Thanks to Sheri Hendricks' recent trip to Belgium over winter break and her thoughtfulness to bring back 6 traditional Belgium ales to Rock Island, we were able to get together a few friends and have a good time talking and tasting. At first it was just going to be Tim, Sheri, and I but with a majority of the beers being at least 8 to 11%, we knew it would be impossible to make it through all six. So on January 14th, Tim, Sheri, Emily, Brendan, Dani, Pat, and I enjoyed the following beers - as well as one Belgian style Pumpkin Rye Tim made - using Tim's tasting set.
Leffe Brown: Rubied color, very clear. Sweet carameled smell as well as a little nutty and phenolic. Drier finish, tasted toasty and woody. 83/100
Grimbergen Dubbel: Tannish brown head. Had a mild flavor but there were notes of caramel and spiciness. Also some brown nutty and sweet peppered flavor. 85/100
Kastell Bruin Brune: Creamy tanned brown head while the beer had a dark rubied brown hue. Instantly boozy. Quite sugared and adjunct with residual sugar additions. Hot. Almost tropical, tart flavor, nutty and toasted. 71/100
Mared Sous Abbaye ABDIJ: Lighter brown color, tan foamy head. Quite tasty with a phenolic finish. Toasty and strange wood resin flavor. 81/100
Grimbergen Goud 8: Foamy white head. Very clear and lightened almost lagered and watery looking. Lots of bubbles creeping up the side of the glass. Pungent and crisp citrus smell. Taste is sweet and boozy with a sugary texture. Tart finish of wheat and maybe straw. 76/100
Westmulle Trapist Tripel: Similar in color to Grimbergen Goud, but a little more straw like and a bit of haze to it. Yeasty and pungent like a lager. Extra sugar flavor. Dry and less lagered than the previous. 73/100
Overall it was a fun experience. We're both still learning the ropes of Belgian style ales and their limitless complexity and malleability. We will continue to develop our palates with these international tastings.