Thursday, 3 May 2012

REVIEW #108: Dormaal Donker (Hof Ten Dormaal)

Excited to try this one as I've heard nothing but good things about it. Careful when opening as just removing the cage surrounding the cork causes said cork to propel across the room at serious velocity! You then have seconds to react before the beer gushes out! Pours a dark, turbid brown with a beige head that's never going to budge. Cherries, berries and demerara sugar characterise this beer's aroma. Luxurious, rich, deep and malty dessert wine flavours up front; complex, with raisins and currants and brandy notes standing out. In fact the beer has a distinctly vinous edge to it. On top of that its pretty full bodied, with a silky mouthfeel. Dormaal Donker is, if you ask me, definitely in the style of a hefty Belgian dark ale such as Vicaris Generaal (review #82) but perhaps a touch less full-on than Embrasse (review #101). Highly recommended.

Beer Advocate have this beer listed as a saison, whereas RateBeer class it simply as a Belgian strong ale. I personally don't see this as a Saison, or Farmhouse Ale, and as far as as Belgian ales go it's not particularly strong at 7.5% but the brewery themselves choose to classify it as a Farmhouse Ale its their beer so I guess that's what it is! I've just never come across a dark, heavy-on-the-malt Saison before. Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal started pretty recently, 2009 to be precise. In addition to Donker they produce a Blonde and an Amber beer. Donker (Dark, or Brown) is the newest of the beers, seeing the light of day in September 2010. The brewery are fully sustainable, being based on a farm and growing their own ingredients. They initially bottled their beers at Frank Boon's brewery, hence the 375ml bottles + cork I guess, but they now have their own bottling line. Definitely a brewery to keep an eye on for future beers.
  • MALTS: ?
  • HOPS: ?
  • IBU: ?
  • ABV: 7.5%

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