Thursday, 19 April 2012

REVIEW #101: Embrasse (Brouwerij de Dochter van de Korenaar)

Pours a deep reddish purple with an impressive and everlasting foamy off-white head which clings to the glass. Lashings of raisins and damson on the nose. Its a full-bodied ale, with vanilla cream, fudge, prune and raisin (typical port or dessert-wine flavours), red berry and cocoa notes as well as light phenolics. Its so succulent and juicy it feels a little like a liquid-fruit cake. Very much a dessert beer. Its also very well balanced. Forget blonde ales and tripels, these ground-breaking dark ales are what Belgian beer is all about for me.

Wow! Along with De Struise's Pannepot (review #69) Brouwerij De Dochter van de Korenaar's Embrasse is one of the tastiest examples of a Belgian Dark Ale I've tried. I would say that it lacks some of the depth of complexity Pannepot manages to attain, but this version of Embrasse is not barrel-aged so that may be expected. Not to fear, I've recently managed to get my hands on a limited edition peated whiskey cask-aged version via the super Alexander Wines of Coventry (their website is soon to be launched), from which I'm expecting the spectacular. The brewery also does a non-peated barrel-aged version. Embrasse was the brewery's third beer, first produced in 1998. They describe it as something of a hybrid between a "Trappist and a Stout" and I can see where they're coming from. The brewery's core bottled range includes Embrasse, Noblesse (a blonde beer), Bravoure (a smoked amber beer), Courage (a winterbier) and Finesse (a 3-grain tripel). The brewery name De Dochter van de Korenaar translates to "The Daughter of the Ear of Corn", stemming from a medieval (Charles V era) reference to beer; wine by the same token was referred to as the 'blood of grapes'.
  • MALTS: barley and wheat
  • HOPS: ?
  • IBU: ?
  • O.G: 1085
  • F.G: 1015
  • ABV: 9%

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