Ernest (7696) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - AUG 22, 2009
Bottle. Head is initially average sized, frothy, off-white, mostly diminishing. Body is hazy medium amber, bottle conditioned. Aroma is moderately malty (caramel, cookie, toasted grain), moderately hoppy (honeysuckle flowers, herbs, apricot), lightly yeasty (cobwebs), with notes of tangerine, cantaloupe, dried mango, cinnamon, black tea, incense, Juicy Fruit gum. Flavor is moderately to heavily sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. Finish is lightly to moderately sweet, lightly acidic, moderately bitter. Medium body, velvety texture, lively carbonation, lightly alcoholic. Having just had the Oct 08 bottling of La Bavaisienne a week or so ago, and having had this beer twice in the past month, I can say without hesitation that this is the best Biere de Garde going right now (of what I’ve had). Unbelievable aroma of the most succulent, nectar-rich fruits imaginable, along with honey and a perfect balance of rich malt and lovely, flowery hops. I haven’t experienced a 10 aroma in a beer in seemingly forever, but this beer is off the chart. Ridiculously enticing and complex. And equally so, the flavor is impeccably clean and perfectly balanced...I could drink liters of this and never tire of it. It’s rich and sweet, no doubt, but the finish begs another sip immediately. This harkens back to the days when La Bavaisienne was really nectar-like and succulent (it’s leaner and less complex these days, although still solid and enjoyable). This will undoubtedly be the "Beer of 2009" for me (as far as new-to-me brews go), and among the top five new beers I’ve had in this decade. About as close to perfect as beer gets. Styles (2014) - Lincoln Park, Michigan, USA - AUG 24, 2010
Bottle from Ryan. Brilliant copper with nice head, tiny carbonation bubbles. Amazing aroma, have to dig a little, but tons going on. Candied stone fruits up front, (mango/apricot), dusty yeast, bready/toasted malts, light crystal/caramel malts, herbal/earthy hop character, faint spice in backend, nutmeg? Flavor again, very well put together, nothing in your face, but a ton going on. Fruit character not as prevelant, light apricot shows up. Great malt/yeast combo beyond that. Toasted bread, light caramel malt, light honey, dusty yeast, lightly musty, perfect amount of sweetness in finish. For everything going on, this is amazingly clean. Lively carbonation to start, helps cleanse the palate, turns soft and billowy, very easy to drink. Wish I could put this in heavy rotation. TAR (2765) - Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, USA - AUG 11, 2009
Luminous coppery-gold. Snug white head exhibits stellar retention. Divine aroma of herbal hops (aniseed), kumquat marmalade, peach skin, fresh apricot, lightly caramelized malt, minerals, and puttylike/chalky/plastery yeast. Subdued but pleasant whiff of plasticlike phenols. Fine, fluffy carbonation caresses the palate. Wonderfully clean and balanced with a graceful malt emergence of toffee-glazed nuts and honey-drizzled hay curbed by an equally tasteful herbal and peppery hop punch. Hops and fruity esters are explosive in their succulence, and are further enhanced by the pristine attenuation. Artfully placed splash of peach- and iron-tinged acidity gently buckles the cheeks as it adds lift before giving way to the steady progression of multilayered, exquisitely refined malt. Just enough sugary grit to the malt keeps the fruity slickness in check. Flavors continue in their awe-inspiring balance and nuance as the puttylike yeast dovetails with forceful mineralic grip which illuminates the strikingly vibrant and flavorsome hop profile. Finishes deeply complex in its multitude of subtleties, with dusty yeast trailing alongside peppery hops, fruity esters, and polished malt. Further evidence that brewers can coax every bit of complexity from simplicity as they can from a(n) (over)complicated list of ingredients. There is not one inkling of hesitation when I say this is world-class bière de garde. Utterly magical. Bloekie (210) - BELGIUM - SEP 6, 2009
Very dark, powerful aroma. Dark orange with a foamy head. Palate is very balanced. ryan (3186) - Beltsville, Maryland, USA - SEP 29, 2009
Wow, what a delightful treat this is. It reminds me of the AdR yeast, but with obviously much better flocculation. Very rustic, dusty, and lots of golden fruits, but yet very restrained in that it doesn’t have any real medicinal qualities that you often get from such an estery beer. You have to love the attenuation as well. Despite all the juiciness from the honey and fruit, it’s still really quenching. Spot on. Thanks for the recommendation TAR.
Travlr (24841) - Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - DEC 24, 2010
Tap at Churchkey, courtesy of Jason - thanks! Dark amber color, medium off white head. Lots of malt, some dark fruits, prunes, raisins spice. Nice stuff. beastiefan2k (3981) - HdG (past: NYC, KS, Rain City), Maryland, USA - NOV 28, 2009
This is a very interesting beer, first of all there is crud around the lip and applying some pressure to the metal flip top actually gave off a hiss. Due to my worry about the future condition of the beer I wanted to drink this quickly. The beer pops with thunder. Surprisingly, however, the beer pours with just a medium head that fades into a thick lacing. The color of the beer is a dark orange caramel amber. Its is a bit hazy and grows hazier with successive pours. The final pour comes with some light particles and a bit of a gelatin appearance. Following the appearance it is a definitely distinguished and delightful beer. I am glad to be able to try this. The aroma is full of tart apple skins, all the way with the apples and not in the aceto or other sour ale brews. Behind the skins there is a bit of crust and a thick BdG maltiness more familiar to the style. But I love the freshness and liveliness of the aroma. Flavor is more on the malt biscuit BdG area with some honey features. The apple skins come in later in the flavor to round it off. This gives it a refreshing finish. Just a bit of toast back there as well. Everything melts away and a grape-like malt and light tart apple skins linger for a little while. Its not sweet or not sugary anyway, well attenuated. The body has a nice and medium-light heft. The carbonation is actually just average. This is a very nice brew with a definite traditional malt backbone but a nice original aspect as well. This is the best experience I have had with a French beer since I first tried La Bavaisienne Ambrée.
Slayer85 (1051) - Firenze, ITALY - SEP 28, 2012
750mL flip-top bottle, dated BB 08/20/10, in a New Belgium goblet glass.
750 ml swing top bottle. A hazy and sparkling medium to dark amber beer,. with a large, frothy, mostly diminishing, off-white head. The aroma is moderately malty (biscuits, caramel, toasted bread), lightly to moderately hoppy (flowers, herbs), lightly yeasty (earth). with notes of honey, red and dark fruits, hints of spices and peach. The flavor is moderately to heavily sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. Medium body, silky texture, lively carbonation, long finish with almost moderate bitterness, lightly alcoholic. Elegant and challenging, especially in the nose and nicely structured in the mouth. Good balance with a harmony between the roasty/toasty notes and the final bitterness. A surprise. notalush (5878) - Denver, Colorado, USA - OCT 31, 2009
750ml swingtop - opens with a loud pop, followed by a geyser of foam - however, the beer only pours with a compact, soapy head - lightly hazy copper - highly estery nose, with some honey, toasted grains, biscuity malts, mild tartness, dusty/earthy character, slight buttery character - lively carbonation in the mouth - a bit tart up front - this soon gives way to a clean sweetness, honey - the sweetness sticks around, but quickly becomes subordinate to crisp, crackery flavors, slightly peppery hops, a touch of spicy alcohol - some esters, melon rind - tartness comes back near the end, as well as a hint of acidity - warming finish - subtle and tasty. RuneStumo (2687) - Haugesund, NORWAY - NOV 27, 2011
27.11.2011. 0,75l Bottle. vinmonopolet.no. Amber and a little hazy with thick white head. Aroma dominated by smooth malt and soft notes of aromatic floral hops. Very good flavours of rich malt with nice balanced sweetness and good strength. This is a very nice beer!