Flanders Red Ale
25th highest rated style (of 102)
Highest RatedRodenbach Grand Cru (95 / 100) Average score71 / 100 (Very Good)
Lowest RatedDe Koninck Amber (48 / 100) Number Tried28
La Roja Copa de Plata
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.09.18 in bottle
Overall:
82 / 100
(Exceptional)
Pours a vivid red colour, slight amber tinge. Head is thin and just a rim but a surprising amount of life in it; good lacing and a bit of a cascade when tilted. Looks good.

Smells fruity and acidic. Big cherry note and a slight vinous edge to it. Slight cheesy character to the funk but mostly that rich cherry fruit note and maybe a slight hint of wood to it. Some mild pepper on there as well. Some off-notes but well tempered, and really rather pleasant.

Taste is quite lovely. Has a really nice malty backbone to it that allows everything to live on top. Cherry note is still quite strong upfront and gets some more tart and acidic notes midway. Gets an earthy peppery note towards the back as well, mixing with a tobacco character and some off tarty and funky notes that bring out this vibrancy to a slight bitter character that runs through the finish. It's maybe a touch dry and has a slight metallic character late that sort of dries up that malt. The malt running right through to the back would make this immaculate but instead it's slightly off and wheezy. But still, lots to like.

Yeah a good body to it that gets squeezed quite dry by the back. Touch of acid.

Drinks well, with lots of complexity and a good balance to it as well. Some flaws but I overall enjoyed it immensely in spite of them.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.25
La Roja Copa de Plata
Reviewed by Jez on 08.09.18 in bottle
Overall:
88 / 100
(Superb)
750ml brown bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.

Pours a very clear amber-red hue, with a gauzy head of pale beige that leaves looping streaks of lacing. Carbonation is very fine, but not vivacious, and only really makes its presence felt when the glass is agitated. Body looks like it has more heft than it does because of the languid carbonation. Looks good all up.

Nose is sharp with woody notes of pine and cedar—almost certainly a combination of the tart acid and the oak barrel. There's a touch of grassiness to it too, with some musk and kumquat. It definitely accentuates the tartness. But there's depth too, with notes of red grapeskin tannins and dry-roasted black pepper. Really very nice indeed.

Taste is also very good. It has a juiciness through the centre of the palate, with characters of tart cherries and overripe raspberries. But the acidity layers itself around this, giving more aromatic wood tones and balsamic bite. Very tannic on the back, with a biting cabernet to finish it up. It creates a very fine punctuation point to a complex beer.

Feel is lovely. It does have a bit of weight to it, but only enough to allow the complexities to shine. It's a very fine brew.

Yeah, what a cracking example of a blended beer. This has wonderful juicy complexities, and a surprising balance of fruit, wood and acid. Everything works out exactly in its place, despite the monumental amount of stuff that it has going on internally. Fabulous stuff.
appearance: 4.25 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5.0 | drinkability: 4.5
La Jeunesse
Reviewed by Jez on 19.06.17 on tap
Overall:
82 / 100
(Exceptional)
Pours a proper ruby-red colour, with some hazing to it. Head is beige, but very fizzy and insubstantial, disappearing quite quickly and leaving no lace. Carbonation is aggressive. Body is light but with a kind of slippy weight to it. Looks okay.

But from here it's all a step upwards. The nose is really great, with a lot of the very classic characters you expect from the style. There's vinous oak at the front, tending towards a balsamic acidity. Aromatic cedar wood comes through too, along with a faint fermented pepper note. It does all the right things for the style, which is very impressive.

Taste is also very good. There's a ripping tartness through the centre—much more pronounced than just about any non-Belgian example I've had. The back of the palate has a woody, balsamic complexity. Lingering fragrant wood sits in the aftertaste, more oak and cedar. There's a very, very slight yeasty note on the finish, but it's mostly smoothed by more of that sharp tartness, which lingers with a suggestion of cherry skin. Hell yes.

Feel is light and sharp, with a shredding acidity.

Powerful, complex and absolutely hitting the right notes from the style. It has such a wonderfully aggressive acidity too, which is too rare for the style. Honestly, this is a cracking Flanders Red, and absolutely probably the best I've had from somewhere other than its home region. I am extremely impressed.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.0
L.A.B.
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 03.04.17 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
Bottle given to me by Jez for my birthday, enjoyed one Saturday night by myself.

Pours a dark red colour, quite nice and vibrant hue. Head is off-white, nice foaminess, sinks evenly to a thin crown and leaves some nice webs of lacing behind. Quite a pleasant look.

Smells tart and lovely. Big raspberry acidity to it, with sweet fruity notes, touch of crisp green apple as well. Nice wildness blending with fresh fruitiness. Really pleasant.

Taste is quite pleasant too. Has a nice wildness upfront that develops a tart fruit note midway, plenty of cherry and raspberry character. Gets a wild barnyard note late-mid with a touch of bitterness, slightly earthy and rindy, just a touch off, and maybe could be softened with a touch of fruit that would work well in the style (although it's blended so I'm aware I'm over-simplifying the idea). Finishes quite roasty actually, odd malty character that's unexpected and out of place, but not entirely unwelcome.

Slight rawness on the front. Bit of acidity that pulls back on the tongue. Good body on the back though.

Pretty decent imitation of an old world beer with high degree of difficulty. Not perfect, but it's neither overly watered-down and simplistic like the worst imitators, nor is it as overly wild, sour and swimmingly complex like some of the best sour-blended ales, but it hits a good accessible middle ground.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.75
B-Side: Sour Red Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.07.16 on tap
Overall:
50 / 100
(OK)
On tap at GABS 2016.

Pours an amber colour, clear with nice foamy beige head. Good retention. The beer could be redder, the head could be header.

Smells fairly sour, and somewhat corporeal. Some organic notes in there - horse blanket kind of character and a slightly salty sweaty sort of aroma as well. Touch of oak to it too which counterbalances the off-putting factor, and a slight underlying sweetness. Not bad.

Taste has a huge green apple character all over it and I'm not sure why. It just feels like an acetyldehyde flaw. Sweet over the whole palate too, with some vanilla notes from the malt. There's a slight champagne sort of organic character towards the back which is the only real sour or wild note, otherwise it's just big and sweet and tastes like disappointment.

Fairly staid, unimpressive texture. Fluid, and thin.

Not great, a bit boozey and too malty. Just not sour enough to be interesting, which is all I ask of this style. I don't always love it but it needs to be interesting at least.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Le Fût
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 30.06.16 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)
Flanders Red Ale aged in red wine barrels - 2013 edition. Bottle given to me by Jez, enjoyed solo.

Pours a deep red colour, clear and vibrant with off-white head; fairly decent when poured but settles to a thin crown with nice lacing left behind. Would have liked more retention, but it's nice.

Smells lovely. Vinous, searingly sour with raspberry and sour cherry notes. Vanillin oak character as well with a slight bent of wild yeast that gives a hint of blue cheese. Lovely combo. Fruit, sour, wild.

Taste is fruity, somewhat bitter upfront with a slight sharp sour edge and some murky earthy funk. Gets a nice vanillin oak note late-mid, with a touch of sour cherry on the back, but mostly just a nice sweet oak note. Lots of nice flavours but not a huge complexity; it just sort of drifts in with various flavours and they drift out again. Works well together but it still feels like a young ageing process. It's a tasty beer but with some ongoing cultivation of this barrel system it would be magnificent.

Smooth, for the style. Nice body up to midway then a slight hint of twang on the back. Pretty great actually.

Not bad at all, but hints at magnificence and falls kinda disappointingly short.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Moa Rum Barrel Sour
Reviewed by Jez on 26.03.16 in bottle
Overall:
78 / 100
(Excellent)
375ml dark green, caged and corked bottle, purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. 2014 vintage.

Pours a mulberry-tinged amber-red colour, with a fine, persistent and soft head of pale beige. Some slight spongy lace forms when the beer is tilted. Body has some fine weight to it, but much less that you'd expect for 9% ABV. Carbonation is refined and swift. Looks good.

Nose is pretty good, and follows the broad curved of the Flanders sour style. Some tart, cherry-like sweetness, plenty of vinous oak, and earthy qualities of leather and pepper. As it warms, there are more subtle fragrances: bay leaf, vanilla and rose. All up, it's extremely complex, and quite impressive.

Taste is also decent, but it feels as though there are holes in the palate. There's a lack of true biting acidity for one thing, which leaves the back swamped with vanilla-sweet oak notes. It's only really tart on the front, giving a clean riesling sharpness that develops into musky fruit. It could also use a more pronounced tannic character to give it bite—put it in red wine barrels and we'll talk, maybe. Finish is surprisingly (and disappointingly) empty, as it just glides away with the oak and the afterthought of its mild tartness.

Feel is smooth—it's actually a nice feel, but it again emphasises that you want more acidity with something like this.

Overall, please don't misunderstand me: this is a good beer, and it does a lot of things right. But this rather counterintuitively emphasises the things that could be improved as well. With these things improved on, this could be a world class beer.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Midnight in the Carpark of Good and Evil
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.15 on tap
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.

Pours a reddish or amber black, quite clear in the glass, with a surprisingly light body. Head is a thin honey colour, forming a fine ring. Lacing is decent. Looks decent all up.

Nose has a slight vanilla barrel funk to it with a touch of acetic acid. Some oak and a light oxidised cardboard character. Slight hint of cocoa dust as well. It's got some interesting if disparate characters to it at least.

Light clean entry with a bit of cherry on the front. Mild tartness works in with a rather smooth toastiness mid-palate. Back has some tannins and oak, working rather well. Aftertaste is long and smooth, with vanilla coming through above the mild tartness.

Feel is light and astringent, working reasonably well.

Overall, this was pretty nice. It's not their most interesting offering for GABS, but I like that Young Henry's do tend away from their regular brand of rather bland mass-produced ales for festivals at least. This certainly was something like them going all out.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 3.75
Midnight in the Carpark of Good and Evil
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 05.06.15 on tap
Overall:
59 / 100
(Decent)
So this is apparently a blend of Young Henry's Chocolate Stout and Flanders Red. Just on the brief I'd expect the Flanders portion to dominate so I'm classifying it accordingly.

Pours a dark brown with a red tinge to it. White head, quite foamy but very thin and dissipates quickly. OK I guess?

Smells somewhat oaky and sweet, with coconut, vanilla blending rather uncomfortably with barnyard and a touch of chardonnay oak. Again, weird.

Taste is probably also uncomfortable. Vanilla sweetness upfront that descends into champagne acidity, with notes of barnyard and some green apple crispness on the late-mid. Don't really know what to make of this, it's kind of all over the place.

Decent texture though, body is smooth and it all goes down nicely.

Can't nail this one down at all. It's alright I guess but I think it probably works better in its component parts than together.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Dogpatch Sour
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 24.09.14 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a golden orange colour, with maybe a hint of pink to it. Head is white, whispy and sparsely bubbled, thin lace trails left behind. Bit flat and listless.

Smells funky, earthy. Some distinct odd notes - rubber and a touch of watermelon. Hint of citrus and spice. Pretty nice, tart drop.

Taste is very tart indeed. Lots of acid from the get-go with lemon, cloudy cider and white wine vinegar. Doesn't get overly tart, to its credit, just crisp and sour with a nice tapering off into slightly funky finish. Mildly savoury and corporeal as well with some barnyard-style funk. Overall very vinegary, but a nice pithy citrus edge. Quite pleasant.

Definite wild yeast pull. Finishes a bit dry, puckering. Don't love it, but body and texture have presence.

Possibly a bit too sour for my liking, could use a touch more malt to balance it all up.
appearance: 2.75 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Dogpatch Sour
Reviewed by Jez on 20.09.14 in bottle
Overall:
89 / 100
(Superb)
375ml brown bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with the Jabberwock Brew crew.

Pours a hazed amber colour, perhaps with just a hint of the red to it suggested by its genesis and the red on the label. Head is a bit wispy, forming a fine ring around the glass, but not a lot more. Carbonation is very fine and fleet. Looks pretty decent all up.

Nose is very tart. Almost vinous with acidity, in fact, and very reminiscent of the great Belgian sours. The oak quality, the sharpness of the acid that almost turns rubbery, or like crushed nettles. It's really quite impressive stuff.

Taste is similar, in fact probably even better. Here there's a depth to the acidity that gives broad fruity tones—berries, currants or sour watermelon. There's a structure to it from the oak barrels and the hint of wine that adds a little sweetness towards the back. I also like the finish—it's still complex, but with a punctuated crispness a little like lime peel. It leaves it a little dry, but still with the crackling aftertones of the acid. Wonderful stuff.

Feel is great as well. Clean and crisp, but with a fine carbonation that matches the acidity very nicely indeed.

Overall, this is another absolutely cracking beer from Almanac, and probably one of my favourites I've had from them. This has all the complexity of the best barrel-aged wild ales, and manages to fold it all into a structured package that maintains its drinkability. Highly recommended.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.75
Ned's Red
Reviewed by Jez on 07.08.14 on tap
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Tried on-tap at GABS 2014 in Melbourne.

Pours a golden amber colour, far from red, but with some depth at least. Solid hazing forms through the firm body. Head is a fine off-white. Lace forms in thin sheets. Carbonation rushes through. Looks decent enough.

Nose is pleasant. Peach stone with a biting sour acidity turning slightly vinous after a while. Balancing this is a sweeter, rounded oakiness that helps put everything back into order. Again, pretty decent.

Light, crisp entry on the palate. A little cherry pip and more clean astringency. There's a strange buttery sweetness through the centre—it could be the oak, as this turns slightly woody and a little astringent on the back. Finish has more sweet oak characters, and a little brettiness. Heavy aftertaste.

Feel is light but chewy.

The oak is a little heavy-handed, but there are some nice elements to it. It called itself a Flanders Red, and I'm not sure it's quite successful on that front, but it's a decent beer taken on its own terms.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Far West Vlaming
Reviewed by Jez on 21.06.14 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
750ml bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Sydney where I cracked it open with Sam.

Pours with a lovely clear body, but definitely more amber and dull than red and bright. Head forms a fairly fine but carbonated expanse of white that settles down a bit, but still stays fairly frothy and persistent to the death. Lacing forms in coarse streaks. Body is light, but nice. Looks pretty good.

Nose has a slight tilt of acidity to it, but nowhere near what I was expecting. Some mild vinous acidity, perhaps a touch of oak, but fairly mild all up. There's certainly no organic funk, but the acidity is incredibly tame as well, meaning it smells a little weak overall.

Taste is similar. In fact, it may even seem thinner and less exciting. Very weak acidity and a flat body without much complexity leaves it tasting a bit like watered down balsamic. It's clean through the centre, with a tingling vinous character on the back, but there's really not a huge amount going on. It's genuinely disappointing, despite the fact that it's genuinely fairly nice all things considered.

Overall: Logsdon should have a far better Flemish Red than this one. This is thin, weak and lacking complexity and verve. It has some of the basic characters, but just fumbles with them until it produces something really quite pedestrian. C'mon guys, you can do way better, surely.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.5
2 Knuckles Deep
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.08.13 on tap
Overall:
84 / 100
(Exceptional)
On tap at the brewpub 17/08/13.

Pours a reddish colour, with a steady trickle of bead. Head is white, small bubbles, decent retention. Looks alright.

Smells tart, funky. Nice redcurrant crispness. Bit of barnyard at the back but beautifully sweet and tart balance. Yum.

taste is tart and funky. Redcurrant in there with pink lady apples, orange peel, some ascerbic funk on the back. Straw notes, grass and slight citric twang on the back. Beautifully handled sour, the sweet balances it out to make it smooth as silk in the drinking. Lovely.

Bit of sizzle both from carbonation and wild yeasts. OK for the style but I don't love it.

Lovely drinkable sour. Funky sweet and tart in equal measure; very approachable and sessionable.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 4.5
Flemish Red Ale Grand Cru
Reviewed by Jez on 10.10.11 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
330ml bottle purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos.

Pours a reddish brown colour, with a fine but very evanescent head of beige that disappears as soon as enough has been drunk to allow it to stick to the sides of the glass. Decent weight to the body, evidenced by the very languid carbonation, although it stays fluid and light enough when drunk. Not bad.

Nose is rather dull and slightly dusty, with slightly coarse oxidised aromas of wood, cardboard and earth. There's the slightly sharp spice of acidity to it, giving a mild balsamic vinegar tone as well. It's interesting. Probably not up with the best examples I've had, but not bad, and relatively complex.

Taste also has the sharp, acidity, tempered more than I expected, and smoothed with an odd vanilla note from the wood. Here, the acidity is not really as sour as I thought it would be, it presents as a tingling astringency on the tongue, before the sweetness comes through on the back, with the wood tannins and vanilla. This makes it less refreshing and drinkable than some others I've had.

Not a bad Flemish Red, and pleasantly smooth. I really like a good bite of acidity to the style though—to me, this is a quenching, refreshing style of beer, and this one misses that somewhat. That's not to say it's not an interesting example, however.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Moaten
Reviewed by Jez on 22.07.11 in bottle
Overall:
56 / 100
(Decent)
Collaboration with Urthel? Flemish Red Ale? This beer had some living up to do!

Unfortunately, I was unimpressed from the get-go. For a start, despite the fact the cork was almost impossible to extract (I had to use a corkscrew in the end), it uncorks with hardly a sound, implying some very absent carbonation. Oh well, let's see where we go from here.

Pleasant hazy orange-brown, almost mahogany colour, with a sketchy head of off-white, that leaves a few streams of lacing up the edge of the glass. Fine carbonation and decent body. All up, it's not a bad looking Flanders red.

Nose is quite weak, but displaying some of the characters of a good example: a little oak, slight vegetative funk, a touch of acidity and some smooth vanilla characters. It's very weak, however, but they're nice aromas.

Taste, however, is very disappointing. Where the pleasant bite of acidity should be there's a metallic copper character and... well, almost nothing else. Apart from a very mild hint of astringency on the back, it's a very mild and unnuanced palate, almost drinking like a light beer. In some respects, that's not unpleasant, but in other respects, why bother?

Pretty bad Flanders Red Ale, but on the plus side, that makes it only an average beer, rather than actively unpleasant.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Duchesse De Bourgogne
Reviewed by Jez on 16.04.11 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
750ml caged and corked bottle purchased from Jackson Wines & Spirits in Lafayette, CA. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a gorgeously deep and gem-like ruby red colour, with a fine and relatively solid head of pale orange-white. Lacing is sheeting, but quite sticky. Fine bead, and good body. Lovely looking brew.

Vinegary and acetic on the nose, giving big sour characters and a red wine-like spice to accentuate it. Under it are rounder notes of oak and vanilla, but the acidity always powers through, showing you who's boss. Nice.

Taste is really quite surprisingly tempered. Certainly very little true acidity, but more of a sweet vinous bite and plenty of oakiness. Quite sweet for the most part, indeed far sweeter than I expected from the nose, giving it a cherry soda kind of alcopop appeal. It's nice, and surprisingly mellow, but it lacks a bit of complexity as far as I'm concerned.

A very drinkable, and very soft Flanders Red, but I prefer mine with a more robust acidity and deeper complexities from oak and tannins. Still, very enjoyable, very easy to drink and really very refreshing.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Duchesse De Bourgogne
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 02.03.11 in bottle
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a dark burgundy-tinged amber colour with cream head of small bubbles that is here one moment and the next is settled out into swirling clouds of lace; it doesn't quite cling to the glass. Manifold trails of bead add life to the party. Pretty good.

Smell is musty and sour with a big balsamic vinegar aroma coming off that. Tinged with sweetness though, a touch of cherry and a good spicy belt of black pepper. Good vinous richness with oak and a whisper of honey as well, just part of a lovely sticky and sweet base that really must be smelled to do it any justice. Just wonderful.

Taste is an extremely sour Belgian affair, and sadly on first impression I can't count myself among its more ardent admirers. Starts with a tartness that is noticeably 'off' yet never puckering. Some might call it restrained, but I call it confused. The sweetness feels overdone, by contrast, and it lends the palate an overall spoiled quality that isn't so present in a Rodenbach or a Cantillon - because those beers just push with extreme force on the limits of sour. There is abundant fruit here, with cherry, gooseberries and apricots, but the sourness just renders them all a little off and gives a slight oxidised wine flavour overall. Mid-to-late is especially off-putting with a compost flavour. Look, on the right palate this might be an exception beer but, to me, everything tastes undercooked and the whole sweet/sour clash is a big turnoff. Points for complexity; not for balance.

A fair tingle on the mouthfeel from carbonation. Not overdone though to the point of harshness, just adds texture to go with the sour palate. Intriguing.

Not a favourite, but there is character enough to keep one exploring, albeit with more than a little trepidation.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.0
De Koninck Amber
Reviewed by Jez on 07.02.11 in bottle
Overall:
48 / 100
(Not Great)

Picked up at Leura Cellars.

Pours a golden brown colour, head is fine, but a bit filmy, and decomposes to large bubbles as it settles. Minimal lace. Decent depth to the body. A little static carbonation. Not a classic red, but decent looking.

Nose is bready and yeasty, with some spice, but little of that. Mostly dry and grainy, some cereal characters, minimal Belgian yeast notes. Smells a bit like a stale English ale. Meh.

Taste is very light indeed, with very minimal flavour. Some light grain, a hint of cereal, but extremely minimal. There's almost nothing to it whatsoever. It's like and English pale ale with all the flavour removed.

Feel also thin and absent.

Wow, I'm not sure I've had a Belgian beer that tastes like this. It's bland, mild and incredibly thin. While it's not actively unpleasant, it is not a Flanders Red Ale, not in colour, not in aroma, not in flavour, or spirit. Quite weak indeed.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Rodenbach Grand Cru
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 13.01.11 in bottle
Overall:
62 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a gorgeous red colour, just a vibrant scarlet with head that is off-white with a pink tinge to it. Body is clear and there is a small amount of lace, but not a huge amount. Head sinks to a modest film. Pretty nice.

Smells very acidic, with lots of red wine vinegar adding plenty of sourness with a nuttiness to it as well. A saltiness maybe and a touch of olive brine to it. Yeah, olive oiliness and maybe some cherry fruit as well. Unique, quite lovely and complex, but it's an odd one for sure and has some off-putting aspects to it.

Taste is very fruity on the front. Rich cherry with lots of tart raspberry and baked apple. Develops a strong tartness on the mid, giving very sharp citric acid and vinegar with a robust acetic character. Rich dark notes as well, especially on the back, with a balsamic touch and flavours of brown sugar and toffee. The sourness prevails to the end and just trails off on the back as far as flavour goes, but there's a sharp tartness lingering as a reminder. A spiciness underlying it all, too, masses of black pepper. Unique and fascinating, but not a flavour I can handle in large quantities.

Yeah, fair amount of texture but the slightest bit thin. Very dry on the back, too.

There's just a wildness and a big snap of sour that just impacts the mouth more than most sour beers I've had (notable exception being Cantillon Kriek Lambic, hi to all the folks at Cantillon). Not bad, but just really couldn't handle very much of this.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Ichtegem's Grand Cru
Reviewed by Jez on 03.11.10 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)

Pours, yep, a deep red colour with decent clarity. Head is a very fine bubbled number, white with a very slight pinkish or orange tinge to it. The head is lovely and fine, almost creamy. I've had fewer better heads out of a bottle, although it does dissipate to a film reasonably quickly, which is a shame.

Nose is pleasantly oaky, with a good acidic vinous character coming through, but balanced with a light vanilla sweetness, also possibly from the oak. Cherry kirsch and a pronounced woody note. Overall, damn, it's spot on for the style, and I love how tempered the potential acidity is.

Taste is a little thinner than the best examples, and not only does it not have the body, it lacks the potent acidity which goes along with that to cut through it. But overall, that just weakens the entire beer. Some lightly sweet almost candi sugar character throughout, with a very slight cherry note, and a whiff of oak that may well just be remaining from the nose. Vanilla character comes forward on the back, but it's more unpleasant on the palate without the acidity to balance it.

Feel is thin, and it matches with the lack of character on the palate.

It's a shame, because this beer promised a lot. But it eventually revealed itself as a pale imitation of the greats. It's not bad, and it's a tasty Belgian ale, but the style is so much better than this example would have you believe.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
2007 Vintage Oak Aged Ale (Barrel No. 230)
Reviewed by Jez on 29.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
91 / 100
(Superb)

Well, here I am with my 900th review on BA. Shame I'm over the other side of the world to my regular beer-drinking buddies @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe, who shared my 800th review with me. I'm sure I'll enjoy it in their honour.

Bottle purchased for a reasonably steep price for the USA, from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. 750ml, corked, caged and foil capped, although the cork pops with minimal effort given that it has no depth to it whatsoever.

Pours a very pleasant and very genuine red colour, deep but supple, like a light pinot noir. Head is persistent, but filmy, a slight off-white cream sitting atop the beer and leaving a slightly amorphous lacing as the beer is drunk. Light body with some fairly decent carbonation. Looks very decent.

Nose is very similar to their Grand Cru. Big notes of maraschino, funk, oak barrels and a slight grappa bite. Fumbling notes of kriek as well. It's that classically unique Flanders Red Ale aroma, suggesting big astringent acidity to come on the palate, but with a huge depth to everything as well. Lovely beer.

Taste is... excellent. At first, I was slightly taken aback by the lack of the truly cutting acidity, but this is like mellowing the characters of a great Red Ale, refining them, polishing them and making them into an artisanal item. Absolutely lovely blend of slightly tart acidity, cherry sweetness, rounded Belgian yeast and a pleasant lingering astringency. Palate is extremely long, and benevolently complex, leaving layer after layer of exceptional characters. Dusty and tart on the back, sweet and luscious on the front.

Feel is clear and light, but lending enough body to extend the palate for a long time. It allows it to express the flavours on the palate beautifully, while remaining light enough to accentuate the subtle acidity.

This is a truly remarkable and truly excellent beer. It is the more polished and refined version of their Grand Cru. Everything is just integrated perfectly into this subtle and seductive whole, giving an all-round beer experience which is exquisite.

An exceptional brew from some Belgian master craftsmen.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 5.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 5.0
Lips Of Faith - La Folie
Reviewed by Jez on 25.11.09 in bottle
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)

Pours a very nice deep red to red-brown colour, with a filmy head of taupe foam. No retention to it, but that's pretty much expected for the style. Minimal body with lots of streaming carbonation. Not bad. Looks pretty good.

I could smell it as soon as the bottle opened. Rich cherry acidity, with notes of pear, pinot noir grapes, oak and currants. Very strong, fruity and acidic, with a delicious roundness integrating it all together. Delicious.

Yeah, it's sour, but it's not instantly confronting. The deeper layers of oak and lighted roasted characters complement the sharp cut of acidity. By the time I've noticed quite how sour it is, the acid has tapered off slightly to a brusque but refreshingly dry finish. Still redolent of cherries with some other light fruit sweetness making a late but timid appearance. Mouthfeel is crisp and puckering, with a sparkling effervescence.

This is certainly one of the most acidic beers I've had, not as much as a Cantillon 100% Lambic, but close. That is exactly what they're going for, and I have to respect it. The fact that it has layers of complexity to compensate for the one most dominant is admirable, and I have to say I enjoyed the beer a great deal overall.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Rodenbach Classic (Red)
Reviewed by Jez on 06.07.08 in bottle
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Rodenbach Grand Cru
Reviewed by Jez on 19.02.05 in bottle
Overall:
95 / 100
(Best of the Best)

Deep ruby red/brown with a pale pink dense head that settles to a film after a while. It really does look mysterious and wonderful.

Coppery and sour on the nose, hints of maraschino cherries, pickled onions, fresh herbs, nutmeg, all underpinned by a syrupy sweetness. Smells unbelievable, unique and rich.

Coppery sourness on the front palate with a dryness that slowly spreads around your mouth like a dry red wine. There is a peppery spiciness there as well which beautifully counterpoints the sweetness. It takes some time to drink it, but you can savour every moment of it.

I can understand why some people might not like this. It certainly has the ability to offend if you're not prepared for it. I absolutely love this one. I get the taste for this in my mouth for days afterwards.

Truly remarkable

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 5.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5