Next up, The Beast.
The Haybag nonchalantly poured this for me as I was making Christmas dinner. It pours a deep reddish-brown, with a small off-white head. It smells like brown sugar, dark fruits, and rum…this one might have a little heat to it. Then I tasted it. Whoa, this is huge: Rum-soaked raisins, brown sugar, and booze. Next taste: Port. Next taste: Honey, molasses, and booze.
My visiting Mother (who never drinks beer) tasted it, remarked how good it was, and walked off with my glass. This gave me chance to look at the bottle. Jumpin’ baby Jesus on a pogo stick, 16.83% ABV! This thing should be hotter than two rats making love in a wool sock. And don’t get me wrong, it has some heat; but the heat is complementary.
The bottle tells me that they brewed this with boatloads of malt; Belgian yeast; lots of not-overpowering hops; and raisins, dates, blackstrap molasses, alfalfa honey, turbinado sugar, and dark Belgian candy sugar. Every taste from this bastard brings something new. This be a complex brew. But you won’t like it if you don’t like sweet beers.
My Mom finally brought the beer back. Suddenly I was disappointed to notice the nose was filled with a burnt olive oil flavor. Crap! The oil in the paella pan is burning.
The Haybag: I thought something was wrong. I heard “Oh my God” a couple of times, then I smelled burning olive oil.
UPDATE: For a slightly different take on this beer from someone else who liked it, head over to Lyrics, Libations, and Life for his review. He hits on some of the important Belgian qualities of the brew.