Val-Dieu Grand Cru - Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu
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Ratings: 269 | Reviews: 141 | Display Reviews Only:
4.22/5 rDev +1%
Served in a Val-Dieu chalice, which was a nice surprise. Very dark brown, nearly black in the dim lighting with an attractive silky beige covering on top. Sweet raisin aromas dominate upfront, opening up to reveal strawberry, cherry, caramel, chocolate, banana, and vanilla...very nice. Somewhat less fruity flavor, though the raisin continues along with plum, fig, and caramel malt. No booze at all. Medium-full bodied with very light carbonation making it satisfyingly smooth. I really liked this one...
02-03-2012 14:05:46 | More by wedge
4.24/5 rDev +1.4%
750ml bottle, best before Jan 2014. I had no idea that this was a Quad - otherwise I might have gotten to it much sooner upon its arrival in Alberta a while back. It possesses a crappy, unmovable Champagne-style cork, which at least gives my recently idle corkscrew something to do - silver linings!
This beer pours a hazy, fine sediment-strewn dark copper-amber hue, with three ambitious fingers of puffy, shiny, thinly foamy ecru head, which leaves a few dense, sudsy instances of hanging curtain lace around the glass as it duly melts away.
It smells of dark, complex sour fruit - plums and bruised banana, mostly - earthy yeast, light caramel malt, a bit of astringent woodiness, a touch of brewer's sugar, mild nutty chocolate, and a musty, somewhat dank hoppiness. The taste is a fair bit sweeter than let on by the nose, with a steadily subtle caramel/toffee malt, some nicely muddled black/brown fruit - again led by overripe bananas and saucy prunes - bittersweet chocolate, mild clove and faint white pepper spice, ethereal Belgian yeast, and a dull hum of moderately musty, dusty, earthy hops.
The carbonation is average, with a bit of lifting pep, and nothing more, the body an almost hefty, but that's a-ok, medium weight, with a dulcet, understatedly creamy smoothness. It finishes on the sweet side, but in a oh-so moderated manner - fruit, malt, yeast, and a conspicuously absolute absence of booze warming.
While maybe not on a totally even par with the Rocheforts and Westvleterens of this focused little world, Val-Dieu's Grand Cru (I just love saying that, for some reason) still comes off as a serious player, in both flavour and otherworldly complexity. I still can't inwardly reconcile how they sneaked a 21-proof ABV offering past me so cleanly, so additional kudos for that.
02-13-2013 03:47:25 | More by biboergosum
4.25/5 rDev +1.7%
Beautifully balanced, powerfully complex and highly spiced; yet the ale has a delicate side that makes it approachable and way more drinkable than a beer of this stature should. But that's the seductive nature and the charm of authentic abbey ale.
Lighter in its tone than many Belgian darker, stronger ale- its finesse dark honey hue shows even in the beer's appearance. Lightly creamy in its froth, a slowly smoldering white cap builds on the beer and retains with a daintiness and subtlety that laces the glass quite intricately.
Its medley of fruit and spice dances in the nose with a back and forth of apples, clove, dates, black pepper, plum, fennel, cherry, coriander, raisin and white pepper. Its balanced scent is supported with the scent of brown sugar dominance but also pulled candy. Even its rounded alcohol spice plays out in its scent like spiced rum and vinous acidity.
To taste, fresh fruitcake comes to mind as all those bready-sweet tastes play out on the early palate like coffee-cake or rum-cake. In the middle, fruit flavors pile on with those savory pitted fruits, dark fruits, stone fruits and with a pep of rose wine to boot. Mildly spicy with pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove- these flavors are delicate and supportive, seeming to arrive via its yeasty backdrop. Finishing with spicy rum and wine, the complexity of the ale keeps building as it reveals more and more flavors as it warms.
Medium-full on the mouth, the beer's sweetness is pulled from the tongue by its soft but racy carbonation. Creamy and yet semi-dry, the beer ushers in a steady procession toward a malty-dry finish with spicy warmth and lingering fruit in aftertaste.
Val Dieu shows why the legacy of Belgian ale will live on and in the highest of quality possible. Its a unique recipe but is also true to form. Its taste is simply divine.
02-25-2014 18:46:25 | More by BEERchitect
Val-Dieu Grand Cru from Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu
93 out of 100 based on 269 ratings.