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.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

533 Belgian Pale

533 has been on tap for a day or two, following a two-week conditioning. It's not a bad beer, but I'll have to drink it slow--I think it needs rounding out still. The head is really retentive, even in a wide goblet. I've got it holding at about 45 degrees, which seems a decent temperature for starters. The interesting thing about this beer is that I've got 9 bottles that didn't fit in the keg which are totally different. The beer tasted really flaccid, dull, and under-attenuated when I went to put it in the keg--plus it felt really un-summery, so I dry-hopped it with an ounce of Saaz while it conditioned. I have a feeling the bottled version may ultimately be a better beer, especially from a stylistic standpoint. What I'm drinking is really pretty hoppy for the style. But Saaz makes a nice dry hop, and it is refreshing, so, what the hell. Will compare the un-dry-hopped bottle-condition version at some point.

Lovely amber color to this. Some clarity issues, due to the dry-hopping, but so be it. The nose is marked by Saaz, obviously. They give a green, leafy, spicy character--even minty. There's also a fruitiness suggestive of apricot kicking around in there somewhere. Fruity, interesting palate. There's some nice toastiness from the mid-range malts (Vienna, Munich). Very full mouthfeel, enhanced by the pinpoint carbonation. There's a nice woodsy herbaceousness emerging in the nose, which I think is mostly from the yeast (Belgian Ardennes).

Interesting beer--I'll have to see how it develops. At the moment I think it's got a raspy bitterness in the palate and finish that needs to die down a little.


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