ClarkVV (3579) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - OCT 5, 2007
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Fresh 2007 bottle, 750mL, drunk on 9/27/07
Perfect appearance in every way. Sheets of lacing coat the glass, and a dense layer of white head is immovable atop a sparklingly clear pale-golden body.
One sniff and I know this is something special. Clean, fresh yeast is soft and elegant, with muted esters and very low phenol production. An ever-so-slight corky-mustiness hangs in the background, giving the beer a rustic charm as well. The malts are deliciously dry and snappy, adding sparse bits of honey and hints of vanilla. The hops burst forth, incredibly resilient and very dry. Not the lush grassy, juicy type at all, but more dusty, hay-like and peppery. It matches the overall dryness of the aroma, and even increases it. Aroma strength is second-to-none, with yeast, hop and malt all sharing space and complementing each other. Just when you think the hops might get too starkly dry, honey-vanilla sweetness jumps in to balance. Meanwhile, the yeast adds complexity to the finish. No alcohol or flaws.
Iím always much more impressed when a beer of such a low gravity can put forth such massive flavors, and leave such a supple impression on the palate as well. Taken to the perfect attenuation, itís near bone-dry, but never are the malts scratchy or washed out. The soft, almost nutty yeast nuances help soothe the palate, while the simple, but very effective hoppiness throws out an appropriate bitterness and plentiful pepper and hay notes that add to the farmhouse feel of this beer. Absolutely exquisite, tight carbonation (but it needs a LOT of time to breath), no wateriness and no letting up on the flavor. I think this is probably as good as you can make a beer without multiple yeasts. Itís extremely dry, flavorful, perfectly hopped and both clean in its presentation, but still rustic in its overall character. Iím not saying it should have gobs of brett and lacto falling out of it for it to be perfect, but I would like to see a little extra charm from the yeast. Thatís the only leg-up that I think Orval has on this one. And to be sure, this one certainly is better than 90% of Orval bottles out there, itís just those absolutely stunning bottles of Orval that make me hesitate to give this one a perfect score. I still might....more samples in order for sure.
Tranquillity (1366) - Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS - OCT 5, 2007
3.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 11/20
Bottle. Dark orange with a big white head. Aroma of cucumber and orange. Taste sweet and full of hops. Very fluffy and foamy palate.
Stine (1434) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - OCT 4, 2007
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
A very cloudy golden yellow pour, though not opaque. Crown of foamy white retains its thickness as bubbles swim toward the top at furious pace. Leading aroma of crispy almond toffee, pear, and nectarine. Foggy basement air; hints of rubber and peaches, as spicier moments of sesame ginger and lemongrass become more dominant with warmth. Crisp Czech hop flavor, dry grasses, dead flowers, and apples; a vague tint of chlorinated water doesnít confuse things too much. Second round of banana, straw, and a blanketing lactic tartness; the fruit characteristics really come alive toward the end, exhibiting some watermelon seed, melon rind, and pear skin. Light leather and oak finish; green spices pulse lightly in a dried out, earthy final smack. Very sprightly palate of a light-medium body; quite clean. This is exactly the kind of thing that lends itself to underappreciation for its subtlety, as its depth of character only becomes apparent after a considerable length of imbibing; nonetheless, superb.
tbookman (618) - Ephrata, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 29, 2007
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Hazy straw color - aroma is very citrusy with a presence of lemon, hops and biscuit. Clean & sweet flavor, bold hop presence - fairly grassy and citrusy which blend pretty well together. Finish is fairly crisp and dry.
Papsoe (25131) - Frederiksberg, DENMARK - SEP 27, 2007
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
(Bottle 33 cl) Pours a hazy, pale golden with a tall and handsome, white head. Fresh, citrusy, hoppy nose. Light in body with a clean malt base but otherwise completely dominated by very dry, citrusy hop notes that also leave quite a heavy bitterness. Pleasant. 180907
Ratman197 (7607) - Arvada, Colorado, USA - SEP 25, 2007
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
750 ml bottle poured a lightly hazy yellow with a large lasting white head. Aromas of lemongrass, citrus, straw and a light hint of spice. Palate was light bodied crisp and dry. Flavors of straw, grapefruit rind, lemonand orange peel with a crisp dry lingering bitter finish. One of the Hoppiest Belgian beers Iíve tried (next to DeRanke Bitter)!
badgerben (4253) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - SEP 22, 2007
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Clear gold color with a very large head. Grassy or hay-like smell. A little citrus. Swoopjones hit the nail on the head... kind of like a hopped up version of Pilsner Urquell. Very floral and bitter hop taste. Very light malt body. Enjoyable.
swoopjones (4196) - Buffalo, New York, USA - SEP 22, 2007
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: FEB 4, 2013 bottle at delirium cafe in brussels. almost a hoppier version of pilsner urquell. clean crisp with mild hop bitterness
Grovlam (4137) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - SEP 21, 2007
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle. [Courtesy of Papsoe, yet another great tasting @ Henrikīs] Large egg-white head that really lasted in the glass. Excellent display of lacework. Clear and flat looking body with a yellow color. Aroma of elderflower, citrus, pine, grain, yeast, caramel, fruit. Medium bodied with a light dry texture and an average carbonation. Moderated bitter flavor with light sweet notes. Light dry and bitter finish. Definitely a surprisingly hoppy Belgium take on the classic Belgian Ale style. Nice surprise I must say. 18-09-2007
JoeMcPhee (7618) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - SEP 20, 2007
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pale golden beer. white lace. Fast fading head. Fresh grassy hop aroma, straw, lemongrass and a light citrusy note. A hint of dusty yeastiness. Very faint straw-like malt freshness. Moderate bitterness but very dry and flinty. Thin bodied with lots of earthy bitterness. Itís decent, but not great.