Brasserie Artisanale Du Luberon
from France
Highest RatedB.A.L Ambrée (56 / 100) Average score39 / 100 (Not Great)
Lowest RatedB.A.L Blanche (22 / 100) Number Tried3
B.A.L Ambrée
Reviewed by Jez on 15.01.13 in bottle
56 / 100
According to the spec sheet from the brewery, this is a "rich and spicy bière de garde". This was a 330ml bottle purchased from Porters Northwood in Sydney.

Pours a clear but bright deep amber colour, with a solid film of off-white crowning. The head forms large bubbles at the edges, so gives the impression of being more persistent than it is. Some patchy, spotty lace. Body looks fluid, but has a nice heft to it, and very fine carbonation. Looks pretty good.

Hmm, I wasn't expecting that, but on the nose is a noticeable spicy acidity. Slight wine barrel oak, and a slight olive bite—a little similar to a Flanders Red. Some dusty powdered sugar sweetness comes through, along with some faint husky grain notes. I'm not convinced it's intentional, but it works well enough.

Taste is lighter, but maintaining a slight weak acidity along with some faint sugary overtones and a mild herb-and-grain finish. On the back is a faint soda-water tang along with just a hint of puke. It's not all that good—eventually, the emptiness on the palate accentuates the sugary notes, making it feel a little sickly.

Feel is light, but not awful.

I'm still not convinced that the acidity is intentional, but I believe it helps, even by virtue of the fact that it distracts from its other flaws. Having tried the other two in the range from BAL, it's fair to say I wasn't looking forward to cracking this one open. But, intentional or not, the faint funk makes this one clear stand out from the others.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.25
B.A.L Blonde
Reviewed by Jez on 15.12.12 in bottle
41 / 100
(Not Great)
Found a trio of these beers at Porters at Northwood. Not having seen them before I decided to pick them up and give them a try. Started for no particular reason with this one. 330ml tallish brown bottle.

Pours a murky golden colour, tending towards orange in the deeper parts. Head doesn't form much on its own, but a rigid pour gives it a crackling, disturbed bubbling of just off-white. This settles to a fine half-centimetre on the top of the glass, and leaves very fine tiny lace. Carbonation is fine, and it looks like it has a reasonably good body to it. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it looks.

Nose is crisp with grains, but painted with a slick, fruity almost-acidity. Some leafy euro-style hops come through, but they're very muted. The slightly tart character seems to win out, and it's a little bit disconcerting, giving a funky character like a Saison, without the rest of the characters of a Saison. Hmm...

Taste is similarly drawn. Here, there's a smoothness to the palate, but that accentuates the sweetness and the fruity acidity, giving it a character like apricot nectar. Definite tart bite on the back lets it dissolve into a fizzy buzz towards the finish. Slight drying hops, but when the faint bitterness melds with the sour character, it gives a metallic note that's actually quite unpleasant.

Overall, this seems wrong to me. There are some pleasant elements, but the acidity and the rampant fruitiness seem like they're extremely unintentional, and they really ruin this beer for me. I can't say I enjoyed this much at all.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 2.0
B.A.L Blanche
Reviewed by Jez on 15.12.12 in bottle
22 / 100
330ml tall brown bottle purchased from Porters at Northwood, one of three I picked up from this brewery.

I can only assume from the description on the brewery's website that this is meant to be a witbier, although all my senses tell me otherwise. It starts out most certainly on the wrong foot, with the beer pouring a deep, murky beige-orange colour, possibly even too light for a hefeweizen, let alone a wit. It's cloudy at least when you disturb the sediment, and the head is monstrously frothy when poured—it settles down to a crackly fuzz on the top after a while. Some patches of clumpy lace. Overall, it looks way off style, and not very appealing at all.

Nose is tart and appley, with a jammy sweetness, and no hint of the purported coriander promised in the description. Dusty, slightly sweaty characters come through, along with a slight whiff of oxidation. This is really not good.

Taste is light and slightly metallic, with a vapid carbonation character filling the void of actual flavour. Again, there's a mild acidity to it, and a coppery aftertaste that clings and doesn't let go. The tingle of the carbonation on the back prickles the throat, reminding me of having recently vomited.

This is really bad stuff. It would be bad stuff even if it weren't supposed to be a witbier—that assertion is just laughable.

appearance: 2.0 | aroma: 2.0 | taste: 2.0 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 1.5