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Review by SAP on 12/17/08  
 
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
82 3 11 15 4 8 2008
2008 Bottling; Sampled December 2008
A soft pour produces a voluminous, initially three-finger thick, that quickly grows to five fingers (including a finger and a half above the rim of my 25cl tulip glass) and rolls over the sides of the glass a bit before I can suck off some of the pillow-like, tightly beaded, pale, tan tinged head. Of course lots of lacing accompanies a slow falling of the head as well. The beer is a brilliantly clear, bright gold color that wonderfully shows an excited, bountiful carbonation of streaming bubbles. The aroma is also quite expressive with a vibrant spicy fruitiness to it that is noticeable as I pour. Aromas of ripe melon, honeysuckle, pear, some Macintosh apple and star fruit are supported by spice notes of phenolic clove, sweet ginger, an herbal pepper note and a touch of lemon grass. There is a nice pale malt character here that accentuates a touch of wildflower honey, some grassy grain notes and a nice finish of crushed whole grain crackers.

This beer tastes somewhat sweet, but still manages to finish with a dry effect. Spicy, estery, higher alcohols, a soft, clean hop bitterness and a lingering phenolic spice character help to dry the finish out. Substantial notes of clove (especially towards the lingering finish), lemon zest, a touch of cardamom, some white pepper and perhaps a touch of sweet ginger round out the spice flavors. This gets quite phenolic in the finish and the alcohol accentuates this quite a bit. Up front the esters produce fruit notes of pear, honeydew melon, citrus honey, golden raisin (this can almost have a desert wine sort of note to it at times), . The beer is definitely light for a beer of this strength, though the piquancy of the phenolics and alcohol keep this from being quaffable (which, ultimately is a good thing).

On my second pour, I still end up with a voluminous head that threatens to over flow the sides of my glass. Repeated gulps of foamy, pear-scented cotton candy like, head finally has the head settled in. If this wasn’t so phenolic in the finish it would be a phenomenal beer. This is a fairly minor flaw, but it is the last thing one notices after each sip. All in all this is a very tasty beer that is quite enjoyable; visually this beer is stunning, it is exactly what I could ask for in a pale, strong, Belgian beer.

Purchased: Liquor Max, Loveland CO

Served In: Tulip