Balthazar - Picobrouwerij Alvinne

Not Rated.
BalthazarBalthazar

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BA SCORE
80
good

33 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 33
Hads: 59
rAvg: 3.49
pDev: 16.33%
Wants: 0
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Picobrouwerij Alvinne visit their website
Belgium

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: 59
Photo of JayQue
1.9/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Nasty stuff!!! Looked pretty inviting to start with. Poured a dense dark brown with a medium sized tan head. About average retention for a 9 % abv beer. No lacing.

Smell was an indicator of what was to come. It smelled like bitter cough medicine. Taste was the same, a somewhat malty beer mixed with nasty tasting cough medicine. The first few sips while cold were the worst. While not in the Budweiser Clamato class (what is?) it was still pretty close to a drain pour. I'm sure an impressive mix of spices were used. The combination of them, though turned out deadly for the tongue.

Leaving the lingering taste aside, the mouthfeel was fairly rich. As the beer warmed and numbed the tongue to the more unpleasant aspects, it became less objectionalble but still not pleasant.

Drinkability was bad. I'm sure the second one would go down easier than the first but why bother?

This is one to avoid. (901 characters)

Photo of jwc215
2.22/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

11.2 oz. bottle, poured into a tulip glass:

Pours very dark brown - almost black. A one finger bubbly tan head tops it off. Eventually, it becomes a thick, swirling patch. Some dotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of ginger, coriander, cardamom. Yep - all the spicing listed on label is there. Unfortunately, though, it is intermingled with Grandma's home medicine. Sour and medicinal. Not inviting, but I continued on, nevertheless...

The taste is herbal/medicinal. This is not good. My second of this brewery (Caspar being the other), and I'm coming to think that this brewery likes to make beer that tastes like medicine that one would not willingly drink. Is this a spicy alternative to cod liver oil? This is damned near awful, well, not good. Licorice and rooty notes intermingle with gingerbread and pumpkin pie. Sour notes balance out spiciness, with candy sweetness in the mix (making it approaching somewhat tolerable). Finishes dry(ish).

Light-bodied and rather watery, though the flavors don't linger (a good thing, here). Mild to moderate carbonation. Feel isn't bad, though it misses the mark on the style. Almost helps drinkability, somewhat.

I hope this stuff is good for you, because that would be it's only real asset. I can enjoy an "experimental" brew (which, I'm thinking that this is trying to be???), but only if it works - this doesn't. Somehow, I managed to finish it (and without holding my nose and gulping it), but I'm thinking I should get a reward for doing so. I think I liked it less than the scores show. And, this from Belgium - a shame. And pricey, too - almost five bucks for this 11.2 oz. bottle. Not worth it. (1,650 characters)

Photo of adamette
2.78/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle purchased at Winking Lizard in Mentor, Ohio last night for $7.00. This is one of their "World Tour of Beers 2009" selections. Served with an empty tulip glass. I really like that I was able to pour it!

A Dark brown body with ruby edges in front of direct light. The head is interesting in that it "snuck up" on my, not appearing at first pour but then rigorously gaining depth and breadth within about 15 seconds. It lingered for only a minute and a half or so, leaving only a trace ring around the top of the beer.

S Sweet malt with some spices, not a strong smell. I could certainly smell the alcohol.

T Sweet malt taste that explodes with other flavors of chocolate, spices. My bottle was served too cold for this style, though which gave this beer a sharpness that it likely should not have had. This is a beer that has so much complexity that it needs to be served closer to room temp. to really enjoy it. I let it sit for 15 minutes in front of me, waitress asking twice if I "Needed anything" while that was happening. The problem is the sharpness really did not dissipate that much with warmer temps. That was dissapointing.

M Full with big tastes, high ABV and that "sharp" taste that could be attributable to how cold it was served but it did not change enough after warming a bit.

D Not that great with high ABV, reasonably rare to find and that sharp taste that did not really improve with higher serving temps.

Notes: I think that there were too many grain and spice tastes in it which drove up the "sharpness" of it. I like my Belgian Strong Dark Ales to be more rounded and sweeter malt like a Gulden Draak. I have to say too that I was very dissapointed in this beer. A Belgian microbrew of one of my favorite styles, with the promise of some interesting spices and grains? I was llke, "sign me up!" Now I am like "only for completists." (1,866 characters)

Photo of Hojaminbag
2.88/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A dark mahongany body with a good off-white head. Nice retention, doesn't leave any lacing.

Smells spicy with a malt backbone.

Taste is sour. Overwhelmingly. Next you notice a mixture of spices. A slight malt backbone is noticeable, but this beer is dominated by sour flavors and then an odd spice mix.

Mouthfeel is pretty average, drinkability is kind of low because the unbalanced flavors. I wished I had ordered something else after trying this. (451 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
2.92/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Seeing the bottle produces a negative reaction as I used to work at the restaurant by the same name. Ack! Ack! Tourists! Away! Away!

Pours a dark brown with absolutely no head at all. What the hell? How can a Belgian brew have no head? Flavor is...yeeeeooow! What the hell is this? Tastes like apple cider with spices. This is just weird. Really. It's unlike any other of the style I have had (or would want to again). Feel has no carbonation and the liquid is about standard. What the hell is this mess people? Really. I have no idea what they were trying to go for here and wish this whole experience never would have happened. Seriously. What the hell is going on? This makes two things associated with the word Balthazar that I don't want to remember anymore. Wretched.

(Upon further thought, I have to guess that the bottles that made it over to the U.S. somehow got messed up and didn't come out as expected.) (917 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
2.95/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

(Served in a chalice)
A- This came out as a gusher. Deep walnut brown dense body supported a huge deep tan head that was bubbly with lots of light brown flecks in it that soon faded to a film. There was a sea or racing carbonation.
S- The rich brown sugar aroma has a dry spicy aroma to follow with a strong ginger aroma that finished with a mustiness of cardamom.
T- The musty spices had a light sweetness to them with a cardamom and fruity note and a soft brown sugar cidery finish. There was a bitterness, not from hops, that grew in the finish with each sip.
M- This beer had a medium mouthfeel feel and no alcohol heat but a fizzy finish.
D- This beer was hard to get through. The spices dominated and just didn't work together at all. It was a bit like drinking a ricola cough drop with a cardboard quality. (818 characters)

Photo of Sallerj
2.95/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This smells like a cross between root beer and jaegermeister... seriously. It kind of tastes similar. There aren't many recognizeable beer tastes here. It's slightly tart with dark molasses-like malt flavors, a lot of sweetness, and a complex blend of herbal flavors. If anybody has had the Italian liqueur Fernet Bancha, this is like the undistilled version of it. I didn't get through the whole 11.2 oz. (405 characters)

Photo of drpimento
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured with a smallish tan head that quickly subsided and no lace. Color is a cloudy amber, red, brown with sediment. Aroma is caramel, resin, eastern spices, citrus, soy sauce. Flavor is like aroma, a little tangy and salty. Body is ok and so is carbonation. Finish is on the bitter side. Nothing special. (306 characters)

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... (925 characters)

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. (560 characters)

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. (771 characters)

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! (557 characters)

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. (1,090 characters)

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. (1,762 characters)

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. (380 characters)

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. (1,174 characters)

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. (494 characters)

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 (380 characters)

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, (532 characters)

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. (1,372 characters)

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.... (800 characters)

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. (652 characters)

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. (677 characters)

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. (631 characters)

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. (2,105 characters)

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