amber honey.
Aroma - Cold the beer has very little aroma at all, just the barest hint of apple (which I am beginng to think is a signature aroma/flavor of the brouwerij Van Seenberge line of Belgian Beers. This aroma is very clean while cold, with no hint of the vinegar/cider aroma of the previous beer. This aroma is reminiscent to the smell that you get when you bite down on a fresh picked apple.
Upon warming slightly, the aroma begins to add more subtle layers, that of honey and apricot nectar....A slight note of peppery hops comes through as it warms, though barely detectable.
Mouthfeel - Although still highly carbonated the beer feels full bodied, Whether warm or cold the ale coated the entire mouth silkily. A slight alcohol bite to the tip of the tongue along with a slight bite to the back of the throat. At the same time it is very dry and effervescent. A nice combination or balance between the fizzy and the silky.
Taste - Very similar to a Belgian Triple but with more fizziness from the high level of carbonation. The taste is refreshing, hints of tart apple, honey, apricot, pepper, a hint of ginger bite, and coriander. But not sweet, very well balanced. There is clearly a bitterness from the hops that cut through what one might think with the hints of apple, apricot and honey, very skillfully.
There is a bit of back of the throat sourness, that I pick up whenever wheat is present in a beer (wheat beers literally make me gag) but the wheat presence is very minor in the beer (perhaps less than 5% of the grainbill perhaps?) and the overall complexness of the full flavors, and the balance between sweet and tart distract the palate from the sourness.
Overall - The only flaw I found was the issue with the head (see below). Other than that this was a delightful beer all around. The flavors were complex and well balanced between the sweet and the tart/sour. There was a delightful peppery-ness to it which may as well been a product of the effervescent carbonation, as it might have been from the yeast or the presence of actual spices.
This had all the elements of a Belgian Triple (so far my favorite Belgian style) that I like; the Appricot/ Honey, and the body, but without the heavy, "syrupiness" that I get (and like) in that style...The high carbonation (more like effervescence) balances it out deceptively making the 8 percent ABV seem almost session beer like, there is almost the temptation to quaff it, like a lawnmower beer, despite the warmth of the alcohol in my belly...This could be a dangerous combination, especially on a hot day.
On a side note, as I write this after drinking the beer, I am eating my favorite non-sweet snack, wasabi coated peas. They go intriguingly well with the lingering mouthfeel, and flavors of the ale. The marketing material recommends this beer with spicy food, and I can see why. I would like to try this alongside a spicy dish. They definitely compliment each other.
Grade A/A-. This may have garnered a straight "A" had there not been such difficulty with the head, and the need for the triple pour. It would be worth trying another bottle, perhaps trying to overcompensate for the head by pouring slower than normal.
I will be buying this one again...
Serving type: bottle
08-08-2008 01:39:46 | More by Revvy
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Augustijn Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 465 ratings.