Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Delirium Nocturnum

It's almost March and I just realized I havent reviewed a Beligan beer yet this year! This bottle was actually given to me by (he had an extra one laying around). I've always heard good things about the "Delirium" line but I've only had their Christmas beer, which was okay. Jay said this is one of his favorite Belgians, which is saying a lot, actually. So would I feel the same afterwards? (thanks for the beer, Jay!)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (621) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 19, 2012
When you think of Belgian beers you tend to think of very big, complex beers that require a lot of attention while you’re drinking them. Why can’t there be something a little smaller, more direct and drinkable? There is and Delirium Nocturnum by the Huyghe Browerij is just such a beer. It’s sweet like a soda but not cloying, complex but not overwhelming and you can drink it by the gulp instead of the swig.

I poured a 330ml bottle into a Trappist glass.

Appearance: Dark opaque complexion - seemingly brown, but actually a deep blood or brick red upon close inspection. Forms a small, dirty yellow, soapy head which laces and retains better than most Belgians of the style.

Smell: Strong vinous aroma of red grape, some sour notes and spicy alcohol.

Taste: When a Belgian beer is "sweet" it tends to be a rich, confectionary sweetness - like carbonated molasses. And while Delirium Nocturnum is indeed sweet, it’s more like a sugar-free soda with all-natural fruit flavors. It’s a one-two punch of authentic fruit flavors plus additional sweetness. Imagine plum, red apple and red grapes dipped in caramel with perhaps a hint of chocolate. Then subtract all the sugar and that’s what you get here.

What’s really interesting about this beer is that despite all the sweet flavor components to the palate, it’s not a rich, cloying beer at all. It’s actually quite refreshing while it’s in the mouth, with just a little bit of bitterness, in conjunction with the fine effervescence, to scrub the palate clean. The alcohol adds just a bit of warmth and a subtle, vanilla rum-like spice, to give the beer just the slightest edge.

Drinkability: The first thing I noticed about Delirium Nocturnum before the flavor was the carbonation vibrating across my tongue. Unlike most other strong dark Belgian ales of the general style this didn’t hurt, but was more of a massage, cleaning process. The mouthfeel is actually quite thin for a beer that weighs in at 8.5% ABV. It goes down fairly smooth for the most part, although it didn’t start to get stuck in the throat until the end. A great beer to have for dessert without the overwhelming qualities you get in bigger beers of the style.
Grade: 8/10

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