Saturday, 12 July 2014

#229: The Big Guns

The only Dutch beer to make it back from Amsterdam was a big one; De Molen's Bommen & Granaten, a barleywine in what must surely be the truest sense of the word.

A thick and oily pour gives us a hazy red/orange beer with nothing in the head department. It seems to have traded all its bubbles for huge sticky sweet malts. If you feel like getting your nose dirty you can dig and find some grapefruit and toffee syrup in there, but the best course of action is to get this one on the tongue. Despite it's heady aroma, this beer is actually nice. It's virtually uncarbonated and still has plenty of those sticky sweet toffee malts but there's also a good expression of fruit; peach, apricot and raisins, as well a hint of residual brown sugar. There's alcohol warmth in there too, but for all its muscle, Bommen & Granaten avoids being a harsh beer, à la Louder. My only problem is that there's just not enough complexity in the flavour to justify a whopping 15.2% ABV.

The rest of the bunch are easier-to-find Belgians, but at their relatively cheap price (and lack of much else on the shelves in this particular shop) I decided to let them help fill the suitcase. 

Gulden Draak is a beer I've been enamoured with for some time now. It's a strange tripel/quadrupel hybrid that works wonders with its 10% ABV, much like its fantastic stablemate Piraat, whose style is also a bit of a discrepancy. However, this Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple wears its style on its sleeve, so there should be no misunderstandings, right?
Wrong. Because the messers at Van Steenberge are not satisfied with simply delighting our tastebuds, they also want to mess with our heads. For a quad, it pours suspiciously pale, paler than the regular Gulden Draak in fact. Still though, there's not much to worry about, seeing as this beer is absolutely gorgeous. Loads of fruit wash over the palate; candied citrus, dark forest fruits, apricot and a soft prickly tripel-like spice sit atop chewy dark toffee and chocolate malts, delivered with warming spirity heat.
This may be the best beer I've yet to have from Van Steenberge.

The last beer isn't so big at all, but it's still worth dissection.

Saison Dupont Biologique appears to just be an unfiltered, organic version of Dupont's flagship saison (Q: Is the regular version unfiltered?), so I wasn't expecting much of anything new or different in the taste. It's a cloudy yellow beer, just like the regular saison, and produces a lovely aroma of bright, herbal stuff with a malted biscuit and wet grain backbone. I loved the suggestion of farmyardy stuff in the original saison, but there's none of that here. The palate is beautiful. A wheaty body is interspersed with lemon zest, coriander, mint and a waxy bitterness. 

Probably one of the most refreshing beers on the planet.


  1. Three totally different but equally intriguing beers you pull out there! Here in France those are some of our easiest beers to get a hold of!
    De Molen has great beers but can be really inconsistent, but the beer geeky labels make me happy. I'm surprised you liked the Golden Draak though, that commercial yeast bomb is a testament to insanity - overload!! And the Saison is as you say, refreshing but because of it's "organic" statues generally a bit over priced.
    Next time around, try Rooie Dop!


    1. De Molen brew so many beers there are bound to be some stonkers. Their dark beers seem to be where it's at, Rasputin is a near-perfect imperial stout. The organic saison was delicious, but who could possibly just want 25cl serving?? It's far too drinkable for that sort of folly.
      Gulden Draak and Piraat will never fail to satisfy me, filtered and accessible though they may be. Cheers for reading and recommendation! Killian