Friday, August 17, 2007

La Trappe Quadrupel

There are a total of seven trappist breweries world-wide. La Trappe, located in the Netherlands, is the only non-Belgium trappist brewery. The beer is brewed at the Koningshoeven Brewery in the Onze Lieve Vrouw van Koningshoeven abbey located in Tilburg. The brewery produces five regular beers - a Witt Trappist, a Blond, a Dubbel, and a Tripel - and two seasonal beers - a Quadrupel and a bockbier.

The aging of the monks meant that the total control of the brewery was becoming increasingly difficult, and lead to the sale to a commerical beer brewer, Brand, in 1999. The purchase lead to a dispute with the International Trappist Association (I.T.A.) which felt that the brewery was becoming too commercialised to be labelled a trappist beer. This has since been resolved, with the monks taking more direct control in daily brewery operations.

Since the purchase by Bavaria the quality of the beers has improved. However, there is still some confusion about the fact that Bavaria brews some if its non-Trappist products, including the Moreeke and Kroon brands, at the abbey brewery. I feel it's a great pity that the continued commercialisation and globalisation of the world has not left this little part of the world untouched.

This beer is the Quadrupel, the biggest beer produced by the abbey at 10%. Here is my tasting note:

Nose: nice spice nose with hops and raisins.
Colour: caramel in colour. a delicate white - yellow head.
Palate: a smooth and chewy mouth feel; quite delicate in a way. malt, nuts and spice with a good balance between tartness and sweetness. 10% alcohol is well hidden.
Finish: nice long, spicey finish.
Comments: this is an excellent beer.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gala Solene 10 Years Old Tawny Porto

I purchased this 10 year old tawny in the local Aldi supermarket for around 6 euros. I can't find any further information about the producer of this port. To be honest I don't have that much hope for it really, but I guess I can always be suprised. Here is what I thought of it:
Colour: Nice and clear; orange-brown in colour.
Nose: Dried, stewed fruit with some hints of oak.
Palate: Sweet but well balance, with plenty of dried fruit.
Finish: Lengthy finish, albeit a little stringent.
Comments: Lacks the complexity of a high-end port and a little astringent. However, a decent port for the price paid.

Leffe Brune - Dubbel

This beer is produced by Abbaye de Abdij van Leffe located in Belgium. Leffe is an abdij, or abbey beer, which is a brewed along similar lines to the famous Trappist breweries with the exception that the beers are not brewed in monasteries. This is the Brune beer (or Dubbel beer) one of the five beers produced. Here is my tasting note:

Colour: Deep, chocolate brown in color. Nice white, foamy head.
Nose: Not a big nose, but there is some sweet stew apple here.
Palate: Very smooth and soft with plenty of sweet fruit along with brown sugar and caramel like flavours.
Finish: Nice dry, spicey finish.
Comments: A good, easy drinking beer.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

2005 Chateau la Fleur des Amandiers

Montagne-Saint-Emilion is a satelite, and located to the northeast, of the Saint-Emilion Appellation. As with Saint-Emilion, and the neighoring Pomerol, Merlot is the dominant grape with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Merlot and Malbec used as for blending. While I don't know anything at all about this Chateau, 2005 was a very good vintage in Bordeaux so I went on a gut feel and bought a case of this wine.

Here is my tasting note:

Colour: Deep, dense red with purple hues.
Nose: Black fruits and some hints of oak.
Palate: Plenty of fruit here; black berry and plums. Lovey grippy tannins. Good balance.
Finish: Nice long, spicey finish.
Comments: This is a lovely wine. While drinkable now, this is still a very young wine that still has its best years left in it. Excellant value for money.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Hertog Jan Grand Prestige

Coming in at 10% the Hertog Jan Grand Prestige is one of the more heavy, powerful beers brewed in the Netherlands. It is also called gerstewijn which means something like grain wine due to the fruit flavours and high alcohol content. This beer goes through a second fermentation in the bottle which gives the beer it's full, round flavours. This beer will also improve with some additional bottle age, developing port-like flavours.

Here is my tasting note:

Colour: A deep, dark reddish brown with a nice creamy head. While very dark it's also very clear.
Nose: Plenty of hops and some berry-like flavours.
Palate: Full flavoured beer with good balance between sweet and bitter. Nice ripe fruit flavours. Rather powerful alcohol dominates.
Finish: Long bitter finish with some alcohol.
Comments: A beer with good flavours but in my opionion the alcohol dominates a little too much. Maybe it will balance out a bit better with some time on its side.

Kasteel Bruin-Brune

Kasteel Bruin (also known as Kasteelbier Donker) is produced by the Van Honsebrouk brewery. In general it's difficult to categorise beers produced in Belgium as they produce the largest variety of beers in the world. This bruin beer is just another one of these beers. It is a strong brown ale style beer with a high alcohol content of 11%. This beer will also last a couple of years in the cellar.

Here is my tasting note:

Colour: Rich Dark Red-Brown; very dense. Small beige head.
Nose: Not a strong nose. Hints of coffee and chocolate.
Palate: Full, rich and smooth. Sweetness nicely balanced by bitter. High alcohol but not too dominant. Hints of chocolate and coffee.
Finish: Long smooth, slightly bitter finish.
Coments: A nice, well balanced dark brown beer.