Tag Archive: De Dolle


De Dolle: Stille Nacht (Belgium: Belgian Strong Ale: 12% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold. Large white head with brown touches. Absolutely full of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Cane sugar. White sugar cubes. Orange sherbet. White, crusty bread.

Body: Orange sherbet. Lemon sherbet. Cane sugar. Candy floss. Bready. Toffee. Oily bitterness. Choc limes.

Finish; Candy floss. White sugar. Milky chocolate. Toffee. Odd, oily bitterness. Kind of kippers like oiliness, but not. Charred bitterness. Earthy bitterness. Peppery.

Conclusion: Ok, let’s get this out of the way first. For the most part this is sugary sweet fluff. Which I enjoy they heck out of and I make no excuses for.

So, yeah, for the most part this is straight up candy floss, sherbet, cane sugar, crushed hard sweet and the like. You get the idea. Sugar shock, the beer. The thing is that isn’t the whole of the beer.

The tail end into the finish brings an unexpected and more subtle set of elements. A slightly oily bitterness, that is also kind of earthy and peppery. There is even some oily fish character that I was hesitant to add to the notes as it doesn’t 100% match but is the best description I have managed to get. It’s basically a mix of subtle savoury and slightly bitter notes that come in as a welcome experience after the big sugar shock before.

So, a stupidly sweet, candyfloss and cane sugar, rough edged high abv been with unusual subtle notes managing to make it a tad more than that. On a technical level it is unbalanced, and rough, lots of elements that I should hold against it, but I enjoy the heck out of it and keep coming back.

Make of that what you will.

Background: So, it is, what roughly six months from Christmas is either direction, right? TIME TO REVIEW A CHRISTMAS BEER! Yes I just like being contrary. Anyway, it is a strong Belgian ale so should have held up to the time fine. Grabbed from Independent Spirit a few times over the past months, this is the first time I pulled my finger out and did notes on it. De Dolle are a fun brewery that used to have issues with over-carbonated bottles exploding the liquid out on opening. Did not have that here thankfully, so I’m guessing they fixed that over the past decade or so. I put on the ever excellent and haunting David Bowie – Blackstar while drinking. Christmas!

De Dolle: Arabier (Belgium: Belgium Strong Ale: 8% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy bubbled amber gold with a lovely frothy banana skin coloured tinge to the head.

Nose: Light lemon, wheat. Very fresh. Ground lemon and orange peel. Just the slightest cinnamon spice. Overripe banana. Light raspberry touch occasionally.

Body: Very crisp, wheat. Light ripe banana. Nice amount of bitter hops backing. Crushed leaves and passion fruit.

Finish:  Sour lemon and wheat into good bitter hop dryness. Strangely a mead finish style touch runs through the finish

Conclusion:  Respect is due to the waiting staff at the bar we had this, managing to get this beer out without significant loss of fluids.  Maybe they practise it a tad more than me.

A very fresh and wheat flavoured beer with a bit of hop bitterness backing it up.  Very much a refresher, though with more alcohol than you would guess from the flavour.  A lovely subtle aroma which has a careful banana back to it.   The main thing you notice on early sip though is a remarkably gripping hop trail to the end after a much more relaxed main beer.

Not a wide range of flavours, balances well though; this was drunk in the midday sun, and suited that environment well. A lightly flavoured, tasty and easy to drink beer, but hopped so you remember it even when drinking with mates.  Watch the abv though, take your time with it.

Not one that holds for long meditation but a good beer.

Background: De Dolle are a great bunch of brewers who seem to enjoy turning their bottles into anti personnel weapons of beer. Seriously I once opened a bottle to have the froth surge a clean two feet out to hit the wall next to me.  Still enjoy their beer, much as you take a Russian roulette risk opening them. This bottle was opened for me by the bar staff in Diksmuide which saved me that problem and let me enjoy the beer.

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.

De Dolle: Bos Keun Speciaal Paasbier (Belgium: Strong Ale: 10% ABV)

Visual: The dolles brewey trademark explosion on opening is there in full force – what is it with these beers and erupting froth? Massive nigh invulnerable white head that leaves traces of lace around the glass, slightly bitty cloudy glowing gold body.

Nose: Grain chaff, cinnamon, barley. Cheap ice cream and ground orange peel. Lemon.

Body: Wheaty, honey and orange. Cane sugar – very sweet. Syrup taste and texture. Sugar nests and mini eggs. Caramel. Chocolate liquorice. Light herbs, cinnamon and sweet spices. Golden syrup cake bars. Malt and strawberry come out after a while – an ever shifting range of sweet flavour.

Finish: Orange, syrup, sweet and dry. Slight cocoa. Chives, toffee and lemon. Candyfloss and banana.

Conclusion Sugar shock sweet is the best way to describe this Easter beer, all sugar, candy shell and syrup. Warming in its alcohol but otherwise the large amount of alcohol seems somewhat subdued. Lots of sweet tooth toffee and candyfloss flavour.

This beer would become sickly very easily, and has the same problem as all dolles brewery beer in that it explodes in froth when you open it, but like all their beers it is a batch of unpredictable flavours that tend towards the enjoyable more often than not.

A bit madcap and over excitable, a beer of surprises and hyper energy, flawed mainly in its unpredictability, but worth a shake of the dice on, as when it on, it is so very good.

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