I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Ommegang goblet. It was bottled on 8/30/13 and cost $5.25 ($0.44 per ounce).
Appearance: Dark opaque burgundy/mahogany hue. Pours to an average size,
off-white, foamy head which mostly lingers and leaves some lacing on
Smell: Exactly what it should be: a strong aroma of Belgian yeast esters
plus all the added spices. Alcohol is noticeable, but subtle.
Taste: When I think of what a Belgian-style Christmas beer should be,
Ommegang Adoration is what comes to mind. Belgian Strong Dark Ales tend
to be great beers (depending on the brewery), but to brew one with the
right combination of winter spices makes them all the more festive. This
is a rich, complex, and delectable beer.
The first thing I notice about this beer is its inherent Belgian
character. A strong bouquet of banana and cloves stands out prominently.
It continues with additional sweetness of vanilla and orange, plus
spiciness of cardamom, coriander and other seasonings to create for a
tasty mélange. It’s difficult to marry confectionery-style sweetness
with zesty Belgian strong ale spices, but they work quite well here.
Alcohol is a fairly major player as well, boosting the overall intensity
of the palette, but also imparting some dryness and astringency. I’d
imagine a vintage bottle would be pretty amazing.
Drinkability: To call Ommegang Adoration a big beer would be stating the
glaringly obvious. Big doesn’t always mean intimidating or
overwhelming, and this is proof of that. The mouthfeel is full of
flavor, but those flavors don’t bully the palate. It’s actually quite
calm and smooth in texture, with a significant alcohol warmth from the
10% ABV, though it’s surprisingly tame and tolerable.