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Melchior - Picobrouwerij Alvinne

Not Rated.
MelchiorMelchior

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

59 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 59
Hads: 102
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.37%
Wants: 4
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Picobrouwerij Alvinne visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: paterlodie on 12-03-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 59 | Hads: 102
Photo of josanguapo
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From zombier. In Duvel glass. After dinner. Its high ABV isnt appreciable at all. The beer is very turbid, with lots of particles floating and little foam. Smells and tastes nicely sweet. A good and repeatable offering (218 characters)

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours a fairly clear peachy amber crowned with a billowy, lacy, 3” white foam collar.
S: Spicy, citrus nose.
T: It starts with large pitted fruit and finishes with a touch of mustard heat. There is some citrus in there too with a touch of salt or mineral.
F: Medium high carbonation, medium to medium light body.
O: An unusual and interesting beer. (358 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.99/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: 11.2 fl oz. Brown glass. Cute "snub" design. 2015 vintage. Yellow-orange label with an intricate design. Purchased at an Austin, TX bottle shop.

11% ABV. 24 p O.G. 30 EBC color. 60 IBUs.

Reviewed live as a Belgian winter ale per Melchior's website, though Alvinne's distributor (B.United International) calls this "Davy Spiessens Belgian interpretation of the Barley Wine style."

Served cold into a goblet. Expectations are above average given the brewery.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

*WARNING*: This gushes horribly upon opening. I lost easily 10% to the surface of my desk. Overcarbonation is anticipated. Perhaps the mustard seeds were more volatile than Davy realized?

HEAD: ~3 inches, with spots of brown yeast particulate riding atop the white head. Uneven thickness and a poor uneven consistency. Leaves no lacing as it recedes, but the retention is nice - ~4-5 minutes.

BODY: Murky orange-auburn with ample yeasty dregs visibly floating within. Translucent but nontransparent.

Appears severely overcarbonated.

Overall, it's a nice looking Belgian winter ale, but I can't say there're any stand-out characteristics on display. Looks lively and vigorous.

AROMA: On the sweeter side, with heavy fruit tones. Belgian candi sugar bolsters the malty sweetness comprised itself of amber malts, Munich malts, Belgian brown malts (which lend it a faint breadiness), and Belgian pale malts. Fruity notes of apricot, orchard pear, and faint peach. Has some honeyed characteristics, which is a refreshing change from the usual caramel-heavy Belgians. Biscuity, estery, and lightly spicy ale yeast is prominent, guiding the beer. Clove and allspice make appearances. Apricot marmalade dominates here.

I struggle to find the heat or spice of mustard/mustard seed, but cannot.

There may be an acetaldehyde off-note, as evidenced by hints of green apple.

It's a complex aroma, sure, but doesn't deliver on the promise of mustard seed, and it isn't much of a winter ale; the spices, fruit notes, and esters are emphasized over the malts.

Aromatic intensity is moderate.

TASTE: Fruit is prominent, with apricot, peach, green apple, and pear coming through pretty vividly. It's also quite sweet, with notes of honey malt, Belgian candi sugar, pale malts, Belgian brown malts, amber malts, and fruity marmalade. The malt backbone has a young rawness to it, running contrary to what you'd expect in a winter ale; don't look for rich notes of caramel, (deep) brown malt, or heavy bready tones here.

Mustard seed? I don't find it - or at least it's not distinct from the general spice profile showcased here. I do get clove, allspice, and maybe some nutmeg in the midst of the biscuity yeast, but little else.

Is it balanced? Not really; there's no bitterness to counter the heavy malty sweetness, and the raw feel of the beer just doesn't match the intended style whatsoever - either in terms of balance or accuracy. It's complex, sure, but in the absence of careful balance that intricacy is presented as a hodgepodge-y mess of flavours. Not a gestalt brew, nor a particularly cohesive one.

TEXTURE: Prickly overcarbonation mutes the booze and simultaneously prevents it from being refreshing. It's in the middle of the coarse/smooth spectrum, and errs on the wetter side until the finish - where it dries, emphasizing the green apple. Medium-bodied, with fair weight and heft on the palate.

This mouthfeel fails to elevate this beer, but it matches the style in general. Not as accentuating as would be ideal.

OVERALL: This didn't quite scratch my Belgian ale itch, nor did it incorporate the mustard seed in any meaningful way. Off-notes of acetaldehyde are indicated. It's a poor Belgian winter ale, and drinks like more of a boozy Belgian pale. I'm not sure what Alvinne was after here, but the result is a bit of an alcoholic mess and doesn't cater to the tastes of the discerning drinker. Even at local Belgian prices, I couldn't justify a second purchase. Even drinkability is limited by the overt alcohol presence.

High C (2.99) (4,064 characters)

Photo of dcmchew
3.49/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Like many other Alvinne beers, this was a really aggressive gusher, so pop the cap carefully. Therefore, huge fluffy, frothy white head. Dark amber, hazy.
Smells sweet, but fruity, with peach, honey-glazed apricot, pear compote, maybe just a bit sugary. Lots of spicy yeasts, with a lot of pepper, some nutmeg, some marzipan. A tart note too.
A nice mix of sweet and sour fruit up front, but mostly just sweet later on, when the sugared bready malts show up. There rich juicy peach and apricot, orchard fruit syrup, even some tropical hints, like overripe, mushy mango, in contrast with some mild cider apples, lemon and orange peel, faint berries. Lots of spices afterwards, with clove, pepper, allspice, hint of almond, faint lemongrass, but there's also a funky yeast, not exactly Brett, but still "green", a feeling that's enhanced by some nice bitter hop.
Not sure what the mustard seeds did here, probably just enhanced the spicy feel. Aftertaste is filled to the brim with yeasts, too much. No fruitiness, just some bitter hop. Medium body, kinda fizzy.
An aggressively unbalanced beer, but it does have some pretty nice moments. Gah, a pity. (1,149 characters)

Photo of safaricook
3.33/5  rDev -7.2%

I drank this at Borefts 2014. I remember that this was quite sharp in the beginning with fruits and peppery hops in the aroma. Taste was sweet from the alcohol with ammonia presence like in a Westmalle and a firm hop bitterness. As this warmed up it got even sweeter and was less sharp regarding bitterness and ammonia, but still not a favorite. One of the bigger disappointments that glorious night. (400 characters)

Photo of brianmandell
3/5  rDev -16.4%

Cap has BB date Jun 2015; Hazy amber pour with thick white head. Candi sugar dominates the other aromas of spice, white grape, honeysuckle and ethanol. Flavor leads with sweet malts and candi sugar, booze, fruity esters, spice including hints of mustard seed ending in a cloying sweetness and bitterness that is very off-putting. The carbonation all seems to have gone to forming the head which makes this medium bodied beer actually feel a little thin. Overall, not my cup of tea. (481 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.72/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a moderate to high amount of visible carbonation. A careful pour resulted in a three finger high off white head that took a long time to die down, eventually settling into a half finger high dense head. Lots of sediments poured out from the bottom of the bottle and colored the head tan.
S: Moderate aromas of Belgian yeast and candi sugars are present in the nose along with some hints of spices.
T: The taste initially starts off with a little sweetness but as the sediment is poured out of the bottle subtle flavors of mustard seeds become stronger and help to balance off the candi sugar. Notes of other spices and yeast are also noticeable.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The addition of mustard seeds makes this a unique Belgian Strong Pale Ale and are well incorporated into the beer without overpowering any of the other flavors. This beer is dangerously drinkable for 11% abv and I can't perceive any alcohol in the taste, although you can definitely tell it is strong with the underlying notes of candi sugars. (1,134 characters)

Photo of magictacosinus
4.08/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Trappist Provisions into a 6oz wine glass. Beer brewed with mustard seed?? Sounds awesome!

Pours a brownish amber color with a decent amount of head and lots of carbonation lodged at the bottom of the glass. Definitely contains a hazed, near cloudy coloring, even on tap, and an enormous viscosity that is expected at 11% ABV. Lacing holds together really well, although the alcohol legs do seem to drag it down substantially, especially as it warms up. Definitely thickened in appearance, which makes this far more hearty and inviting overall.

The aroma is filled with sweetened caramel maltiness and a spiced backdrop that I have trouble putting my finger on right away. Is it the peppery notes arising from the mustard seeds, or perhaps a byproduct of that ingredient that remains still slightly astringent and zesty? Nevertheless, it's still fainter than expected, but still really interesting. There's a sour, sort of farmhouse-like finish in the aroma, especially as it warms up, but the malts and fruity, red fruit focused yeast seem to be the focus here. Hops are virtually nowhere to be readily found, but the spices make up for it right away. As it warms up, the yeast really opens up, often resembling tamarind and apple peel, albeit still quite subtle. Really soothing overall, despite any malts overpowering here.

The flavor is a little bit of a different story, however, as the mustard and spices become a little bit more predominant. At first, the palate finds itself awash with caramel malty characteristics with light graininess and yeasty esters. Eventually, however, the aftertaste becomes chock-filled with the spices, to the point where this starts to resemble hearty rye bread coated with Dijon mustard and perhaps a bit of cheese, or (as my friend pointed out) chicken like features. It's definitely different, but very flavorful overall. The alcohol is incredibly masked here, and the dry finish makes you linger to try another sip to get the initial sweet breadiness, creating a vicious yet addicting cycle that makes this a rather dangerous concoction. Very different, and surprisingly soothing due to the large alcohol backbone.

I really enjoyed this beer more than I expected, especially with the fact that the initial flavor and finish are very different from each other. As indicated earlier, this is like eating mustard-filled sandwich without all the extra condiments! As an experiment, this turned out just find, and is well balanced despite what it has going for it. Would work well on a summer or winter day for sure. Great stuff. (2,586 characters)

Photo of tylerzander
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours slightly hazy (maybe owing to a poor pour, though some sedimented yeast chunked out mid-pour), on the straw side of golden with a one finger white head that is as dense as it is long-lasting, which is to say, quite

S - classic Belgian golden strong aromas of pineapple, banana (more runts than the actual fruit, without coming across as chemical), green apple/cider, a light hoppy spiciness from EKG hops and maybe from the yeast as well

T - anticipiated some off the wall mustard spicing but without seeing that ingredient on the label, I would never guess that as an ingredient, though I suspect it's the a contributing cause (along with the hops, naturally) to the lingering herbal/spicy kind of aftertaste and bitterness; ethanol comes across as a contributor to sweetness more than bringing any kind of heat, though there is a slight warming effect

M - dry and not overly carbonated, suiting this beer well and allowing the simple combination of Pilsener and Munich malts take a supporting role to the ester and hop/spice-forward profile of the beer

D - maybe the most distinguishing and interesting feature of this beer, the lingering herbal and spicy bitterness, doesn't do much to aid the drinkability of it; I think this a one and done beer, though it is a fun short-lived ride (1,300 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2005)

Thanks for opening this with me, JealousChalice!

(Aged for 7 years)

Dark orange and light brown with a small light brown head that quickly fades away to a thin ring atop the beer. This leaves dots of lace down the glass.

A sweet, though complete, aroma of caramel, bread crusts, brown sugar, and mild citrus. Very nice.

The flavor too is quite nice, with a delicious, complex, bready sweetness leading the way, accompanied with very mild citrus, caramel, and toffee.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

This has held up exceptionally well over the years. (575 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.79/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JealousChalice for sharing this at DarthKostrizer's tasting.

2005 vintage.

Pours a slightly murky honey orange with a beige head that fades to nothing. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, brown sugar, and alcohol. Taste is the same with some honey and Golden Grahams flavors. This beer is flat with no carbonation but does have a medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but the mouthfeel is quite lacking. (501 characters)

Photo of Naugros
3.47/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This more like a Belgian amber than a pale, but there's no such style so I guess that's as close as it gets. It poured with quite a bit of fizz, as if I were pouring a soda. And the aroma that arose was like apples, pears and pineapples had been juiced and mixed with soda water. Not bad, but not what I was expecting at all. Definitely some classic Belgian yeast esters. Not getting any mustard out of it, though. The beer settles down with a thin ring and a murky, murky body...like water from the bottom of a cedar swamp.

I was not prepared for how sweet this is...cloyingly so. It's got nice flavor, but I fear I'm getting diabetes drinking this. It tastes a lot like unfiltered apple cider that has been fermented with some hops. Still no hint of mustard seed that I can discern, but how could I through all this fruity sweetness? What I do taste, I don't mind, but I'd want this to be a bit drier, especially in the finish where I expected some balancing bitterness because it said so on the bottle.

Nothing I'd get again and we'll see if it's sister beer, Balthazar, is any better tomorrow night. (1,107 characters)

Photo of bminor7
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz from beers of the world?

no head upon pouring. light amber color, more of a golden tinge. some suspended material from the bottom of the bottle. viscosity is high. the nose is of honey, banana bread. Flavor follows with some candi sugar, some bitterness in the aftertaste, an almost vegetal flavor. agree with previous reviewers on the honey mustard notes. sweet, almost too much. this one is a bit heavy and not too complex. (432 characters)

Photo of J23hc
3.62/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter, orange glowy body with lots of yeast and sediment and offwhite head. Lots of sweet malts on the nose, honey mustard, some citrus. Taste of orange marmelade, and a smooth drippy feel. Finish is almost yolky down the throat. Complex but seems sloppy (268 characters)

Photo of tsauce2
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: 11.2 fl oz bottle in to a DFH tulip

A: SRM is deep mustard yellow. Noticable sediment. Head is off white, 1 in, dissipates to outsides of the beer. Medium carbonation. Medium lacing.

S: Semi sweet. Light floral/fruit notes and mustard seed. Some light malt.

T: Initially sweet, but then mustard seed and maltiness hits. Hops are noticable. Very interesting. Aftertaste is sweet with a malty back, a touch of alcohol.

M: Medium/full body. Interesting feel. Semi viscous. Malt, mustard seed, and hops all contribute different aspects to the mf, but all meld harmoniously. Finishes wet initially, but dries out in a few seconds.

O: Pretty good stuff. Definitely one to try. The more Belgian beers I try, the more I like. This beer is very innovative and has a nice depth of flavor. Will buy this again. (807 characters)

Photo of Ralphs66
2.48/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I did not enjoy this one at all. Mouthfeel superseded everything else; being clingy and coating. Kind of gross actually. A fairly one dimensional smell and taste. I tried to like it, as I love mustard. Just couldn't get myself there. I'd give it another shot, as all beers deserve a second chance (except Bud Chelada), but I won't seek it out. (343 characters)

Photo of pixieskid
1.83/5  rDev -49%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Had no idea that this beer was brewed with mustard seed until after I deemed it undrinkable and decided to pour it into a mini growler and save it to for cooking! Not sure where it says it's a biere a moutarde; maybe the US labels are different...

Regardless, I still found this beer incredibly off-putting. The mouthfeel was terribly, slick and chalky. The taste was earthy and strange and I found it to be quite boozy.

All in all, it would have been nice to know what I was getting myself into as the last Biere a Moutarde I tried (Smisje) was much more interesting/drinkable. (580 characters)

Photo of ronniebruner
4.27/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Never had a mustard seed-infused beer before. The beer pours your average honey yellow color, has a slight hint of fruit in he aroma and pours with minimal head and lace. However, the taste is superb! It is sweet, high in alcohol and delicious. You would never know how good this brew is until you drink it! $5 for an 11.2 oz bottle well worth it! Indeed a surprise (365 characters)

Photo of CaptainPiret
3.57/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A dark, golden pour with a red tint, it had a thick, creamy head with some heavy lacing.

I got some fruits immediately (some apple in there), followed by a decent dose of hops. A little sugar as well. Smell was very complex.

The taste revealed darker fruits than the smell. The mustard seed involved in the brewing is evident — it adds some strange sour and spicy characteristics that I didn't get in the nose. Some bitter hops announce their presence at the end.

Slightly carbonated and the approaching of chewiness make for a pretty good mouthfeel.

This one started strong with a bountiful appearance and complex aroma, but it hit its peak too early. I feel like there's some unnecessary stuff going on with the taste that diminishes the overall product. (762 characters)

Photo of taigor
3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into small glass.

A - Poured brownish slightly cloudy color with medium head that quickly dissipated leaving light lacing around the glass.

S - Mostly malts and yeast with hint of fruits such as pear, apple, banana and slight scent of spices.

T - Slightly sweet to start with fruits coming through right away followed by tartness and lots of mustard and other spices towards the finish.

M - Medium bodied with lots of carbonation.

D - Very unique drink that stands out but definitely not the one to go out of the way to try. (536 characters)

Photo of foogerd
3.17/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Pale cloudy yellow with some orange highlights, creates a massive white head which leaves over some patchy lacing.

S- Light fruits, some banana, pears, and melon, along with spices and belgian yeast. Definitely does not smell like an English Barleywine.

T- To me this brew shares qualities of a Hefeweizen with its banana character and Belgian Pale Ale with its yeasty and spicy character. I really grappled to find a relation to an English Barleywine totally in vain. Theres also a bit of an unwelcome medicinal alcoholic bitter finish to the brew from the hops which I did not enjoy at all.

M- Full carbonated feel, glides on the palette.

D- If I wasnt so turned off by this medicinal bitterness I would imagine this would be a tasty brew, but that disturbed the drinkability for me here. (797 characters)

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Second mustard beer in our two mustard beer tasting. It pours hazy deep gold with copper hues and thin off white head. The light aroma has notes of Belgian sugar, lighter colored fruity esters, some dark fruit esters and a hint of mustard. The taste is slick and sweet and moves toward dark fruity esters and a mild background, OK faint background, of mustard spice. I also get some yeasty spice and faint banana. Like the other mustard beer the mustard spice is just too faint. This would taste a whole lot better with a bigger mustard presence. (546 characters)

Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brownish color with a thick, cloudy consistency. There was an inch of fluffy, long-lasting head. OK lacing.

S: An oddly muted aroma of malt, hops, and some spices.

T: Tasted of malt, the advertised mustard seeds, , a little caramel, and some hops. Like the smell, the flavor was weirdly restrained and muted. Not unpleasant, but could have been better.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: An uneven beer, but still mostly drinkable. (518 characters)

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed at the 16th Essen Christmas Beer Fest 2010.

Pours a hazy bronze colour, with an off-white head.

The Hallertau Perle and Hallertau Spalt Select hops don't give off much aroma and being unfiltered and unpasturised the yeast smell seemed to be the dominant one to me, some mixed herbs and spices also appear in the nose.

Sugar and mustard seeds are added during the brewing process and this made the taste a strange sweet and sour mix that just about complimented each other. The hops gave the finish a dry bitterness even if they added little to the smell.

Alvinne do mess around with their beers at times, this one was fine in my eyes, although I sometimes wish they'd just brew a regular beer and leave it alone (no mustard seeds, oak aged in vomit, etc, etc) (772 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.86/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hugely murky pumpkin orange with a light dusting of black peppery looking yeast and an outstanding crown of bubbly ivory foam that filled most of the snifter on the initial pour. Whatever follows, this beer looks like a dream.

Unfortunately, the nose is much less impressive. It's modestly fruity and spicy, but that's about it. Challenger and East Kent Goldings hops aren't appreciated, and neither are the mustard seeds. Let's hope this wise man is a little smarter on the taste buds.

Melchior does not taste like an English barleywine. The estery Belgian yeast pretty much disqualifies it right out of the gate. It's more like a pale-malted, spicier-than-usual Belgian quadrupel. Several years in the cellar have almost certainly stolen some of its punching power, but things are improving as the middle of the bottle approaches.

Flavors include fruit (apples, pears, apricots) macerated in their respective fruit brandies, and a great deal of clove and pepper spiciness. Still no mustard seed, which is probably a good thing. The alcohol is masked very well, which helps. A pleasant warming on the way down is more suited to January than August, but I'll take it.

Even though English barleywines (the aged ones at least) tend to be thinner than their American counterparts, this mouthfeel is a little too thin and loose. Especially since it's Belgian rather than English. However, it's still enjoyable and is easily above average. Good sipper.

Melchior and Gaspar (Belgian IPA) are the best of the Picobrouwerij Alvinne 'Magi' series, while Balthazar (BSDA) brings up the rear. This is a worthy purchase for those who like high-ABV, heavily spiced Belgian ales that are far enough outside the craft brewing box to be interesting, but not so far outside it as to be quirky or strange. (1,792 characters)

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Melchior from Picobrouwerij Alvinne
82 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.