Friday, July 5, 2013

Ommegang Fleur de Houblon

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (919) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 5, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 4/10/13 and cost $3.99 ($0.33 per ounce).

Appearance: A bright yellow, akin to a lemon skin. Cloudy, but plenty of visible carbonation. Forms a huge, bright white, fluffy head similar to Duvel. It retains and laces quite well.

Smell: Classic Belgian yeast esters, plus flowers, a hint of spice, and some citrus.

Taste: The best way to sum up Ommegang Fleur de Houblon would be a cross between a Belgian pale ale and an American pale ale. It’s got the base Belgian character down pat: the yeast character with its esters and spicy flavors, along with significant (but restrained) hop flavor and bitterness.

The palette begins like a lot of standard Belgian pale ales (or "singles"): dry bitterness, some lemon zest and fruit flavors, followed by true hop character at the apex. The label indicates it’s "hopped to perfection" with whole cone Bravo hops, but if you’re expecting an all-out hop bomb you may be a bit disappointed. The hops here add a light flowery component as well as some dry spicy character as well. I get a hint of ground black pepper on the finish, plus a bit more lemon rind or grains of paradise sort of taste (though it’s nowhere near being a generic American pale wheat ale).

Drinkability:. The mouthfeel is classic Belgian in every way with fine, scrubbing carbonation bubbles, though it’s pretty easy to get down. While Fleur de Houblon is rather bitter and dry, it does leave a fairly clean aftertaste, though I wouldn’t describe it as a refreshing beer per se. I’m not sure why they opted for a hefty weight of 6.8% ABV, but then again Ommegang rarely brews small, sessionable beers, so I guess a summer seasonal from them would be rather strong (thankfully, it doesn’t feel or drink like something that big). 
Grade: 7/10