Melchior | Picobrouwerij Alvinne

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MelchiorMelchior
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Picobrouwerij Alvinne
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by paterlodie on 12-03-2005

BEER STATS
Reviews:
59
Ratings:
104
Avg:
3.58
pDev:
20.67%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
9
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 104
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.79/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JealousChalice for sharing this at DarthKostrizer's tasting.

2005 vintage.

Pours a slightly murky honey orange with a beige head that fades to nothing. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, brown sugar, and alcohol. Taste is the same with some honey and Golden Grahams flavors. This beer is flat with no carbonation but does have a medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but the mouthfeel is quite lacking.

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Photo of metter98
3.72/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a moderate to high amount of visible carbonation. A careful pour resulted in a three finger high off white head that took a long time to die down, eventually settling into a half finger high dense head. Lots of sediments poured out from the bottom of the bottle and colored the head tan.
S: Moderate aromas of Belgian yeast and candi sugars are present in the nose along with some hints of spices.
T: The taste initially starts off with a little sweetness but as the sediment is poured out of the bottle subtle flavors of mustard seeds become stronger and help to balance off the candi sugar. Notes of other spices and yeast are also noticeable.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The addition of mustard seeds makes this a unique Belgian Strong Pale Ale and are well incorporated into the beer without overpowering any of the other flavors. This beer is dangerously drinkable for 11% abv and I can't perceive any alcohol in the taste, although you can definitely tell it is strong with the underlying notes of candi sugars.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.99/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: 11.2 fl oz. Brown glass. Cute "snub" design. 2015 vintage. Yellow-orange label with an intricate design. Purchased at an Austin, TX bottle shop.

11% ABV. 24 p O.G. 30 EBC color. 60 IBUs.

Reviewed live as a Belgian winter ale per Melchior's website, though Alvinne's distributor (B.United International) calls this "Davy Spiessens Belgian interpretation of the Barley Wine style."

Served cold into a goblet. Expectations are above average given the brewery.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

*WARNING*: This gushes horribly upon opening. I lost easily 10% to the surface of my desk. Overcarbonation is anticipated. Perhaps the mustard seeds were more volatile than Davy realized?

HEAD: ~3 inches, with spots of brown yeast particulate riding atop the white head. Uneven thickness and a poor uneven consistency. Leaves no lacing as it recedes, but the retention is nice - ~4-5 minutes.

BODY: Murky orange-auburn with ample yeasty dregs visibly floating within. Translucent but nontransparent.

Appears severely overcarbonated.

Overall, it's a nice looking Belgian winter ale, but I can't say there're any stand-out characteristics on display. Looks lively and vigorous.

AROMA: On the sweeter side, with heavy fruit tones. Belgian candi sugar bolsters the malty sweetness comprised itself of amber malts, Munich malts, Belgian brown malts (which lend it a faint breadiness), and Belgian pale malts. Fruity notes of apricot, orchard pear, and faint peach. Has some honeyed characteristics, which is a refreshing change from the usual caramel-heavy Belgians. Biscuity, estery, and lightly spicy ale yeast is prominent, guiding the beer. Clove and allspice make appearances. Apricot marmalade dominates here.

I struggle to find the heat or spice of mustard/mustard seed, but cannot.

There may be an acetaldehyde off-note, as evidenced by hints of green apple.

It's a complex aroma, sure, but doesn't deliver on the promise of mustard seed, and it isn't much of a winter ale; the spices, fruit notes, and esters are emphasized over the malts.

Aromatic intensity is moderate.

TASTE: Fruit is prominent, with apricot, peach, green apple, and pear coming through pretty vividly. It's also quite sweet, with notes of honey malt, Belgian candi sugar, pale malts, Belgian brown malts, amber malts, and fruity marmalade. The malt backbone has a young rawness to it, running contrary to what you'd expect in a winter ale; don't look for rich notes of caramel, (deep) brown malt, or heavy bready tones here.

Mustard seed? I don't find it - or at least it's not distinct from the general spice profile showcased here. I do get clove, allspice, and maybe some nutmeg in the midst of the biscuity yeast, but little else.

Is it balanced? Not really; there's no bitterness to counter the heavy malty sweetness, and the raw feel of the beer just doesn't match the intended style whatsoever - either in terms of balance or accuracy. It's complex, sure, but in the absence of careful balance that intricacy is presented as a hodgepodge-y mess of flavours. Not a gestalt brew, nor a particularly cohesive one.

TEXTURE: Prickly overcarbonation mutes the booze and simultaneously prevents it from being refreshing. It's in the middle of the coarse/smooth spectrum, and errs on the wetter side until the finish - where it dries, emphasizing the green apple. Medium-bodied, with fair weight and heft on the palate.

This mouthfeel fails to elevate this beer, but it matches the style in general. Not as accentuating as would be ideal.

OVERALL: This didn't quite scratch my Belgian ale itch, nor did it incorporate the mustard seed in any meaningful way. Off-notes of acetaldehyde are indicated. It's a poor Belgian winter ale, and drinks like more of a boozy Belgian pale. I'm not sure what Alvinne was after here, but the result is a bit of an alcoholic mess and doesn't cater to the tastes of the discerning drinker. Even at local Belgian prices, I couldn't justify a second purchase. Even drinkability is limited by the overt alcohol presence.

High C (2.99)

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.86/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hugely murky pumpkin orange with a light dusting of black peppery looking yeast and an outstanding crown of bubbly ivory foam that filled most of the snifter on the initial pour. Whatever follows, this beer looks like a dream.

Unfortunately, the nose is much less impressive. It's modestly fruity and spicy, but that's about it. Challenger and East Kent Goldings hops aren't appreciated, and neither are the mustard seeds. Let's hope this wise man is a little smarter on the taste buds.

Melchior does not taste like an English barleywine. The estery Belgian yeast pretty much disqualifies it right out of the gate. It's more like a pale-malted, spicier-than-usual Belgian quadrupel. Several years in the cellar have almost certainly stolen some of its punching power, but things are improving as the middle of the bottle approaches.

Flavors include fruit (apples, pears, apricots) macerated in their respective fruit brandies, and a great deal of clove and pepper spiciness. Still no mustard seed, which is probably a good thing. The alcohol is masked very well, which helps. A pleasant warming on the way down is more suited to January than August, but I'll take it.

Even though English barleywines (the aged ones at least) tend to be thinner than their American counterparts, this mouthfeel is a little too thin and loose. Especially since it's Belgian rather than English. However, it's still enjoyable and is easily above average. Good sipper.

Melchior and Gaspar (Belgian IPA) are the best of the Picobrouwerij Alvinne 'Magi' series, while Balthazar (BSDA) brings up the rear. This is a worthy purchase for those who like high-ABV, heavily spiced Belgian ales that are far enough outside the craft brewing box to be interesting, but not so far outside it as to be quirky or strange.

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Photo of dcmchew
3.49/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Like many other Alvinne beers, this was a really aggressive gusher, so pop the cap carefully. Therefore, huge fluffy, frothy white head. Dark amber, hazy.
Smells sweet, but fruity, with peach, honey-glazed apricot, pear compote, maybe just a bit sugary. Lots of spicy yeasts, with a lot of pepper, some nutmeg, some marzipan. A tart note too.
A nice mix of sweet and sour fruit up front, but mostly just sweet later on, when the sugared bready malts show up. There rich juicy peach and apricot, orchard fruit syrup, even some tropical hints, like overripe, mushy mango, in contrast with some mild cider apples, lemon and orange peel, faint berries. Lots of spices afterwards, with clove, pepper, allspice, hint of almond, faint lemongrass, but there's also a funky yeast, not exactly Brett, but still "green", a feeling that's enhanced by some nice bitter hop.
Not sure what the mustard seeds did here, probably just enhanced the spicy feel. Aftertaste is filled to the brim with yeasts, too much. No fruitiness, just some bitter hop. Medium body, kinda fizzy.
An aggressively unbalanced beer, but it does have some pretty nice moments. Gah, a pity.

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Photo of jwc215
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle, poured into tulip glass, as per instructions on the label.

Pours light brown/dark amber with a creamy off-white head that settles to a wide patch. Broken rings of lacing stick. Some tiny "floaties" present.

Not sure if the aroma is mustard, or power of suggestion. Caramel certainly present, with a mild perfuminess.

Sweetness covers the 60 IBUs. The mustard is more identifiable in the taste than in the aroma. It doesn't overwhelm, though. Mixed feelings about mustard seed taste here, though. Alcohol is mildly present, but pretty well-covered for abv level. Not sure if hops died, and there's no freshness date. Not overly sweet, though, so they must be there balancing out the caramel.

Feel is a bit clumsy. Seems syrupy, going towards full-bodied, but with a fizziness cutting through at times.

Overall, it's not offensive, and drinks surprizingly well, but it's pretty lackluster. I do like this one more than the other two "magis" from this brewery, though that's not saying much. It's okay, but not worth the price tag for this one.

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Photo of Gavage
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: yellow orange in color with a one finger head that falls slowly.

Smell: malt sweetness, yeast, and some spiciness are easy to detect.

Taste: yeast flavors are up front alongside a nice malt profile. Green grapes, apples, pepper, and barely a hint of mustard round it out. Bitterness is mild but balancing and an overall dryness is noticable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp and very dry throughout. Aftertaste is short.

Drinkability: decent flavorful beer but the dryness knocks this down a notch. Interesting flavor profile worth seeking out.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to Sebletitje for this one.

Pours a nice golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, yeasty, with some dark fruit notes. The taste is sweet, malty, yeasty, dark fruits. Medium body. Drinkable, a nice little brew.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed at the 16th Essen Christmas Beer Fest 2010.

Pours a hazy bronze colour, with an off-white head.

The Hallertau Perle and Hallertau Spalt Select hops don't give off much aroma and being unfiltered and unpasturised the yeast smell seemed to be the dominant one to me, some mixed herbs and spices also appear in the nose.

Sugar and mustard seeds are added during the brewing process and this made the taste a strange sweet and sour mix that just about complimented each other. The hops gave the finish a dry bitterness even if they added little to the smell.

Alvinne do mess around with their beers at times, this one was fine in my eyes, although I sometimes wish they'd just brew a regular beer and leave it alone (no mustard seeds, oak aged in vomit, etc, etc)

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.81/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the Brick Store Pub, and served in the appropriate glassware as usual. Pours a dark, hazy orange with a nice, finely beaded head that settles to a respectable cap and leaves some lacing as well. Very light aromas, but there is some bright fruit, candi sugar, and a hint of spiciness. The taste is a bit on the sour side to start, and finishes with a spicy kick from the mustard seeds added to this brew. There is also a hint of sweetness and an earthy bitterness that develops. Mouthfeel is fairly smooth with just the right level of carbonation. This is interesting, but its a bit too unusual and even slightly jarring to drink too much of. Better with food.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.82/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a two finger cream head that fades quickly to a ring, leaving traces of lace. Cloudy amber color with floaties. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Yeasty, spicy nose. Flavor is spicy, hints of mustard. Sweet and slightly bitter finish. High ABV is totally hidden. $5.95 for a 330ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of corby112
3.15/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark cloudy amber/ orange color with a foamy yellowish head. Tangy aroma with light fruits, hop and mustard seed. Hoppy up front with a malty fruity center and a shar tangy mustard aftertaste. Caronated up and sweet up front hoppy center and strong mustard aftertaste. Very unique but not very tasty. I was hpoping it would have a brown mustard fllavor not yellow.

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Photo of wl0307
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottling date: 01/05, served lightly-chilled in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.

A: pours a murky, brown-ish amber hue; the 2cm creamy beige beer head settles elegantly to a rimmed foam, leaving uneven sheets of lacing behind; ve...ry gentle carbonation.
S: like a well-hopped barley wine, the smell upfront is full of flowery and sweet citric notes of EKG and Challenger hops (as specified on the beer label), backed by a semi-alcoholic base of strong and thick barley candy. The composition is not complex enough, though, in favour of a sweet, jammy note of melted crystal sugar and plenty of rough and sharp yeastiness as the beer breathes.
T: yeasty yeasty~~ an assertive aroma of pheonolic, ash and old wood barrels prevails upfront, fast bringing abroad a surprisingly light, crystal-sugary maltiness on top of a tremendous flow of hops, with tannic and pheonolic bitterness creeping down the tongue and lingers to continue its chemistry with somewhat licorice, bitter-sweet aftertaste of Munich(?) malts. The lingering, flat-bodied hop bitterness gives the whole palate a "niche", which, along with that tannic touch, skilfully softens the strong profile by a good margin. Only in the very end does a warm flow of alc. emerge deep down the throat.
M&D: the carbonation is quite creamy on the mouthfeel with a semi-sharp fizzy kick at the back at the initial stage; pretty moderate-bodied for a 11%abv. strong ale, and alc. is very well hidden. The more I sip it, the more I find similarities with English Barley Wine, although the malt flavour is pretty different. Not the most complex offering from Alvinne, but I personally find it quite approachable. Might keep another bottle for a longer period before trying it again.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.23/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a snifter)
A- A hazy caramel body has sticky white head on top and a microbubble carbonation which is gentle. There are some flotties that stick on top of the head and swirl around in the body.
S- The caramel rich aroma takes on a finish of new sneakers and a slight dried tree leaves note.
T- The slightly tart flavor has a soft caramel note that leads to a green bittern bite in the finish. There is a grapefruit herbal note to the bitterness and a spicy fusel hint of soft mustard that comes through when the beer opens up.
M- The medium mouthfeel has no real fizz or alcohol heat.
D- The tart and spicy qualities overpower the much softer malt notes which actually seem pretty good. Aroma might be from age or just odd with the mustard seed.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours a fairly clear peachy amber crowned with a billowy, lacy, 3” white foam collar.
S: Spicy, citrus nose.
T: It starts with large pitted fruit and finishes with a touch of mustard heat. There is some citrus in there too with a touch of salt or mineral.
F: Medium high carbonation, medium to medium light body.
O: An unusual and interesting beer.

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Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brownish color with a thick, cloudy consistency. There was an inch of fluffy, long-lasting head. OK lacing.

S: An oddly muted aroma of malt, hops, and some spices.

T: Tasted of malt, the advertised mustard seeds, , a little caramel, and some hops. Like the smell, the flavor was weirdly restrained and muted. Not unpleasant, but could have been better.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: An uneven beer, but still mostly drinkable.

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Photo of glid02
4.12/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Porter in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy dark copper color with a one-finger slightly off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of medium malts and robust sugar-coated medium fruits - pears and apricots with hints of plums. As it warms very faint spices waft out from time to time.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet medium malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by good amounts of plum, pear, and apricot flavors, in that order. Midway through the sip the fruit flavors dry out a bit, allowing slightly herbal hop flavors to carry through to a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I thought this was a well done beer but I have to say I got only very mild hints of mustard besides maybe a small amount of dryness near the end of the sip. In any event, it's worth a shot to see for yourself.

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Photo of ccrida
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

33 cl bottle (who/what are those guys on the label??) poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, Melchior is a hazy dark gold with an off-white head that leaves pretty heavy lace. Definitely not a BSDA, and in fact, my first ever mustard ale.

Smell is sweeter malt, peppery, and very yeasty.

Taste is sweet but spicy, doughy yeast, complex and interesting, tough to wrap my head around. There is a savory element to the spice that has to be the mustard seed, but there's a lot going on that it doesn't smack you in the face, and I doubt many people wold guess it as an ingredient if they didn't already know. There is very floral flavor, from the hops I presume, lilac like.

Mouthfeel is thick and yeasty, on the drier side. Have I mentioned this beer is awfully yeasty? No floaties though...

Drinkability is pretty good if you like full flavored Belgian blondes, which I do. The high ABV is very well hidden, and it's fairly unique. Still, it was a bit too, um, yeasty, and will probably give me the shits.

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Photo of stcules
2.65/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Chestnut wood colr, dark. An abundant beige head, after all, not bad.
Same for the smell, a mix between the freshness of white flowers and vanilla, and a tropical fruitiness (melon).
Taste. First thing: too carbonated. Maybe also for this reason, the starting sweetness (melon), and a strong bitterness (almost of american hops) are untied, not weel amalgamated.
It's a beer quite heavy, not very drinkable.
Boring.

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Photo of Suds
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Here's a sweet, amber and very cloudy liquid. This one has tons of sediment...large clumps of yeast suspended in the liquid. Nice firm, stable head, however. The smell is mostly yeast and fruit, along with copious malt scents. Plums and raisins, a mix of pale and toasted malt. Fresh grain and Belgian yeast. Somewhat spicy, especially in the taste. The beer is warm, just on the boarder of being hot from the booze. It's quite a sweet beer, full in body, and nearly heavy. The sweet character lasts long into the finish. Not really un-balanced, just heavily tilted. This one is pretty good, yet a little haphazard.

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Photo of gford217
3.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Brick Store poured into a tulip.

Pours a bright, opaque yellow-orange with a large fluffy white head that shows great retention and lacing. The beer was described to me as an ale brewed with mustard seeds though the dominate aroma and flavor throughout, for me, was apples. The aroma was very sweet with the aforementioned apples with a hint of tartness. Maybe a hint of mustard if you really try to find it. The flavor is a complex blend of light fruits with green and red apples, pears, apricots and a little bit of hops in the finish. The mouthfeel is very smooth with good carbonation. I enjoyed this beer and it was like no beer I have had before. Recommended.

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Photo of hopdog
3.32/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle.

***Not a gusher but a little bit of a foamer.***

Poured a medium and cloudy golden color with a larger sized off white head. Lots of suspended floaters. Aromas of yeast, spices, some fruitiness, and some citrus. Tastes of breadiness, spices, fruity, and yeasty. Medium alcohol finish.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - pours a peach/gold, an inch or so of cream/white foam. Fine particles in suspension until the end, then the particles get rather big. Hard to decant, the sediment slides right out of the glass. Light but sticky lacing.

Aroma - sweet, yeasty, definite alcohol vapor. A touch of mustard? Hmm, it's hard to tell but at times I think I pick a little up.

Taste - mmm. The Belgian candi sugar hits right away, combining with the yeast and abv for the basic strong ale flavor. The mustard seeds impart a unique spicy, pungent taste that is a little indistinct, but nice. Warm on the finish.

Mouthfeel - very smooth and flowing, muted carbonation.

Drinkability - breathy and potent, but mighty tasty.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2005)

Thanks for opening this with me, JealousChalice!

(Aged for 7 years)

Dark orange and light brown with a small light brown head that quickly fades away to a thin ring atop the beer. This leaves dots of lace down the glass.

A sweet, though complete, aroma of caramel, bread crusts, brown sugar, and mild citrus. Very nice.

The flavor too is quite nice, with a delicious, complex, bready sweetness leading the way, accompanied with very mild citrus, caramel, and toffee.

Medium bodied with low carbonation.

This has held up exceptionally well over the years.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.1/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

@ Novare Res

Golden apple amber color. Thin head, thin retention but glaciers of foam regardless. Sweet and fruity with an Autumn reminiscence -- I think that's because it smells like candy corn which I believe I'm picking up due to the added sugar. A few banana-esque fruit phenols and peppercorn (which I'm pretty sure is really mustard seed as the description said "brewed with mustard seed").

Taste is again candy corn and burnt orange squash sugar, juicy pear and cantaloupe sorbet sweet and that mustard seed again to play against the sweet, burnt sugar flavors. Alcohol is hidden extremely well.

Belgians are so dreamy.

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Melchior from Picobrouwerij Alvinne
82 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.
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