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Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (Blue) | Brouwerij Het Anker

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Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (Blue)Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (Blue)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-03-2002

For Trade:
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Reviews: 879 | Ratings: 1,799
Photo of Sammy
4.22/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pour of non stop creamy foam and bubbles. OK once its in the glass. Fresh 2004. Corriander clove overdose and almost sugary malts but drinkable with meal. Auburn raisin brown.Bannana in yeast aroma. Alcohol knocked us out. Upped rating based on another tasting 5 months later.
Two and a half years later, tried a 2002 and it was a mellow yeasty treat with an orangey lace colour and taste.
Had a 2002 8 years later and it really mellow and gave forth dark fruit. Smooth.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sticker on neck of bottle indicates 2009 vintage.

Pours a clear root beer color with a 1/2 inch tan head that fades to an oily film. Broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is awesome with sweet biscuit-like malt, caramel, molasses, dark fruits, and alcohol aromas. Taste is exactly like the smell with a very sweet and rich set of complex flavors. This beer has a good carbonation level with a crisp and slightly prickly mouthfeel. The alcohol hits the back of the throat with each sip and creates a warming on the drink down. Overall, this is a very good beer with awesome dark fruit/molasses flavors.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark red, no lacing really. single finger head.

S: musty with apple notes.

T: tons of dark fruit. Prune and cranberry mostly. Some woody notes.

M: smooth, thick and moderate carbonation.

Overall: I am picky about my belgian strong dark ales beers and this one is not one I loved.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow this is really something special. on tap at the bull and bush in denver. 10oz goblet for 7 dollars, reasonable. looks like a holiday beer, with a deep mahogany color and a thick thick white belgian head. smells very fruity with a fresh baked bread sort of aroma as well, mild spice. flavor is dried fruits and a touch of spice. its a little sweet but incredibly well balanced and interesting. alcohol pokes through a little in the finish. mouthfeel is fantastic, smooth and fuller bodied. this is an outstanding beer, one i had never heard of before, but one i will absolutely seek out in the future.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a brownish red color in the light. The head was fluffy and light tan in color. The smell of the beer is slightly sweet, lots of Belgian yeast and dark malt aromas in this one. The taste of the beer gets better as it warms up, it had some really nice spices in there that mixed well with the malts. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and had a pretty good amount of carbonation to it. Overall it's a pretty good Belgian brew, not much to complain about here.

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Photo of metter98
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is relatively clear but very dark brown in color and poured with a two finger high beige head that slowly dissipated and left lacy patterns of bubbles covering the surface. A light amount of carbonation is visible.
S: The nose has moderate aromas of dark fruits along with some notes of malty sweetness.
T: Like the smell, the taste is quite fruity and has flavors of cherries, plums and raisins. There is a moderate amount of malty sweetness and hints of apples and cherries. Overall, the taste is rather complex and well balanced.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate of carbonation. There is a mild amount of warming from the alcohol in the finish.
D: The beer tastes like it is strong, but nowhere near the level of 11%, and the well masked nature of the alcohol makes this beer very drinkable compared to others in the style.

Note: 2010 vintage

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A perennial favorite beer since arriving on locals shelves a few years ago. I am always taken back and question why my refrigerator isn't stocked with the beer.

The beer opens with a highly carbonated pour that allows a 1/3 pour before the foam breaches the top of the chalice. The first pour from the 750 delivers nearly perfect clarity and aggressive effervescence. Subsequent pours bring much more haze (from bottle conditioning) and lightened carbonation. A lightly tanned foamstand carries sprinkles of spices and yeast while taking on an airy and loosely-knit appearance.

Aromas strongly favor the fruity esters. Plumbs, grapes, figs, dates, apples, cherries, raisons, and prunes all culminate for a complex and richly sweet sensation to the nose. Candied malts ride along, just beyond the fruitiness. Finally spicy orange, white pepper, paradise seed, and cinnamon all seem yeast derived (not added later) and decorate the aromas quite nicely.

Flavors, like the aroma, show aggressive fruitiness up front and ultimately dominate the beer. While pilsner malts provide the slightest of foundations for flavor, the candi-sugars have as much (maybe more) of an impact than do the softer grains. Fruitcake flavors, spices, and a alcoholic, rum-like flavor balances out the fruity esters and spicy phenols and give another layer of complexity. Finishes with some residual sugar flavors on the tongue that at times resemble cola.

The textures straddle the fence of dry and drinkable vs. sugary and mouth coating. Alcohols and well attenuated maltiness ultimately drive the beer into a dry finish with light residual sweetness left on the palate. Otherwise, full, rich, and expansive because of the onslaught of carbonation and sweetness.

The first pour from the bomber brings cleaner fruit flavors with a less muddled character; however it may lack richness and complexity. Later pours bring a deeper, maltier flavor from the sediment in the bottle, and left the beer less dry and palatable. I prefer the later pours after the sediment had been aroused. As for Strong Dark Belgian Ales, this beer applies a very fruit-driven signature rather than a malt-forward base as do most.

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Photo of largadeer
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage.

Appearance - Dark chestnut brown, nearly black. Pours with half an inch of tan-colored head, which quickly disappears. A small amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass.

Smell - Fruity esters, caramel, toasted nuts, chocolate, port, raisins and subtle spices. A bold aroma that increases in complexity as the beer warms.

Taste - Rich caramel flavors followed by notes of dried fruit, bittersweet chocolate, toasted almonds and spices. The finish is fairly mild and clean on the palate, with no strong aftertaste and only a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel - A very full mouthfeel. Not as carbonated as I was expecting, but it works to the beer's advantage as it really brings out the many layered flavors.

Notes - This beer has a port-like quality that makes it very unique to me. Excellent stuff.

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Photo of brentk56
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy burnt caramel color with a pouffy beige head that leaves shards of lace

Smell: All kinds of phenols wafting around - rum raisin, butterscotch, pecans, maraschino cherries

Taste: Starts with a dance of toffee and maraschino cherry flavors that builds in yeasty complexity, mid-palate; after the swallow, a cotton candy sweetness kicks in, to be joined by rum soaked golden raisins in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: As big and complex as any of the Belgians, the sweetness factor limits its drinkability to a modest amount after dinner

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Photo of biboergosum
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml caged and corked bottle, sashed and mounted regent image on the bottle - solid.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, dark ruddy amber hue, with a teeming tower of creamy and foamy pale beige head, which leaves some consistently abstract layered lace around the glass in its well-strewn wake.

It smells of sweet, dark bready malt, tangy black fruit, a touch of stewed apple, softly oily nuts, spicy Belgian yeast, and mildly astringent alcohol. The taste is more sweet, grainy dark caramel malt, candi sugar, zingy aged black fruit - plums and blackberries - a strange bit of cherry cough syrup warming, and sedate, but not for the lack of trying, earthy hops.

The carbonation is mostly average, but frothy in a playful manner at times, the body medium-full in weight, predominately from the dense sugary malt, and smooth by default, with a well-established attendant creaminess. It finishes still fully stuffed with fruity, malty goodness, barely tempered by a goofy, somewhat try-hard, and less-than-obvious booze edginess.

Despite the very perceptible sweetness quotient, a decent balance is deftly maintained - so no real sugar overload manifests - all amid an agreeable, and at times, locally inexplicable drying character, though booze and underground hops seem to be the prime suspects. Not so weirdly drinkable, as flavour trumps strength, until that inevitable wall is met, QED.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 Bottle: Poured a rusty and cloudy amber ale with a medium brown head with surprisingly great retention. Aroma is quite port-like sweet with strong malt also noticeable. Taste is sweeter then expected and I was glad I drank this after dinner since the sweetness would have been too overpowering before a meal. Body is quite full and alcohol is not discernable which I always appreciate. Overall, I would say that this si another great beer from a sometime underappreciated brewery – I very much appreciated the creamy, fruit/sweetness of this one.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.85/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage! 1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with hood and wire cap over a cork served into a Uinta brewing pilsner glass (it was all that was available) in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are very high given the brewery and style. I'm hoping it beats Chimay Blue.

Served after a rest period from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger khaki colour head of nice cream, good thickness, and excellent retention for the high ABV. Colour is a very dark yet vibrant and evocative brown. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Nontransparent. Opaque.

Sm: Magnificent dark malts, biscuit malt, clean malts, dark malts, biscuity yeast, fantastic caramelization, cream, plum, and heavy wine notes (mostly red, with even a tannin-like character). Surprisingly acidic. A delightfully fruity, rather subtle aroma. Really quite remarkable. I can't wait to try it.

T: Great cream throughout, with plum, wine grape, and other indistinct fruit notes. The gentle malt backbone lends it body but doesn't intrude on the flavour. Hops are floral if present; no bitterness comes through at all. Nor does any alcohol, which is quite a feat at this ABV. Some nectar on the back end. It's nicely yeasty, which I think helps complement those fruit notes. Some raisin here and there. It's not as winey as suggested by the aroma but still maintains that distinct character, especially on the climax. Tinges of caramelization help keep it interesting. It's full of surprises, and boasts an impressive depth of flavour as well as an interesting complexity. Quite subtle. It's brought off quite well; I adore it. A touch too acidic.

Mf: Just enough cream. Smooth and wet, aiding the drinkability. Supports the flavours without intruding upon them. Good (though fairly high) thickness. It can feel a bit viscous at times, but overall it's quite alright. It could use a touch more coarseness, but I'm nitpicking. Carbonation is near perfect; it drinks well now - even after five years.

Dr: I think the age likely did it well. Maybe one more year and it'd peak. Very drinkable for its incredibly well concealed ABV. I'd definitely get this again. Worth picking up some bottles for the cellar as well. A fantastic beer in the style, giving even Chimay Blue a run for its money in my book. Indeed, I think I prefer this one. And it isn't even priced all that highly for its quality. This is something of an overlooked treasure. I'd definitely recommend it to friends. One thing that does bother me is the proliferation of grapey notes, which can tip the balance of the flavour off at times.


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Photo of zeff80
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

jaargang 2006

A - Poured out a dark brown/burgandy color with a foamy, caramel colored, one-finger head. Left a little lace.

S - It smelled of dried fruit and malt.

T - Tasted very malty, and had a strong dried fruit quality. A subtle spicy hoppiness, too. A relatively strong alcohol presence.

M - The mouthfeel was crisp and soft. A heavy-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good Belgian beer. Great character and flavor. Next time I'll try an older Grand Cru.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown mahogany with a decent light brown head.

S: Lots of dark fruits, cherries, and some more earthy dried fruits as well. Plenty of yeasty goodness.

T: Much luck the smell with a little bit of extra sweetness thrown in.

M: Fairly full-bodied and creamy. Not too much alcohol taste.

D: Quite drinkable. Split this one with my wife and glad that we had a whole 750 to split.

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Photo of oline73
4.36/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful clear mahogany with tow fingers of tan head and good retention.

Smell: sweet fruity caramel malt, dark fruit and bananas, some yeast spice.

Taste: very sweet, malty, hints of banana, dark fruits, caramel. Yeast spice, mildli bitter with some warm alcohol in finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, mildly syrupy, tingly carbonation, dry finish.

Overall: very smooth given the abv. Good mix of flavors, would have it again.

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Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A beer that dont come around often,pours a deep brown with some reddish tints with to be expected a hug rocky head.Aroma is of spiced cherries and alcohol,taste is spices and of dried fruit(cherries) and ginger-like and the alcohol really comes thru as it warms.It would be tough to finish a bottle of this brew but it is very appetizing to say the least.

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Photo of nickfl
3.68/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of light tan foam on top of a dark brown body with good clarity. The head settles slowly and leaves nice lace.

S - Dark, malty notes of brown sugar and caramel with some plum, dark cherry and cola notes.

T - Dark brown sugar up front with lots of malt sweetness. Some spicy notes of coriander, cinnamon, and caramel dipped red apple. Finishes with more brown sugar, clove, and cinnamon.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Dense, sugary malt with lots of yeast character but an excessively sweet finish. Oddly cloying for a beer that I remember being much dryer and more balanced the last time I had it. Not a drain pour but a bit of a disappointment.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours from a corked and caged 750ml bottle a dark ruby red with a thin head that fades quickly. Aroma of brown sugar and sweet malts. Tastes similar to the nose with some spice.

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Photo of mothman
4.23/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage

Poured into Duvel glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of beige tan head. Color is a ruby hued copper. Very appealing color.

Aroma: Sweet caramel, dark dried fruits, raisins, molasses, apples. Big malty aroma. Caramel apples.

Taste: Rich and malty. Sweet. Caramel, raisins, toffee, dark dried fruits, more raisins. Booze showing. Then grapes and apples in the background. Lots of solid flavors.

Mouthfeel: Sweet, creamy, and a bit warming. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with some spice notes, booze showing, and a bit of dryness.

Overall, a very well done BSDA. Lots of good flavors. A sipper at such a big beer, but I do like it. Fairly drinkable. This is a beer that you need to be in the mood for big time.

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Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, 2010 vintage. Pours moderately hazy and cloudy dark reddish brown color with a 2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Good spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, plum, fig, molasses, toast, toffee, brown sugar, dark bread, dark candi sugar, pepper, light clove, light chocolate, light roast, and yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with huge complexity and great balance of dark malt and fruity/spicy yeast esters; with big strength. Taste of caramel, molasses, toast, raisin, prune, fig, brown sugar, toffee, dark bread, light chocolate, herbal, light roast, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, molasses, toast, brown sugar, toffee, raisin, prune, dark bread, light chocolate, light roast, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Absolutely incredible complexity and balance of molasses/bready malt and dark fruit flavors; with a big malt presence and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and full bodied; with a creamy, slick, and lightly crisp mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely incredible Belgian strong dark ale! All around incredible balance and complexity of dark malt and dark fruit flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the gravity. An insanely delicious offering.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.6/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a 750 ml brown bottle, corked and caged. 2002. Cellared at 60F. The label reads 8% alc by volume (although it may actually be a bit stronger).

The Grand Cru of the Emperor (Charles V) pours a clear dark chestnut brown body with ruby highlights beneath a frothy head of ivory foam that holds exceptionally well and leaves very nice, wide sheets of thin Brussels lace. Very nice!!!

The nose entices you to partake with notes of toffee; darkened brown sugar; sweet, crusty, honey-glazed bread; some dark fruit (mainly raisins); brandy; and a quick spritz of orange.

In the mouth it's delicately zesty on the tongue, and then quite creamy with a very fine, natural-carbonation and medium body.

The flavor offers a briliant, sugary mix of raisins and rich toffee with a hint of orange-chocolate in the background. The yeast also tosses in some mild bubblegum-like phenolics (sugar and clove-like spice) that turns it a touch candyish. Some herbal hops appear at the swallow and lend it an earthy, mineralish edge that helps to round out its candyish character. The bitterness is a touch limited as might be expected, but it punches through the malt midway, and there's enough there to keep it from becoming cloying in the long-lingering finish. The alcohol appears once it warms a bit, but keeps to the wings (except in the finish); and it actually adds a touch of spiciness that's welcome against the candyish malt.

Tasted side by side with a bottle of the Classic Carolus, this is clearly just a bumped up version of the standard that might include better malts (perhaps some Munch malts) and a longer, cooler fermentation and maturation period. They are very much the same beer, but this one is much more nicely done. It's thoroughly enjoyable, and as it can age at least 3 years, I'd highly suggests you grab a few bottles and pull one out during special occassions each year. I can easily see this working with a Thanksgiving dinner (before, during, or after), or as a toasting beer during the holiday season. It will work with numerous food pairings, including glazed pork chops, BBQ ribs, and char-grilled steak. Highly recommended!

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Photo of chinchill
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Gouden Carolus Blue on tap at the Thirsty Monk in Asheville. {review largely confirmed and lightly tweaked based on bottles consumed April 2014 and 2015}

Very dark reddish-brown; clear, with a small but very durable head. Decent lacing.

Nice, fruity, plum dominated aroma. Slight solvent-like note to the flavor, probably an alcohol ester. Still, not terribly boozy for 11% ABV. Raisins and dates in the flavor.

Medum plus body; very smooth.

O: a little disappointing given my very high expectations.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jaargang 2005. The beer is a gorgeous conflagration of dark bronze, dark orange and dark red, with shimmering edges of bonfire orange. Equally as attractive is a tremendous looking crown of lightly toasted marshmallow-like foam. Cementing BSDA perfection is an array of delicate lace that easily qualifies as eye candy. What a start!

The nose may need a little time to open up, so I'll continue to go back to it throughout the '750'. My initial impressions are of a spicier and less sweet beer than expected. Tobacco notes seem especially prominent. Warming helps to some degree, but the aroma lags behind the flavor profile for sure.

I have no qualms about proclaiming this ale incredibly delicious right from the first mouthful. Man oh man, I love Brouwerij Het Anker beer! The Emperor is a regal sort of BSDA that earns its name with no trouble at all. It's as deep and as complex as all but the very best versions... and it hasn't even warmed yet.

While it isn't quite as spicy as the nose portended, it's definitely on the spicy side of the style average. Let's see... dark caramel, light molasses, dates macerated in tawny port, plum jam, tobacco, clove, maybe even a little bruised banana. The contrast between sweet, tart and bitter (all present in roughly equal proportions) is at least as interesting as the dizzingly display of intertwining flavors.

Cuvee Van De Keizer reminds me that BSDAs are a close second to tripels as my favorite Belgian style. The mouthfeel is as glorious as the rest of the beer. It's no more than medium, yet has a mouthfilling quality and a stick-to-it-iveness that is admirable. I wish all the world's brewers were as proficient with carbonation as the Belgians.

I've now had the four most widely distributed Brouwerij Het Anker offerings and I've been gobsmacked by each and every one. I had no idea this was the case, but on scores alone, this is my favorite Belgian brewery. Grand Cru of the Emperor (as my bottle reads) or Cuvee Van De Keizer... whatever you call it, call it an outstanding example of the brewer's art.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.77/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2009 release poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains brown sugar, dark fruit, caramelized malts, some Belgian yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and dark fruit. Then a hearty malt character and Belgian yeast breadiness comes in. The hops presence is mild but complementary creating a good balance and there’s some spice in the background that creeps in. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a decent dark Belgian to sip on for a while.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Iron Abbey, Horsham, PA

Damn tasty beer right here. Dark chestnut brown in color, mostly translucent, with a small off-white head that receded to a tiny ringlet, but still left a bit of lacing on the glass. Aroma rich with honey and dark fruits. Taste is dominated by rich sugars--honey and molasses, mainly--and prunes, afterthoughts of bready yeast, raisins, cotton candy, earthy hops. Full of flavor, heavy-medium body, and quite a pleasant drink overall. Cheers!

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Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (Blue) from Brouwerij Het Anker
4.29 out of 5 based on 1,799 ratings.
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