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)
1,898 Ratings
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:
Every year on the 24th of February, Het Ander brews Gouden Carolus Cuvée van de Keizer Blauw (‘Grand Cru of the Emperor’) to celebrate the birth of Charles the 5th.

This exceptional ale ages well, developing a refined complexity and intense aromas. An imperial brew to cherish and enjoy in moderation.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-03-2002

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 1,898 |  Reviews: 909
Photo of battlekow
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Roman's Pub. Poured a very dark brown with a small off-white head. Smells like ripe, almost overripe fruit, cherries, and kind of like licorice. Also smells faintly spicy, and with a deep breath you can smell the 11% alcohol. Tastes intensely of Twizzlers licorice. The alcohol becomes more apparent as it warms. Very thick, coating mouthfeel. One of the most interesting beers I've ever had, and one of the best.

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Photo of kegerator
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle. All black with a black ribbon that states "Grand Cru of the Emperor" bottled in 2004 and 10% abv.
Pours a deep brown with a nice 1 inch head that sticks around and leaves good lacing. Aroma was faint at best but got stronger as it warmed. Aromas of plums and raisins with some wine like esters and slight alcohol in the background.
Taste was all malt, caramel, sweet, raisiny with hints of dried fruits. It was full bodied yet smooth and danced on the tongue slightly leaving a nice alcohol warmth in the stomach. Very nice beer indeed.

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Photo of jakester
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a 750ml corked bottle bought at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. Had Jaargang 2004 at the top. It was marked 10% alcohol. I believe them! I reviewed this while drinking it.

Pours a (this was in a Corsendonk glass, sorry!) very slightly hazy deep mahagony/ruby red with a soft brown tint. The head is @one finger, tan colored, with medium sized bubbles. The head drops off to islands after @ 3 minutes. Some carbonation visible.

The smell is of prunes, raisins, musty earth, burnt sugar, gin? Alcohol is also there in the back.

The flavor of this is so smooth I don't know where to begin. Sweet, musty prunes, gin soaked raisins, a soft bittering to counter-act the intense maltiness/fruitiness, maybe a little white pepper? A good deal of alcohol is also prevalent. A long, lingering, brown sugar sweetness finishes the taste.

The mouthfeel should be called mouthful. Intense sweetness, a "peppy" level of carbonation, and a very long aftertaste make this an absolutely scrumptious beer.

As for drinkability, I think after a while, the sweetness would become cloying, and the alcohol would knock your dick in the dirt, but overall, a very fine brew! Kind of reminds me of Kasteel.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.6/5  rDev +7%
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 pentathlete
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this on-tap at CAH and out of the bottle at least a half dozen times. Then I noticed, I've never reviewed it. So, with a steak fresh off the grill, I popped the cork on a bottle and enjoyed.

Pours the color of fine cognac with a large bubbly head, plenty of lacing, and fountains of carbonation. Nose is bread soaked dark fruits with some alcohol. Taste is a delicious blend of citrus, malt, raisins, cough syrup, and bing cherries. It's a beer sangria, only with a wonderfully full mouthfeel. This big beer goes down smoother than a lot of lighter brews. This is a personal favorite.

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Photo of stjarnflikka
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 edition

Pours a reddish, rather dark beer with practically no foam and just some carbonation. Theres some yeast droppings in there as well, as it should be that is ;)

Smell comes on faint of berries, dark sugar and somewhat sour. Clearly alcohol is there along with some malts and a faint hop character. Reminds a lot of wine with its fruity and alcoholic head.

Hits palatte somwhat sour. Strong alcohol with tobacco, great big fruits (oranges, melon) and a nice sweetness. More sugar in here with a somewhat burnt tone. Ends strong with lots of fruit, some yeast and a hint of bitterness. Very well balanced and intriguing, fairly complex also and a really fruity drink.

Nice beer that certainly made a great choice after dinner. Fairly complex and alcoholic, nice brew either way you look at it.

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Photo of taez555
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 edition, 750ml

This beer poured a thick white/tan head with a ruby and brown body.

The nose was a mix of raisins, phenols, dark fruits, sugar, alcohol, caramel, brown sugar, dark pears, dark cooked fruits and faint chocolate. This is one of those noses you could just sit and smell for hours without even taking a sip. Really quite something.

The taste was medium to full bodied. Alcohol, ripe fruits, raisins, plums, some pear, caramel, brown sugar and phenols. Very mellow and well balanced from start to finish. It already has mellowed touch. Very sugary with a non-spicy black pepper sort of taste. The carbonation level is very light and fine.

What a rich rich beer. Reminded me of eating a rich chocolate cake. Very yummy and a beer I wouldn’t hesitate substituting for or including with a rich dessert.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The bottle states 2004, 10% alc, and Grand Cru of the Emperor. When I popped the 750ml bottle which was caged and corked, it immediately started to foam out the top. I lost a couple of ounces.

Pours out a cloudy dark brown with a small head that seems to be building. The smell is superb. Reminds me of Ommegang. Chocolate, raisins and figs come through. Solid malt and brown sugar as well.

Taste is a bit sweeter than I expected. At least in the beginning. The middle and end give way to more of the chocolate and sugar as well as a slight alcohol note. Overall a wonderful beer. I would love to try any of their other beers as well.

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Photo of MrSeth
4.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown in color, poured into a chalice [thanks Nick] with a small, but hearty tan head. Huge tan rings of suds around the glass. A thin layer of velvety suds stays the duration and leaves lots of lace all over.

Wonderful aromas drift toward me before I even go to smell it.. fresh and dried fruits, dates, marzipan, red licorice.. oh, the list goes on!! It's is not everyday that you find an ale with a nose this grand.

Medium bodied, wet mouthfeel with full flavor.. taste is dates and red licorice, maraschino cherries, with a toasted malty back that balances out the candy with cereal flavors. The alcohol comes out as the ale warms and hits right at the end, POW! giving a nice twist to an already amazing balance. I'm told that you can get quite carried away with this ale, and I can see why!

Total Respect.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 vintage poured into a chalice. The label says Grand Cru of the Emperor as opposed to the french translation. The percent by volume also says 10% as opposed to 11% which both this site and the brewery's official site list. Perhaps this was brewed specifically for the American marketplace?
Pours with a moderate head and is opaque deep deep red so that it's almost black; appears ruby red when held to the light.
Smells very much like quadruples I've had (this probably qualifies as one), and specifically reminds me of Three Philosophers by Ommegang.
The flavor profile is also like the afformentioned- dark fruit flavors, most noteabley prunes, raisins and dark, dark cherries. Very deep, dark and rich flavors, with a sweet malty mouthfeel and taste; similar to a dopplebock in finish with that lingering sweetness.
Alcohol is very well hidden in the taste but makes itself known through a warming of the cheeks.
Definately worth a try. I payed $9 for the 750mL bottle and I'd consider doing it again.

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Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clouded reddish brown with tan froth.

Fruity esters in the smell, along with caramel and toffee from the malts. Alcohol is well hidden considering.

Medium, lightly grainy mouthfeel with generous carbonation. Tart fruits and sweet malts fade into a dry finish. Alcohol becomes apparent with a warming in the breadbasket and a bite in the back of the mouth.

Not too shabby at all. A beer worth looking up again for this dude.

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Photo of ChrisBowers
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excellent strong dark ale. Poured from a 750ml into a goblet. 2005 vintage. Nice, lasting head. Aromas of fruit, some spiciness. Taste is quite intense and complex. Pretty sweet, rich, malty, some ripe fruits, spices and alcohol are present. A touch of port wine perhaps also. Mouthfeel is full and rich. Drinkability is limited only by the intensity and alcohol content. I feel as though this beer could benefit from some signifiant cellaring to mellow the beer and make it a bit more subtle. Still, an excellent beer when fresh. Drink some now, save some for later.

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Photo of dgallina
3.5/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml 2004 edition. Sampled April 2005. Pours a deep cloudy brown with small tan head which diminishes quickly and leaves light lace. Smells of sweet candi malts, dark fruit, and vinous alcohols. Tastes quite sweet. Lots of sticky malt sweetness on aged, port wine-like base. Slightly dry and yeasty finish. Quite syrupy in the mouth, with only a slight prickle of carbonation. Not a bad beer by any means, but too sweet for my palate and lacking any significant layers of complexity.

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now this is waht I call a beer. Absolutely wonderful. It poured a nice ruby color with a fizzy beige head. The smell was of caramel and wood. The flavor provided incredible complexity yet wonderful balance. Wood, caramel, fruit, and so much more combine into one of the better tasting beers I've ever had. You absolutely have to try this.

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Photo of cro250klr
4.9/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have a picture of myself and three other friends standing under a train depot sign in Belgium. The sign reads, 'Mechelen'. And to think that the first time I ever had this beer was, in Scranton, Pa., three months after coming home from Europe. Hopefully, I will tour Europe again this year. I have got to try this, if available, in it's home town. I had this on tap after the keg traveled 3500 miles and it was incredible. I can only imagine how good it must be in Belgium. This brew IS fit for a king! Complex, to say the least. Banana, brown sugar, vanilla, homemade bread, plum, sweet, and malty. A very light head sits on top of the lightly carbonated reddish/brown liquid and laces till the very end. As with most Belgian browns, I took my time and let it warm a bit. The taste and the aroma just explode. One sip yielding banana, the next, maybe some rum and so on, till the very end. The high abv isn't really hidden in this one but your taste buds and olfactory glands are working overtime, leaving little time to worry about alcohol. After two half liter chalices, I was ready to call myself king. Instead I called the bartender and had one more. I gave this a 4.5 on drinkability only because of it's sweet taste. (It's similar to a Kasteel Brune a far as sweetness.) That, not the 11% abv, only prevented me from having anymore than I did at one sitting. I went back a few days later only to learn that the Carolus had kicked. Since their tap stock is rotated I will have to wait some time before they have this on tap again. Maybe, until I get back to Europe. This one though, is worth the wait.

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Photo of Pingotas
4.97/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep, rich obscure hues with some reluctance to head up heavily. Long lacing. Roasted brown sugars dominate the subtle aroma.

The assault of vine fruits and very ripe bananas are immediate on the tongue; however, each taste brings added overtones of flavors as complex as citron, cardamom, name a few.

Absolutely delicious, particularly since I tend to favor this degree of sweetness - it provides a velvety, almost syrupy smoothness that carries delicately over the fine carbonation.

I would accept purgatory for this one, a truly masterful preparation and clearly one of the best brews I have ever tasted!

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Photo of Hefe
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Edition 2004, poured from a corked and caged bottle into a Unibroue tulip.

Beautiful looking beer, Brownish/mahogany with little light showing through, tan coloured head that is dense and pillowy. The head eventually degrades to delicate lacing around the rim of the glass. An absolute smorgasbord of aromas are immediately detectable. Dark malt, plum, raisin, licorice, apricot. All of this rides a yeasty undercurrent. The flavors are layered and seem to come in waves. Toffee, prune, brown sugar, spice, dark rye bread, plum, yeast, milk chocolate, orange rind. Full bodied, with seemingly mild carbonation. Beutiful for sipping, though I would certainly pair this with some big cuts of beef, game, barbecue, and really strong cheeses. There was a slight cloying character that I took off points for, though I think If I let this age for a year or two it would have been 5's across the board. Stellar stuff!

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Photo of Truh
4.02/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wore all of my bling with this one on 12/10/2004. 1 pt. 9.0 fl. oz. corked and caged bittle poured twice in a sweet Allagash glass.

Huge plume subsides to an active, fine mesh of lightly singed matrix. Impressive, succulent mahogany hue that is quite deep and can’t be penetrated. Plum and raisins are huge on nose with an acidic malt tinge and red licorice thrown in – aroma is quantifiable nine inches away. Molasses sweetness with a juniper hit and a port-like front that is blasted through with a pile driver of malty alcohol that subsides quite neatly. This seems to be so much more complex than others in style, and that much more enjoyable.

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Photo of poundboy
4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cuvee Van de Keizer- The American version seems to be "Grand Cru of the Emperor". This beer, by any name, would still be one heck of a brew. My bottle was the 2005 edition.

Appearance: In my tulip glass it sits, dark mahogany brown with a persistant though thin bone white head. When held to the light, it becomes a saphire jewel, indicating the treasure in store for the drinker.

Smell: Alcohol, sweet ripe fruit. No overly strong aromas, but the taste more than make up for it.

Taste: Wonderful. Very reminsent of Westy 12 and St. Bernadus Abt 12. Noticably sweeter than either of these, but perhaps that is just because my bottle is so green. Sweet fruit when it first touches your tongue, then warming, pleasant alcohol notes. finishes with a bit of bitterness, perhaps from a larger than normal addition of hops, perhaps some other belgian brewing magic.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with ample carbonation, and a hefty ABV, this one dances on the tongue more than most.

Drinkability: Very good but a bit too sweet to drink several of. Also, the $18 I paid for one 750 will prevent me from drinking as much of this as I would like.

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Photo of putnam
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3


Intense, plump perfume of bubblegum, vanilla and prunes rise from a red/brown, brilliant liquid. A pearlescent, milk chocolate-colored top retires as a translucent paint -- a sticky smear of cloudiness.
The prune aromas are key. They unlock Indian Oceans of spices. Brandy, cocoa, rum and coffee are intermixed with aromas of drawn cream and butter.
Whereas the aromas are dense with confectionary, cream-puff fruits, the flavors are boozy and brown. Cocoa, black tea, tawny port and intricate, peppery spicings conspire to pull a surge of alcohol-enriched sweetness into shape. Roasted hull tannins bind the opulent, brown sugar and plum fruits.
Woozy, laden with sweet incense, it is undrinkable now. All indications are that this will drink better in decades to come.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Label Lingo and bottle babble: 2003 Vintage. Grand Cru of the Emperor. Brewed 24th of Feb.

Easily released cork with a “fewp!” into a narrow Flying Fish tulip. A dark murky mahogany russett pour with plenty of yeasty chunks, topped with a khaki taunt cap settled down to a wafer thin coating. A few swirls easily arises a frothy cap which leaves nil trace of lace in the glass. Bumped up my 4 to 4.5 from the yeasty pour delivering heaps and heaps of brown tan head lace.

Initial scents are of ripe brown sugared bananas, some nutmeg and blended citrous fruits of orange and lemon. Some bright soft malty whiffs orange sherbert. Slightly rum boozy aromas. Olfactory delights abound.

First Swigs: Fruit cake malts and vast fruity characters. Complex flavors. Pecan pie and cherry tastes with dry pancake malts. Dry yet awl-kee-hawl lingering warming rummy aftertaste. Vinous, even aged malty English barleywine meets brown sugar.

Medium to full bodied with some welcome cola awl-kee-hawl feel.

Last Swigs: Dry warming Belgian quad like. Seems to be a bridge between Quad and Belgian Strong sans yeasty buttered bread overtones. (While reviewing, Francisweizen called to wish me a Happy New Year.) Flavors are chameleon like through the warming. Better thru the chilled, not cold stages. At 10 % ABV, a bit warming yet quite drinkable.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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Photo of aracauna
3.6/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one pours a dark brown with a good, tan head that that is slow to fade. The carbonation is high and it continues in sheets of bubbles long after the pour. The aroma is heavy in overripe and dried fruits with a noticeable alcohol presence. The body is very sweet, almost cloying and heavy in the overripe bananas and raisins. Perhaps it woudl be a tad better if it were dried out a touch, but it’s possible the alcohol would be too strong and unbalance the beer that way.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
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 BenConnery
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I'm not sure about this vintage as this was shared with me from a friend of a friend's aging shelf.
One sip and I really liked the guy!!!!
Deep deep red with a light tan head, the aroma was that lovely dark brown sugar, spicey, fruity belgian style that could almost be a liquer.
The first mouthfull blew me away. I suspect this had been sitting for a while as it had really smoothed out and presented all the flavours in a great balance.
You could taste the malt that gave this beer it's strength but in no way did it overpower the brew.
There where so many flavours competing I don't have the knowledge or palate to name them all. Lovely caramel sugar taste, spices and christmas pudding fruits or something similar.
This was a truly exceptional beer for me, even from a country that has produced so many.
The only bad thing about this beer was the fact that there where other people who had to share it... (very selfish I know but it was really tasty...) At 11% or whatever it is you couldn't get through too many but all the better to let it age I suppose...

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Photo of maxpower
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 corked and caged 750ml bottle, pours deep cloudy reddish-brown, foamy tan head that lasts and clings to the sides of my glass, sweet malty, chocolate and brown sugar aroma. Dark chocolate, fruity and yeasty flavors, full body, perfect creamy mouthfeel, finishes sweet. This is an awesome ale.

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Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (Blue) from Brouwerij Het Anker
Beer rating: 4.3 out of 5 with 1,898 ratings