TheCorkStops (53) - Connecticut, USA - APR 3, 2012meccahh69lol (190) - New Haven, Connecticut, USA - JUN 11, 2017
A brand new arrival, and a very limited one at that, this is the 668 "The Neighbor of the Beast" from New England Brewing. Even though they’re located just a short drive from here, we get very limited quantities of the 668, and therefore I’ve never been able to try it before. Tonight I thought it was a necessity, so Gunnar and I cracked a can to split.
The 668 comes in 12oz aluminum cans with no discernible canning date or alcohol level. The cardboard flat that the cans arrived on was dated March 28th, 2012, so this batch is pretty darn fresh. The brew pours a slightly hazy golden straw color, with a nice white foam. The main body of foam dissipates relatively quickly, but a thin film of carbonation is present throughout the duration.
The aromas on the 668 are lightly sweet and citrusy. The last brew I had from New England Brewing was the Ghandi Bot, and I totally wasn’t prepared for this soft little guy today. A little bit of that typical ’belgian funk’ is present in the background, but the citrus and spice is definitely the dominate force in the aromas.
On the palate the start is very nicely sweet, followed by some nice fruit esters, and finishes with a crisp dryness in the back of the palate. There’s just a touch of hops clinging to the back of my tongue, but the overall impression is distinctly citrusy, fruity, and a touch sweet. A nice medium body makes the 668 both flavorful and quite drinkable.
All said and done, I’m quite impressed! This "Belgian Strong Pale Ale" is very balanced, smooth, and well-done. If this were available on a regular basis, it would be a staple in my own fridge. Great job guys!
Poured from a growler filled at the brewery yesterday. This has been one of my Nebco faves for a while and it holds up as proof that they can do more than just great IPAs. It pours a golden orange with a thin head and an aroma of banana bread, plums, and brown sugar. It tastes smooth and yeasty, lots of belgo punch and a fruity, fizzy bouquet. It’s a very nice fake belgian, similar to something you’d get from Unibroue. Good for watching Unsolved Mysteries (and Muppets from Space) and listening to black metal while waiting for your beloved to bring you Popeyes chicken. Alengrin (5235) - BELGIUM - JAN 13, 2017
Can directly from the States, a gift from Ster, thanks! Apparently a ’Belgian (strong) golden ale’ so doubtlessly a beer trying to fit into the old Duvel family. Does not quite look like one, though: fairly thin, bubbly, relatively loose head (instead of the tower of foam normally expected on this beer style), quickly dissolving in the middle but retaining on the edges, with some modest dots of lacing here and there, and a lightly hazy, warm and pure, very literally ’old gold’ colour with strings of visible fizz rising up from the bottom, misty and more peachy with sediment. Aroma of banana-flavored bubblegum, old cake, hint of butterscotch, very lightly toasted white bread, zucchini, pear brandy, rainwater, artisanal sweet honey, wodka, melon, Granny Smith apple, white port, wet hay, very old cloves. Fruity onset, mildly estery with most of all strong isoamylacetate (banana), next to hints of pineapple, melon, unripe pear and green apple, sweet with a sourish edge, spritzy carbonation, bit minerally but not exagerrated for the intended style, still coarsening the mouthfeel a bit though. Full, slick, bit oily body, cereally malt sweetishness with both a sweeter caramelly accent and a sharper grainy edge while the fruity esters linger a bit along with some spicy, clove-like phenols; a honeyish, but fortunately not (too) cloying sweetness also comes from residual white candi sugar, it seems, as is indeed the case in many strong Belgian blondes as well. Sweet and boozy finish: there is the caramelly and honeyish malt and sugar sweetness on the one hand, and a strong, long-stretched glow of warming, wodka-like alcohol on the other hand, barely managing to avoid unpleasant wryness - but just barely. Some floral hops in the background provide a whiff of extra bitterness, but it goes lost into the sweetness, as is so often the case in the beers that served as an example here. Alcohol heat is almost physically tangible in the throat; yeast bitterness is left behind in the back of the mouth as well. If the aim was to make a strong, boozy Belgian blonde as faithfully as possible: mission accomplished, if I were having this blind without knowing it comes from Connecticut, I would swear this is some or other tripel- or Duvel-like concoction from an established Belgian family brewery. It has all the right esters and phenols, the mouthfeel, the white sugar sweetness and the booziness of many a Belgian in this family, which includes things like Duvel, Hapkin, Judas or Delirium Tremens. Not my personal taste: I think I had one too many of this kind, but I do find it remarkable that a New England brewery is capable of making a beer so convincingly Belgian - once again proving that the American craft brewers are capable of mimicking nearly every traditional European beer style they want, apart from having succesfully developed their own interpretations (and hybrids) of them. Kudos for that, but otherwise this is not my preferred American craft beer by any means, I can have beers of exactly the same profile at home - and lots of them, anywhere... mansquito (6319) - Nueva York, New York, USA - JUL 23, 2016
Tap at the source: pours golden with a white head. Aroma is bubblegum, honey, fruit, and yeast. Taste is pretty sweet with many hocks of bubbled gum. Light light hoppiness. Pretty good but a bit too sweet. Jow (3896) - New York, USA - JUL 20, 2016
Tap at haymaker during event happy to grab these NEBCO ticks. Golden pour. Nose is yeast and crackers. Tastes of cracker, light citrus, some yeast, grass, lots of bubblegum. Fine palate. Pretty sweet. tfontana (950) - Fremont, New Hampshire, USA - APR 17, 2016
On tap in tulip glass. Aroma is yeasty fruity esters, citrus, clove, trace bubblegum. Appearance is cloudy yellow with 1/2 finger-width white foamy head with attractive lacing; no sparkle. Taste is as aroma with some spicy pepper. Palate is light-to-medium bodied with average to soft carbonation; crisp lightly bitter finish with some warmth. Overall, a nice representative of the style, strong across the board.
superspak (5497) - Michigan, USA - MAR 20, 2016
Got in a BIF from tasterschoice62. 12 ounce can into tulip glass, no can dating. Pours moderately hazy/cloudy golden orange color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy white head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big lemon, orange, banana, pear, apricot, apple, white grape, peppercorn, clove, light bubblegum, wheat, cracker, biscuit, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, bready malt, and moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big lemon, orange, banana, pear, apricot, apple, white grape, peppercorn, clove, light bubblegum, wheat, cracker, biscuit, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Moderate herbal bitterness and yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, orange, banana, pear, apricot, apple, white grape, peppercorn, clove, wheat, cracker, biscuit, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, bready malt, and moderate earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from bitterness and yeast spiciness, that increases through the glass. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth and moderately grainy/creamy/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian strong pale ale. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, bready malt, and moderate earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering. djd07 (14355) - Houston, Texas, USA - NOV 27, 2015
Can. Pours a hazy orange gold with medium frothy white head that lasts. The aroma is belgian yeast, sugar, bubblegum. Medium mouth, banana, spice, clove, candy finish, very good. dagimp (1008) - Philly, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 31, 2015
From a 12 oz can into a snifter. Pours a very pretty light blond. Moderate white head and no lacing. Mouthfeel is very dry and astringent. Decent amount of champagne-like bubbles. Taste is dry and Belgiany. Banana, fruits, grapes, lemon flavors abound. Very light alcohol warmth. Really, really liked this one. Not as sweet and heavy as a Trippel. Great beer, would gladly drink again! ChadPolenz (1800) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - MAY 23, 2015
New England Brewing is known for making some great beer with odd names and funny labels. Their Belgian Strong Pale Ale – 668: The Neighbor of the Beast – is no exception. It’s not often you see a Belgian-style beer in a can and it’s even rarer than you see such a great example of the style from an American brewery in a can. The name is subtle but clever reference to Duvel and even uses a font found on Iron Maiden album covers. What’s in the can is an outstanding beer – Belgian, American or otherwise.
ElGaucho (2401) - Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA - APR 28, 2015
I poured a 12oz can into a snifter. There was no freshness date and it cost $2.59 ($0.22 per ounce).
Appearance: Dark shade of maize. Extremely hazy body (translucent, but not opaque). Pours to a fairly large, white, frothy head that lace and retains very well.
Smell: Huge banana notes – totally authentic. Some spices. Classic Belgian yeast esters.
Taste: Sometimes I think American breweries actually out-Belgian Belgian breweries. Meaning: they take all the things that make a Belgian beer great and go even further with it. This beer definitely has a familiar palette akin to Duvel, La Chouffe or plenty other beers of the general style. Though not a tripel per se, it does have a lot of spiciness to taste. The yeast esters give it a sweet banana flavor in the front and finish with a strong peppery sensation (akin to white peppercorn or even table black pepper) on the finish. Other spices and fruits can be found lingering in the background from start to finish (especially peach and coriander, respectfully). The palette never gets old or tired – it’s as delectable on the last sip as it is on the first swig. That’s what I call a great-tasting beer.
Drinkability: At 8.5% ABV, 668: The Neighbor of the Beast is certainly a hefty, beastly brew… at least it should be. The mouthfeel is remarkable comfortable; full-bodied to be sure, but not intensely carbonated. It’s surprisingly comfortable with a smooth texture and finish to match. A slight drying/peppery sensation in the aftertaste, though it scrubs the palate clean each time it crosses the tongue. I do feel the alcohol in the taste and a warming sensation in the throat, but it’s not harsh – quite tolerable, actually. From a guzzler, but it’s difficult to simply sip.
Can courtesy of Falco242. Nice Belgian wheat aroma. Murky dishwater body with a large lasting frothy white head. Excellent lace. They nailed the Belgian ale style on this one. Creamy, with banana esters in the finish. At times a tad boozy, but overall an impressive effort.