De Dolle: Oerbier Special Reserva (Belgium: Belgium Strong Ale: 13% ABV)

(2008 edition, drunk 2010)

Visual: Bubbles noisily for ten minutes in the bottle from a small crack opened to let off the pressure – I’m not being fooled by de Dolle beers again, Seemed as if it may explode from the bottle, but thankfully the release of pressure worked and it poured a dark cloudy brown with little head. Success!

Nose: Fortified wine, raisins, really rich with cherries, Christmas cake and figs. Evident alcohol. Port. Dried fruits soaked in cherry. Champagne. Hard cake icing, plums, brown sugar, slightly sour acidic apple, the wood of cherry bushes, kriek lambics. A lot of forceful elements going on.

Body: Smoother than expected front. Bitter chocolate and plums. Fruitcake. Acidic apples. Tart. Sour wine. Lemon sherbet, oak barrels.

Finish: Gin, bitterness, raisins. Lots of alcohol, chocolate and raspberry.

Conclusion: It’s like many alcoholic drinks all mixed into one. Port, gin, wine, ale, lambic – barrel aged tart and sour. An impressive range, if causing a very noticeable alcohol kick, which is its most evident flaw.

Almost insufferable as a causal drink, it comes into its own when you take time to push through the alcohol and bask in its amazingly impressive range – it is custom made for contemplation and defies those who will not take the time to get to know it. Possibly it would take also a pride of place as a drink for celebration in the place of the more traditional champagne.

As said by Will when tasting it, it is a beer to go with a black and white movie showing or as part of some other such carefully crafted event.

It is the beer made specifically for beer tasting note fanatics to dissect.