Christmas is near and the craft beer advent calendar seems to recognize that it’s important that the beers are strong now. Today’s Belgian Strong from Red Racer is 11.2%. I made a conscious decision to eat before opening this one.
On first sip, I definitely made the right choice to eat first. This is powerful and boozy. I think the hair on my chest just thickened and is now comparable with the most hostile jungles. It says on the bottle “To brew a beer up to true Belgian standards takes some elbow grease”… That is what I’m tasting. Elbow grease. Apparently it’s flavored with dried fruit and spicy esters. A quick Google search of the word ester landed me here:
“Esters provide a huge portion of yeast-derived beer flavor. They tend to come off as fruity in flavor, but each ester tastes a little different. There’s Isoamyl acetate, which tastes like banana Runts. There’s ethyl acetate, which tastes like nail polish remover. There’s ethyl caprylate and caproate, which taste like apples, pears, or anise.
Generally speaking, ester production is directly related to fermentation, and warmer fermentation temps increase their presence. There’s many other factors at play here, especially the strain of yeast being used, but the lower fermentation temperature is why you don’t encounter esters as overtly in lagers as you do in ales.”
I think the spicy ester I’m tasting is nail polish remover. I’m really struggling to drink this. The bottle also says this beer gives “a smooth and warming mouthfeel.” My mouthfeel is not warm but more sad than anything.
Kristi isn’t around to drink her beer right now but her bottle is intriguing. A lemon gin saison from Bridge.
Think she’ll notice if I pop the bottle, take a swig and put it back? Yeah I probably shouldn’t do that if I want to keep all my fingers. You’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to hear about this one.
For now, I’m giving this a big thumbs down.
If there is anything I’ve learned from watching nature shows, it’s that pugs like Rhinos.