Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kasteel Rouge

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (844) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 3, 2013
I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a goblet. It was bottled on 3/15/12 making it just over a year old at the time. Oddly enough, the beer did not appear to be bottle-conditioned.

Appearance: Extremely dark ruby red that appears to be opaque purple or black depending on the light. Forms a small, dark pink, soapy head which mostly evaporates and leaves trace lacing.

Smell: Dark, tart cherries. Sweet aroma but it seems authentic.

Taste: Beer nerds tend to scoff at fruit ales, unless they’re from Belgium and have a high alcoholic content - then they’re classy. If you were to give someone Kasteel Rouge blind they might mistake it for a flavored malt beverage or maybe even a soda, though it lacks any overt artificial flavoring found in those types of beverages. This beer is pretty much all cherry all the time and yet it’s delicious and highly regarded (and that’s okay with me).

Rich, sweet cherry flavor opens up the palate. It’s of the dark cherry variety and tastes natural, nothing like the cough syrup taste of many cherry wheat beers. The brewery’s website says it’s actually just a blend of their Kasteel Donker (a Belgian Strong Dark Ale) and cherry liqueur. I really can’t detect the base brew, which is ironic considering the age of the bottle (I’d think the cherry would be the flavor to fade). Almost no bitterness in the palette, which is fine. It finishes with a tart bite of cherry and a fading sourness as it goes down and finishes clean. I think the clean ending helps keep the beer interesting and prevents it from being cloying. The last swig is as tasty as the first. I wish the palette was a little more complex, for such a monotonous brew it’s delicious and never becomes wearing.

Drinkability: Though technically a big beer, Kasteel Rouge is amazingly drinkable, especially for a Belgian beer. It does not have the typical Belgian yeast character, so the mouthfeel is thinner and much more calm than you’re used to. For 8% ABV, there is no alcohol presence whatsoever, making it refreshing while in the mouth and doesn’t sit heavy on my system. If it weren’t so expensive and hard to find I’d be drinking this all the time. 
Grade: 9/10