Sunday, January 20, 2013

Augustijn Grand Cru

It’s hard for me to find a Belgian beer I genuinely enjoy. While there are plenty I’ve rated highly they’re not usually the types of beers I could see myself drinking repeatedly. That’s not true of Augustijn Grand Cru, as it’s plenty tasty, complex, refreshing and surprisingly drinkable. It were economically feasible I could see this in regular rotation in my fridge.

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (795) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 20, 2013
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a Trappist chalice.

Appearance: Beautiful bright gold hue, crystal clear with spastic carbonation visible. Forms a somewhat large, bright white, soapy head which retains and laces very well.

Smell: Potent white grape as soon as the cap is popped. There’s a clean, refreshing scent of flowers and citrus and unidentified (but subtle) spice.

Taste: One of the downsides to rating Belgian beers is they seem to fall under such general umbrella terms like "strong dark/pale ale," but in the case of Augustijn Grand Cru that’s an apt description. It certainly is pale in color and the palate has the "paler flavors" often found in refreshing, summer-style brews. Though it’s flowery, citrusy and even a little spicy, it still has the characteristics you come to expect in a big Belgian beer.

The beer lights up the tongue upon initial contact. I’m not sure if there’s spices added or if it’s just the yeast strain, but there’s definitely a prickly sensation here. Lemon flesh and lemon peel are quite prominent, plus a hint of lime, white grape juice, and some spice rack seasonings (all spice? coriander? ginger?). Very dry bitterness at the apex followed by a sweeter, juice-like flavor on the finish with a slight noble hop-like starchy sensation in the aftertaste. It’s a satisfying, genuinely enjoyable palate and I was a bit disappointed when I finished my glass.

Drinkability: While I wouldn’t hesitate to describe Augustijn Grand Cru as an effervescent, lively beer, I wouldn’t call it a challenge to drink. The carbonation seems microscopic and contained. Though it does get stuck in the throat at times, the beer itself still goes down quite smoothly. It weighs in at 9% ABV, which is pretty strong, but there is no alcohol distraction at all. Good thing I only had the one bottle.
 Grade: 8/10