82 / 100
250ml bottle purchased from Red Bottle Alexandria in Sydney.
Pours a pleasant burnished golden colour, with some flecks of disturbed sediment. Head is a moderate, fine white, which sits as a solid ring and bubbly film atop the glass. Carbonation is lively, forming in rapid streams through the glass. Looks good.
Nose is extremely pleasant: dusty and earthy, with a rugged wholesomeness. This is contrasted with a pleasant lemon and pepper spice character which provides life to the earthiness. Some floral notes come through as well, and the piquant spicy characters take on a crushed herbal aroma as it goes on. Overall, it's a really lovely aroma.
Taste is also very good. It has a solid basis of malt, with a creamy honey tone underneath. This is bolstered by a savoury, earthy flavour from the yeast, which morphs into a respectable drying, vegetative character towards the back. Everything is extremely smooth, though: the characters transition seamlessly into one another, and the back fades with a supple, haunting delicacy into the finish. This is a really excellent Saison.
Feel is gorgeous, smooth but light, supporting those silky transitions from flavour to flavour.
Wow. This is fantastic stuff. Smooth, clean, drinkable, approachable, but with loads of flavour. The craft is deeply apparent here: there's no harshness, no imbalance, no awkward flavours to detract from the whole. This is just plain good stuff.
43 / 100
Cute 25cl bottle purchased from Plonk in Canberra.
Pours an unremarkable yellow-gold colour, with a touch of haze, and a fizzling, insubstantial head of bubble white. Very light body without a lot of visible carbonation. Some mild sudsy lace. Overall, it looks relatively similar to a bland mass-produced lager. I'm unimpressed.
Nose is sweet and round, cut with peppery, almost astringent ester characters, which give a whiff of wintergreen and mouthwash. Slight wet grain funk, bottom of the barnyard, hay left in the rain, fermenting grass clippings. It gives it almost a fishy or seaweed character. Hrmm...
Taste is blander, but the better for it: the funk and bordering rot/fish character disappears, leaving just the tomatoey roundness, the wet grain sack and a light sugary sweetness on the back. I mean, it's not great, but it beats putting some fragrant marine-life in your mouth. Palate is pretty flat.
At best, this is a run-of-the-mill, weak Belgian pale ale. At worst, it doesn't bear repeating. This is pretty insipid stuff, showing that even the Belgians can be completely uninspired, and can do bland and pedestrian with the best of them.
Pours an orange-tinged pale amber, quite cloudy with ridiculously generous Belgian-style head that sinks fairly quickly but forms a lovely whipped-egg-white look, dense on the top and leaving some sparse trails of lacing, clumps really. Decent-lookin' tripel.
Smells very fruity and complex. Lots of pear and peach aromas, apricot and passionfruit. Slight musty yeast on the back, but it's mostly sweet fruit-tinged malt notes, a touch of raisin in there as well. Quite pleasant, but maybe a touch too sweet.
Taste is also quite fruity for the most part. Starts off so, with pear-apple notes, develops some sweeter peach and granny smith tartness on the mid, apricot and currant notes backing up. Late on the palate as those musty Belgian yeast notes that border on spicy but are mostly just phenolic and slightly drying. Overall it's quite a fruity palate, still sweet on the back, but touches of tart/bitter adding to the mix. Decent, but I'm not hugely wowed either by the sweet or the bitter notes.
Decently full; bit too dry on the back, almost puckering. But suits the style well and it's all just the yeast characters vying for my affection.
A reasonably heavy drop at times, but pleasant overall.
Pours a deep mahogany with a ruby tinge and a very generous Belgian head. Beige in colour and 4-5 fingers thick but sinks quickly, nice puffy craters on the top. Minimal trails of lace, but still a good-lookin' beer.
Smell is quite dark with a sour edge. Plenty of dark fruits, primarily plum with touches of cherry/kirsch and currants. A mild mouldy, dirty smell from the yeast, quite bitter with a touch of green pepper in there. Some chocolatey malt underlying it all to make the whole thing seem more sweet than anything. Everything else just adds nice complexities around the outside.
Quite sweet at first, with chocolatey notes to the malt. Develops a slight tartness towards the mid-palate with some plum fruit, kirsch and a slight vanilla flavour but without much sweetness. Mild black pepper comes through late, heading towards the finish which has a slight gravelly espresso flavour that lingers. Not overly exciting; a fairly flat, but nicely balanced, profile. Decent Belgian dubbel.
Fairly full body can't quite pad the vibrant carbonation which provides a bit of sizzle on the back that, together with boozey warmth touch, is mildly harsh. Nice enough though.
Yeah, decent and balanced palate with good characters. Enjoyable beer.