18th highest rated style (of 102)
Highest RatedOmmegang (Abbey Ale) (89 / 100) Average score67 / 100 (Solid)
Lowest RatedBernie Glass' Dubbel Date (47 / 100) Number Tried44
Bernie Glass' Dubbel Date
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.11.17 on tap
47 / 100
(Not Great)
AIBA Homebrewer of the year winner 2017, tried as part of GABS festival in Melbourne. I actually don't know for certain if this was brewed at Colonial, but last year's was, and both homebrewers are from WA, and literally nothing mentioned the brewer, so Colonial is getting credit on this website nobody ever reads.

Pours an amber colour, slightly cloudy with cream-coloured head. Dense and thick and crema-esque. Pretty good but maybe a touch pale.

Smells medicinal, with some odd sweet notes around the edge as well. Coconut, touch of cinnamon. Not very pleasant to be honest - an odd mix of phenolic and sweetness.

Taste is a bit odd; the dates that have been infused in the brew give it an odd fruity sweetness but it leans into sort of acetyldehyde territory. Similar characters to the nose too, with vanilla, caramel and dark fruit sweetness and a fair bit of medicine. Bit too sweet and phenolic.

Decent body, slight warmth from the alcohol underneath it.

Not great. It's a dubbel in essence, but has a weird tangy fruit note which feels like a flaw even if it's just the effect of adding dates to it. Ultimately just a bit too sweet but without it counteracting the phenolic effect so it tastes like artificially sweetened cough medicine.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Rum N Raisin Dubbel
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 24.08.17 on tap
57 / 100
Oaked dubbel infused with raisins, brewed for GABS 2017. Tried there on tap.

Pours an amber colour, very cloudy with cream-coloured head, bit sparsely webbed and retaining OK. Not bad but maybe a bit pale for the style.

Smells hugely of banana, and rum. Banana esters with some subtle hints of dark fruit and maybe a touch of vanilla as well. Not a lot of the oak itself (which I assume is rummy oak) but a big sweet boozey rum note.

Tastes boozey and sweet. Malty upfront with a slightly nutty edge, develops some nice dark fruit esters midway, then a good oaky finish that blends with that big warm rum character. It's got the right characters but the lingering note is just big hot booze, which is not ideal and not very well integrated with the other characters.

Full body but the alcohol heat is really quite sharp and somewhat unpleasant.

Does what it says, but a bit too boozey and strong. I'm not a big rum fan so I may not be the right target for this, but I kind of feel like a dubbel doesn't need to be 10% and I feel like a toned-down version could have been a real winner.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | drinkability: 3.25
Yenda Dubbel
Reviewed by Jez on 12.07.15 on tap
49 / 100
(Not Great)
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.

Pours an amber colour, very clear in the body with a light body and looping streams of carbonation. Head is off-white tending towards yellow or cream that forms a fine ring. Some discrete pieces of lace form as well. Looks okay.

Nose has a bit of anise spice but is otherwise very yeasty and dull, and overall pretty weak and flat. There's not much going on here, even though it's not actively offensive.

Thin and very, very weak entry on the palate. Light ephemeral spice in the middle, and a slight yeasty tone leaving the finish very dry and dull. Aftertaste finally gives up something else with a tickle of pepper and spice. It's still incredibly thin and weak, especially in the mouthfeel.

Eh. So, it's not actively bad, so I'm not really rating it down the way I want to. But it's so dull, thin and lacking flavour that I really quite dislike it just for not even trying. Weak effort.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Yenda Dubbel
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 15.06.15 on tap
63 / 100
Pours an amber colour, clear with large bubbly cream-coloured head. Looks a little too fluid/light, but then I'd call 6.5% a little light for the style anyway. So as expected.

Smells quite pleasant. Sweet spice character, with vanilla, cinnamon blending with caramel malt. Lots of cinnamon. Quite nice, maybe not quite Belgian.

Tastes kind of basil-esque. Again sweet caramel malt upfront, then a herbal note takes over. Touch of clove and then basil, with a fair spice remaining on the back. Not bad.

Thin body and carbonation shows through sharply. No sign of alcohol though.

I'm not a big fan of dubbels anymore. This lives up to its promise but doesn't deliver a huge amount.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
BD Camden 01
Reviewed by Jez on 17.04.14 on tap
66 / 100
Tried on-tap at Brewdog Camden in Camden Town, London.

Pours a deep claret red colour, somewhat hazed but with fair clarity overall. Head is a filmy yellow-white, firm at the edges, otherwise subsiding. Body is solid, holding an undercarbonated bubbling when tilted. Lace forms in streaks. Not bad, but not great either.

Nose is pleasant and fairly complex. Beetroot, spice and sweet chocolate come through in fairly heavy waves, the spice turning distinctly to anise and Vietnamese pepper after a while. The sweetness gives rise to an aroma like chilli wings—sweet but spicy. Very interesting, and very solid.

Light and sugary on the front-palate. Slight herbal spice characters leading to some sweeter notes on the mid. Here we get some chocolate and a slight twinge of roast which makes it feel dark for a dubbel. More roast on the back, but this drops out, leaving carob, light candi sugar and toffee. Aftertaste has some more pricks of aniseed.

Feel is smooth but a little ephemeral.

Overall, it's pretty nice. It's not a huge dubbel, but it's pleasant enough, and wends its way through the style with some sense of panache at least.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Lost & Found Abbey Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 15.02.14 in bottle
70 / 100
(Very Good)
750ml corked and caged bottle purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA. Shared with Frosty and Rich.

Pours a hazed, but firm brownish amber hue, with a full and frothy head of beige that sits pretty persistently. Frothy lace forms in sludgy streaks. Solid body and very form carbonation which forms in rivulets up the glass. Looks good.

Nose is slightly spicy, with a raisin and orange-peel character, but it's actually pretty muted overall. Slight pepper characters come around as well, especially as it warms. There's actually not a lot of sweetness or richness to it: more like the yeast has dried it out as well as adding all those lovely spicy estery characters.

Taste is similar, but with a smoothness that suggests a bit of body, even though the sweetness is still quite absent. Firm brown-sugar flavours are present without the ultimate sweetness, and the esters pick up a little on the back, giving a bit more of that spicy fix. Finish is actually rather smooth, and the alcohol is well hidden. Feel is clean but rich. Nice.

Overall, yeah, this is tasty stuff, if not as complex as it might have been. There's plenty of body, which is good, and a nice about of spice. Some extra sweetness would help, but overall, it's still a really nice beer.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Dubbel Shot
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 05.12.13 on tap
70 / 100
(Very Good)
A 'Belgian coffee dubbel' brewed for the GABS Festival in Melbourne. Tried there on tap.

Pours a mahogany colour, quite pale really, with off-white head, fairly foamed out but dissipates quickly. OK I guess.

Smells very coffee-esque. Massive spicy espresso with some sweet cinnamon notes possibly from yeast esters. Complex, spicy, interesting, pleasant.

Caramel malt character upfront, not too sweet but with a hint of residual sugar, then develops spicy coffee notes towards the back with a touch of licorice and some decent Belgian phenols late. Coffee is a lot subtler on the palate than on the nose. It's certainly not worse off for it, though. Great drop.

Body is disappointingly thin and flat. No real texture to it and no real mouth presence. A shame, really.

Actually surprisingly enjoyable beer. The coffee and the Belgian phenols are merged together really nicely to produce a very interesting after-dinner-style brew.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 4.0
La Trappe Dubbel (Koningshoeven / Dominus)
Reviewed by Jez on 01.04.13 in bottle
76 / 100
330ml Trappist-embossed brown bottle purchased from Steve's Cool Booze in Kingsford.

Pours a deep ruby-brown colour, quite hazed, but light enough to ensure the red filters through when held to the light. Head fizzles up in a beige-crest to begin with, but settles down to a minimal film of small bubbles. Body looks very light and a little thin, No lacing to speak of. Overall, it's decent, without being particularly captivating.

Nose is pleasant, with rounded Belgian esters providing some banana and dried fruits, and spicy pepper characters giving a rich Christmas pudding note. Some background notes of red wine and oak come through pleasantly as well, making a deeper complexity possible. It's really quite nice.

The taste is slightly thinner, but where this leaves some of the round, sweet characteristics behind, it allows the spicy, phenolic spicy characters to rise up. There's pepper, cinnamon spices on the front, with some boozy, slightly astringent characters towards the end: tannic red wine and slightly charred oak finish up. There's a bitterness towards the back too, but more from the booze and the astringency than any real hop character. It's more like the bitterness that comes from a little too much spice.

Feel is light, but helped along by some of the flavours, which have quite a textural element to them.

Overall, this is very decent stuff. I tend to be quite a fan of dubbels in any case, but I'm happy to say that the La Trappe's Dubbel is the best of their standard range I've yet had (with the Quad to come). Nice stuff.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
The Raven's Thong
Reviewed by Jez on 29.11.12 on tap
64 / 100
On-tap at Yulli's in Sydney during Sydney Craft Beer Week. I'm still getting around to entering my reviews some months later.

Pours a very murky brown colour, perhaps amber at the edges, with a bright white head that stays pretty creamy and fine. Lace is solid, almost sticky and creamy as well. Fine powdery carbonation. It looks very good.

Aroma is estery, with some volatile fruity characters lilting above a sweet, malty basis. A touch of pepper comes through as well. There's even perhaps a suggestion of acidity. It's interesting, if nothing else.

Spicy entry on the palate, with more of those dancing sharp fruity notes mid-palate. Body is full and rich, creating a pleasant smooth and creamy basis like heavy syrup. Some booze is noticeable on the back, but it's cushioned by that lingering heavy sweetness.

It's perhaps a bit too much. It feels a little bit like the beer only succeeds as well as it does because it's too big to fail. Still, it's solid stuff, and one of the better Belgian style ales I've had from Australia.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Reviewed by Jez on 18.07.12 on tap
64 / 100
On-tap at Russian River in Santa Rosa.

Pours a... amber hue, surprisingly light (the "..." illustrates how surprised I was at this colour), with very little haze. Body is full and firm, as is the head, which forms an off-white crest for the beer. Some partial lacing, and some slinky, hiding carbonation. Hmm...

Round on the nose, with a touch of spice and phenols. There's an earthy sweetness, almost like chocolate, but that's about all it gives up. It feels a little like it's going through the motions.

Light characters on the front of the palate, with a touch of nuttiness, before some smoother, boozier elements come through later. However, the booze rises up and mingles with some phenolics and spice to create a sense of harshness on the finish.

Feel is smooth, but light. Suitable.

Eh. Overall, I'm unimpressed. This is a dull example of a dubbel, and even taken on its own without the repertoire of the style to compare it to, it's not that interesting.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Black Diamond Bourbon Barrel Grand Cru
Reviewed by Jez on 08.07.12 in bottle
63 / 100
Having bought this on my first stop in the US on this trip (BevMo in Sunnyvale), I carted it around until I got to Portland, where I needed to thin out my beer collection somewhat.

Pours a deeply hazed brown-mahogany hue, with a pretty decent head of yellow-white froth that leaves impressive spidery lacing. Body is smooth but light, perfectly suitable for the style. Overall, I'm impressed with the look: hits the style bang on.

Nose is smoothed and masked by the bourbon barrel characters, which lend rich vanilla overtones to the maltiness, meaning that there's good caramel throughout. However, this smooth sweetness is about all that it has to offer, and while it's robust, it leaves the rest of the aroma a little empty.

Taste is smooth but lightly organic and a little empty. Flavour is truncated by a mild tea-leaf note that seems to blunt any hint of true rich sweetness, while the lighter body, while suitable for the style also cuts off any real complexity. Finish leaves a touch of oxidation, a slight bready or cardboard note. Hmm...

It's not bad, but the beer itself doesn't seem to warrant the barrel treatment. Give a complex beer to a bourbon barrel and you'll be rewarded with extra nuance and flavour: this one seems to rely on the oak too much, and once it's gone, it's flat and uninteresting.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
St. Bernardus Pater 6
Reviewed by Jez on 17.04.12 in bottle
74 / 100
(Very Good)
Purchased from Plonk in Canberra.

Pours a deep ruby colour, with a depth that suggests it might have some haze to it. But in fact, it seems pretty clear. Carbonation is very fine, but persistant and vibrant, and feeds into a thick, off-white head that leaves firm, sticky lace. Looks very good.

Nose is slightly yeasty and spicily aromatic, with some dusky earthiness coming through as well. It's slightly funky, with a touch of musk. There's a smoothness to it overall, but all from that earthy sweatiness—there's not much sweetness.

Taste is lighter than expected, but powered by those slightly spicy estery characters which give notes of fruitskin. Again, there's not a lot of true sweetness, but there's a smooth roundness to the palate, which balances some of the spicy spikes. Finish has a gritty, earthy twang to it. Feel is split by that smoothness and spiky sharpness.

Overall, a nice beer, but not the equal of its stablemates.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Dominus Vobiscum Double
Reviewed by Jez on 16.10.11 in bottle
66 / 100
Purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.

Almost overcarbonated on the uncapping, but despite the very effervescent hiss, it's the slowest gusher I've ever seen, looping slowly over the lip of the bottle.

Pours a clear robust red-brown colour, with an initially rocky and very frothy head of beige. This settles down to a firm, fine head of yellowish off-white. Minimal lacing. Pretty fluid body, pleasantly holding some fine carbonation. Looks decent.

Nose is sweet and spicy, with a big savoury component giving it a slight aroma of tomato ketchup. The spice is perhaps enough to drag it into piquant, herbal Belgian territory, but the savouriness is compelling. It's an interesting and unique nose, not something that really grips me, perhaps, but unique nonetheless.

Taste is very similar to the nose, with the blessing that the spice comes through a little more, giving some cinnamon and aniseed above the savoury grains and stewed tomato character. The body is also pleasantly light, which probably helps as well, but the comparison to ketchup always lingers for me.

Pleasant spiced Belgian ale—I find it hard to really consider it a dubbel, a style with which it shares few characteristics, but it has the body of a Belgian and the light drinkability. It is odd, though.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Petrus Dubbel
Reviewed by Jez on 28.09.11 in bottle
71 / 100
(Very Good)
Cheers to @LaitueGonflable for this one.

Pours a pretty dark and heavy deep, deep red colour. When held directly to the light, the light causes a refraction of the red to form a bright sparkling, like a cut ruby. Head is fine, but bubbly in places, forming a film after a while. Some patchy speckled lacing. The colour is divine, and overall, it's a very good-looking beer.

Nose is extremely interesting and rather complex. Spicy rye aromas, with a touch of acidity, and sweetly piquant characters like a fresh, hot cinnamon bun. A touch of citrus lingering across the back as well, which is hidden by the deep sweet-savoury body. Lovely.

Taste also bridges that sweet/savoury/spicy divide, but it's a little more banal in its implementation. Here, the characters present themselves all at once, and the palate doesn't develop from front to back. Instead, we get a single note, albeit a layered one, giving characters of dark bread, subtle sweetness and a touch of dark acidity.

Feel is light, but pleasant enough.

This started out really well, and had the signs this was going to be a phenomenal beer. It's still a very good one, but it ends up feeling a little disappointing just because it promised so much.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Trappist Westvleteren 8
Reviewed by Jez on 20.07.11 in bottle
80 / 100
Tried the evening after my bottle of Westvleteren 12, and a couple of days before my bottle of Westvleteren Blond.

Pours a hazed reddish brown colour, beautifully bright and gradiented when held to light. The head, just like the 12, is insanely fine and creamy. It's an absolutely crowning joy, leaving thick sheeting lace down the inside of the glass. Carbonation is extremely fine. Again, the body is lighter than expected, but overall, this is a magnificent looking beer. I'd have to say with the brilliant gemlike colouring, this looks even better than the 12. Just phenomenal.

Nose is mild and hazed with subtle conflicting flavours. certainly hints of booze, along with hot popcorn, resin, red grape skin, quite tannic and tight, and very little residual sweetness. Nice.

On the palate, the tannic red wine comes through more, and the lack of sweetness becomes more prominent. It gains a sharp, almost raw tobacco character, with a lingering bitterness. There's a creamy feel from the brilliantly fine carbonation, but I genuinely feel I'd like more sweetness. Still, the complexity of the dark tannins is impressive, and it is pleasantly sharp and refined.

Another cracking Belgian from the little masters, and another beer worthy of seeking out. I was thoughtful I might like this even better than the 12, being as though the Dubbel is a particular favourite of mine, but there's no doubting the superiority of the Quad. This was a stellar beer; the 12 was phenomenal.

appearance: 5.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Adelardus Dubbel
Reviewed by Jez on 18.07.11 on tap
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Had on-tap at Moeder Lambic in Brussels.

Pours a bright, deep, amber-brown, with a fine bubbled but relatively mild head of beige. The lacing is patchy, but persistent. Rather lighter in body that I expected, or would ideally want, but otherwise ok.

Nose is slightly tart, with a vinous note giving a heady but slightly acidic edge. Some sweet organics, carob and a touch of turned earth. Quite nice all up.

Body is very light, but the flavours come through pleasantly, with a slightly peppery tartness, carob, butter, nuts, acidity along with the almost savoury characters of stewed tomatoes and tannic red wine. Lingering spice on the finish, that is itself quite dry.

Smooth and drinkable, but I'd say missing body in any other style but a Belgian

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Abbey Dubbel
Reviewed by Jez on 06.04.11 on tap
48 / 100
(Not Great)
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.

Pours a darkish, but very surprisingly clear copper colour, with a fine white head. Much lighter than is usual for this style, so much so that I almost think I have the wrong beer. Head is good at least, and the heft in the body makes me consoles me to the fact that this is really what I'm drinking. Overall, a little underwhelmed though.

Nose is rather sharp, with a surprising citrus twang above a toffeed malty character, almost like a gueuze-like infection. This takes over the aroma, leaving a sharpness that is not only unwelcome, but verging on unpleasant when you're expecting big dark, plummy aromas.

Taste is a little better. There's not the sting of citrus or acidity here, but the booze is poorly hidden, meaning a sharp vinous twang is the main event. Body is light, which is somewhat expected for the style, but without the other characters, that's poor compensation.

I'm quite surprised at this. Hargreaves Hill should be doing much better. I can only hope that the guy at the Local was wrong, and what I'm drinking is not indeed the Abbey Dubbel, as he contended.

appearance: 2.5 | aroma: 2.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Westmalle Trappist Dubbel
Reviewed by Jez on 03.04.11 in bottle
73 / 100
(Very Good)
I can't believe I'd never reviewed this before, but perhaps I'm just more of a Westmalle Tripel kinda guy. Anyway, when I realised it, I figured it was time to grab a bottle and try it out.

Pours a pleasantly dark and murky reddish black, that shows ruby at the edges when held to the light. It's more opaque and darker than a lot of dubbels, but the haze makes it shine beautifully. Head is persistent after collapsing from a boisterous beginning. Body is moderate, not light, but not sludgy and thick. Looks good.

Nose is smooth, but with some peppery phenols and a dustiness like those found in medieval catacombs. Some sweet plumminess and a spike of plasticine, which cuts through the darker, heavier characters. Nice, but lacking some complexity.

Smooth again on the palate, with more peppery phenols than are present on the nose. More plummy sweetness, but with a genuine aged dusty character to go with it. Some vanilla on the back, but the finish drops off very quickly. Feel is smooth, especially with the hint of vanilla.

Not a bad drop, but I've had better dubbels, and better trappist dubbels as well. The style is a good basis, whatever happens, but I feel this could have been better.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
St. Feuillien Brune
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 15.02.11 in bottle
68 / 100
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.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Trappist Achel 8° Bruin
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 14.01.11 in bottle
53 / 100
Pours a burnished gold colour with deep red tinge. Head is cream-coloured, large webs on the side and sinking beautifully and unevenly on the top. Trails of lace left behind and strong, furious bead keeping it alive. Pretty nice.

Nose is quite grainy. Lots of barley with dark grain bread and hints of metal on there. Some slight darker notes, hints of soil and chocolate. Slight sourness with grain husk. Yeah, a bit lacking, just grain and not a huge amount else. Expected more from the style.

Taste is richer, maybe more malty, with a bronzey metallic edge. Lots of burnt sugar up front that descends into a sour and quite phenolic mid-palate with cherry notes and some tart blackberry character as well. Hint of like cleaning solvent or something on the back, with that slightly harsh phenolic astringency. Perhaps not bad stylistically but would appreciate more sweetness or spice. I'm not really enamoured with this beer.

Good full body with lots of texture. Too much carbonation though mars it slightly.

Not too fussed about this, as a dubbel or as a beer. I've had better of both.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Trappist Achel 8° Bruin
Reviewed by Jez on 29.12.10 in bottle
77 / 100

Extremely pleasant slightly hazed brown. Head is extremely robust and sudsy, crackling. Lacing is coarse and diverse. i really love the way the haze makes the beer shine so pleasantly. It's a great looking beer.

Nose is a bit organic, giving a light husky grain character. Pleasantly dark, with a sweetness that is pretty tasty. Slight acidity to it, which gives a sharpness and a lift. I like it.

Taste is a bit smoother, and a bit less organic. It's still good but less exciting. Very brown sugar and a bit of spice, but not a lot. In general, it gives me this big well of nostalgia back to my early craft days, when Belgian ale was the beer I drank. Smooth, light spice, some malty grain, lots of phenols. It's what I remember. It's comfortable and enjoyable.

Feel is smooth and light. Although it doesn't have the acidity, it has the bounce of the light body which gives it a lift.

Lovely brew. Even though it doesn't have the brazen and intense complexity of the best Belgians, it's a very drinkable, and very classic Belgian brew.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
JP (2009)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 04.06.10 in bottle
72 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a murky espresso colour with nice ochre head, sinks slowly, leaving a film of small bubbles on top and a pleasant ring of dense lace around the glass. Head retention could be better but nice colour and lace.

Needs my sweet warming embrace to extract fragrance. Smells pleasantly Belgian. A lot of Christmas character here, with dark fruits - blood plum, plump cherries and raisins giving way to a rich dark peppery spice, some hints of bitter chocolate as well, nice and warming with a hint of sour fruit on the back. A delight, really.

Taste leans more heavily on the dark. A lot of roasted malt characteristics with cocoa and unsweetened chocolate throughout that is a bit too dominant. Fruity flavours come through late-mid, plummy and cherry-y notes giving a rich sweetness leading into the finish which is the most Belgian part of the palate, giving me dry musty spice with hints of pepper, turmeric and paprika. It's kind of a dulled spice rather than a hot piquancy but is helped by a smooth tongue lick of boozey warmth that strokes the gullet.

Feel is thick and foamy with a pleasant dryness that lingers slightly. A pleasant sipper for colder weather. Just what I wanted, getting home on a miserable Sydney day.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
St. Bernardus Prior 8
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 13.05.10 in bottle
77 / 100
Pours a delicious espresso brown with modest off-white head, visible bubbles retaining to half a centimetre. Nice creamy lace clings to the glass. Gorgeous dusky colour, everything else pretty good too.

Nose is quite pungent. Nice sweet dark chocolate character with dark, spicy toffee. Hints of truffles with nice cinnamon notes and a slight sour cherry character lingering at the back. Noticeable ethyl alcohol at the back has a lack of character to it, just smells strong. Apart from that though an awesome, deliciously sweet and dark, spicy mix.

Taste is very sweet, lots of dark, almost burnt, toffee notes start from the front and continue towards the back. Some pleasant cherry hints with slight brandy undertones, and a quite strong and yeah, robust spice mix at the back, filling the palate with pepper, cinnamon, anise and carraway, while a slight lavender floral notes emerges at the back. Very rich and cocoa-like for the most part, pleasantly flavoursome all the way through.

Mouthfeel is incredibly foamy, very noticeable spicy sizzle and nice and creamy throughout.

Maybe just a bit overly rich on the late mid with a few too many phenols to quaff. Otherwise, excellent throughout; a rich, enjoyable winter ale.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Pere Jacques
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 16.04.10 in bottle
50 / 100
Pours a cloudy, burnt-red colour, orange at the edge, kind of scarlet overall, with a thin beige head that dissipates after a short while leaving whisps of foam. Lacing is pretty nice and sticky. Makes for a quite nice-looking beer.

Nose is a malt bomb, to be sure, to be sure. Huge amount of English toffee, brown sugar, and a phenolic alcohol spice, hint of pepper and mint on there as well, and a slight bronzey metallic aroma. Earthy, malty and quite spicy. Has the makings of a great nose, but doesn't quite deliver complexities or nuance, just smells a bit "strong" more than anything.

Taste is very, very sweet. Starts with a cake batter flavour and some peach sweetness on the front, sugary with a hint of toffee, then gets, if anything, even sweeter on the mid, with a kind of soft drink or fruit punch sugary flavour. Finish has a slight earthiness to it but it's that amber malt grain flavour more than any real bitter character, could use something to clean up the palate more. This really tastes quite like a woman's beer - really sweet and lacks that spicy yeast note I would expect from a Belgian style. Not a lot of typical beer character that might keep me drinking, actually tastes a bit insipid.

A little bit thin on the feel, but only a little. A breath of alcohol warmth on the back, but not much. For how sweet this is I'd expect it to be thicker. Pretty average overall.

Yeah this is too sweet for my taste and lacking in other areas; however I can see this going down quite well on a particular type of palate. Just not my cup of beer.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Pere Jacques
Reviewed by Jez on 14.04.10 in bottle
76 / 100

Pours a deep reddish brown colour, not very dark, but with a slight hazy opacity to it. Head is a film around the edges, not particularly strong, although it frothed a little to begin with. Some lacing, looks pretty static. Not bad overall, but it doesn't grip me.

Nose is really something though. Slightly sweet, slightly phenolic, big flavours of candied orange peel, brandy butter, malt, a little oak, and some oddly refreshing boozy notes. All up, it makes a great Belgian melange, mostly sweetness and richness, but shot through with enough phenol to keep it from being sickly. Very good indeed.

Taste is thick and sweet from the get go. Flavour of confectionary malt on the front, tingling with heat and very fine carbonation, before a very slight medicinal touch which brings it back from being overloaded. Finishes with a sublimely finessed toffee and candi sugar sweetness that just slowly materialises on the back. All very sweet and rich, and very nicely realised. If it lacks something, it is perhaps depth or complexity, but what it does have is coherence and structure.

A very nice brew, this one - another great example of Goose Island's art. It's very drinkable for its 8%, and if it does appear slightly too sweet after a while - well, that's what it's for. that's what I signed up for in this beer, and it delivers well on that.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
St. Bernardus Pater 6
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 28.01.10 in bottle
83 / 100
Pours a rude, dark scarlet colour with large beige head of quite sparse bubbles, sinks steadily but with a nice symmetry downwards, and fed from below by a fairly strong bead. No lace. Looks a bit thinner than I'd anticipated. And fizzier. Solid otherwise though.

Nose is predominantly sweet, a good light toffee and caramel aroma with a slight tartness behind, slight sultana character and hints of chocolate and cinnamon as well. Really quite pleasant. Not overpowering or too complex, but very enticing. Just a pleasant aroma, sweet, tart, slightly spicy. Hits all the right buttons.

Taste is fairly sweet for the most part, and lots of nuance and nice complexity throughout. A milky sweetness on the front with pleasant chocolate characters. Hints of pecans and sultanas come through as well as a healthy dose of spice, kind of gingery and then a bit of anise, or carraway maybe, very savoury in character and complemented well by a slightly brash dryness on the feel and a slight kick of boozey warmth. Tastes pleasant and Belgian with a finely nuanced palate and an enjoyable piquancy. Would be great in Winter.

A little bit over-sizzling on the feel is a drawback, it detracts from the fact that it's otherwise velvety smooth.

Overall a great beer. It never demands too much, and doesn't make assumptions, but still manages to leave a great impression. I'd call it a naturally charismatic beer.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Abbey Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 05.06.09 in bottle
74 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a lightly cloudy ruddy brown, with a reasonable, but not very boisterous head of beige foam. The colour is nice, but otherwise it looks a little insipid.

Some genuine Belgian notes on the nose, sweet-savoury yeast characters, bread-and-spices, dark citrus, crackers with a light funky cheese note, which actually goes rather well. Certainly a pungent nose, and one that I respect.

Some light sweetness on the palate, and lots of that big Belgian yeast character, skimming the border between sweet and savoury. Biscuit again, but quite luscious. The mouthfeel is light, but very smooth - a good sign in a dubbel.

A fair bit of character to this one - perhaps not the layered complexity of some of the better examples, but the important elements are there. It's got the pleasant light body and hidden alcohol of a good dubbel, so at least it's readily drinkable. Not a bad drop at all.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Ommegang (Abbey Ale)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 01.04.09 in bottle
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a reddish-brown colour, nice medium beige head that dissipates into a thin film of fair foam. Very nice, sticky lacing web. Cloudy body. Pretty darned nice or whatever.

Sourish with a lot of fruit characters on the nose. Apple, pear and apricot with a very slight wet soil lingering on the back that grounds it well(in an electrical charge sense, not a mortar & pestle sense) into something other than a light fruity woman's beer. Suggests a tartness that isn't full cup of tea but the fruit is pleasant enough for it to be maybe 3/4 cup of tea.

Kind of a sour, amber ale character abounds through the palate, although there is a sweet, almost milky flavour on the front. The fruit that suggested itself on the nose is conscpicuously absent except on the mid-palate, where it blends very nicely with the tartness which lingers on the finish. Nice earthy tones in this, like a colony of earthworms have ground their way through this beer, and mouthfeel is nice and full, with the slight puckering on the finish its only downpoint.

This is a nice beer, with a complex array of brooding, Autumnal flavours. Although I'm not a huge fan of the finish, it really only lingers, there's nothing unpleasant flavour-wise on the back of the palate. In fact, the more I drink the more I'm thinking the tartness is just a nice fruity character. I might mark it up 1/2 a point. I might not.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Mad Abbot Abbey Ale
Reviewed by Jez on 14.03.09 in bottle
51 / 100

Clear mid amber hued body with a decent head of yellow-tinged beige foam. Some lacing, but not a lot. Body looks a bit thin but otherwise the look could pass for a Belgian.

Nice true Belgian aromas on the nose: plum, wine cork, a little aniseed, and a light phenolic alcohol note - perhaps a little like shoe polish. It's not huge, but all the characters are right. I approve.

Flavour is quite a let down, unfortunately. Very thin on entry, with just a lingering sour back palate, a little grain-husk earthiness. Maybe a touch of lingering heat, but not much. Mouthfeel is also quite thin - the Belgians trappist ales can have a light body, but this is a little too much.

Ultimately, this beer is a bit disappointing. Promised a lot on the nose. It's not bad, and it's an interesting find, but it really doesn't deliver in the end.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Ommegang (Abbey Ale)
Reviewed by Jez on 18.02.09 in bottle
89 / 100

Beautiful mahogany brown body, a little cloudy with sediment with a very fine creamy head of bubbles. Lacing is great, body is thick and rich. Looks wonderful.

Yum, just delicious deep sweet and dark notes on the nose. Dark plum pudding, fruit cake and rum-soaked raisins. Just a lighter acidic note of orange peel leavens it a little. There's the rich dark plummy sweetness, and the lighter fruitier characters over the top. Just wonderful, absolutely top notch for the style.

A little lighter than expected on the palate - certainly not a full blown dried-fruit darkness, but the palate is still much layered. Initial bitter notes slide into a sweet-sour fruit character, before drying to a long, raisin-toast kind of character on the back. Not a hint of alcohol except for the slight uptilt in the tail which just flings back a whiff of rum or brandy. Mouthfeel is nice - smooth, but lightened a little - not syrupy.

A truly excellent and enjoyable beer. Quite complex, but very smooth and drinkable as well. Possibly one of the most drinkable Dubbels I've ever tried. This one yet again established Ommegang as a top-notch brewery with me.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Allagash Dubbel Reserve
Reviewed by Jez on 20.09.08 in bottle
69 / 100
(Very Good)

Dark, cloudy, opalescent brown with just highlights of dark orange around the sides. Small bubbles of carbonation feed a creamy head of beige crema. Excellent lacing.

Dark liquor type aromas on the nose; port, chocolate and rum. There's a nice dry, but sweet mocha character to it as well. It's really quite sweet, but it's a dark sweetness - verging towards bitter or toasted. Very nice.

Taste is also good, but a little thin. There's a very pleasant sweet character on the front palate that slides into a more bittersweet dark chocolate or burnt toffee flavour. But it's quite thin in the mouth, and I get a kind of empty feeling from the taste - like the full spectrum of the palate isn't filled in.

The bits that are there are nice, but it really feels like it's missing something - it really lacks depth in the palate.

That being said, it's very drinkable, especially for a 7% brew. Indeed, the thin palate probably improves its drinkability, because it doesn't feel like it's bloating you.

Overall, it's a decent brew. Very pleasant and easy to drink. But unlike their White, which very nearly puts the Belgian Witbiers to shame, this one is only an approximation of the Trappist brewers' art.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Chimay Première (Red)
Reviewed by Jez on 23.01.06 in bottle
80 / 100

Somewhat cloudy plum red colour. Good thick tan head kept alive by some robust, cascading carbonation. Good lacing. This is a fine-looking beer.

Plummy, fruit-sweet nose. Notes of dried fig, prunes and brandy, all tied together with a thich dark syrupy sweetness. There's a background hint of coffee of burnt toast that just lends a little more depth and richness. Damn nice nose.

Mmm. Rich, prolonged palate. Starts sweet and syrupy, with hints of dried fruit and mellows to a biscuity dry finish. The alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth.

This is a very fine beer, and exceptional example of a dubbel.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Chimay Première (Red)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 23.01.06 in bottle
49 / 100
(Not Great)
Quick back story. This was one of the first beers I ever reviewed on BA and gave it a score of 4.55 (with some juvenile notes from my uneducated palate thrown in). Since then I've failed to recapture the sensation of orgasmic ambrosia I thought this beer was at the time and when the re-weighting came in the score was bumped up to 4.8. Too high, I thought, so I put the challenge to my friends to serve me this blind some time so I could re-evaluate in fairness. BA @lacqueredmouse heeded the call, and this new review is the result.

Pours a dirty red colour with much floaties. Head is off-white, nice and dense with a whipped-egg texture. Lace is sticky and provides a nice sheen. Quite good; not sure about floaties.

Smells very musty and slightly mouldy, a bit weird. Lots of grain on there and yeast esters as well. Hint of white bread and brown sugar, maybe some acetyldehyde as well. Slightly cidery, slightly bready. Can't say I'm a big fan.

Taste also lacks a lot. Plenty of sweetness to it with barley and some brown sugar notes. hint of honey on there and some herbal notes coming through late. Mild grass and some myrtle with some light thyme and medicinal phenols on the back. Sweetness on the front and spice on the back don't quite merge seamlessly with one another, and overall I'm a bit underwhelmed.

Thin mouthfeel, little bit of texture but lacking a bit as far as making its presence felt.

Quite disappointed. There's just not a lot to this.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 2.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Grimbergen Dubbel
Reviewed by Jez on 23.07.05 in bottle
88 / 100

Deep ruby red with orange tinges. Good thich creamy head. It's almost the colour of blood orange juice. Very good looking beer.

Syrupy, treacle sweetness. Toffee, brown sugar, golden syrup, with a hint of deep alcohol like scotch whiskey or cognac. Very rich and pleasant.

Rich, sweet and pleasant. Some burnt characteres. Flavours of dark fruit, black grape juice, caramelised figs, dark honey. A flavoursome, rich and deeply enjoyable brew.
Mouthfeel is rich and smooth.

A very drinkable, smooth and delectable beer. Most enjoyable. I'll seek out a few more of these.

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