Belgian Style Special Dark Ale
Purchased at Tacoma Boys
Aroma: First up is a beautiful blend of dark fruit and alcohol spice. A welcome aroma that brings me back to my winter beer tastings... Some fig, plums and chocolate come out nicely here. The phenolics off this beer represent the Belgian style nicely and very successfully hide the 11.5% ABV, there is very little alcohol aroma.
Appearance: Nearly black. I’ve seen porters and stouts that allow more light through, but there is a cherry wood glow that shines from this beer if you hold it up to the light. Also some small bits of yeast settled near the bottom of my glass, suggesting bottle conditioning even though the bottle itself mentions nothing of it. Head pours a creamy tan. Frothy. Excellent retention and good lacing.
Flavor: Light molasses and deep candi syrup come to mind and the tongue first, but these sweet flavors are quickly over taken by roasted malt and deep toasted bread. There is some chocolate in there too, but you’ll mostly recognize the roast. Once you get passed the deep malt and syrup there’s a subtle bread dough to the beer that seems to be coming off of the yeast. Once again nearly no alcohol presence, it’s almost hard to believe this is so high in alcohol. The finish does bring out an alcoholic spice, though there seems to be a touch of hop bitterness lingering there too.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with light carbonation. Malt and candi sweetness bring out a touch of stickiness through the middle but the beer cleans up very nicely in the finish. Alcoholic warmth will bite the back of the throat for just a moment as the beer goes down.
Overall: A stellar display of balance and complexity in what could have turned out to be a very “boozy” beer. Midnight Sun Brewing has done well in hiding the 11.5% ABV with a nice balance of aroma, sweet and roasted flavors, with just a touch of warming mouthfeel. This is a very easy drinking dark ale that offers complexity only Belgian yeast can bring. Some of the sweetness comes off a little surprising at first sip, but while the beer warms and your palate warms up to the beer, this beer becomes more and more enjoyable.
I rated this “Monk’s Mistress” an “A+” on BeerAdvocate.
note: Midnight Sun declares the beer to be a Belgian Style Special Dark Ale. But BeerAdvocate categorizes it as a Belgian Dark Strong Ale, which I am more familiar with.