Archive for the ‘Belgian Strong Dark Ale’ Category

Val and I went to Uno’s in Hamilton and they happened to have a tap takeover from Troegs along with a craft beer craft festival. We ended up getting some very cute things there, although the space was incredibly small and it felt quite crowded. Anyways, I tried this beer, which I had been looking to try for awhile.


ABV: 8.5%

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Gone are the cherries, honey and chocolate malt that dress up our holiday favorite Mad Elf, leaving ‘him’ stark-raving nude to reveal notes of cinnamon, allspice, clove and tangy fruity esters.”

Random: Mad Elf seemed to have been less popular this past year. Normally, it’s insanely hard to find on the shelves and this year it was insanely easy.

This beer poured with a quarter of a finger of white head that dissipated slowly. It left some lacing on the glass. The body was incredibly cloudy and reddish-brown. There was light carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of fruit notes, despite no cherries being in the beer and some oak. It had alcohol and a certain sweetness to it. The taste was equally sweet with golden fruit, yeast and light coriander. It had a lighter body than the regular version, but was still thick with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy with golden fruit. I enjoyed this beer a lot and even without knowing, it would have reminded me of the regular version. If you see this one out and about, give it a shot.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0


The next brewery we went to was Stoneface. This was in the back of an industrial park. When we walked in, we were immediately greeted and offered free samples. The tasting room was small, but had windows into the brewery so you could watch the brewing process. Their beer was very impressive, so much that we bought a bottle of everything they had. They also had their merchandise for sale and I came home with a very cool hop shirt from them. We didn’t spend a huge amount of time there as there wasn’t much to do, but if you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth going there.


ABV: 9.8%

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Trivia: This is Allagash Black aged in rum barrels from New England Distilling.

Random: I had this beer at Slab for free. We went there every day we were in Portland and the day that we left, we went there to get a pizza to go. If you find yourself in Portland, you absolutely must try this place. The beer selection is awesome, the food is ridiculously good and the service is friendly and attentive. This was one of the best places we ate all of vacation.

This beer poured with a one finger, tan head that dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. It had a dark brown body with no visible carbonation due to the color. The nose was filled with lightly toasted oak, dark fruit and roasted malt. The taste was even better. It was very smooth with smoke, dark roasted malts and vanilla and oak. The alcohol was insanely hidden. It had a very thick body with low carbonation, which made this a nice sipper as we waited for our pizza. It had a long oaky finish. Having just had Allagash Black at the brewery (after not having it for a few years), this beer was really nice to have and the oak aging really added some nice qualities to the beer. I would definitely have this again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

At this point in my vacation, I’m hoping that I’ve had some lobster. I love lobster and it’s one of the things that Maine is known for. I think the last time I had it was when we made lobster rolls on rainy day. Anyways, let’s check out this year’s anniversary beer from Weyerbacher.


ABV: 11%

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Weyerbacher is turning 20 this year! How do we celebrate 20 years of bold and innovative beers? With the release of our 20th Anniversary ale! Our 20th Anniversary brew is a Belgian-Style Dark Ale weighing in at 11% ABV. It’s malty with notes of caramel, raisins and berries, as well as subtle hints of coriander and star anise.”

Random: I’m hoping that it’s a bit cooler in Maine. I’m sick of this humidity.

This beer poured with a two finger, tan head that dissipated slowly and left limited lacing on the glass with a crown. The body was a dark mahogany color with high carbonation. The nose had raisin, fig, candi sugar and booze. A touch of anise was there as well. The taste was quite sweet with a lot of candi sugar. Raisins and figs came through with some bread. There was anise at the back end. The booze provided some warming as well. It had a thick body with high carbonation. The finish was long with candi sugar and booze warming. This was $3.69 for the bottle, which broke down to $.30 per ounce. I always enjoy trying the anniversary beers from Weyerbacher and this wasn’t the best one that I’ve had, but this was solid.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

The other half and I went to a local restaurant for dinner when we first moved down here. It was packed and advertised that they had craft beer. It had pretty crappy food (one of the worst cheesesteaks that I’ve ever had) and had only an okay craft beer selection. The thing that annoyed me was that on their “craft beer menu” they listed their craft beers just as brewery names, and the servers really didn’t know which beers they were. It was annoying to say the least. This was the beer that I had while there.


ABV: 8%

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Nuclear Winter is a Belgian Dark Strong Ale with Extra Special Malt and Caravienne malts and Dark Candi sugar for increased color and alcohol content. Small amounts of East Kent Goldings are added but are not the prominent feature of this beer. The Belgian yeast dominates the beer’s flavor and aroma profile. It will surely warm you up in the cold winter months.”

Random: I’m back to watching “Gangland.” This episode is about the Vagos motorcycle gang.

This beer poured with a one finger, cream-colored head. It was quick to dissipate and left no lacing on the glass. The body is a clear, mahogany color with moderate carbonation. The nose was sweet with candi sugar and some booze and molasses. The taste had more depth with dark fruit molasses and candi sugars. It was very sweet, to the point of cloying. The booze was present and warmed the back of the throat. It had a thick body with moderate carbonation. The finish was long and sweet. This wasn’t a bad beer, but it’s nothing that amazed me. I wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

I got into the Christmas beer thing a bit late this year, especially since I focused on pumpkin beers for awhile. I saw this one on tap and had to give it a shot.


ABV: 8.5%

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Trivia: According to, “Brewed with Pale, Munich and Caramunich malts; Kent Goldings hops. This is a rich, dark, joyous brew with which to celebrate the holiday season. Its aroma of chocolate malt and spiciness is reminiscent of the wonderfull smells of holiday baking in Mom’s kitchen. Silky smooth on the palate, it’s predominantly malty, with smoky, spicy and citrusy notes and a long, lingering finish that is lightly tart and malty. Bottle conditioned for a fresh, lively taste. Round and well balanced, it’s a welcome addition for holiday tables and beyond.”

Random: The other half and I managed to buy each other 2 of the exact same gifts this year.

This beer poured with a one finger, tan head. It was very slow to dissipated and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy, dark brown color. I couldn’t see any carbonation due to the color. The nose had notes of Belgian yeast and dark fruit with holiday spice too. The taste was teeming with spice and dark fruit, specifically raisins and currants and dates. There was yeast present too, but it didn’t take away from the dark fruit or spice. This had a thick body with light carbonation, making this a perfect holiday sipper. The booze was hidden with some warming on the long, spicy finish. I really enjoyed this beer, although it wasn’t mind-blowing and I can’t believe it has taken me so long to try this. If you can still get your hands on this one, make sure that you do.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

My other half tends to really enjoy fruit beers. I let her try whatever I happen to be tasting for the night, but fruit beers are really in her wheelhouse. When I saw that Epic put out a new batch of their fruity Belgians, I came home with a bomber of each of them. This was the first one that she requested that I open and I hadn’t ever tried it either, so I was pretty excited to crack it open.


ABV: 10.10%

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We took our double gold medal winning Brainless® Belgian, added cherry puree and aged it in French wine casks (cabernet and syrah) for a secondary fermentation in the barrels. Pours a beautiful deep ruby color with a medium white head. A nice nose of sweet cherries, Belgian malts, and barrel aging.”

Random: As much as I am sick of the cold here, I still would not want to live in Florida. Can you tell I’m watching CSI:Miami?

This beer poured with almost no head that dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. So far, color me surprised. Given that it was a Belgian, I was expecting a huge head and lots of lacing. The body was a clear, dark mahogany color with low carbonation visible. The nose had a lot of tart cherries with Belgian yeast and a touch of spice, but the stars were definitely yeast and cherries. The taste had a lot of cherries and a touch of cinnamon, all in good balance. There was some Belgian yeast as well, but not nearly as much as in the nose. The body was thick with high carbonation. The long finish ended with cherry and a hint of booze warming. I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely have it again. Go grab one while you still can find it.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

The other half really likes to shop. My qualification for the term “likes to shop” involves enjoying shopping slightly more than me, which really does not take much. One of the places that she tends to go to quite often is Trader Joe’s, especially because it’s on the way home from work. She picked up this bomber for me a few weeks ago. Let’s see how it went.


ABV: 9%

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Trivia: According to, “The 2013 Vintage Ale has an amber-mahogany hue, abundant with coffee & cream colored foam. The ample aromas are of cocoa and malt, with added notes of lemon and ginger. A single sip leads to the true discovery — mildly sweet and malty flavors, with a captivating suggestion of cocoa, citrus and spice. It’s ready to enjoy right away, chilled but not ice cold. We recommend you forego the beer glass in favor of a wide-rimmed goblet — a glass like this will really showcase the flavor and striking color of the brew”

Random: I’m really into watching the Olympics, except for the ice skating.

This brew poured with a huge three finger, light brown head that dissipated slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown color with some carbonation visible throughout. The nose was very boozy with lots of raisin and sweetness apparent. I also got some Belgian yeast and candi sugar as well. The taste had a lot of plum, raisin and dark fruit. The booze was hidden pretty well, but there was a decent amount of yeast apparent. The body was thick with moderate carbonation. It had a long raisin finish. The beer was pretty good and definitely a sipper. I would have this one again, especially with the reasonable price tag.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0