Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Los Angeles, part 1

OK, this is gonna get a little fucked up, but I have this huge slew of beer tasting notes from LA, and I want to throw them away. Having decided that my blog is a self-indulgent place to keep track of this sort of shit, here goes:

With Kier in Berkeley, had a Dulle Teve. I wanted to bring this home, but it was leaking mysterious scunge around the cork and I was afraid it would explode. I love this beer. Spectacular mousse. Nose is coriander, rhododendron (according to Kier), flowery--jasmine? honeysuckle? The body is nutty (walnut?) and oddly mouth-coating. Gets maltier as it warms. Alcohol is 10%, by the way. Melony aroma. This is a crazy beer--key might be a large late hop addition and a crazy-hot fermentation.

Jeroboam of De Ranke Pere Noel, co-sponsored by Jeremiah:

Pale amber with a nice head--it exploded when uncapped and I think I had to suck on it. The nose is sourdough bread, earth, delicate acidity, golden raisins, thyme, coriander. The palate is full and malty, with nicely balanced hopping, and an earthy finish. My least favorite De Ranke beer, but still quite impressive.

That, plus the Berkeley beer tasting post, covers No. Cal.

In LA, chronologically, excluding things already posted:

Lagunitas Gnarleywine: Surprisinly mellow for 1096 and 9.7%. Stunning color (caramalt?). Smells like Centennial; nice caramelly palate; thick, clightly treacley finish. According to the label, "Beer speaks--People mumble." Oh, do I agree.

Fantome Pissenlit:

I adore this beer--it's an encouragement to brew fantastical Saisons. This is brewed partly with a tea made from dried dandelion flowers. This had had a good year in the bottle and it was just -un-real. 8%. Cloudy. Big, off-white head. Red, even slightly brown tinged (lots of Munich?). Massive, inextricably complex nose: Grassy, herbaceous, corky, spicy, citrus. Hallertau? Dry palate with some slight sourness, but also some definite, tightly articulared Munichy richness. Soft, sexy finish with some lemon rindy, pithy bitterness tying it together. Also some minerally elements.

Piraat ale:

Hadn't had in some time, but was just as I remembered: Big, hot, spicy, creamy, sourdough nose. Tasted a little like an immature, homebrewed Duvel. Key is 10.5% abv.

Bos Keun:

Been a while since I had this either. The head dies. Color is a cloudy, deep, orangey amber. The nose is really beautifuly and totally distinctive: orange blossoms, cider, honey, apples, little whiff of caramel. All in all, it's a sweet-accented nose, like an atypically good fruitcake. Also some tropical fruits, like mango or papaya. Rich, sweet, creamy palate (aromatic malt?). Nice bit of bitterness restores balance at the end.

Achel Brune: 8%. Deep, deep amber, toward brown. It's too cold, but already maltier than Westmalle Dubbel. I believe they use the Westmalle yeast, which shows. I've brewed with that yeast and this reminds me of my Dubbel. Nose is interesting but slightly subdued: a little spice, some rich maltiness, and a little bit of raisin/plum. Rich, malty palate. Some hops kick in, but not as tight finishing as Westmalle. As it warms, the plum/caramel/raisin thing dominates and it gets a little heavy.

Greene King Olde Suffolk:

This is made from keeping beer that they age in wood, mixed with a younger ale. It's a purplish, deep amber. Splendidly fruity, smelling of plum, raisin, toffee, sherry, iron, minerals, and oak. The palate is prickly, but low carbonated, lightly acidic, and oaky. It has a soft malt character, but also a lingering, pithy bitterness. Interesting beer.

Chimay Red:

Ubiquitous you say? But I hadn't had one in ages. It's got a light corky thing going on and a wonderful yeast bouqet: apples, slight lemon, flowery, citrusy hops (hallertau and tiny bit of cascade?); shifts toward prunes and pepper as it warms up. Caressingly smooth palate with even, delicately caramelly malt. Deep, riveting finish, but soft in the end. This is a pretty light beer, actually. Could be brewed with Belgian pale malt, light aromatic, and English caramalt, with a tiny dose of Special B or Caramunich. 1060-1065?, mabye 30 IBU's of Hallertauer or Tettnang?


Massive creamy malt--not really that complex, just huge, candied malt. Yummy though. Did I prefer the Noel?

Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout:

Tar and cheese. Coffee--treacle--licorice--bitter chocolate. Huge, remarkably dry palate. Good, solid, bitter frame holds it together. I love this beer. What the hell is in this and how is it so balanced?

Firestone Double Barrel:

Delicately oaky, soft malt. Mild hopping, plus nice English-ale-yeast fruitiness. This is subtle and really quite delicious.

OK, I'm getting sick of typing. More later.


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