Almost a home run for the style. If you like flemish reds, this is a must have in your collection.
Serving type was a “1 pint 9.4 fl oz” bottle with cork. The cork needs a review by itself. There’s just enough pressure there to keep the cork pushing out, and the cage seems to be of stouter stuff than you generally expect. The cork has a box printed on it to tell you when the beer is “expiring”. Mine was almost there at 12/08, so I had to drink it. The box distorts according to the cork shape and it’s sort of neat to watch it expand. The cork smelled exactly like wine.
Appearance – Good, but there was no head, and no head retention. Little lace on the glass. Not a downer, but a bit of carbonation might have helped the odor a bit. Crystal clear red though. I had to check to make sure I didn’t open a wine. The second glass improved on this vastly – once the glass gets a coating of the stuff the head is much bigger and there’s a good variety of bubbles within it. Lace is still absent, as is retention, which is average on the second glass.
Smell – I gave it a 5 for “unique”. Eggs, mayo, cherries up front. This goes to strawberries but it doesn’t quite kick the oily smell. If you do dispel the smell with a bit of swirling you’re left with nothing. Everything is layered in there together and unfortunately there’s not a whole lot else. There might be some plum hiding in the back. I found it by forcing myself to smell it quite a bit past the initial two. It’s not bad, it’s just absolutely not what you expect in this style of beer. There might even be some peanut butter in there after a good swirl, but this is just hints after driving off the eggs/mayo smell. My initial impression was also towards vinegar.
Taste – This is where there’s a win. It’s tart, sweet, and there’s cherry in there along with some strawberry. This gives way to a bit of sharp tangyness on the sides of the tongue and leather if you hold into it (the flavor, not the texture). It’s earthy in the back. Driving off the smell leaves tart notes but greatly diminishes the fruityness. This is sort of a shame, since if you let this breathe for 15 minutes, the odor is vastly improved at the expense of taste. If you can’t get your head around the smell, let it breathe or give it a good swirl, but the malt isn’t the driving force in this style, it’s the funk.
Mouthfeel – Home run, easy. Thin, no carbonation to lift it off the tongue, but most importantly it does get the flavors without the syrup. There’s not a trace of soda pop in here.
Drinkability – Really good, but palate fatigue sets in quickly. Once you lose the funk, you lose a good portion of the flavor here, and that hurts the drinkability since the flavor is so damn good from a fresh bottle.
Serving type: bottle