Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ommegang Gnomegang

Hooray for collaborations! This time it's between hometown hero Brewery Ommegang and Belgian brewery D'Achouffe. Both breweries are owned by Duvel, I might add. Anyway, this is a Belgian strong pale ale - the same style as Duvel - but does it taste like Duvel? Is that what they were even going for? I'm very interested to see what happens when an American Belgian-inspired brewery and an ACTUAL Belgian brewery get together to make a fairly traditional Belgian style beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (630) - Albany, USA - JUN 21, 2011
I poured a 750ml corked bottle into a Trappist chalice.

Appearance: Very cloudy burnt umber/orange hue. Little to no carbonation visible. White soapy head fizzles away almost completely quite quickly. No lacing.

Smell: Quite typical for a beer of the style: banana and Belgian yeast esters with a strong backbone of flowers and perfume. Alcohol is faint.

Taste: Beers of this style, I find, tend to be too overtly boozy or too peppery. It’s very rare to find a Belgian strong pale ale that is well-balanced, but Ommegang Gnomegang is it. The first half of the palate is very sweet, but not cloying. The lighter confectionary syrups of toffee, caramel and butterscotch are quite prominent, but never cloying. There’s some banana as well from the yeast, but only the slightest hint of pepper or spice. The second half is essentially the same only with the addition of light bitterness. The finish comes full circle back to the confectionary sweetness with the addition of orange fruit. The aftertaste is quite clean, actually.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly thin and tepid for such a potent, bottle-conditioned Belgian beer. Might even be a little too flat for its own good.

Drinkability: Sometimes I approach bigger Belgian beers like Gnomegang with some reservation or hesitation. But only one swig into this beer I was floored by just how easy it is to drink. The thin, tepid mouthfeel and lack of spice and booze definitely account for the smoothness of the brew. There is a very slight presence of alcohol warmth in the palate and in the throat, but otherwise it drinks like a beer much lighter than its 9.5% ABV would lead you to believe.

Overall, a tasty, impressive and fun beer to drink. For a collaboration it doesn’t seem to break any new ground, but a good beer is good beer.

Grade: 8/10

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