Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Hof Ten Dormaal Barrel-aged Project 2013 (Dark Ale) No.3 Sauternes

Well it's been a while but I'm back, lots of beautiful Belgian beers have been sampled and I intend to share each and every one right here.....and every future beer as well.
So lets kick things off again with an absolute stunner (and a beer with perhaps the longest title yet) it's one from the limited release series from Brouwerij Hof ten Dormaal.

I've already sampled a couple of beers from this farmhouse brewery, namely their Winter 13 and their chicory beer Wit Goud but what we have here is one from their oak aged line of beers, a series of bottles each matured in oak barrels that once contained various spirits (Gin, Cognac, Madeira etc) and the particular beer in my review spent several months housed in Sauternes casks.

Now for the opening and my there is some power housed in that bottle, just releasing the cage and the cork was eager to shoot out. A firm grasp and light twist and it escaped with an echoing pop.
A swift pour produces a very deep brick red beer that almost borders on black and is topped with a beige, thick, creamy head that slowly, slowly recedes.

Aroma is simply wonderful and is crammed with sweet caramel, dark bitter chocolate, dark fruits (red grapes and plums) also hints of liquorice spicing and a tart (almost balsamic) finish that shows elements of the oak ageing process.

With an intro like that you can only hope that the taste can match up.....and boy does it.

Instantly you get the dark, rich, dried fruits coupled with a deep caramel sweetness, then you get a mocha bitterness before finishing with a slight vinous / tannin edge that lingers long into the after-taste.

Yet another winner from this artisan brewery....and you know what, I have one of their other beers yet to sample (No. 11) and I'll share that right here.

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