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, September 29, 2008

perfunctory update

Clipped from an email to a friend:

I brewed a black saison sometime this summer. Essentially only one odd-ball brewery in Belgium does this "style." I did a traditional saison with a shot of Dingemann's debittered black and a smaller shot of Carafa II. A little dark crystal too. Caramunich?? Special B? I'm too lazy to go downstairs for the book...

The nose has all the crazy esters and higher alcohols of a saison, and some nice spicy noble-type hops. The black malts make a wonderful, subtle contribution. It's kind of like sniffing good fruity brandy with a high-cacao chocolate bar melting in the next room. More black malt meets brandy and candied fruit on the palate. But it's bone fucking dry. I know the final gravity--something like 1.004 or 1.005--but it feels chewy, full, rounded. I love it.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Kier and Katrina kindly brought me a bottle of Russian River's Beatification from CA. Thanks!

I'm drinking it. It's a 100% spontaneously fermented beer, aged in barrels for a good year. It's completely stunning. You could call it, fairly, a California Geueze. Applying the name "lambic" is of course technically wrong, but this sure as hell tastes a lot like one and I'm duly impressed.

Wonderful, layered, earthy, Brett-dominated nose. Bracing, fairly severe acidity. Bone dry. Label it Cantillon and hard-core lambic folk would not be disappointed.

For my money, there's not a better brewery in the country. Period.