Azrael | Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
187 Ratings

Brewed by:
Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Virginia, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly called Gargamel.

Added by on 06-20-2009

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 187 |  Reviews: 36
Reviews by mjh0527:
Photo of mjh0527
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

More User Reviews:
Photo of biegaman
3.72/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Azrael, a name popular folklore attributes to the Archangel of Death, a beer brewed by an outfit called "Devils Backbone", despite sounding dark and satanic is actually bright and cheerful looking. And its clarity, dainty bubbles, and flashy highlights are commendable. Wrapped by a halo of virgin white foam this has, if anything, an angelic appearance.

Somewhat unusual for a "Belgian inspired golden ale", this aroma doesn't have the immediate onslaught of peppery phenols and fruity esters. It does, however, have the wholesome, comforting scent of warm white bread and an obvious amount of sweetness. A clean malt bill and subtle yeast nuances makes for a nice introduction.

Those pleasant notes of crackers and candi sugar are equally appreciated on the palate as they are in the nose. It's an approachable, very easy-going ale though it does give some indication to its strength (7%). It may be too strong for some, but those familiar with Belgian ales won't have a problem (and have likely come across much harsher examples).

Still, there's the very perceivable sensation of refined white sugar in the mouthfeel. Some of the fruit esters start to seem too real as well (like drinking spoiled apple cider or munching down on rotting pears). None of this is noticeable at first but it becomes a bit more of a concern as the beer loses it chill (a corresponding "warming" sensation also ensues).

Brewing Belgian ales properly requires knowledge of advanced calculus - most brewers outside of Belgium have only rudimentary algebra. Azrael does a better job than most - I'd put it about on par with some of the more popular Flemish and Walloon brands. It also makes a highly enjoyable tipple in its own right. A sixer is a deal with the Devil (Backbone Brewing Co.) worth making.

 1,792 characters

Photo of Jason
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Thin white lace, perfect clarity to show off the pale golden hue. Some phenols, ripe pear, melon rind, spice, and yeast in the nose and on the palate. Kiss of alcohol after the first sip, drying finish with spicy and fruity tones. Faint bubblegum. So it hits the bells an whistles of a Belgian style brew though perhaps a little to clean in some aspects yet the phenols play a bigger part than they should have perhaps.

 465 characters

Photo of Mantooth
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of dmk91
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of chinchill
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle.
Pours clear light golden with a small and weak head. Minimal lacing.
Modestly attractive aroma features both bready malts and fruity/spicy notes.
The flavor follows.
Light body and medium-light carbonation.

 223 characters

Photo of Samichez
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of richkrull
3.46/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.66/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a pretty golden color with a quarter of a finger of white foam that completely dissolved away into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Malty, yeasty, and fruity, the typical aromas of a Belgian pale ale. Notes of freshly baked sourdough bread, clove, pineapple, slight notes of banana and musty barnyard aromas.

Taste: Slightly malty, but very yeasty (as Belgian pale ales tend to be). Slightly fruity and slightly hoppy. Notes of freshly baked sourdough bread accompanied with some spices, such as clove, cardamom, black pepper, and ginger. There are also some subtle fruit flavors of pineapple and banana. The beer finished with some subtle hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and refreshing with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 7.0%, there is no alcohol presence on the palate.

Overall: I’m not usually a fan of Belgian pale ales, or many pale ales at all, but I’m a huge fan of the Devil’s Backbone Brewery, and surprisingly, I really like this pale ale. It has a great balance between the malt, the yeast, and the hops, accented by some really interesting spices and fruit flavors. I’m definitely getting a few bottles of this again! Another killer beer from Devils Backbone, my favorite Virginian brewery!

 1,355 characters

Photo of ChadA83
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of Loveyourbeer
2.75/5  rDev -24.7%

Photo of hyoung41
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of whitecluster69
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of BrewsOverHoes
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of hophugger
3.04/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of arthurbdavis
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of cwd
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of TheStig
3.13/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the bottle to the glass, a clear light amber with a finger-half finger head. Very little lacing. Playfully active bubbles sparkling throughout.

A slight touch of pineapple notes in the scent, some other gentle floral and sweet herbal elements, but nothing distinguishable.

Nothing overpowering or prominent, and that's a little disappointing. The usual malt and wheat tastes are present, but... I don't know... I'm searching for some taste to build on, but it's not there. Inoffensive.

Feels quite lovely on the tongue, the carbonation is pleasing and somewhat soothing.

For something that's named after the angel of death, I was expecting something a little more... well, *more*. It's inoffensive, but it's just not impressing me. I'll pass on it in the future.

 773 characters

Photo of Swift989
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Treyliff
4.04/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- served in a goblet, pours a clear and bright golden color with a small creamy white head, short retention leaves just a ring of foam after it settles

S- slightly phelonic yeast, big bready and doughy notes, floral aromas with a bit of light fruit

T- fruity notes of apple and pear, sweet Belgian yeast, honey, floral and herbal hop notes, sweet-yet-dry finish with just a bit of clean alcohol at the end

M- medium body and carbonation, creamy mouthfeel and finish, alcohol is barely noticeable. This drinks way too easily for an 8% beer

O- well balanced with nice apple/pear notes, superb drinkability and brilliantly hidden alcohol, very refreshing on tap.

 664 characters

Photo of Links41
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Hockey_Fan
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of zp6167a
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of BleauxLeaux
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%

Photo of Magery
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Azrael from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 187 ratings