Saturday, December 7, 2013

De Dolle Stille Nacht (8/10)

Brouwerij De Dolle of Belgium produces this excellent Belgian Strong Pale Ale for the holidays.  It’s considered one of their “prestige beers”.

It pours from the bottle a very cloudy (almost milky) coppery reddish brown color.  The thick white head is very creamy looking but doesn’t last very long.

The aroma reminds me of a sweet wine, like a zinfandel.  The flavor starts out malty and a little sour, but then turns sweet, malty, fruity, and mildly spiced.  The finish is warming, but not as warming as you might expect for a 12% alcohol beer.

Beer Advocate loves this one, with visitors giving it a 93/100 or “outstanding” rating, and The Bros giving it 100 or “world class”.  Rate Beer is similarly impressed, giving it a 99.  I find that, for me, rating it is a little tougher.  As a beer, and ignoring the holiday aspect of it, it’s great.  It definitely deserves a 9/10.  But it’s lacking something as a holiday ale, as far as I’m concerned, so I’m docking it a point on that.  I’m giving it an 8 as a Christmas ale, but honestly this is an 8.5 or 9 kind of beer.

Where can you buy this in Columbus?  Hard to say.  I’ve had it at The Winking Lizard Tavern on Bethel Road.  I have yet to see it in a store in the Columbus area, but I’d certainly buy a few bottles if I did.  If you find it in town, please post the location and price in the comments.

Flavor Profile:
Sweet, Malty, Dry, or Bitter:  Sweet (but with an initial sourness, kind of like a zinfandel wine)
Spice Level:  Holiday spices are low or non-existent, Belgian style spiciness is present.
Hops Level: Very Low
Dominant Flavors:  Fruit, malt, citrus, candi sugar spices
ABV: 12%
IBU:  Unknown, but likely well below 25
My Rating: 8/10

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