Diabhal | Rabbit's Foot Meadery

21 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Rabbit's Foot Meadery
California, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Fermented with traditional Belgian barley, yeast and candi sugar + generous amount of the finest honey.

Added by Todd on 12-18-2008

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Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 39
Photo of scottoale
4.25/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml. brown bottle with flip-top and a label depicting El Diablo in leprechaun attire, drinkin' out of a chalice. The brew pours out a honey amber-gold with a red tint. Small white head fizzles quickly to a ring, patch and some lace that's delicate, yet sparce.

Sweet fruit, honeysuckle, honey and the likes, fill the nose. Very floral and very fruity, through and through. It smells as sweet as night blooming jasmine and similar.

Very sweet light malts and honey run the show in this brew. Not much in the hop dept. and the alcohol is very subdued for a significant 8.2% ABV. Different for this style, it's got a light to medium body at best and the sweetness of a Belgian Triple and then some. Feels good in the mouth, smooth and supple, with a mellow zip from the faint carbonation. Overall this is a very easy drinker if you like sweet and don't care about hops. Interesting brew.

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Photo of 4000qtrap
3.87/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Source/Serving: 16oz. Bottle. No expiration date.

Smell: Mostly honey, some citrus hops and apple, carmel, and alcohol.

Taste: Very sweet, but with very limited complexity at first. Mostly honey and caramel. Moderate bitterness (orange peel) in the middle balances things out though. As the beer warms quite nice yeasty and fruity notes develop which are very nice. Mouthfeel is thick. Moderately low carbonation which fits nicely. Finish is yeast and caramel that lingers forever.

Notes: At first I was quite disappointed by the complexity of this brew but by the end I was a pretty big fan. Actually a very big fan. It is quite s unique style and well worth a try. Interesting that Braggot isn't a BA beer style since I personally wouldn't compare this the BSPA....its much more trippel - or frankly, even dubbel - to me.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.77/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - This poured a beautiful bronze in color with some dark brown hues and was topped with a fluffy, yellow-white head.

Smell - This is a classic combination of sharp Belgian spicing, one of the best coriander scents I've ever smelled, a nice malt backbone if a bit grainy, and some light sugary sweets.

Taste - This was a bit of a disappointment. The spicing was stale at the taste, the malts that smelled a bit grainy turned out to be a lot grainy, and the sugar was overpowering. I still think this was a good drink but it let me down at the taste. I was hoping that the sweets would be, well, more like natural bee's honey but it wasn't even like cheap Winn-Dixie honey. We all know the historical combination of beer and honey but this was far short of a classic.

Mouthfeel - I enjoyed the medium body but the carbonation was a bit weak.

Drinkability - I liked this beer but it was just so-so and not a terrific BSPA like I was expecting after seeing and smelling it.

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Photo of chumba526
3.77/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appears cloudy red in color with a small off white almost tan colored head.

I smell a bit of a rich honey like flavor. I get a bit of a sour nose. There is a mild fruity Belgian yeast smell to the beer as well.

It tastes initially a bit sweet. There is pronounced, strong honey like flavor. I get a fruity smell. There is a mild citrus and grape like flavor. There is a mild semi-sweet bread like flavor. I get a bit of a Belgian yeast flavor but it is fairly muted by the strong sweet honey flavor.

There is a smooth mouthfeel to the beer and there is a low carbonation.

The drinkability is not bad. The beer is very easy to drink. It is very smooth and is not offensive. However I am not driven to have more than one glass of this ale.

Overall a pretty unique tasting beer. I am not sure how to grade this as this beer is so different than any I have had before. It is not the best beer but it is quite enjoyable. I enjoy the unique taste of this beer but it is not my favorite.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.73/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

Pours a hazy honey amber, which lightens to golden when backlit. The head builds to a half-finger of creamy ecru, but dies away just as quickly, leaving a bit of lace in its wake. The smell is mild, with hints of honey, hops, and even a bit of caramel and toffee. The taste begins heavy on the honey, with a slight twinge of bitterness behind it; the caramel comes near the back end, bolstered by a swan song of honey-based sweetness. The body initially feels as though it will weigh you down, but it reveals itself as lighter than pictured. Coupled with the nice bit of carbonation and velvety smoothness, this brew stands as highly drinkable (almost too highly for its ABV...).

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Photo of Reidrover
3.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Swing top 16 oz bottle from "Lifesource" Salem. $5.49 Actually a nice slightly hazy bright copper hued ale with a small yet persistent off white head. Reasonable 'Belgian" type yeast aromas, slight barnyard, earthy..with a tinge of banana and bubble gum. Taste is mainlly malty with some hay and dough and clove. emi sweet i guess from the honey. Quite enjoyable on the palate..soft carbonation works well. Overall not bad at all. i certainlly enjoyed.

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Photo of SHODriver
3.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a deep amber into a duvel tulip with a monsterous and dense slightly off white head with excellent retention
S: smells sweet with plenty of fruity esters, a little yeasty, some honey aroma, and a bit of bready malt
T: sharp up front with some fruity ester flavor from the yeast, some apple skin, strong honey flavor at times, candi sugar, and a bit of alcohol. swallow brings more honey sweetness, another dash of fruitiness, and a slight bitterness. not a lot of malt in the flavor
M: high and prickly carbonation over a medium mouthfeel. slightly astringent finish
O: I can't get a feel for this beer. it has good complexity, an interesting flavor profile and a nice twist on the style. Carbonation is too high and the alcohol isn't very well masked. It doesn't taste bad either but the alcohol is far too apparent. It's tasty and it interests me but it isn't extraordinary.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Here's an interesting pick I found the other day. Apparently a beer made by a company known for its mead. I've had honey-infused beer a long time ago, but I thought another chance should be on its way. Poured from a 16oz bottle into a chalice.

Pours a strong amber color with very little carbonation overall. Didn't expect a head at all, to be honest, what with the high ABV and honey, but there was a little ring that persisted for quite some time. This looks a lot like your average DIPA, and its syrupy, dense appearance would no doubt make it readily disguised.

The aroma has some honey, but not as much as I expected. There's a brown sugar/caramel infused smell no doubt influenced by the malts, but there is a little bit of spiciness and sweetness that manages to creep its way through. I expected the honey to be more overblown here, but there isn't much going on other than the malt character, and perhaps the boozy character. Disappointing.

The flavor and feel, on the other hand, to make up for whatever seems to have gone lost in the aroma. While the initial flavor is malty, caramel-y, and slightly boozy as the aroma was, there's a honey flavor that manages to finally creep up in a rather playful way. First it tastes like a strong ale low on hops, and then, eureka! it fills the mouth with a warm, pleasant taste of honey that's as fresh as you'd like it. While the feel is quite astringent towards the finish, it's smooth overall and easy to swallow. It *does* seem a bit unbalanced overall, and I think the high alcohol is the culprit in this situation.

Was a worth a try for experimentation, but at $5.99 a bottle, I don't think I'll be revisiting this any time soon. The flavor is definitely the highlight of this beer, as I enjoy the honey cascade, but I might try their less stronger, seemingly more balanced "bière de miel" when I want to pick up another honey ale. Or, even better, try their meads, as they seem to know perfectly well what to do with honey!

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Photo of TruePerception
3.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Previous review, transferred from beer journal)

Red Branch Diabhal: Belgian-style braggot, no head;

Appearance: cross between liquid honey and apple juice;

Smell: buckwheat honey, slight green tea;

Taste/Mouthfeel: faint hoppy bitterness, slight yellow apple, faint honey, very light carbonation;

Pretty good.

Poured into a pint glass.

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Photo of biancasaur
3.43/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Nice amber color and thick, creamy head, which dissipated quickly. (The bottle does say there's a thick head and fantastic Belgian lace --- when poured from the tap.) :)

Sweet honey (which, hey, I was expecting!), apple, very slight banana, and a fresh, clean character (I was put in mind of chlorine). Pleasant and not very complex.

Honey and sugar. Mostly sweet, with slightly tart overtones -- some caramel and apple. Alcohol character is subtle, coming through as a rum-like tone. Slightly fizzy, thin & watery mouthfeel - this could be because I expected it to be thick and syrupy.

This beer is not very complex, but very drinkable. It's also got a lovely aftertaste. Something about it is really accessible, like something I'd pour for someone who's never been into beer -- I loved mead before I loved beer, and I would have loved this back in those days, too. Yum! I would get this again if I wanted something sort of like mead but sort of like beer.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was a new change.

Appearance- amber color, transparent

Smell- honey, citrus, floral notes

Taste- sweet, honey

Mouthfeel- no carbonation

Drinkability- pretty good, It was something new and I enjoyed it. The only thing I didnt really like was the carbonation but other than that it was pretty good.

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Photo of olmatty
3.35/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- Pours a deep brown gold color with a light head.

Smell- Whiff of alcohol and honey

Taste- Sweet honey and a brandy-like quality. The Belgian yeast is prevalent.

Mouthfeel- Smooth and moderately carbonated.

Drinkability- Pleasant and tasty. One is enough for any session. It doesn't surprise me that this beer comes from a meadery, it has a very mead-like quality. Kind of a hybrid I guess. Worth trying for sure.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.01/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Oktoberfest orange with several streams of slow and steady carbonation leading up to a fluffy cap of golden beige foam that filled half the glass on a high-altitude pour. A BSPA with a generous amount of honey should be honey gold. More lace would be nice too.

The aroma is woefully underpowered. Guessing the correct style would not have been difficult if blinded, it would have been impossible. Sweeter than usual pale malts is the lackluster olfactory bottom line. An average score here is being kind.

Diabhal doesn't have much flavor either. On a good note, it does taste like a beer-mead mixture and the alcohol is masked pretty well. Unfortunately, the Belgian yeast is an underachiever and adds almost none of the typical golden fruit and spice of the style. Rabbit's Foot calls the beer tripel-like, but no matter.

To get a general idea of the flavor, think strictly average Belgian pale ale that is sweeter than normal, less hoppy than normal, and less yeasty than normal... with more honey notes than normal. There is nothing to get excited about here. Nothing at all.

Despite a relatively healthy escape of CO2 on crown cracking and an initial four finger head, it didn't take long for the beer to feel bubble-deficient. Things deflate quickly on contact, while staying just short of flat.

Adding a generous amount of honey to a BSPA/tripel sounds like it might work, but it did not work in this case. Diabhal ('Devil' in Gaelic) is way too wimpy and cookie cutter plain to make a positive impression. Pretty cool label, and the swing-top bottle is a nice touch, but that's where it ends.

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Photo of Zorro
3/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Clear amber colored beer with no head formation.

Flowers and a little sour smell Bee pollen and oranges. Little bit floral but really this is a flower beer.

Taste starts out sweet with honey and melon flavor; there is a slight sour aftertaste. Flowers and honey are detectable. Orange aftertaste lingers.

Mouthfeel is OK.

It's OK but think I prefer regular Belgian beer.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
2.99/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I honestly bought a bottle of this so I can have the flip top bottle when I'm done with it for my homebrew.

Pours a honey color. No head or lacing whatsoever.

Smells of honey,citrius and floral notes. Some Belgian yeastyness.

Tastes pretty sweet. Not a fan of the sweetness but it is keeping my interest because it tastes like a mead mixed with a Belgian tripel. Very different.

Mouthfeel is too flat. Needs more carb.

Overall don't think I will buy it again. At least I get to keep the cool bottle.

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Photo of flexabull
2.94/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cool looking swing top bottle, I have to admit, the design was part of the reason why I went for this bottle in the store, not to mention it was a beer I didn't recognize.

Pours a cloudy gold color with a faint white head. Bottle says this leaves "fantastic Belgian lace", I don't see it...

Aromas are of honey, yeast, and light peppery spices.

Taste is thick, sweet, and definitely of honey. I pick up a touch of candied sugars, some cream, and a little spice, but not much else other than thick sweet honey flavors.

Mouthfeel is OK, the thickness is nice, but I think this needs more carbonation.

Drinkability? Just a bit... it's not bad. But it's not really good either. Very pedestrian beer, that seems to be all about the honey and not much else.

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Photo of bargerking
2.83/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle poured into whiskey glass. Pour was a little thick. No head or lace. Everthing looked flat. Smell was really fruity. Mostly grapefruit and apple. Taste is about the same with a odd fruit zest that I could not identify. The honey starts to really stand out after swallow and lingers with taste. The alcohol wasnt masked that well and seemed a little boozey. This seemed like a thick hard cider that almost tasted flat... I didnt find this beer very enjoyable. I think this beer would better ice cold as I tasted more booze as it warmed up. A odd twist for a Belgian but it just didnt do anything for me...

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Photo of goodbyeohio
2.42/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

i must say, i was really intrigued when i saw a real deal belgian beer on the mead shelf. apparently, some meadery decided they had the chops to bust into the world of abbey/golden/farmy etc.. but with honey? eh, not so sure.. let's sample.

orange pour, a little bit of swirly head and no lacing. ok, just ok. smells sweet.. i can see the honey, but franky, i smell more maltiness. some wet paper, some hot oatmeal. odd descriptors i know, but somehow belgian in its inspiration.. not too far off base but not appetizing either.

WHOAH sweet. apple cider anyone? correction: apple cider with honey and MORE honey. yeah, not really a successful belgian by any stretch of the imagination. mouthfeel isn't as thick as you think it would be.. but the intense diabetic spike in flavor limits drinkability severely.

i respect RFM for attempting this, but hopefully they go back to the drawing board in/re: beer or stick to what they know. definitely not the worst beer but certainly an epic belgian beer fail.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
2.34/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

This was a weird find...It was stored in the mead and cider section of the store, not with the beer. Probably because these guys mostly purvey mead. This is damn interesting and halfway decent, which is to day it's not that good. Pours a rich dark amber, with some head and a lot of carbonation. Almost soda like, and I think it's the heavy "soda" qualities that ultimately bring this down a notch. Aroma is Belgian-y and sweet. Little or no hop character. Flavor instantly hits you as a Belgian strong ale - this is really a beer and not something else. The honey is very forward in this. It's almost cloying in its sweetness, but it is just the good side of too much. Spritzy in the mouth and a little too soda-ish. At $5.49 for 16oz of 8.2% brew, it's probably a decent value, but this is really a novelty only. Drink it if you see it, but maybe a half-pour.

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Photo of mactrail
2.27/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Dark amber with only slight carbonation. When I opened the cap there was no perceptible sound, so I was relieved when I could see some bubbles as I poured.

Expecting honey and sweetness, the first sip is shocking. Very tart and peculiar. It is just plain sour, not tart but with a cidery note of bad homebrew. Not the "sweet 'n' sour" flavor I associate with bacterial infections. If this is any conceivable version of Belgian Strong Ale I would be surprised.

If you like Berlin style wheat, and you like your mead fermented dry to the bone and beyond, you might like this one.

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Photo of Philousa
2.27/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A thin layer of white head sits atop an orange, dark gold brew. Smells of sweet, almost sour fruit; grape, apple. Sweet candy sugar and a hint of toasty malt. Taste is sweet. I get some bready characters, fruit, candy, a little yeast flavor, and bitterness at the end. Mouthfeel is middling, tending towards a thicker, malty feeling. More carbonation would be nice.

This beer was nice at first, when it was cold. It got pretty sweet when it warmed up a bit, and a bit overwhelming. I'm all for having complexities and hints of sweet flavors, but there is not nearly enough bitterness to even it out. This doesn't really fit with the style well due to the honey used in the process. I'm not a fan of honey or mead, but if you are, you'd probably like it.

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Diabhal from Rabbit's Foot Meadery
3.24 out of 5 based on 39 ratings.
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