Wednesday, 8 February 2012

REVIEW #31: Noir De Dottignies (Brouwerij de Ranke)

Pours a deep oaky brown. The head is a well tanned white which hangs around several minutes before fading to nothing. Typical candy sugar aroma similar to many dark Belgian ales is accompanied by a beguiling smoky aroma and faint trace of cinnamon. To the tastebuds, unexpectedly dense malts immediately grab the attention before the hops gain a foothold. Herbal spiciness interplays superbly with chewy chocolate malt notes. Sugar comes through in the finish, coinciding with a light alcohol burn down the throat. On first sip this beer could be mistaken for a porter in both texture and its caramel malt flavour. However the spicy hop and sugary finish soon inform the drinker that its truly a Belgian ale.

Brewed by De Ranke, formerly known as Brewery Nino Bacelle, a Belgian brewery based in West Flanders. The company started back in 1994 with an abbey ale named after Guldenberg Abbey of Wevelgem. It was founded by two brewers who wanted to change the fact that most Belgian ale at the time had become either overly sweetened or neutralised in flavour under the pretence that it was what the masses wanted. Their philosophy is most plain to see (taste) in De Ranke's exceedingly hoppy 'XX Bitter' which must rank quite highly in IBU. From memory I'd say its bitterness level ranks somewhere in between an English bitter and an American pale ale. It still stands distinct in style to most Belgian ales on the market today.
  • IBU: ?
  • ABV: 9%`

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