Category Archives: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Chimay Grande Réserve Vieillie en Barriques 2017 Rum Edition

Brewery: S.A. Bières de Chimay
Country: Belgium
ABV: 10.5%
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Other Notes: 36% French oak, 42% American oak & 22% Rum

Brewer Description: (from bottle) The “Grande Réserve” barrel aged is an exceptional beer that benefits from triple fermentation and extended maturing in barrels. Unfiltered, unpasteurised, this beer has an incomparable rounded, wooden flavour.

(from website) On the eye, the beer boasts a deep brown robe with a bright glint. Its extremely fine and smooth foam also possesses a slight shade of cream. On the nose, notes of vanilla, marzipan and wood are equally predominant. On the palate, the woodiness cloaks the bread crust, roasting, rum aromas and empyreumatical notes. This edition boasts an excellent blend of the characters of Chimay Blue and Rum. A balance between roundness and power that will be appreciated at best between 6 months and 1 year after its bottling.

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.18
My ratebeer.com rating: 4.1

Intro: A 375ml corked and caged bottle, bottled on 10th August 2017, with a best before date of end of 2022. Poured into a Chimay goblet glass. I always thought of the Chimay Grande Réserve and thus also it’s barrel variants to be a Belgian Quad, but it appears most sites list it as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, so that’s what I’m going to do. Not going to debate this or differentiate the styles as a simple search will show many threads.
Appearance: A slightly hazy dark amber brown colour with a half finger beige head that dissipated quickly to a replenishing ring around the glass, while leaving some nice lacing.
Aroma: Light to moderately sweet, dark fruit, plum, prunes, oak, coconut, vanilla, with notes of rum.
Taste: Sweet malt, dark fruit, plum, prunes, grapes, fig, raisin, toasted oak, toasted bread, brown sugar, clove, vanilla, rum, light booziness.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, with moderate carbonation.
Overall: Nice, complex and enjoyable, but not as good as the base beer in my opinion. I think it’s partly because rum is not one of my favoured liquors.

Moonzen Harvest Moon (Cherry)

Brewery: Moonzen Brewery
Country: Hong Kong
ABV: 9%
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Harvest Moon (Cherry) is a silky and full-bodied Belgian Strong Ale fermented with cherries, French oak and cocoa. With hints of tawny leaves and withered hedges, all perfectly balanced to enjoy on a cozy day.

My rating: 3
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.41
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.3

Intro: A 330ml bottle with no clear bottled on or best before date. Poured into a 3 Fonteinen stemmed glass.
Appearance: A cloudy ruby amber brown colour with a two finger beige head that had good retention, but eventually settled to a nice replenishing layer while leaving some curtain like lacing.
Aroma: Booze, cherry, plum, apple juice, roasty, cocoa.
Taste: Boozy, herbal, lemon, grass, oak with some light roast, plum skin, apple juice and cherry.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with soft carbonation.
Overall: I easily preferred the plum version of Harvest Moon more. In this version, the booze and herbs dominate the flavour while the nice dark fruits I was getting in the plum version were only in the background, almost like an afterthought here.

Moonzen Harvest Moon (Plum)

Brewery: Moonzen Brewery
Country: Hong Kong
ABV: 9%
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Harvest Moon (Plum) is a silky and full-bodied Belgian Strong Ale fermented with plums and cinnamon. With hints of tawny leaves and withered hedges, all perfectly balanced to enjoy on a cozy day.

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.1
My ratebeer.com rating: 4

Intro: A 330ml bottle with no clear bottled on or best before date. Poured into a 3 Fonteinen stemmed glass.
Appearance: A cloudy brown colour with an orange tint and a big four finger beige head that had excellent retention and left some nice sticky lacing.
Aroma: Cola, dark fruit, plum, raisins, cherry, roasted malt, smoked chocolate, floral, lemon, with hints of cinnamon.
Taste: Moderately sweet, dark fruit, plum, prunes, raisins, cola, cherry, herbal, floral, roasted malts in the middle, caramel, cinnamon, light bitter finish, lemon zest and grass.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate to soft carbonation.
Overall: Loved the aroma, while taste was nice. I easily preferred this plum version more than the cherry version.

Mikkeller Santa’s Little Helper 2016

Brewery: Mikkeller ApS
Country: Denmark
ABV: 10.9%
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Other Notes: Brewed by Mikkeller at De Proef Brouwerij

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Belgian ale brewed with spices.

My rating: 2
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.31
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.1

Intro: A 330ml bottle with a best before date of 17th August 2026. Poured into a Lost Abbey teku glass.
Appearance: A dark amber brown colour with a big three finger off white head that had good retention and left great sticky lacing.
Aroma: Caramel, sweet malts, dark fruit plum and raisins with a hint of chocolate.
Taste: Sweet caramel and toffee, plum, raisins, candied sugar, black coffee bitterness, orange, spices and booze.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation.
Overall: It’s probably overly sweet for my liking. In addition there is quite a lot of booze coming through especially as it warms and in the end, probably too much.

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Delirium Nocturnum

Brewery: Brouwerij Huyghe
Country: Belgium
ABV: 8.5%
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Other Notes: Triple fermentation

Brewer Description: (from website) Initially, a very good mouthfeel of alcohol and softness. This is followed by an increasing bitterness, partially from the hop, but also from the roasted malt and chocolate malt. Towards the end a nice balance between bitterness, sour and sweet.

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.06
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.9

Intro: A 330ml bottle with a best before end date of April 2016 poured into a Chimay goblet glass.
Appearance: It poured a cloudy dark brown colour with a one finger tanned head that dissipated fairly quickly to a nice thin fluffy layer leaving some nice lacing.
Aroma: Strong dark fruits of raisin, plum, prunes, grape, dates and a hint of caramel.
Taste: Much like the aroma, there is strong sweet plum, raisin and prunes at the start. Sweet candied sugar and caramel midway. Before a light bitter finish with the alcohol coming through.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and high carbonation.
Overall: This was nice and fruity but could be even better if the alcohol was hidden more.

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