Huyghe Brewery in Belgium. It’s a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.
It pours a slightly cloudy dark brown cola-looking color with a thick coarse head that’s tan with patches of brown. The had lasts all of about 5 seconds and then completely vanishes, never to be seen again. It’s a very carbonated ale, as you can see in the image at the left. The surface of the beer has little carbonation bubbles bursting on top of it for a few minutes after it’s poured.
The aroma is a combination of dark fruit and red wine. It’s almost a sickly sweet aroma, giving the impression that this will be an intensely sweet beer. Smells can be deceiving.
The flavor is more like a dry red wine with a malty Belgian Strong Dark Ale poured into it. There is sweetness here, to be sure, but it’s much more dry than you’d think based on the aroma. The flavor is definitely fruity, like most Belgian beers, but the usual Belgian spices are missing here (at least to my palate).
While the massive carbonation dies down after a bit, you’ll still feel bubbles tickling your throat as you drink it. The mouth feel is surprisingly light for something this dark, not all that different from a mass-produced cola soft drink.
There is a slight alcohol warmth to it, but much less than you’d expect for a beer with an 8.5% alcohol content.
It’s a very pleasant beer to drink, especially if you like Belgian style beers and don’t mind the red wine element.
Beer Advocate’s visitors (nearly 2,000 of them at this writing) have given the beer a 90/100 and The Bros give it 94/100, which is considered “outstanding”. Rate Beer also gives it a 94. At first, I wanted to give it an 8/10 because there wasn’t anything “special” about it, but the more I drank it the more I came to appreciate its somewhat unique flavor, so I’m bumping it to a 9.
For the record, I didn’t see any pink elephants while drinking it…
Sweet, Malty, Dry, or Bitter: Slightly sweet
Spice Level: Very Low
Hops Level: Very Low
Dominant Flavors: Red wine, dark fruit, malt
IBU: Unknown, but probably in the lower 20’s
My Rating: 9/10