Tuesday, February 16, 2010

231. The Lost Abbey Carnevale Ale

Our second beer from Lost Abbey—our last one was Avant Garde Ale, which was yummy. We had this with our friend Jeff, who brought along a De Dolle Oerbier as a comparison.

Carnevale has a floral hop nose mixed with some malt sweetness; the color is clear straw with a thin white head. Starting with a soft, rounded malt sweetness, Carnevale moves into a small amount of bitterness in the middle, accompanied by low levels of spice esters, and finishes clean with some lingering bitterness. Light bodied with a dry, clean mouthfeel, and some creaminess in the transition between the middle and end on the top of the mouth. The slightly silky texture makes us wonder if there is some wheat hidden in the beer somewhere. The second half of the bottle had a bit more of a saison character with the addition of the lees, and also more overall character; the first half did taste much more like a blonde ale. Enjoyable but not as exciting as we hoped; Jeff called it “a pseudo-Belgian quaffer.” A very light, clean, and drinkable beer, although we were hoping for a bit more character across the beer.

Carnevale is also our first official Buddy-approved beer—rather than turn up his nose, he actually gave the glass a lick and seemed excited. First time I’ve ever seen him express interest in beer ever.

From the bottle: “For centuries Venetians lightened the dark of winter with an elaborate upending of social order. In donning a disguise for Carnevale, for one night a pauper could become a prince, a learned man a fool, a proper lady a passionate lover...and no one would be the wiser. This beer is our tribute to that grand celebration of the unexpected. A Saison-style blonde ale with American hops and...well, that’s all you really need to know. Now put on your mask, raise your glass, and toast to the magic of a winter’s night mystery. Lo Carnevale!”

From the Lost Abbey website: “Carnevale is a dry hopped saison ale sporting a hazy yellow color and moderately spicy nose with hints of oranges and tangerines from Amarillo and Simcoe hops. The yeast phenols add layers of clove and allspice. The beer is designed to be a lighter body ale with some malted oats and wheat components and dry hopped with Amarillo to emphasize the bright citric qualities.”

ABV: 6.5%
OG: 1.052
FG: 1.012

We also tried De Dolle Oerbier, our third beer from De Dolle (Oerbier Special Reserva and Stille Nacht 2008 were the last two). The nose is rich, sweet spicy, and fruity—there are currant, raisin, plum aromas; it is a copper color with orange highlights, and has a creamy tan head. Oerbier starts rich and fruity; there are some plum and raisin, but they dry out rather quickly. There is also some dry biscuit malt in the front; it levels out as it moves to the middle, and the end has a return of some of the initial sweetness and some rich sherry-like fruit flavors. Oerbier is medium bodied, rich and chewy; the nose is stunningly delicious, and the rest of the beer is quite good as well.

From the De Dolle website: “Oerbier means original, from the source. This beer has been brewed in small scale (5 gallons) at home in a copper wash kettle, by two brothers who were students at the time. They took over an old brewery which was out of business and said: "If we don't bring the brewery back to life, nobody will!". It was also a unique opportunity to create some interesting brews, so why not try it? Therefore we went ahead. We did the main work ourselves and kept the scale of the brewery as it was. Since then, the brewery and its beers have been an inspiration for a lot of brewers. Oerbier is brewed from all different malts, Poperinge Golding hops in flowers and a special yeast which makes it a little tart, especially with aging. At the brewery we have excellent cellars which have a constant temperature of 8°C allowing Oerbier to age at its best. After a couple of years Oerbier tastes like it has been blended with wine… Oerbier has been refermented in the bottle and contains a layer of yeast, having vitamins B. NAT en STRAF on the glasses means WET and STRONG, a warning for the 9 vol. alcohol content. The little person on the glasses is the Oerbier man, a simple creature who holds a brewers fork in his right hand, symbolizing the work and science, but looking to the other side, the result of all this, the glass of (Oer)beer. The artwork on the poster is a wallpainting found in Spain (Altamira) and is considered by art lovers as being the best prehistoric art work (30.000 years BC). On the other hand we have Oerbier started in 1980, continuing the tradition. Since 2000 as the yeast supply ceased, we installed a new yeast propagator. The tart aftertaste is obtained by lactobacterial fermentation (since 2005).”

ABV: 9.0%


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