dsc00855Warning…drink Maredsous 8 at or near room temperature. When highly chilled, it’s possibly an “F” quality beer.

I almost totally disregarded this Dubbel out of hand. I pulled it out of the fridge, and struggled to get the cork out of the bottle (I resorted to mechanical means and used a pliers to pry it out). After a loud POP, I poured into a snifter, took a pull, and nearly dumped it right into the sink. The 8% ABV was all that I tasted. Nearly undrinkable. No earthy prunes. No candi sugar. No yeasty goodness. Just pure booze.       

But, cooler heads prevailed. And I decided to let it sit for 20 minutes and warm up. I’m glad I did, because its Dubbel characteristics started coming through. 

Re-poured with a nice strong two-fingered head. Cloudy, dark red clay coloring. Decent enough aroma. Some of the usual dark fruit, raisin-like qualities. But a little shallow in the nose, not that complex or interesting.   

Likewise, even after warmed up, still not the kind of strong, dark fruit flavor I was looking for. In fact, the alcohol still comes through pretty heavily. Gives it a medicinal, solvent quality. Not my favorite. Booziness aside, the high levels of carbonation add a prickliness to this beer that I think hide what might be going on in the malt profile. Consequently, I thought it tasted like a watered down version of Chimay Red…I’d call it Chimay Light. 

Gets high marks on Beer Advocate, but I didn’t get it. Somewhat drinkable, but fairly unimpressive. It pains me to give a low mark to what many consider a great beer. Especially one brewed by Duvel, makers of what many consider THE standard for what a Belgian Strong Pale Ale should be. But I gotta do it.

Rating: C+

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