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Vervifontaine Bière du Fagnard Blonde

Formerly brewed at Brasserie de Vervifontaine
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Jalhay-Vervifontaine, Belgium


on tap


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RATINGS: 56   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.78/5   EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%
This enchanting beer is brewed at the edge of the Ardennes. From this regoin of magic and withcraft comes a legend...
Sorcerers are always ugly and old. But in our forest of Fagnes, it is said wanders a blonde sorceress of fatal beauty. If, at the edge of a wood, a sensual voice taunts you, you must raise your left elbow and drink your beer in a single gulp. If you fail, her azure gaze will consume you in a thousand fires.

Dominique Thonnard makes all the Vervifontaine beers using converted dairy equipment in a small brewery. These are impressive, big beers, with a wealth of flavor and character.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
Ernest (7344) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - MAR 3, 2002
UPDATED: JUL 22, 2003 Head is initially large, rocky, frothy, white, mostly lasting. Body is hazy medium yellow, dense particles of all sizes, bottle conditioned. Aroma is moderately hoppy (flowers, herbs), lightly yeasty (cobwebs), moderately malty (cookie, toasted grain, caramel), with notes of coriander, clove, pineapple, orange, and honey. Flavor is moderately sweet, lightly bitter, lightly acidic. Finish is lightly sweet, lightly acidic, moderately bitter. Medium to full body, velvety texture, lively carbonation, lightly alcoholic, lightly astringent. Persistence pays off...this time I am able to declare that Hallertauer is the major player here, no question in my mind, and I can't get enough of this. My love for this beautiful, succulent, and elegant honeysuckle hop grows with every experience I have with it. Then throw in a dash of coriander for effect, some toasty wheat, some cookies, let that spider web of yeast work its magic, and you have one of the best strong blonde ales money can buy, IMHO. My first rating was being introduced to this charming maiden as a young lad, 3.9. The second was learning more about her depth of character and becoming more intrigued, 4.4. And now, I am positively smitten, 5.0. She has won my heart. Consistent quality, sexual and absolutely mesmerizing aroma, perfect flavor balance (terrific bitterness development in the finish, but just enough), luxurious mouthfeel, and virtually the only place you detect the maiden's alcoholic sting is a warming within. I couldn't ask for more from a beer of this style. If you like Hallertauer, this is a guaranteed delight. But enough squawking, it's time for you to stop reading this long-winded tirade and start discovering this beer for yourself.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
Rastacouere (6174) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - AUG 29, 2004
UPDATED: APR 18, 2005 750mL bought at New Beer distributors in Manhattan (I’ve also seen bottles at Oliver’s warehouse in Albany and I can’t recommend enough to go through a few hundred miles to get a hold on this nectar). Enormous fluffy, frothy, rocky and sticky white head mounts atop the superb murky golden body. Bottle-conditioning lets a good share of yeast sediments at the bottom of the glass. Extreme farmy^2 aroma where the haystack, horse sweat and the likes don’t fail to seduce any gueuzes and/or saison fans. Guess what, I love both styles. Charming floral and citrusy fruitiness (lemon, grapefruit) explodes from the hops (I remember reading hallertauer somewhere, which seems to makes sense). The tastiest pilsner malt reminds of honey at times, of grass at others. No alcohol noticeable ever. Gentle evolutive hoppy finish is long and decadent, displaying yeast-hop-sweetness belgian balance at its pinnacle. Delicate honeysuckle and coriander notes. Attracting yeast profile (funky old books and spider webs reminiscent) complements a superbly refreshing and well-contained tartness while managing to remain as clean as any other beer. Body is fantôme-ish, fluffy, airy, bubbly and so fitting. This is what artisanal brewing is all about. A unique experimental beer which knocks me by the feelings and annihilates any of the ridiculously high expectations I had toward it. Lovely from any angle you look at it. I believe this to be my favorite beer on earth. / A recent resample settled in stone the #1 position of this beer in my book. It felt weird than the first time, perhaps less cohesive in mouth though still exceptional, just focusing mysteriously on indescribable flavors instead of the more familiar little feet! It has more than a pack of flavor, it is Cupid shooting straight for your heart.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 20/20
beerbuzzmontreal (3487) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - APR 19, 2005
Amazing and seductive aroma of brett, perfume, musk, fruits and yeast. Gorgeous hazy orangey blonde color with a thin white head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Amazing flavor of brett, yeast, fruits and spices, feels like sweet dough too. Light to medium body, creamy texture, soft carbonation. Wow, that’s a truly amazing brew, this is way underrated, feels a lot like a saison.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
ClarkVV (5858) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - APR 22, 2005
UPDATED: JUL 29, 2005 Don’t know the date of the bottle (2001 or 2002 perhaps?). Complements of Rastacouere at the 4/17/05 tasting. Immediately a wonderful aroma rises to greet me, band-aids, lilacs, hay, perfume, dry vanilla extract, funky yeast and light spice with notes of tart lemons and oranges somewhere in there as well. This one has it all and is about the most complete, satisfying aroma I’ve beheld. It makes Orval seem one-dimensional, in comparison (well, that’s slight exaggeration, but you get my drift). Incredibly permeating and lasting. One of those beers that you just want to sit and sniff to eternity. The color was a deep rusty-gold, with some light orange and slight amber tints. Full white head slowly recedes to a ring and provides lacing. Needless to say, highly unfiltered with plenty of large sediment pieces at the bottom (and in David’s glass). I feel I can amply state that the nose is perfect, describe it and move on, but the flavor. . .Wow, I don’t how to describe it. Begins with light pear skins, lemons, grapefruity brett notes, perfectly presented and with a high clarity. From there it gets VERY unique. As the brett passes, a flavor hits a certain spot on my tongue and lingers. It is very difficult to describe, sort of like taking a pinch of powdered sugar (or maybe cyclamine or aspartame or sucralose) and just dabbing it on your tongue. Lightly bittersweet, it lasts and is complemented quickly by the most finely wrought tight bubbles, adding a wonderful tingling sensation. As this flavor slowly dies away we are brought in to more of the farmhouse territory, with more honey and almond malt backing. Light cheese (aged hops?), pears, white grapes, wet hay and bits of dough. No alcohol is ever perceived. Bitterness, which I can only surmise is from the hops, adds some lemon-lime nature. Body is medium-full and mouthfeel is somewhat relaxed from the age (probably a good thing), being smooth with only peppery carbonation at first. Definite notes of acidity throughout with a brett character to rival Orval. Will be drinking a bottle of this again soon. Very demanding beer, which can be very confusing to relatively unlearned palates like mine. I can see why some more experienced tasters prefer the likes of this beer to, say Cantillon Gueuze, this gives plenty of what Cantillon gives (brilliant sourness and tartness, with good malting), but has many other strange and fascinating flavors.
Rerate Yes, this is bonafide awesome. And as an interesting note, the brett in this is actually an infection, not planned by the brewer. But does it matter? Nope.Rererate But I think I like Russian River Temptation more!

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
MartinT (9411) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - AUG 31, 2004
UPDATED: APR 18, 2005 Every bubble is a flying planet on which thrive multiple, distinguished flavorcosms...Some harbor the lushest green apple orchards, some are veritable fields of crisp, fresh hay, others are greenhouses for numerous piney hop varieties, while again others offer creamy, lactic lake panoramas...Miraculously, all of these universes get along perfectly and find common grounds such as citrusy acidity and green bitterness upon which to mingle playfully and harmoniously...If clean and rustic are two words you never though could go together, pelase try this tree of many leaf species and wade in its cohesive kingdom for a moment...You probably won’t regret it...

A second experience revealed stunning similarities to one lovely Ommegeddon. This Vervifontaine Blonde doesn’t exist anymore and the Ommegeddon won’t be out on the market for a while. Oh, what a void this is now!!! ;)

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
OlivierMTL (709) - Quebec, CANADA - JUN 14, 2005
Couleur orangée, apparence pleinement trouble, belle mousse blanche et crémeuse se renouvelant à souhait à la moindre agitation du verre. Sublimes arômes aux traits sauvages, rappelant certains aspects d’une authentique saison. Levuré, couverture de cheval, plantes vertes en provenances d’une autre planète, poivre blanc, fruité à l’allusion aux doux fruits mûris juste à point tels poires et litchis. Incroyable équilibre entre levure, épices et phénol. Épaisseur de densité moyenne, aucune trace d’alcool de perceptible du début à la fin, texture crémeuse, douce carbonatation explosant doucement. La finale possède juste assez d’amertume pour nous faire saliver et nous donner envi d’une autre gorgée. Tout simplement charmante.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
haukur (1798) - Reykjavik, ICELAND - DEC 12, 2003
UPDATED: JAN 10, 2004 looks good, smells good. Taste is quite yeaty with a strong spicy banana hint... other than that, I was a bit dissapointed. It is a little complex, so maybe I´ll re-rate this when I get the chance.. 3,6[re-rate]big duvel head, beautiful dark cloudy orange color, aroma is has a strong honey hint, maybe soft caramel or nugat ?? Taste is sweet, little spicy hoppiness with a sweet dry finish. This is very complex brew, and I cant find that horrible liqourice taste my friend Eiríkur is talking about, excellent stuff, I love this!![re-rate] awesome!!!

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
tiggmtl (4544) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - SEP 4, 2004
UPDATED: APR 18, 2005 Original rating (09-04-04, 10-5-10-4-19=4.8): Barnyard, leather, pepper - saison-like aromas. Opaque orange-tan woth immense and lasting, white, small-bubbled head that recedes slowly with some fine lacing. Herbal sensations dominate sweet candy sugar and broad, round malt flavours with a strong finishing bitterness. Airy mouthfeel - malty but seemingly light in body. Plenty of brett-like character. Flavours are discernible yet combine very well. An epiphany of the broad range of flavours that can be found in a single mouthful and a true pleasure to drink. Bottle enjoyed with MartinT and Rastacouere.
Rerate 17-Apr-05, 1--4-8-3-18=4.3): Brett, band-aid like phenolics, perfumey, floral (roses), musky, very ’personal’ aroma with some light spiciness. Opaque yellow-tan with decent, fine-bubbled, off-white head that recedes to partial cover with some lacing. Sweet honey-like malt flavour up front becomes almost overwhelmed by strong vegetal green hopflavour with very intense, sticky bitterness. Somehow, though excellent, this second tasting did not live up to the memory of the first tasting for me. Bottle enjoyed with beerbuzzmontreal, ClarkVV, MartinT, muzzlehatch, olivier, Rastacouere and Simon.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
muzzlehatch (4829) - Beloit, Wisconsin, USA - APR 20, 2005
750 ml bottle joyously imbibed with beerbuzzmontreal, ClarkVV, MartinT, tiggmtl, olivier, Rastacouere and Simon at the Farmhouse Ales and More! tasting in Montreal. Opaque light gold, opalescent and sparkling, thick white head and lots of visible carbonation...sweet, flowery nose, an absolutely perfect spring morning with the dew on the dogwood trees, while you sip your hibiscus tea with its hints of vanilla and honey...the body could not be more different, or odd: extrememly tart, sharp and peppery, with bitter almonds slowly fading into a marzipan-like middle sweetness, and the most unusual mineral-deposit bitterness in the finish...truly a marvel, not an easy-drinking beer by any means, difficult like Orval as others have mentioned but perhaps even more impossible to describe properly, or imitate.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
radiomgb (2686) - Peterborough, Ontario, CANADA - AUG 1, 2005
Bottle from 2000. Cloudy orange in colour, large rocky white head, lasting lace. Aroma of citrus, quite yeasty, some sourness, leather and must, floral, perfumy and earthy. The flavour had lots of orange zest, lots of yeast, spicy with a sugary sweetness, floral with some honey. Coating musty mouthfeel, medium body, high carbonation, no alcohol. Finishes with a chalky bitterness, very long. A very beautiful beer in every sense, thanks David.

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