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Obamagang Inauguration Ale | Brewery Ommegang

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Very Good
70 Ratings

Brewed by:
Brewery Ommegang
New York, United States

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Also known as Inauguration Ale 2009 & Ale 2009

Brewed in 2009 for the occasion of the Presidential Inauguration, Ale 2009 was brewed as a draft-only ale, similar to a stout but hinting at a porter. At 6.2% and full fo robust roasted malt and chocolate flavors, the ale was fortifying and highly drinkable. Brewed with Ommegang's house yeast and with a touch of Belgian Kriek, an underlying fruitiness added to its full-bodied and robust celebratory character.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 70 |  Reviews: 65
Reviews by Douglas14:
Photo of Douglas14
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yes I am biased towards the name but I will give this my best attempt at an unbiased review.

The beer pours basically black with slightly brown edges coming through. The head is gray and thick. It's my only knock on the appearance. I found it really weird to see such a gray head. other than the hue of the head, the physical appearance was incredible.

This is where the beer gets weird. My first couple of smells and sips I am head-over-heals for this beer. Loads of peanut butter and nuts. As I take more sips and smells, other weird flavors and aromas come through, most notably soy sauce. It's a big turn off and I can't stop thinking about it. Thankfully the awesomeness of the peanut butter helps keep my mind off the soy sauce as much as possible and I can enjoy this beer.

I feel this beer is very unlike Ommegang...I don't know why, but I feel the flavor and aroma profile aren't typical of what they like to put out.

Nevertheless, big props to putting it out in honor of our president.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Gavage
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: mahogony brownish in color with a 1/4" head that quickly fades. Nice lacing paints the glass.

Smell: malt sweetness and heavy roasted tones rise from the glass into the nose.

Taste: the roasted / burnt tones are quite predominent here. Thin malt sweetness, cherries, prunes, raisins, hints of bitter chocolate and a nice hop bitterness make up a unique beer.

Mouthfeel: lighlty crisp to start, smooth towards the finish. Aftertaste is long as the flavors stick to the tongue for a while.

Drinkability: decent but your tastebuds eventually grow a bit tired from the hearty roasted tones. Worth a try if you see it on tap.

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Photo of WesWes
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to almychristopher for this one:

It pours a dark brown/black color with a thick and creamy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice mix of American and Belgian. It's got a nice roasted/chocolate malt scent along with some dark fruit character and a fruity yeast aroma. The taste is much the same. It is a complex brew with loads of roasted malt character and a solid dark fruit/cherry presence. The yeast adds a wonderful finish with lots of fruit flavors. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a really nice stout. It's got that Belgian character that really puts a different spin on an old favorite.

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Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at BCTC. A chocolate cherry porter-esque beer.

A: The ale is a dark caramel chocolate color with a half a finger of white head.

S: The aroma is heavy with chocolate. The cherry, while evident, isn't as dominant.

T: The chocolate again drives the flavor, sweet with a mere sprinkling of cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate. Cherries are a nice compliment, a sweet and sour flavor that stands up against the chocolate. Dark roasted malts add a full flavor that supports the chocolate.

M: The ale is flavorful but not full. As a result, the chocolate and cherry both have time to register. A decent ale.

D: The ale is light enough, and a twist on Ommegang's normal line-up, that I was content to have multiple glasses.

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Photo of John_M
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's during 72 hours of Belgium.

The beer pours a dark blackish brown color with good head retention and impressive lacing. On the nose, this beer is very attratice, with aromas of coffee, chocolate and cherry. The cherry and chocolate are particularly pronounced, giving this beer a very attractive nose. The flavors on the palate generally replicate the nose, though the beer doesn't taste quite as good as it smells. Still, this is a very tasty beer, with no more then a medium bodied mouthfeel and good drinkability.

For a beer with only 6.2% alcohol, this beer certainly delivers a lot of flavor. Impressive.

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Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap at Coles. Creamy, fuller mouth porter-stout with kriek. Some chocolate, some cherry. Complex. The taste delivers what I didn't get in the aroma. Good balance. Dark colour, of course. The covered-up tap handle.Above average carbonation.

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Photo of wedge
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Tyler's, Durham.

Dark brown with a small beige ring of a head. Thin sheets of lazy, dripping lace. Aromas of milk chocolate, brownies, cherries, and berries...some Belgian yeastiness. Sweet chocolate malty flavor, roasty with less cherry than the smell. Again, some yeast. Sort of like those mystery chocolates in the heart shaped boxes where when you bite into one, it's got that cherry mousse-like stuff in it. It's kind of like that. Smooth with solid carbonation. Enjoyable overall, glad I got the chance to try it.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at a local beer bar. This beer, obviously a play on words, is named for the Inauguration of President Barrack Obama and for the brewery Ommegang. Very clear everyone.

Beer is black and thick, brown at the corners of the glass. Some lacing left on the glass as the head falls away. This beer has a full head.

The aroma is almost all roast with a hint of a fruity ester.

The flavor is a complex mixture of chocolate, some kind of cherry flavors, and strong roast / bitterness from the chocolate and roasted grains. Strong coffee late flavor (not aftertaste). Beer is a little thin and has a lactic / citric sourness to it (again with the cherries). Drinkability OK so is mouthfeel.

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Photo of Viggo
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Coles. Served in a goblet.

Pours a cloudy dark brown/black, some orange highlights in the edges, thin tan head forms, big bubbles, few lace spots on the glass, looks alright, good retention. Smell is neat, dark fruit and roast, cherries, light funkiness, chocolate, some caramel and brown sugar, dry roasted nuts, nice and fruity, pretty neat. Taste is similar, very dry and malty, yeasty, chocolate, roast, dry nuts, cherries, dark fruit, raisins, light bit of funkiness in the finish, very dry. Mouthfeel is light bodied with high carbonation, little bit too rough on the palate, very dry, but overall a pretty neat beer.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.57/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Walking into the Roadhouse last night, there was a sign on the door saying it would be "available soon". But, it was on the draft list, so I ordered one. Came served in a 10 oz goblet. Dark brown color. Little to no head. Slight candied sugar smell. Taste was a bit of a mystery. What were they going for? Tasted like a combo of a porter, a stout, and a Belgian ale. First sip showed some body like a porter, but then it finished nice and smooth like an ale. If Ommegang was just looking to make something different, they succeeded. Worth trying for the novelty, but I can see this as a one-off experiment only. Odd but interesting.

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Photo of hopdog
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's.

Poured a deeper brown color with red edges and an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of roast, chocolate, yeast, and some cherries. Tastes of chocolate, roast, cherries, caramel, and fruity. Lacing left on the glass.

Notes from and tasted on 3/4/09.

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Photo of FirstMan
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Armsby Abbey in Worcester, MA, right after watching the inauguration ceremony on a big screen at Mechanics Hall down the street.

Served in a tulip glass.

A: A deep, dark, cloudy brown color that borders on having little hints of purple in it. At pour, a strong, lightly cocoa head puffed out of the top of the glass. This slowly dissipated into good splotchy lacing on the glass.

S: Plum, tinny yeast, some roasted chocolate notes. Some degree of alcohol in the nose, but no more than any other good belgian.

T: On first sip, I was a bit surprised by hop bitterness, but this quickly mellowed out into a much more balanced malt front. I thought for a second about whether this was some kind of metaphor for Barack, but gave up after a bit. Mild spices, slight purple fruit - cherry, plum, raisin, some oaken chocolate tones as well. Overall, very nice and well balanced. The character evolved to more complexity as the beer warmed.

M: Full, somewhat silky, with a very light carbonation bite.

D: I had two. Second one was better than the first, partly because the bartender brought it to me just as Bush was getting on the helicopter to leave Washington for good.

I'll drink to that.

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Photo of pershan
3.18/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured a deep, dark brown with a thick, rocky tan head into a chalice. The aroma was of Belgian yeast and alcoholic esters. The taste was a bit astringent, with a big malt component and the bubble-gum Belgian yeast flavor. It seemed pretty good, but the finish was a bit unpleasant - too much bitterness that left an unpleasant taste in my mouth. Not sure if maybe this beer had been on tap for awhile - it seems a bit "old", if you know what I mean. Still, a nice tribute to the new Prez.

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Photo of jamie2dope
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared a big tower of this stuff with a few BAs at the Sunset Saturday night. Served in a tulip glass, there was little in the way of heading. Color was somewhere between a very dark brown and black. The nose was dominated by a milk chocolate smell. Someone else at the table equated it to powdered cocoa, which is accurate. Hints of dark fruit could also be detected. In taste, the chocolate and jammy fruit mesh very well. Cherries and raspberries came to mind specifically, with that same cocoa like chocolate surrounding the fruit. Body was about medium I would say. It definitely seemed to be on the threshold between porter and stout. This beer went down easily. I remember thinking that it would make for a terrific dessert beer. Hopefully they will bottle this at some point. Cheers

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Photo of grub
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

sampled on tap at the coles rare beer festival, jan 24/09.

pours just a shade lighter than pure black with a big tan head. the head drops slowly and leaves lots of lace behind.

aroma is neat. belgian yeasty spice. milk chocolate. whole wheat bread and cracker. big fruity component.

taste is good. just under medium bitterness level. dark chocolate. slightly burnt whole wheat bread. light coffee. bit of alcohol. the fruity aspect is much lighter than in the aroma. same with the yeasty component.

mouthfeel is nice. just over medium carbonation level and carrying a bit of sting with it. medium body.

drinkability is good. nicely balanced. an interesting beer, but not really wowing me.

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Photo of gdfan47
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a jet black with a small brown head and lacing that stayed the whole time
S- coffee, malt, a touch of hops, and a hint hint of cherry, some yeast
T- had the robustness of a stout, but it went down like a porter, very intresting more coffee again, and very very little cherry
M- felt very carbonated for such a heavy beer , very smooth
D- went down pretty nice for a heavier beer, not easy enough to be a session beer but very smooth

Went out of my way to try this one today, woooo hoo no more George Bush!

try this one while you can

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Photo of sholland119
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at TJs Everyday on Inauguration Day.

A-Pours a rich, opaque brown with a very small white head.

S-Chocolaty malt sweetness with a bit of coffee.

T-Good if unexceptional. Mildly sweet with milk chocolate notes and a hint of cherry. I was hoping for a twinge of sourness to the cherry flavor but could not detect it.

M-Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D-I have never loved Chocolate Indulgence so I was not expecting to be blown away. But I was hoping for something more memorable.


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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the South Philly Tap Room, served in a wine glass

A dark brown with some ruby highlights along the edges with a thin tan head. Tough to get a really good view as it was a little dark inside.

Smell is of deep roasted chocolate malt and cherries. Typical Ommegang Belgian yeast strain. Very pleasant but nothing overly special.

After tasting this, I don't think they used chocolate malt, but rather some cocoa powder/chocolate flavoring. Dark roasted malt and cherries are the primary flavors. The cherries lend a faint sweet/tart flavor that compliments the bready and deep roasted flavors well.

Medium body with a perfect amount of carbonation. Alcohol is extremely well hidden.

I wish this was in a bigger wine glass because it is so damn easy to drink, I wanted more.

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Photo of deereless
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Thick cottony head with some serious staying power, obvious lacing down the sides of the glass, dark brown to ebony with only the slightest hint of light that penetrates along the edge of the glass - 4.50, S: Loads of dark bitter chocolate, some charred and burnt malts, faintest signs of some fruit that I can't discern - maybe figs or dates, hint of hops - 4.00, T: The palate seems to have some flavors that I didn't identify on the nose, prominent cherry, quite a bit of hop bite or maybe that is bitter chocolate, the Belgian yeast is not as pronounced as I'd expect though there is definitely some nice spiciness which meshes well with the chocolate malts, a very impressive and complex palate - 4.75, M: Medium body, slight creaminess - 4.25, D: What a wonderful discovery, an interesting mix of lots of different flavors that I wouldn't normally put together, I'd love to see this one become a part of Ommegang's regular line-up. Kudos to Birreria Paradiso (in DC) for getting this one in time for all the inauguration festivities. I'd gladly drink this one again - 4.50

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Photo of GbVDave
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Ommegang tulip at Binny's South Loop 1/24/09.

A: Served a murky, river silt brown with a small off-white head that disappears quickly and leaves stringy whisps of lace behind. Looks a lot like french press coffee.

S: Complex aromas of chocolate, coffee, cherry, sauteed caramel, pan roasted nuts, espresso grounds, and caramelized toffee. Aroma has a slightly tart nip to it.

T: See above. Slightly fruity tang, dark chocolate, french press coffee, toasted peanuts, burnt caramel, and a faint berry flavor. Is this a blend like Three Philosophers?

M: Smooth with a mellow coffee/hop bitterness that totally kept my interest. Elements of dry, toasted, and roasty play out on the tongue.

D: I loved this beer. I really like that it is so different from anything else made by Ommegang. Keep up the good work guys, you need to bottle this!

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Photo of joerodiii
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler fill at Big Z. Way to go Mark for getting this beer.

I was really looking forward to trying this beer. I knew I wouldn't be able to make it into the city, and when Mark told me he was getting this, I was thrilled!

The beer a dark brown with hints of burgundy. Minimal to no head, although this is not surprising from a growler. The aroma is sweet with hints of belgiany yeast character and no discernable hops.

The initial taste is grainy with an odd haylike flavor. That quickly dissipates into a blend of chocolate, slight cherry, slight chocolate, slight roasty blend. It finishes with a raisiny sweetness.

The mouthfeel is somewhat light with an ever-so-slight astringency. If Ommegang made this beer on a regular basis, I'd likely keep a bottle or 3 around.

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Photo of bonbini26
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap @ the Rattle 'n' Hum, still on tap from their Ommegang event. 04-23-09

A- Poured into a tulip glass, pours a dark ruby, just a little lighter than black, with a light tan head, not much lacing
S- Rich sugary, prune, light cherry, a little chocolate also. Some belgian yeasts also
T- Sweet, sugary, coco notes, some earthy bread in the finish, but def. more on the sweet side.
M- Medium bodied, feels about what it should for the ABV, a pretty smooth drinking ale, that coats the mouth well.
D- One was enough, a sipper for me a high on the sweet side, but I'm glad I finally had a chance to try this one.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap into tulip glass @ Birreria Paradiso in D.C. (called Obamagang).

Wasn't sure what to expect with this one as I couldn't guess the style. The description didn't help much as it mentioned dark chocolate and Belgian Kriek. Is it a lambic? A Belgian stout crossover?

The beer arrived in a tulip glass with an opaque deep black hue with a two finger brown and dense head that never really settled. The aroma consisted of roasty malts, some bitter chocolate, and a little bit of tart cherry. The flavor was about the same, with a light hint of sourness, along with a touch of sweet cherry. The chocolate is in there as well. Full bodied.

I was glad I ordered this, it was very smooth and enjoyable, even with some of the tart characteristics. It turns out to be another Belgian Stout type crossover where it uses dark malts, usually chocolate, with the characteristic Belgian yeast. Recommended.

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Photo of Gmann
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very deep brown color with a dense light brown head, that dissipates slowly leaving some nice lacing. The aroma is of unripe raspberries, musty belgian yeast, clove, old chocolate, and carob. A nice bold Belgian yeast flavor hits right away, with hints of chocolate and sour cherries or raspberries, a bitter roasted malt balances the spicy yeast and sour fruit flavors. The feel is light but not watery, soft carbonation, leaves a light bitter aftertaste. A belgian influenced porter is what I think of this brew. Definite belgian characteristics with a porter-ish body, add some nice sour fruit flavors and you get this beer. Oh yeah, very easy to drink.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with a thick frothy creme head. Nose is carob chocolate and spices. Seems like cinammon and cardammon. Flavor is chocolate yes. But it's like carob. Again. Minor spices, yes. Chocolate yes. Kriek? I don't get it at all. This comes off as a porter/stout with a Belgian flair. Feel is smooth on liquid and smooth and lower on carbonation. Nice to drink, but not really overly interesting. This is what Chocolate Indulgence should be, but isn't.

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Obamagang Inauguration Ale from Brewery Ommegang
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 70 ratings