Alengrin (4267) - BELGIUM - MAY 4, 2016
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: MAY 5, 2016 As BATS ("bière artisanale ambrée non filtrée et parfumée au Tarry Suchong"), which seems to be the alias of this beer for the 75 cl bottles, which is what I had this from. Medium, moussy, lightly lacing, egg-white, quite stable head over an initially clear, deep ’autumny’ and coppery amber coloured beer with quiet but steady fizz, more hazy and darker (hovering towards bronze) with deposit. Aroma indeed has that combo of Chinese black tea and smoked meat (or even slight pipe tobacco ashes) which can be expected from something flavored with ’tarry Souchong’ but in a more subtle way than expected (and hoped) especially seen the fact that the tea in question is a tea smoked over burning pine tar; this aspect, though defining for the beer and quite prevalent, is embedded in other impressions of caramel, lots of soap, ’natural’ iron, red apple peel, hazelnut, toasted bread, dried red berries and even a hint of fresh raspberry, wet leather not unlike in a Brett-refermented beer like e.g. Orval, damp tree leaves, dried banana somewhere, dusty earth, bitter honey, faint hints of kombucha, fresh green seaweed, nutmeg and beetroot. Crisp, fruity onset, not overly estery but rather restrained, more ’dried fruit’ sweetishness (dried plantain, some dried fig) with red berry sourishness surrounding it as well as a softly ’seaweedy’ umami presence, medium carbo, smooth and somewhat oily, lean body. Very caramelly and toasted malt body, sweetish and bitterish (the latter more so in the end), like any full-bodied Belgian or French amber ale; meanwhile the smoked tea factor leaves an even more oily, if not resinous effect sticking to the mouth cavity, bringing subtle umami and spicy flavors with retronasally that combo of black tea and (mostly) smoked bacon again; finishes juicy with a slight metallic ’zing’ to it, very malty, nutty, toasted and caramelly, but low in bitterness, though a late and brief spicy hop bitterness does show up in the end. The resinous black tea flavor lingers a bit, clinging to the nutty malt bittersweetness that goes down into the throat. A smoked beer mostly in the metaphorical / indirect sense of the word, the smoked factor being sufficiently potent to justify its classification, but having read earlier reviews of it (not just on this site), I must admit I expected more ’oumph’ and something a bit more extreme. This is a classic Belgo-French ’ambrée’ (think Wallonian ambrée or amber-hued bière de garde) with notable black tea- and smoked bacon-flavors on top, rather than being thoroughly permeated by them. Spice amber ale with a smoky profile, let’s say, somehow the flavors work well together for me, but should have been more pronounced. In all: less extreme than the label suggests, but a very drinkable, appetizing beer which I could perhaps recommend to people as an introduction to the smoked beer world. I did enjoy it, after all, if only because this combination of flavors still makes this an interesting beer, regardless.
anstei (984) - Zurich, SWITZERLAND - MAY 4, 2016
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
75cl bottle from Beers’n’more, as BATS. Very lightly smoked, but present. Hints of sourness, otherwise malt-forward. Fruity, little cherries, peach, green tea (?). Low bitterness, low carbonation, but it’s not lacking. Okay.
CaptainTilven (146) - Nancy, FRANCE - APR 23, 2016
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
2010 version. Tasted at 13,4°C. Deep red amber body headed by a golden foam, fine and tight, singing, quickly fading away. Aroma is smokey, malty, a bit sweet, fruity (candied and dried fruit), orange, ginger bread, and tarry souchong indeed. Sourness and bitterness quite present, fruity like sour cherry, hint of cocoa. Absolutely eccentric and complex. Very nice with deli, stilton, and just perfect with a waffle covered with marmelade and chocolate spread.
krumbum (895) - truckee, California, USA - MAR 12, 2016
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Light roasted malts tea leaf aromas. Very red with thin head. So smooth light roasted tea glides you into the Amber malts subtle tartness blend to the yeast finish. Seductive good. Great velvet body.
sir__v (1859) - Lille, FRANCE - MAR 10, 2016
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle @ Biercab, Barcelona - Spain. Color: deep dark red amber beer with small carbonation and no foam. Smell: smoked notes, cigar and smoked malt. Fruity balance. Taste: medium palate and with roasted and smoked malt. Leather notes. Fruity finish. Interesting beer. Aftertaste: smoked and fruity.
SlackerMads (2739) - DENMARK - FEB 13, 2016
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Hazy chestnut brown with a medium sized beige head. Nose is light sour with wood, dark dried fruits, light hay apricot. Flavour has hay, bread, apricot, nuts, black berries, wood, light earth, minerals, light smoke. Medium body, oily texture, fine carbonation, medium sweet, light bitter and acidic. Pretty good. Flavourful and easy drinking.
77ships (7353) - Antwerpen, BELGIUM - OCT 21, 2015
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
750 ml. bottle as BFM BATS. BBF 07/2016. A very longtime want given my fascination with BFM & my love of Tarry Suchong (yes I am that white). Deep red fruit amber, little tanned head. Nose is weirdly sweetish band-aids mixed fish guts, sweetish plastic, weirdly oily,…. Mmh not too exciting & not really like Tarry Suchong. If I had to pick a tea here, I would go with Pu-erh, which I do not care for (once again, yes I am that white). Taste is oily sweet with weird band-aid taste, oily herbs caramel, plastic caramel, faint fish oil, very weird oily, herbal plastic, weird dark fruits, and almost faintly sour, very oily bark. Body is super oily. Not liking it too much, quite disappointing really. I have had good smoked tea beers so I know that fermentation doesn’t ruin it per definition or anything like that, the tea is pretty robust, this one is all weird, didn’t do it for me. Not really like Tarry Suchong either for me, some kind of smoked tea maybe but not one that appeals to me. There appears to be plenty of tea oil in here just not in a good way for me. Also easily my least favourite BFM beer so far.
King_Alex_II (1095) - SWITZERLAND - OCT 11, 2015
3.6 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Cloudy dark red color with a foam layer. The smell reminds of tea with red berries. The taste is not super complex, but quite balanced with a lot of red berry fruits and black tea. Nice, pleasant aftertaste.
SinH4 (2335) - Garching b. München, GERMANY - OCT 9, 2015
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Amber color with tan head. Smoked malt, tea, great aroma, some fruity sourness. Taste is similar, like a smokey amber with tea. Soft carbonation. Awesome stuff.
gEUS (1685) - Linden, BELGIUM - SEP 30, 2015
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
750 ml bottle at home. Pours cloudy reddish amber with a small off-white head. Aroma is a sour-ish smoked malt base with some herbal and floral scents indeed. Medium body, a bit sweet and smoked, flavours make one remind of tea, with a mixture of smoked and sour malt. Quite complex for a 6%-er but I like their sour beers way more.