Art by John Neville
A double or dubbel is a monastic style - brown malty, spicey and fairly strong in the range of 8 to 9%. The Beer Advocate describes the style this way:
The Belgian Dubbel is a rich malty beer with some spicy / phenolic and mild alcoholic characteristics. Not as much fruitiness than the Belgian Strong Dark Ale but some dark fruit aromas and flavors may be present. Mild hop bitterness with no lingering hop flavors. It may show traits of a steely caramel flavor from the use of crystal malt or dark candy sugar. Look for a medium to full body with an expressive carbonation.Examples of other dubbels tippled hereabouts include Allagash of Maine, Westmalle and Rochefort 8 both from Belgium.
- Ommegang: This ale pours a really lovely deep deep orange with red notes and has a massive rocky orange cream head. On the nose there is alcohol, a touch of methol, sweet malt and burlap. The first sip is bright effervescent orange peel with twiggy mint hops edge all through a spicy creamy sweet raisin bread of a beer with dryish end. Intensely attractive ale. Interesting to note I described this beer differently a year ago. If I read either description I can recognize both. It is a funny thing about describing flavour that it is an evocative process, comparing the "X" in the present to the "Y" of memory. Plus bottle variation is possible. This bottle is quite tangy. Likely the last glug will be different when I get the yeasty swirl. The 2% of BAers who do not like this must have issues.
- Stoudt's Abbey Double: 2001 vintage. Vineous Ovaltine, malteeser aroma. Very sharp for a dubbel. Red mahogany with a thin white rim. Cherry juice and malteeser with burlap and spud. Acidic and not rich yet not so sharp as to be off. A bit like a La Choulette beer yet more sharply acidic. In his Great Beer Guide, Michael Jackson said of this brew...
Her Abbey-style Double has a syrupy richness, with suggestions of vanilla and a medicinal phenolic finish.Reading the high and low reviews amongst the BAers confirms the tart aspect is present with others yet not consistent. I wonder if this is a bottle past its prime yet I still enjoyed it. Sharp like some lambics yet complex.
- Brother David's Double: From the Anderson Valley Brewing Company in Boonville Californian. Deep mahogany with a thick rim and foam of mocha head. Malty more than spicy, this beer could be an imperial brown ale except that there is that burlappy thing. Not to be a style nerd but this is a little too biere du garde and not enough dubbel - except maybe for the treacle and fresh autumn apples notes. Still a loverly ale with a chocolate, potato peel, dry fruit thing happening. A litttle heady and funky. Brother Dave must have had pretty good taste. The BAers are not unanimous.
Home sick from work today, I was interested to find this note in the email this afternoon. Last November, I wrote about the efforts to create a unified advertising campaign in the US about the goodness of beer. Well, today's correspondent appears to be involved in that effort. He write as follows:
Good afternoon, or evening, or morning depending on where you call home.Scott and I emailed and I said I would ask you guys. So...what do you think? I think this is a very interesting question and I will take some time to think about it before I respond in the comments to this thread. Do put what you think and, as Scott said, rants welcome...within the scope of acceptable manners around here, of course.
I'm writing about the latest announcement that the US beer industry is going to be rolling out a "Got Milk?" type campaign in a bid to halt the slow decline of the beer market. If you're unfamiliar with it, you can read about it at http://raybacon.blogspot.com.
I'm not going to put up any façade here...I work for a marketing agency contracted with Anheuser-Busch...the Evil Empire as seen by many connoisseurs of beer. While this is not our idea, I'm very interested to hear what people think. If you could humor me and forget that this effort is being headed up by Anheuser-Busch (who will spend the most money on the effort and who will reap the largest reward)...I'd like to get your thoughts.
If each of you had :30 on TV to tell the world why they should enjoy beer, what would you say?Any other thoughts, insights, insults or rants are welcome.
And if you are a lurker, please take this moment to speak up. Join the beer blog nation while you are at it.
A wee nip of the good stuff for Robert Burns Day.
This dark red-mahogany ale with a beige rim is advertised as ale flavoured with corriander and that is exactly what it is. A big malty brown ale with a load of straight corriander seed flavour. In the malt there is dry fruit like fig and date which works very well with the spice, not Christmas cake, as it is slightly removed from rummy, so much as a flavour you would not be surprised being introduced to as part of a curry - perhaps a chuntey of a beer. It is very full of prune and spice on the nose, bready in the yeast.
One of our neighbours from down the street brought us a large bottle of beer in a nice gift bag when they came to our pre-Christmas levy. It was a bottle of Picaroons, from a brewery in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Nice, appreciated gift. My only concern is that the Best Before date reads:
Should I: chuckle?; call the police?; close the blinds permanently?; move? Am I reading the date incorrectly?
This is quite an interesting short history from a somewhat moderate Islamic point of view:
As people in Yemen undergo many changes in their way of life, and the country eagerly tries to accept from other cultures the good they may possess, something goes unexpected. Not long ago, and during the British Occupation in the southern part of Yemen, beer, wine along with other alcoholic drinks were gaining fame, and spreading like never before in this poor middle eastern country. Twelve years ago the National Brewing Company or the Seera beer factory was burned to the ground by northern troops during the North-South civil car. Every bottle of beer was broken. The beer factory was the first and only beer factory in Yemen. Tough procedures were taken place to insure that the existence of alcohol will never have roots in the country’s future.
Last fall I reviewed the Weyerbacher Brewing Company's Old Heathen Imperial Stout and the Imperial Pumpkin Ale and when I was last down south I picked up this mix of five more of their brews. Weyerbacher has a new web site which is worth checking out. In their history section they explain some of the choices they have made:
Launched in August of 1995, Weyerbacher's original concept was to make some mainstream microbrews, like a Pale Ale and ESB. Boy did we take a wrong turn! In 1997 we brewed our first big beer, Raspberry Imperial Stout, which happened to be one of Dan's favorite homebrew recipes. The trend was started. The following year we brewed Blithering Idiot Barleywine and began brewing Belgian beers as well, like our Merry Monks' Ale. Merry Monks' wasn't named that back then, it was called Belgian Style Trippel . We weren't the most creative with names back then either, but we learned!For that decision to innovate, Weyerbacher is one of the reasons, along other breweries like Victory and Stoudt's, why I think Pennsylvania is one of the best served states or provinces as far as microbrewing goes. I bet Lew would agree.
- Autumnfest Ale: A tan head over orange amber ale. This is quite an attractive ale - smooth and rich but at 6.1% a bit much for a session beer. There are notes of toffee and nut as well as stone fruit, maybe even a bit of peach. The hops are a bit rough with sort of a lemon peel tang. Oddly, 10% of BAers do not like this beer. The accusation seems to be it is not heavy enough which is a matter of taste rather than brewing skill. The brewery calls it their take on an Octoberfest Vienna style in an ale rather than lager. Soft water makes it fairly more-ish.
- Winter Ale: A mocha rim over mahogany ale with a deep malty nose. Dry cocoa, dark pumpernickle and date predominate the malt profile in this 6.5% soft water ale which is a little lighter than you might expect. Hops are twig-cirtusy leaving a very clean sip with a light dry finish. The yeast is biscuity. Again some 9% of the B.A. say nay. More of a nut brown than a winter warmer in the style of a Burton.
- Blithering Idiot Barleywine: red-brown ale with off-white foam and rim. This is definitely a heavier beer but not the largest barleywine I have had - it would be nice to do a side by wide with Middle Ages's Druid Fluid. There is plenty of malt fruit with a nice graininess sawing through notes of cherry and apricot with orange juice showing up as the beer opens. The hops are green and menthol merging nicely with the woody boozy heat. Really attractive, soft water juicy and moreish even for a 11.1% heavyweight. I suspect the 7% of BAers who reject this beer would reject any barleywine.
- Merry Monks' Triple: Deep golden. Few beers really are the colour of gold but this one is with a thin rim of white when in the glass. There is that banana and bubble gum aroma which sounds weird unless you have had a decent exposure to Belgians or perhaps hefeweizens from near Munich. In the mouth it is rich and round with a bit of grain edge along with a small touch of hop astringency, semi-sub-lemon-ish, creating something of a slight whisky-ness, the yeast adding cream and spice but gently. The malt is french bread with a tiny bit of peach. You really have no immediate sense of the degree that this is beer is strong but it is - 9.3%. Again, I don't recognize the low end of the BAer's disatisfaction which perculates at 11%.
- Quad: the best for last. Red amber ale with white foam and rim. Powerful cherry almond malt pounds on the first sip. The aroma is heady booze, bubblegum, dry cherry with notes of cranberry and orange. The body of a low-hopped beer this big is hard to describe - rich and sugary without most of the sweetness...a dry icing solution enriched by subtle biscuit yeast. Empire biscuit? Not as malt as the quadruple Kasteel, more like Three Philosophers from Ommegang which I had thought I had reviewed but I guess I have not. Very string at 12.2% which is more than twice the number of BAers who inexplicably would turn this down.
Once again the health statistics are being rolled out over which is healthier - beer or wine. Well, it may turn out it is not so much what you drink but what you eat that has the effect, as the Beeb reports:
Several previous studies have reported that drinking wine is linked to lower mortality rates than drinking beers and spirits. According to the research team, at the National Institute of Public Research in Copenhagen, wine buyers also bought more poultry, cooking oil and low-fat cheese than beer buyers. Beer lovers were attracted to cold cuts, chips, pork, butter, margarine, sausages, lamb and soft drinks.As a soy milk drinking, olive oil cooking, salmon oil pill popping beer drinker I think this is good news. You can have your beer and drink it, too, as long as you eat well.
No. Not me. It's John Filson. But it is nice to see that someone in the Canadian media has realized that a beer columnist is a good idea for a daily paper. He has only had the gig for three months it seems but his style is good. Consider the following from a column from last November 23rd:
So if you stroll through the LCBO and spot a bottle of Monty Python Holy Grail Ale (it's in the 500-millilitre bottle for $3.25 and made by British brewer Black Sheep) then you're forgiven if you really, really, really want it to be good. Instead, it's like the end of The Meaning of Life, when you've been laughing steadily and just know the final segment is going to be great and this movie is going to be the best ... and then you sit through a literally lifeless sketch in which Death crashes a dinner party. In a weaker movie, it could've been the funniest bit. But in The Meaning of Life, the earlier "Better get a bucket" restaurant-sketch giggles overwhelm the dinner-scene gems like "But I didn't even eat the mousse."Good to see someone is ready to say when a beer is boring. And that one is boring. So good for the Toronto Star. Time for others to pick up the torch especially given all the things that beer is bigger than.
The standard was set too high. And when a beer is an homage to the greatest comedy team of all time, you expect a lively, flavourful gem of a beer. Instead, the beer is only okay - an ugly reddish-brown ale, a little thin, a weak bitter aftertaste. If it had been called something generic like Red's Gold's Bitter, then it'd be a forgettable but not annoying beer. Invoke the Python party, though, and it's a failure.