77 / 100
Pours a very light but extremely hazed yellow white, with a huge and voluminous head of pure white. Lacing is clumpy and truly Belgian in style. Eventually it settles, but still stays pretty consistent. Looks very pleasant indeed.
Nose is spicy and phenolic, with a big crispness and a slight tartness. Quite fresh overall, but with the boozy and sharp end of the Belgian yeast spectrum. Pretty decent.
Taste is spicy and phenolic again, with an unapologetic booze note throughout. This smoothes out on the back though, quite pleasantly, leaving a dollop of round, meaty Belgian yeast flatness to soothe the palate. Some spicy fruit characters dot the central palate: melon and mango, all compacted to a strong astringent point, giving a nice lift. Indeed, this is smoother, but just as complex and spicy as some of the better known examples like Duvel.
Feel is incredibly smooth, and although there's a noticeable heat of alcohol, it doesn't prickle the palate as I thought it might.
Lovely beer, a really smooth and mellow, but spicy and complex Belgian strong pale. Such beers are rare indeed, and more often than not, you have to take the intense heat and spice as part of the package. I'm glad this one mellows it so much.
Pours a clear golden colour, slight haze and an odd, isolated line of slow bubbling. White head was good when poured, sunk to a filmy crown now with some nice fluffy areas on top. Not really "pro" looking, but its oddness has heart. Also, lace is pretty nice, which I'd expect from the ABV.
Smell is quite funky and tart - almost rank but stops short of being too intense. Yeah, lots of acidity on there with nice fruit - peach and pear, plus a hint of cheese rind and your typical funk soul brother. Lucerne as well? Subtle but nice aroma.
Taste is... different. And I don't like it, much. It's hugely sweet, massive amounts of brown sugar with a hint of molasses on there and just a big boozey oomph! A fair amount of stale beer character as well, wet cardboard and a phenolic character like acetone on the back. Sweet, overpowering. Not very pleasant, and just nothing subtle about it at all.
Very sizzly mouthfeel. I feel the body might be lacking surprisingly, so the carbonation comes through very harshly. Doesn't really revive the flagging palate.
This beer has some character, but it's the wrong character. A bit spicy-hot, and needs more cleansing notes on the back. It feels dirty; palate is heavy, mouthfeel is sharp. Just not very nicely balanced.
Having said that, some of the characters here seem typical of poorly aged beer. While I think that a 12% bottle should hold up pretty well, I have to be a bit more generous with my scores than I would otherwise have been.
74 / 100
Pours a clear but quite dark golden colour, with an initially frothy and fuzzy head of pure white foam. It crests and foams for quite a while, but then collapses, leaving some sudsy lacing. Body looks extremely heavy, but there's almost no bead whatsoever, which I count as a minor minus for a Bière de Champagne. Overall, it is a good looking beer. The head is a work of art, at the very least.
Nose is dry and a little yeasty, with a dollop of crusty and crunchy dry Belgian notes. Hint of nuttiness and a light, frothy, almost sea-salt character. It's very Belgian in character, but with an extremely refined "brut" dry note to it. I'd say it fits the style well.
Taste is more mellow, and with a definite sweetness, reminiscent of stone fruit husks. Light alcohol astringency comes through on the back with a touch of acidity piquing the palate with a buoyant zestiness. Belgian yeast notes are noticeable on the back, but the booze notes are more prominent, giving a rather brash finish. Certainly much sweeter than I expected for the style, but it comes across much more like a Belgian Strong Pale as a result, and it has some really lovely characters in that style. Feel is round and full; the carbonation is certainly a little lacking for the style, but it again accentuates the Belgian characters.
It's a very nice Belgian brew. Stylistically, I think it's a little faulty, especially for a beer which calls itself a Bière "Brut" (not even a Bière de Champagne), but it's a lovely Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Very drinkable; smooth, but accentuated with the characters it needs. A very pleasant Belgian style beer.