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Balthazar - Picobrouwerij Alvinne

Not Rated.
BalthazarBalthazar

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

55 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 55
Reviews: 32
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 15.99%
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 55 | Reviews: 32 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -12.8%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.49/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.23/5  rDev -6.1%
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!

Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Kegatron
3.29/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of RblWthACoz
2.92/5  rDev -15.1%
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.)

Photo of jwc215
2.22/5  rDev -35.5%
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.

Photo of DrBier
3.75/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of corby112
4/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

Photo of wl0307
3.78/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

Photo of rhoadsrage
2.95/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

Photo of John_M
3.73/5  rDev +8.4%
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....

Photo of avalon07
4.17/5  rDev +21.2%
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.

Photo of stcules
3.77/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Photo of WOLFGANG
4/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of mrfrancis
3/5  rDev -12.8%

Photo of drpimento
3/5  rDev -12.8%
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.

Photo of jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -27.3%

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.9/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Photo of jaxon53
3/5  rDev -12.8%

Photo of hopdog
3.7/5  rDev +7.6%
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

Photo of Suds
3.75/5  rDev +9%
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.

Photo of Hojaminbag
2.88/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

Photo of dsa7783
3.12/5  rDev -9.3%
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...

Photo of JayQue
1.9/5  rDev -44.8%
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.

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Balthazar from Picobrouwerij Alvinne
79 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.