De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Pinhead)
De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)

De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Pinhead)De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Pinhead)
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Belgian Strong Pale Ale
4.05 | pDev: 12.1%
De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Pinhead)De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Pinhead)
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Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 58
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to wethorseblanket for sharing this one at jmgrub's birthday tasting.

Pours a hazy honey orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots and streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, and a slight amount of Brett. Taste is much the same with a slightly sour flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of Brett bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but fairly mild with the Brett.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From: Friar Tuck's, Savoy, IL
Date: None on bottle
Glass: New Belgium globe glass

De Proef's Pinhead Primitive Ale is a complex mixture of sweet, savory, and bitter flavors, all from the mixture of Brettanomyces in toffee-colored wort. While to me these are winter beers to me, I could drink it in the spring or fall as well. Though I enjoyed this less than the Surly Bird version (at least how I remember it), it's still a very good beer for those wanting a bit more Brettanomyces presence in their Belgian ales. I wish the series was more widely available, as I'd certainly pick one of these up every so often.

The beer pours a 1cm tall head of off-white bubbles, not particularly dense, made up of medium to large-sized bubbles. Retention is rather poor, fading rather quickly to a thin ring around the glass, and leaves modest lacing in its descent, mostly a few dots and lines scattered haphazardly. Beer's body is a fairly bright orange-red color, hazy from sediment, with light bringing out brighter orange-gold tones. Carbonation is visible, though limited in number and quite sluggish.

Aroma is brettanomyces heavy at first, opening up with some burnt electrical wires or scorched plastic; moving into musty basement, wet hay, slightly gamy, mushroom and white potato scents; but then becoming somewhat sweet, with light brown sugar and fruit esters in the close. Very complex and well done, it's surprising that the combination of these scents aren't off-putting.

Front of palate picks up modest burnt electrical wires or scorched plastic with mild brown sugar or toffee sweetness. Mid-palate finds continued Brettanomyces-influenced burnt electrical wire flavors combined with a surprising savory herbal component (faint bay leaf, rosemary, ginger? reminds me at times of a gruit), basement must, and a base of sweet brown sugar or toffee-like malt. Back of palate finds modest bitterness with Brettanomyces-influenced burnt electrical wiring and wet hay, brown sugar sweetness, and a bit of ethanol. Leaves an aftertaste of fairly bitter, Brettanomyces-influenced must, wet hay, burnt electrical wires, and hops(?).

Beer is medium bodied, with medium-low levels of carbonation, creating a fairly smooth beer, capable of being sipped or drunk more quickly depending on one's mood. It is a bit undercarbonated, though, resulting in a somewhat stagnant feel throughout the drinking session. Closes semi-dry, with mild stickiness lingering across the palate.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.36/5  rDev -17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nearly opaque marigold color with near a fingers width head after pouring. All foam is fizzled out after a few minutes.

Floral spring field in sunshine smell - chamomille and ginger spice in beer lingo I guess. Wet hay and a Bretty sweet tang.

Aroma was the highlight of this beer. Tastes like watered down ginger ale and wet hay.

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Photo of Elevator
2.3/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pour & Aroma: Some floral, dark fruit in there. Musty raisins, plums. No head. Cloudy chocolate-brown color, very non-opaque.

Taste: Mild flavors, nothing stands out. Some watery maltiness. Light hop bite on the back end, touches of planty sweetness, but nothing nearly ringing of the fruits I got in the aroma. Over time and temp no notable improvement. Tastes very musty and flavors are all washed out. Despite 9% ABV not really tasting that alcohol in there at all, goes down relatively smooth.

Verdict: Pretty disappointing. Was hoping for a pleasant surprise despite reviews, but this definitely isn’t one of my favorites. Very very watered down.

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Photo of Gavage
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: golden yellow in color with a short 1/2" head that falls quickly. Spots of lace develop during the session.

Smell: lemon zest, yeast, and some grassiness is pleasant on the nose.

Taste: nice malt level with some lemon zest, tart green grapes, earthiness, and a decent bitterness. A bit of sourness arrives late while swallowing. Some alcohol warming in noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp from start to finish. Long aftertaste as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: this is a slow sipping beer. More than one or two glasses would be hard to pull off in a session.

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Photo of brownbeer
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle had some age on it, at least a year.

I didn't really care for the way this one looked. It had a lot of yeast chunks and it looked like murky cider. Everything else, though, was right on.

Funky yeast nose with a ton of sweet fruits. Pear and peach were most notable with heritage apples.

The taste didn't really have any suprises after the nose, though banana became increasingly apparent after it warmed. Pineapple, peach, pear, basically fresh tropical fruit.

Pretty solid, though not outstanding, funky Belgian.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.29/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer has been living in my basement for about 1 year, only now rediscovered by me as I moved some boxes around. 750ml bottle, synthetic cork and authentic cage. On popping the cork, there is a lot of carbonation, and as feared the foam immediately rushes out of the bottle. I was prepared, and opened it near a sink just in case. After pouring into a glass and keeping an eye on the bottle no further mishaps occurred.

The beer is hazy golden color with a huge pillowy head, lots of lacing and floaties. The main aromas are based on brettanomyces, adding new meaning to barnyard traits. Very very funky and "dark" smelling, this may have waited around too long. It's possible this beer is several years old, as I don't know how long it was on the shelf before I bought it. But wild ales and lambics often have aging potential, at least that's what I've thought, so maybe this dark funkiness is just what was intended...

The taste is way complex, earthy and moldy, I guess like an aged cheese. A little pepper-like spiciness in the after-taste, but mostly a lingering bret flavor not too distant from aged Orval.

The body is soft and the carbonation presents more as creaminess than spiciness. Easy drinking if you like the odd flavors.

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Photo of GJ40
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a 750ml bottle in a chalice.

Golden and very hazy with a moderate white head and chunks of sediment. A slightly sour and funky aroma with fruit; pears in particular. The flavor starts a bit sour and funky but then turns sweet. A moderate consistency with a moderate to high carbonation.

This is a good beer but not especially compelling to me. Maybe I need more time to get to know wild beers more.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$10.49 for a 750ml corked and caged bottle. Pours out to a cloudy pale golden, forming a small white head with poor retention and no lacing. Moderate carbonation, not overly brisk as most Belgians are. The aroma is heavenly. Tart apples, barnyard, sour funk, dusty basement. The mouthfeel is lightly spritzy with a medium dense body, flittery champagne like carbonation and light all around. The taste opens with tart tropical fruits, sour funk, and has a moderately strong herbal hop bitterness. Minimal vinegar funk, and no off flavors. The finish has quite a bit of wheat cracker flavor to it. Kinda like a BSPA fermented with Brett. Not very sweet. I love the combination of sweet and sour in lambics, and this could use a tad more sweetness for me to really enjoy it as much as it smells. Still, a good beer, but probably not worth the price on this side of the pond.

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Photo of Naugled
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

slightly hazy orangy yellow color, high carbonation, but not a large head

sour notes in the aroma with orange citrus base

no sour in the taste, barnyard, fresh dirt, earthy notes up front, some sweetness but also crisp bitterness.

medium body with a soft and dry feeling

very drinkable, does not seem like a 9% beer, drinks like a lower ABV beer, be careful

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip.

4.0 A: Opaque glowing golden straw color. Some particulates. One finger of creamy white head with average retention and plenty of lacing.

4.5 S: Nose is full of sour over-ripe fruit including peach, pear, and green apple. Tangy and pungent hops. Bit hit of Belgian yeastiness.

4.5 T: This is one damn tasty brew. Slight clove and pepper from the yeast, but it's minimal. The brett comes through and mixes well with the base beer. There a hay and grassiness to it as well. Good hop bitterness and some pungent flavor. Peachy fruitiness to cap it off.

4.5 M: Medium body. Mix of smooth and biting carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

4.5 D: I can't imagine this is 9%. It drinks like a 4% brew. Complex and won't get boring.

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Photo of flannelman808
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Having been told that all of these flemish primitives were the same beer with different labels... I hereby reject that notion.

A: This one pours a golden amber color and has frothy bone white head. Good head retention and good lacing.

S: YEAST funky hay and some barnyard on the nose. Also I can detect some zest of lemon and spice (peppercorn maybe).

M: This beer is frothy and runny. There is not a ton of carbonation going on but enough to keep the tongue happy.

T: I get some sourdough bread with zest of lemon. Some bitterness finishes the flavor, this is very complex and extremely unique. The citrus notes break up the mud and earthy character of this beer. But some spice, and a tiny hint of sour presence brings the palate back to the bitter side of things on the finish....weird.

D: Decent drinkability for a 9% Alcohol By Volume beer. But given its weirdness I wouldn't have too many. This is a marvelous Beer tasting event beer, something different to break things up and confuse people!

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Photo of burnstar
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy light gold with a medium persistent white head. Smell is very nice with notes of apples bananas and cloves. Some yeastiness and earthiness as well. Taste is somewhat sweet with some wild yeast tang in the middle and some herbal floral hops in the finish. Earthy again and a bit phenolic. Spicy and light fruit notes. Pretty balanced and quite tasty. Medium bodied. Finishes a bit dry although the alcohol isn't very noticeable at all. Easy to drink. Overall a very nice and complex Belgian pale.

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Photo of jampics2
3.18/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle @ Buckeye Sour Tasting 2009. Wasn't a sour at all, but one of the many nice wild ales that were available. Overall, was in the middle of the pack for the three we tried - the Surly Bird and Demon Fish were the other two. This wasn't as uninteresting as the Fish but lacked the confluence of the 'bird! Subtle differences added up and the Surly Bird was the best of the bunch!

A = Straw colored, nice amount of carbonation.

S = Most "wild" smelling of the bunch. All of the series are similar, but this has more IBU's apparently. I guess the brett bugs are hopheads, because they have been doing their funky thing in this beer's nose.

T = Has a bit more bitterness, but pretty much a funky ride with a malt center. It goes -> Wild, Light Malt/Cereal, weird bitter for a second, then more Wild.

M = Lighter than I expected. Bottle carbed. OK for the style but not world class IMO.

D = Interesting, but wouldn't want more than a small glass. Not a very drinkable beer b/c of flavor profile.

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Photo of rye726
4.68/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another impressie offering from De Proef. Pours a golden straw with a creamy beige head. Excellent lacing and retention. Fantastic nose has a big, musty barnyard funk presence. Old wood, moldy soil, horse blanket and leather. Citrus fruit, bready malts, caramel and a good amount of floral hops as well. Taste is equally delicious. Big candy malts, bitter hops, orange, peach, lemon, apricot and a musty funk that lasts through the finish. Crisp, refreshing body is very well carbonated. Top knotch.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a pale straw, approaching golden colored, with a massive head, loose clingy bubbles and a little pillow of a cloud on top. As the sediment pours in, it creates a cascade of haziness. I kind of like it. Smells kind of funky, like cat piss, with a kind of a spicy/earthy smell (hops maybe?) - kind of peppery as well. And just a tiny bit of bready sweetness behind it. Smells nice, but I'm not sure what to classify it as. The taste actually reminds me of a beer I made once, a hoppy pale that got infected, but with a much stronger alcohol presence. There's a nice malty, almost bready presence, additionally, kind of a melanoid/pilsener malt flavor. Then a kind of spicy hop presence hits, with a peppery, earthy, kind of late funk kicking in. I would bet that this tasted a bit lemony when it first hit the shelves thanks to the yeast, but now its presence has kind of faded - still just a bit of citrus here though. I can notice the alcohol in there somewhere, and it adds another layer to the flavor. This has a lot going on, but I kind of wish it was more funky (maybe some more age would help?). I love the mouthfeel of this. Very, very full bodied, but not thick and heavy, though when combined with a decent burst of carbonation it can feel like it's sticking to your throat. Really a delight to sip on. I found this very interesting overall. I would recommend it to someone with no other interests.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.63/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has a very slightly hazy golden yellow body with a sea of microbubbles gliding to a thick meniscus of snow white foam that last long after the glass is empty.

S- There is a bright floral horsey sweetness with pear blossoms and overripe pineapple aromas. The smell of beeswax comes through in the finish.

T- The smooth soft sweet hint of malt gives way to a soft white cheese flavor and a softly sweet honey malt flavor with notes of lightly toasted grain in the background. There are some soft mango notes that linger in the aftertaste a bit.

M- The light mouthfeel is almost airy with a tight cleaning fizz in the finish.

D- This beer is very floral and fruity with no real sour qualities at all. The wild fun flavors are still present and work well together with the sweeter qualities. Just amazing.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy golden orange with the thinnest white head that disappeared immediately.

S - Barnyard and funk with maybe a touch of sour apple.

T - Barnyard, green apple, slightly sweet Belgian pale aspects, touch of spicy clove and a lingering funk.

M - Medium mouthfeel and somewhat crisp even though it feels like there is little carbonation.

D - Not sure if the series is just getting old or if this one just emphasizes the funk but I am starting to grow tired of the series. Reminds me a lot of Demon Fish.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 corked and caged; synthetic cork says FP0108. Nice strong pop; into Ommegang chalice.

Pours with greater viscosity than expected - translucent eggshell head goes quickly. There's definitely some haze and some floaties in there.

Awesome ginger-spiced yeast electricity. At first, brett sourness is a little quiet but that hay and horse blanket character is welcome. Brightly spiced with a little pine hoppiness.

Let this one warm. At first, the funk is light, yet it's still dominant, with faint esters of coriander, clove ginger and orange peel. The horse blanket texture is quite huge for this one even though it is not overbearing. Well done.

I like the palate on this - the barnyard essence gives off a certain huskiness while the citrus acidity keeps it in balance.

Not an inherently drinkable style but this one works quite well. From what I've encountered of the De Proef Flemish Primitive series so far, it's been a positive experience.

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Photo of czfreeman
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a gorgeous golden effervescent gold capped by a two finger pillow of white Brett goodness.
Aromas of hay, Brett yeastiness, barnyard, musty wood, "horseblanket" lots of wheaty grassiness, wildflowers, haybales.
flavors of wildflower honeys, hays, yeasts, Brett, spicy white peppers, tons of complex fruity spiciness, pears ou poive.
mouthfeel is effervecently beautifully perfectionism, I can't wait to try Spoon Whacker, next on my De Proef wish list. If you are looking for stellar wild fermentated Belgian ales, drink from the professor himself!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"I don't wanna be a pinhead no more... "

--The Ramones

Rich golden amber with an orange juice infusion and a blizzard of yeast. The pearl colored crown is gloriously creamy, sticky and rocky at once. I swear that I can identify a Belgian ale by the head and lace alone.

The aroma is immensely enjoyable from afar... and from up close too. For some reason, the orchard fruity aspects of the nose are dominant from several feet away, while the funk is only assertive at a distance of several inches. Pinhead smells like a tremendous BSPA-wild ale hybrid that will be anything but a Brett bomb.

Delicious, sweet, sour, spicy, fruity, barnyardy, balanced, complexity personified. Those are my initial stream-of-consciousness impressions. Pinhead is probably the most BSPA-like and the least wild ale-like of all the Flemish Primitive Ales. Although I'd have to have them side-by-side to be sure, this beer is as good, if not better than, Surly Bird.

Specific flavors include sweet golden fruit (apricots, peaches and pears), a wonderful herbal quality that is difficult to identify (hops probably), pungent clove, cardamom and just enough Brettanomyces to add a sour-funky edge and to justify the Wild portion of the name. Every one of the ingredients contributes something of value.

What would a world-class ale be without a world-class mouthfeel? When it comes to high gravity Belgians, the best combine a clingy viscousness with an airy creaminess that is sublime when done right. This brewery does mouthfeels right more often than not.

Does De Proefbrouwerij plan to re-release any of the Primitive Wild Ales that have been brewed in years past. My vote would be for both Pinhead and Surly Bird. It's probably close to impossible to find at this point, but this beer is an easy recommendation for anyone who loves both BSPAs and Brettanomyces. If the Ramones had tasted this beauty, they would have changed their tune. Or at least their lyrics.

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Photo of jwc215
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy yellow with a thick white head that settles to a lasting cover. Trailing lacing sticks to glass.

The smell is of sour apple and sweet banana. Bready yeast in the back.

The taste is of sweet banana, orange and appleish sour. Candy sweetness with a spicy yeast background. Sweettart, dry finish.

Effervescent in a light to medium body.

Smooth and drinkable, especially for abv level, which is well-hidden in the taste (but creeps in afterwards). Nice - not as "wild" as I thought it would be.

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Photo of tboom29
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark golden in color, with a full white head that disappeared quickly.

Lots of belgian funk in the nose. Sweet fruitiness as well.

A little tart, but still quite mellow for the first taste. The yeast really comes through and is very enjoyable, gives a nice, fairly smooth mouthfeel. Some fruit/raisin in the back, along with some tart apple.

Overall a good flemish sour, definitely worth checking out.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.47/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Drab apricot juice with some haze to it and quite a bit of sediment. Head is a good two inches of snow white sudsy bubbles.

S: Oak, lemon juice, musty blanket, wet hay and over ripe yellow fruit.

T: Begins lightly malted reminding me of golden raisins and marmalade with brown sugar. Some anise, jasmine with lower levels of peach yogurt (aka brett) come next with floral moments adding additional spice. Bitterness arrives, more than your average run of the mill Belgium but not enough to detract from the drinkability. Frankly it adds some nice depth to the beer. Finishes with a lick of alcohol and mild maltiness.

M: Medium body with an average mouthfeel but good carbonation.

D: Good beer but something about it is lacking. Not that its unbalanced but I’m missing some pizzazz somewhere. Good but I don’t think I’d order it again.

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Photo of czechsaaz
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Really cool aroma that features a lot of fruit. I get apple right off and then grapes and plums. There's also a strong base malt and candi sugar aroma too. Very nice and complex with light hops and some bready yeast.

Light gold and perfectly clear with a big rocky and long lasting head, some lacing and nice rising carbonation bubbles.

Flavor is very malt dominant with a big dose of pilsner malt and some candi sugar. Good bitterness but no hop flavor. There's a little bit of fruity esters and fermentation character but it is really pretty clean. Doesn't have nearly the complexity of other iterations of Flemmish Primitive. Definitely hides the alcohol on the flavor. Still, I'm looking for more on the flavor side. It seems kind of one dimensional with the malt flavors.

Medium bodied with good creamy carbonation levels. Slight alcohol warmth on the back end.

Definitely a nice beer along the lines of Duvel and other strong Belgian Pales. It's just that I've been so blown away by some of the other versions of Flemmish Primitive that this one seems a little ordinary.

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De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale (Pinhead) from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 58 ratings