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Balthazar - Picobrouwerij Alvinne

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

33 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 33
Hads: 61
Avg: 3.49
pDev: 21.2%
Wants: 0
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Picobrouwerij Alvinne visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: stcules on 03-01-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 33 | Hads: 61
Photo of vandemonian
4.38/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Balthazar has a dark amber colour and a perfect slightly yellow head. There was really a lot of sediment in my glass, but I don't mind that. This beer is extremely carbonated, so watch out for the spray when you open it. The smell is very nice and malty, with some alcohol and raisins. The taste is sweet and malty with some alcohol and fruitiness. There is some noticeable clove flavour and not really any bitterness. Lovely. Really nice strong beer.

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Photo of Travlr
4.3/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured by Glenn at the brewery.
A: Almost completely black with a small white head that settles quickly to just rim bubbles and some lacing.
S: Aroma of dark fruits, dates and coriander, background hints of vanilla.
T: Flavor starts with milk chocolate and progresses to roasted coffee, with a bit of caramel.
M: Decent body, a bit light for the style.
D: Nice enough, closer to stout than a dark ale, but tasty.

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Photo of nrpellegrini
4.27/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Max's Belgian Beer Festival.

Poured a dark burgundy color with a small tan head that fades. Smells very sweet not much dark ale, more like a sweet pale ale. Taste is a whole different story, just sweet malt, great alcohol taste. Smoooth, a sweet red wine. I want more.

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Photo of EnJeiBee
4.19/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - As everyone else noted, this one was a gusher. I probably lost 50% of the beer down the drain due to over-carbonation. Once I managed to get some into a glass I noted a hazy sediment filled deep red-brown hue and a tan head with good retention and lacing.

S - Dark malt character and a raisin aroma dominate a slightly spicy nose that I couldn't distinguish (even with the spices written right on the bottle).

T - Very interesting and complex flavor profile. The dark malt backbone and raisin flavors were complimented quite well by a spiciness from what I would assume was the ginger and a warmth from the alcohol.

M - It was medium-bodied, but severely over-carbonated

O - Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this. I didn't really know what to expect from it, but it was pretty enjoyable. The complexity in the nose/ flavor was fabulous.

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Photo of avalon07
4.17/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a goblet. Had a dark brown color and a murky consistency. There was a big, creamy, tan-colored, lasting head. Average lacing.

S: Had a very spicy, sweet aroma, with traces of fruit and malt.

T: Tasted of malt, some fruit, brown sugar, cardamom, and coriander. Not your classic Belgian strong dark ale flavor, but still very complex and spicy.

M: Lots and lots of carbonation with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Because this beer deviates from the style a bit, I know it won't necessarily appeal to everyone, but I still think it's drinkable.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours deep brilliant chestnut with a persistent, clingy 1” fluffy cream colored foam collar
S: Brown sugar, sweet dark bread, banana.
T: Dark dried fruit, rich dark bread, hints of lemon curd, banana, prune.
F: Very creamy, medium body, above average carbonation.
O: I have had three of these – one was an undrinkable foamer, one had yeast particles floating throughout and unsavory phenolic tastes, and the third was drinkable.

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Photo of corby112
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark chestnut brown color with mahogany edges when held to a light source and a one finger tan head that quickly fades into a lasting ring. Not much in the way of lacing.

Chocolate malt aroma with hints of dark fruit, candi sugar, citrus peel and ginger.

Spicy ginger flavor up front followed by a silky chocolate maltiness with hints of plum, raisin and fig as well as a slightly sour citrus peel presence. The finish is dry and slightly tart. This is another complex and unique offering from Alvinne.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Among the many, many reasons to travel to Ebenezer's is the huge selection of beers Chris offers. On a recent visit, this was one of the on-tap selections. Quite different from what I expected. Srved in a tulip glass, the beer was a dark brown color with a thick tan head that left ample lacing. It had a sweet, spicy (mostly ginger) aroma, and was also a bit on the earthy side. Spicy ginger taste, sour (where did that come from?), and a little bit of orange. Full-bodied, enjoyable, but I don't think I'd want a lot of these.

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Photo of wl0307
3.78/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Coming in a short brown 330ml brown, bottle-conditioned; BB 09/1?, served lightly chilled in Westmalle's broad-rimmed chalice. NOTE: the ingredients are really intriguing, including pilsmalts, 4 other special malts, challenger and goldings hops, dark candy-sugar, cardamom, coriander (I suppose -seeds) and ginger... sounds like a wintery spiced ale then.

A: gosh, the yeasts are still in their youth and pumps up a huge, thick and semi-frothy dark beige head that lasts only too well and leaves tight lacing along the way, while the carbonation, as expected, comes lively as detected in the dark brown body.
S: due to the hindrance of the thick froth, only the most sweet and estery elements pierce through - sour-sweet ginger with much lighter notes of coriander seeds, along with prevalent sour black prunes. As to cardamom, well, I can't sense much of that. In place of it comes thick black sugar, licorice candy, a touch of dried mint, coke and dried Chinese hawthorn-fruits. The spicy and estery elements surely overwhelm the nose, making the real beer base rather subdued and difficult to analyse (apart from chocolaty malts). Just O.K.
T: the taste is quite pungently sour (very prune-ish, in fact) upfront with a slightly metallic/rusty edge of yeasts, then leading towards a rich mid-taste of dark malts, tea-flavoured brown prunes mixed well with ginger candy, and bits and pieces of mixed bag of spice in between. Hops are apparently here to serve as an easily-overlooked balancer with both malts and candy sugar, as neither bitterness and aroma are pronounced enough to render any difference on the whole. The finish is pretty pleasant, with bits of black prune's aroma to linger with aromatic ginger, coke, and candy-sugar.
M&D: the carbonation is very soft, soothing, without much alcoholic feel apparent on the palate, while the whole body is only a bit more than medium, making it quite easy to drink and enjoy. If anything, I'd say the balance of flavour is not retained very well, spices are somewhat intrusive at times and malts can't provide a really robust backbone. Still, not bad.

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Photo of stcules
3.77/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark appearance, and still, a lot of thin floating bodies. Decent beige head, lacey. Not very longstanding.
The smell is spicy, and balsamic, with a backbone of lightly toasted malt. Pleasant. The alcohol is totally hidden. Notes of ginger, and liquorice.
Good taste. Here again, no alcohol spikes. Full, round. Malty, but not heavy. Liquorice, toasted malt, all quite light. Again notes of mint/balsamic.
Very interesting. Again spices, and then herbal notes from the hop, with the liquorice, showing a quite bitter result.
Average to light body, good drinkability.
Good bitterness and liquorice in the aftertaste.
Very good.

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Photo of Suds
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Somewhat overcarbonated, I lost a fair amount of beer in an explosion of foam immediately on lifting the crown. The beer pours a deep, blackish-brown color with a fine tan head. If held to the light, there's considerable haze and sediment in the liquid. Pretty nice aroma...lots of chocolate malt, moderate-heavy roasted malts, and yeast. The beer has wood and fig-like smells as well. Not bad. The taste is sweet, and very nicely balanced with a firm bitterness. There's also a graininess and somewhat distracting chalkiness, but not enough to worry about. Great balance. The beer does have a hint of sourness that comes out just before the finish. All in all, not a bad brew.

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Photo of John_M
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a dark amber color with very good head retention and lots of sticky lacing all around. The nose is also fairly attractive, consisting of rootbeer, and milk duds. Sort of odd combination, but it's not bad. The flavors replicate the nose, except there's something of a burnt toast flavor as well. In combination with the rootbeer and milk duds, it's not the best combination in this moderately sweet beer. Also, there's something of an alcoholic bite in the finish that isn't working for me either. Mouthfeel otherwise isn't bad; the beer is medium bodied with a soft, long finish. Drinkability is OK, though the alcohol is bit more noticeable then I'd like.

This is a decent beer, though I can't say I'm in love with it. Too many other great beers out there....

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Photo of sketchpunx
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark coppery brown with a huge bone white head that stays and stays. I have to ease back on the pour, and even then i can only fit 2/3 in my 0,3L flute. The smell is nice and spicy, as advertised. This beer has a very interesting flavor. Big ginger up front, and some alcohol in the middle and corriander at the finish. a little bit astringent, but in a nice warming way. This beer is well carbonated and maybe a little thin, but i don't really mind that because of the interesting spicy flavors here. I can't recall a beer that I have tried to compare this to. I wouldn't drink this every day, but very good overall and worth a try. Different.

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Photo of Samp01
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

11.2oz flip top bottle. Pours a rusty cloudy brown with a slowly fading tan head. Aroma of dark caramel malt, yeast, some dark fruity esters. Taste is sweet caramel malt, Belgium yeast, with some zesty ginger notes and coriander as well. A full body with mild carbonation and sweet malt very yeasty on the palate. Finishes with a combination of dark caramel malt, has a slightly almost red wine nuance with some zesty ginger and coriander flavors and some mild alcohol esters. Overall an good and interesting twist on a Belgian ale,

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Photo of Naugros
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wasn't a huge fan of Melchior, finding it too sweet, so we'll see how this magi does.

Off the bat you can tell this is well conditioned due to the fact that I barely got the mouth of the bottle to the glass in time to avoid a spill. A huge, tan head immediately rose on top of the dark brown body which cast a ruby hue.

The smell screams raisins! The coriander and cardamom fight to supply an astringency that promises to balance out the sweetness. A little musty but I'm can pick out any bite form the ginger. Hopefully it's there in the flavor.

The taste follows the smell very closely and the promise of the spices counterbalancing the sweetness was kept. It's still a little sweet, but not nearly as bad as it could be (like Melchior). The only issue I have with this beer is that there is a metallic tang to it, like licking a penny. It lingers into the aftertaste which is a bloody shame. The ginger does show up but without any bite. There's a sour element that increases as it warms. Very complex in flavor, so much so that I taste something different with each sip.

A little high on carbonation, but that makes the beer surprisingly refreshing. But more bite from the ginger would have made this taste like a ginger ale. Otherwise the body has some creaminess to it which is quite enjoyable.

Well now, I'm going to have to find Gaspar to break the tie.

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Photo of hopdog
3.7/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle.

Poured a deep and cloudy reddish / brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of herbalness, lots of different spices, ginter and fresh mint leaves. Tastes of tart cherries, dark fruits, herbal, and spices. The light to medium tart and sour finish took me by surprise - a nice surprise as I liked it. Alcohol content well hidden.

Notes from 5/5/08

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Photo of paterlodie
3.67/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Botteled apr. 2005, BB 2 years after filldate. Nice presentation with lasting yellow head and a black beercollor. Nose is lots of kruidnagel that gives a blackcurrant arome to the brew, dark candy, good carramellic maltyness and a overal fresh but spicy carracter. Taste is also lots of kruidnagel, sweetish and full maltbodied, moderate bittered and quiet good overall taste. Full and complex mouthfeel with fitting carbonisation. Easy drinkable and certainly something else, well worth a try.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle imported by B. United. No freshness date, but the cap has lot: 338.

This was the biggest gusher I have ever opened, even though I handled the 330 ml short bottle with care. I had to pour it into several glasses, and still 1/3 was lost. After the profuse suds died down, what was left of it showed a creamy tan head over a dark caramel brew. Leaves some lacing; lots of sedimentary particles evident in the head.

Aromas of caramelized malt, ginger, candi sugar, alcohol.

Tastes malty, with coffee and toffee flavors, and the ginger and coriander spices come through. It has a bit of a metallic cola taste as well from the spices. Actually, I find the flavors enjoyable. Finishes dry and peppery, with a raisin spice cake lingering taste.

Body is light. Carbonation is still good despite the gushing.

The alcohol is noticeable. Overall, the beer could be better integrated. It reveals to me what the backbone of a Belgian strong ale might be, but it doesn't actually have much meat on the bones.

If you have one of these, you might have better success if you refrigerate it very cold, then pour it into a glass. Let it warm up, then drink away.

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Photo of goldbot
3.51/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Lot 338.

Exploder! Lost about 2/3 of this beer down the drain as foam. Whats left is a cloudy medium brown color with floaties. Plenty of head (obviously) which dissipates quickly. Aroma is tons of malt and dark fruit. The flavor is again very fruity with bready malt and caramel notes. A bit of roast malt. No hint of spices anywhere. Full bodied with plenty of silky crispness.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.49/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Turbid dark chocolate with all sorts of floating (and sinking) bits are that easy to miss due to the beer's opacity. The fawn colored crown is massive and actually started oozing out of the bottle neck and onto the desktop before it could be corraled into the glass. The airy foam is smooth, unsticky, persistent and leaves a few sudsy streamers of lace.

If there's anyone out there who has never smelled cardamom, Balthazar is bursting with it. So much so that ginger and coriander are hard to appreciate. It's difficult to tell until the taste buds get into the act, but beneath the wall-to-wall spiciness just might lurk a pretty fair BSDA.

This Picobrouwerij Alvinne ale is only likely to find favor with those who love both Belgian beer and spiced beer. And I do mean spiced! It's obvious that the brewers went for the full monty in that department. Even though it's tasty, a single bottle in one sitting will be more than enough.

Thankfully, the dark fruitiness of the other ingredients stands up pretty well and avoids being overwhelmed by cardamom. Ginger is buried in there somewhere and coriander is still difficult to locate. Other flavors include dark caramel, dates, raisin paste, molasses and pipe tobacco. Alcohol is nicely buried.

Overcarbonation to such a degree that a beer explosion occurs on cap cracking is not a good thing. In this case, by the time I got the desk cleaned off and the remaining beer into the glass, it was essentially flat. Not completely, but close enough.

Now that I've had Gaspar and Balthazar, the only wise man left is Melchior. This spiced Belgian ale will probably never have a wide and adoring fanbase. Having said that, it's unquestionably unique and is worth a look... as long as you know what you're in for.

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Photo of crossovert
3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is the second offering I'm trying form this brewery. Like the Gaspar, this one has rather crappy label art, like it matters.

Pours into y duvel tulip glass dark brown with an abundance of floaties and a light caramel colored head that rises to the brim. It seems pretty carbonated and dissipates quickly leaving spotty, watery looking lacing.

The smell is quite pungeant and spicy. Tons of corriander, along with pinches of caramom and ginger. Also some yeast and cirtus prickle the nose.

Tastes much more porter-like than your normal strong dark ale. The chocolate malt is roasty, strong, and very rigid and it blends with some very pronounced sourness. Not unlike the Old English porter from New Glarus only it is less offensive. The spices are in the taste as well, and the ginger blends with the alcohol, prickling the mouth with each sip. There is some fruitiness in there too..

The carbonation seems to be good, but it comes of slightly watery, it is good but not great.

Overall a decent beer that ambiguously fits in the BSDA category, it isn't like most, but it is decent.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.23/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark brown body with a full, frothy, beige-colored head.

Smell: The nose is a disorderly heap of odd notes: smoked berries, herbs, menthol, shaved ginger, and spice. Heavens!

Taste: Sourish malt flavor initially. Then, you get some berries, spice, and a mild ginger taste. Gnarled wood bark bitterness. Slight acidity. Some mentholyptus. It gets a bit twangy midway. Spicy, lightly btiter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonaton.

Drinkability: For me, it was a mess as it never really came together for me. Ah well!

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Photo of brc
3.22/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from 33cl bottle into tulip. Best Jan 2012 on cap.

Pours a gigantic tan head that recedes slowly leaving lacing. Mix medium/small bubbles. Dark brown and opaque liquid.

Complex nose: caramel, cardamom, coriander, earth, oak.

The spices are really overwhelming in the taste. First you are hit with coriander and green tea. After the initial spices you get a strong taste of molasses and alcohol, really strong. Almost medicinal. The finish is more sweet, but the molasses and alcohol linger.

Full mouthfeel, but you only really notice the crazy spices in the taste.

It would be tough to drink more than one of these due to the strong and unusual flavors. In fact this is a good bottle to share; interesting, but I wouldn't want more than a little snifter full.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.13/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A brown beer with a receeding head.

Smell is very spicy, hints of ginger, cardemom and melon. A bit tart and a little yeasty.

Taste is a strange taste, at first it appears tart, but then again it might be the spices that send the shivers down my spine. The cardemom and ginger are a solid combination, both spicy and to a certain point complementing each other, but this is just way beyond the point of subtle.
The malt is limited to light caramalts backed up by candisugar. No sweetness or syrupy taste. Mouthfeel is quite thin. Dry with spices. That's it.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.12/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Short, fat, stout, 11.2 oz bottle purchased from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield for $4.99...
"Driekonigen Ale Brewed With Spices (Ginger, Coriander, and Cardamom) on the front, orange logo sticker...
Non-impressive appearance was the result of a hefty pour... deep, dark, mahogany-brown, very hazy and murky witha absolutely no head-at all, and hardly any carbonation... Bland, spice-dominated aroma... noticing some currants and coriander in the nose...
Very sour, slightly bitter flavor with obvious spice essences noticeable... Certainly not a very appealing or attractive taste... more sour than anything, and not particularly strong or appealing...
Bland, watered-down mouthfeel with a poor level of drinkability due to the cloying and slightly overbearing flavors... Although the alcohol isn't so noticeable, the slightly sour, bitter, and astringent flavors are...
Wouldn't particularly recommend this one...

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Balthazar from Picobrouwerij Alvinne
80 out of 100 based on 33 ratings.