also labeled as Bush De Noël
Brewed By: Brasserie Dubuisson Fréres sprl
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Purchased at North Coast Co-Op
Read more about Brasserie Dubuisson Fréres sprl on Beer Advocate.
Stemming from my recent Belgian tasting extravaganza at Belgianfest in Seattle, I picked up a few other Belgian style ales while in Eureka, CA for work. The North Coast Co-Op there has an impressive selection of craft beer and an assortment of Belgian ales. I pulled two 8.48 fl. oz. bottles of this off the shelve.
Aroma: Lasting for only a moment right out of the glass comes the aroma of a champagne-like spice aroma. This is followed by a peppery phenolic yeast character and alcohol notes. Caramel malt profile rounds out the nose. There is a fusel alcohol profile dancing around in the aroma that is light, but slightly off-putting.
Appearance: Pours a light apple red to honey amber in color with crystal clarity. The head forms initially but almost immediately fades to but a trace of bubbles around the edge of the glass. The appearance of effervescent carbonation produces a constant stream of carbonation bubbles rising to the surface.
Flavor: A tangy bite of grapefruit rind blended with caramel sweetness. These come together on the tongue with equal strength but the flavor moves toward a nearly harsh alcoholic bite in the middle. This fades to another sting of alcohol in the dry finish with a bit of nobel hop bitterness becoming present.
Mouthfeel: Light body with high carbonation. The carbonation tricks the perception of body, though doesn’t hold firm enough to fill the mouth. There is a lot of alcohol warming the throat and mouth with a burning astringency. Puckering and drying in the finish with an alcoholic “cooling” effect in the throat and mouth after you breath out.
Overall: You certainly won’t be mistaken at the 12% ABV of this beer because alcohol takes part in nearly every aspect. There are positive aspects of this ale, phenolic yeast aromatics and caramel malt character, but nearly everything is overshadowed by a burning alcohol presence. If there were some malt backbone to back this up with more body and sweetness, this beer would be a very nice sipper. As it is, this Belgian may pair well with a robust cigar or a T-Bone Steak.