Monday, January 25, 2010

209. Ichtegem’s Grand Cru Oud Bruin

From the Brouwerij Strubbe in Ichtegem, Belgium. Ichtegem’s Grand Cru has a subtle aged nose—there are hints of dark fruit along with some sherry and port notes to accompany the lightly sour and candy malt nose. It is a rich nut brown color with red highlights—sort of a deep stained cherry wood—with an ivory head that quickly dissipates to a ring. The flavor profile is equally complex and nuanced—the initial taste on the tongue is a brief tartness before moving on to some candy sweetness and low-levels of vinegar sourness with some dark fruit flavors, which then gives way to a brighter, sharper sourness with candy sweetness in the middle, and ending slightly minerally on the tongue along with some darker fruit and rich sherry flavors. Light to medium bodied, there is a rich slickness on the mouth and some low levels of alcohol warmth at the end, but nothing that really jumps out—it is well balanced with the other components of the beer. Carbonation is pretty low, but does help to build and crest into the sharpness of the middle. Ichtegem’s Grand Cru has an exquisite range of flavors—they are layered across the palate, and the nuance and delicacy to be found in this beer rewards those who take the time to work through the beer carefully. We are definitely making this one a Top 10 Best contender.

From the bottle: “Flemish Red Ale matured in oak barrels. Oud Bruin gerijpt in eiken vaten.”

From the Strubbe website: “A red-brown beer of Western Flanders brewed according to the traditional method with different malt types. Hopped till circa 18 bitter units with perennial hop from Poperinge. After the main fermentation at a temperature of 18° Celsius, 80% of the beer goes in bright beer tanks at a temperature of 0° Celsius during circa 2 months. The other 20% of the beer goes to the storing tanks where it experiences a spontaneous lactic fermentation that can last up to 18 months. This natural soured beer is fortified with the younger sweeter beer afterwards.”

ABV: 6.5%
Malts: 75% pilsener malt, 20% amber malt, & 5% dark caramel malt


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