DC Brau Brewing Co.

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Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
3.82 | pDev: 10.73%
DC Brau Brewing Co.
District of Columbia, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Notes: A holiday high gravity Belgian Christmas ale brewed with cocoa nibs, cinnamon sticks, ginger, gingerbread, cherries and black rye with help from Randy Kuczor of P street Whole Foods D.C.
Reviews: 3 | Ratings: 19 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Birdmarg741
Birdmarg741 from Maryland

4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from growler into a tulip glass.

Mahogany color. Cherry brown in moderate ambient light, but bright red when held up to the light. Light head with minimal retention, melts into a thin line that clings to the edge of the glass for the remainder of the 30 minute drinking experience.

Very strong aroma. Ethanol is strong initially, but quickly overpowered by the wonderful smells of cinnamon, anise, ginger, and cherries, wrapped in chestnuts and toasted bread.

Sweet light cherry flavor first slides around the tip and sides of the tongue, then toasted nuts, spice, and grain take over the mouth. After swallow, any sweetness from the mouthful evaporates into a full toasty and smoky aftertaste that holds strong for about 5 seconds - so much that it truly feels like an entirely separate experience from the sip itself. The finish is clean once the smokiness fades - which is wonderful. I have never had a belgian strong with such a nice finish.

Low to medium carbonation, but the brew certainly tingles the tongue. The ethanol seems to shoot the aroma straight to the nose.

Overall, this is a wonderful holiday beer. Its flavor profile (from sip to aftertase) is extremely interesting, enjoyable, and balanced. Certainly try this beer if you get the chance!

Jan 01, 2014
Photo of 1sophrosyne1
1sophrosyne1 from Minnesota

4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted at the brewery and enjoyed from a growler in a snifter over an hour.

Pours a clear bright burgundy kissed with orange. The head is creamy ivory, initially thick, but with only fair retention. Lacing is ample, slippery with glycerine. Carbonation keeps feeding the ring that remains.

Roasted nuts and cherry are prominent on the nose. Pepper, anise, and dry cocoa on banana are there, too. Cinnamon dusted orange peel and just a squeeze of lemon are hiding in the background and come through in the back third of the flavor profile in a particularly fine and balancing way.

The nice thing about this winter wine is that it doesn't start right off so fruity sweet as others do. As a result, it's not so heady, even with the high ethanol content. The beginning is boozy, but smoothed over by toffee nut cream. Then raisin and date come in with anise and pepper for spices. Then it turns astringent with ginger, tart cherry, and a hint of aftertaste pine. When cold (which I prefer), there is a charcoal aftertaste that checks the fruit sweetness beautifully.

The mouthfeel is silky smooth, sliced with spices and just short of enough carbonation (especially as it warms). Still, it's not too heavy, and rather easy to drink--best when cooler.

I'll admit that I haven't drunk that many of these winter strongs, but this one is a favorite--mostly because it keeps sweetness in balance with good spice and nutty malt. It's tasty with holiday desserts as well by its festive self. Greater than the sum of its parts.

Jan 01, 2014
Photo of Smakawhat
Smakawhat from Maryland

3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured on tap into a tulip glass at Whole Foods bar.

Murky brown and yellow body, very light for a dark ale with a shaken up keg that probably needs to settle. Very light fluffy head, yellow marrow bone and fatty looking color, with a fluffy consistency and creamy egg top.

Big nose on this and large spice. Good dominant whiff of cocoa powder first with hot ginger following next. Some faint red cherry fruit to go with it. No Belgian sensing sweetness.

Palate has a very sharp sip which at first seems alcohol driven but is given more to the ginger and rye backbone spice. Spicy qualities explode with large ginger warmth and heat. Chocolate milky feeling but no silky qualities. Finish is powdery and with ginger bitterness that seems almost hop driven. No sense of sucrose sweetness which is fine with me.

Overall it is one heck of a spicey brew, with a rye malt that is amplified with cinnamon and ginger for amplification. Still its power is not out of control and its large abv is hardly noticeable making for real easy drinking.

Dec 19, 2013
Exaltation from DC Brau Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 19 ratings