Diabhal | Rabbit's Foot Meadery

39 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 39 |  Reviews: 21
Photo of bobosein
2.25/5  rDev -30.6%

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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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 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 EddieB
2.6/5  rDev -19.8%

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 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.

 757 characters

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 trocketsauced
3/5  rDev -7.4%

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.

 374 characters

Photo of Jhatwig
3/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of bigbankhank
3/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Chugbot
3/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of KidRagnarok
3/5  rDev -7.4%

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 t0rin0
3.25/5  rDev +0.3%

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.

 431 characters

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.

 306 characters

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.

 1,010 characters

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.

 344 characters

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.

 885 characters

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!

 1,985 characters

Photo of jreveles
3.5/5  rDev +8%

Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev +8%

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