kepano (249) - Los Angeles, California, USA - FEB 11, 2007
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Last May I was driving through the beautiful Belgian countryside, finally gazing upon the hop fields of Poperinge and the Westvleteren abbey, scenes I had dreamt about since my first few beers. Little did I know that my casual visit of the nearby De Struise brewers would be such an eye-opening experience. In the company of Carlo and Urbain, I had my first taste of the debuting Earthmonk, a cask-sample elegantly tapped and deliciously satisfying. A few months later, two bottles arrived in the mail, a generous donation that I was impatient to sample. The long maturation and bottle-conditioning were certain to yield the polish I had found in Pannepot and De Struiseís other excellent efforts. In appearance this Flemish Sour was unusually dark, a peat black hue glinting with deep ruddy highlights and topped of a ballooning off-white froth. Rich vinous tones erupted immediately, enhanced by copious oak and vanillin, and an intense licorice fragrance. The voluminous nose is decidedly unique and mouth-watering, sharing the qualities of ripe cherries, brown sugar, apple, milk and the overarching resonance of fresh mineral water. Sour at the offset, the flavor shifts through a gamut of fruity and malty notes, initially emphasizing juicy cherries, Granny Smith apples, wild strawberries and cola. Woodiness prevails just a moment later, accompanied by earthy brown sugar, leather and a hint of Balsamic vinegar. Finishing with a slight metallic tone, the aftertaste develops a remarkable chocolate and hazelnut aspect that Iíve never seen before in the style. The obvious lack of carbonation is unfortunate but creates a rather fertile ground for the complexity of this brew to evolve. Earthmonk has changed since its days in the barrel, on one hand I regret the eminent Speculoos and brown sugar flavors that I had loved, on the other, I find the beer more intricate and mature, more sour and empowered. I can only see this brew improving, especially as I assume the good fellows at De Struise will have their refermentation well in hand next time around.
anders37 (20473) - MalmŲ, SWEDEN - FEB 11, 2007
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. Pours a dark brown color with a small off-white head. Sour tasrt malty aroma with some vinous hints. Malty tasrt sour flavor with some earthy hints and hints of wood. Has a drytart finish with some vinous hints in th e aftertaste. Very nice.
Theis (14668) - Frederiksberg, DENMARK - FEB 11, 2007
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle - First newbie tasting club - I brought it. Brwon (red glow) - small offwhite head. This is intense !! Balsamic vinegar, rubber glue, earthy, wood, cinnamon, currants. Very complex - I LOVE IT...
joergen (24512) - Frederiksberg, DENMARK - FEB 7, 2007
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Clear brown coloured with a beige head.
Aroma of wood, red wine, vinegar, fruits and spices.
Flavour of fruits, red wine, vinegar and fruits.
ante (3374) - Stockholm, SWEDEN - FEB 5, 2007
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottled. Really dark brown and opaque. Almost no head, just small bubbles swimming araound. Huge balsamic aroma of black cherries, wood, earth, nutmeg and vanilla. the flavour is even bigger; itís almost exploding at the first Strong vinous notes of black currant, wood, pepper, black cherries, leaves, salty licorce and aged vinegar. Full, sappy and smooth mouthfeel with a low carbonation. Finishes woody and slightly sourish from currant and cherries but the sweetness from spinned sugar and dried plums and dades. A fantastic brew to drink and enjoy
Oakes (13966) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - JAN 30, 2007
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: JUN 30, 2008 Opaque. Very dark brown. Deeply both vinous & chocolate, woody, plummy, deep fruit...just rich. Tart, vinous, chewy toffee flavour with plum and fruitcake, balsamic, blackberry and alcohol. Complex, deep, vibrant, with chocolate notes.
bask (305) - Leuven, BELGIUM - JAN 24, 2007
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Thanks to Carlo for the bottle. Brown body with no head, medium lacing. Aroma of coffee, wood, vinegar, alcohol, malts, grapes, figs. Sweetnes, grapes, lactic, licorice, cherry, sour, light malty alcoholic, spicy syropy finish.
Grovlam (4187) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - JAN 16, 2007
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. Tasting 12-01-2007 (SÝren, Peter, Carsten). Head was spare rocky and light brown which was quickly goon. Body was muddy with heavy particles and a ruby like color. Aroma was molasses, grapefruit, earth, bubble gum, grape, apple, ginger, vinegar. Reminded me somewhat of a heavy version of apple cider, but at the same time it was extremely vinous. Difficult to explain unless you have tasted this great stuff. Full bodied with a surprisingly soft carbonation. Flavor was superiorly playful, switching between light bitter and sweet notes with the moderated acidic always present. This really is an extreme beer and so well brewed. I still have one bottle left of this stuff, will let it cellar and see what happens, it is impossible to image that this could get even better. Excellent Flamish Sour, defiantly the best so fare.
MrRomero (1976) - Nolanville, USA - JAN 9, 2007
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
#1600 33cl bottle courtesy of Carlo: poured a deep cola brown with a medium sized beige head after an aggressive pour. A little yeast came in the pour and settled on the head. The nose: a mixture of sour cherry, light vinegar, slight wood, light varnish, a little rubber. Nice aroma. The taste: a nice combination of sweet and sour. More sweet than I would have thought. Moderate sour cherries with some red wine notes, a little varnish, some vinegar. Light carbonation. Subdued sweetness on the back of the tongue after swallowing. 8% hidden very well. This is a very nice beer.
TheBeerGod (5690) - Newport News, Virginia, USA - JAN 6, 2007
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle courtesy of lachesis. Thanks Carlo! Pours a deep ruby to near brown body. Strong foamy tan head that recedes leaving nice sticky lacing around the glass. Nose is sour with tart fruits, balsamic vinegar, wet wood, red wine, sweet-sour candy, and quirky funkiness. Taste is sour but not as sour as the aroma would let on. Tart fruits (cherries and berries mainly), woody notes, damp earth, wet leather, and vinegar notes. The tartness seems to hit the palate upfront combined with the carbonation. Itís like a tickling tartness. Itís unlike any other sour beer Iíve tasted, in that regard. Body is bubbly and effervescent with a light-medium overall feel and a pleasant astringency thanks to the acetic notes. Itís bone dry at the end as well. Startlingly sweet in spots during the finish but I think this really aids the beer from being a bit one-sided. Sweet malts, under-ripened fruits, tartness, light balsamic vinegar, hints of Sour Patch Kids. Very nice stuff! Thanks again Carlo (lachesis) for giving me the chance to try this!