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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Duvel: Belgian Golden Ale

In a Shot:  Duvel is an 8.5 % ABV sessionable ale with the appearance of a light american lager packed with creamy full bodiness, banna nut bread, apples and spice that's worth trying more than once.

Moving along the line of Belgian beers, I come to the name famed Duvel Golden Ale.  Duvel, Fermish for "Devil", is a by product of the 1920's Prohibition in Belgium (Which by the way is no bigger than the state of Maryland).  When Gin (Belgiums spirit of choice) was suddenly outlawed, people began making their beers stronger (and more complex and flavorful while they were at it).  Specifically, Albert Moortgat, wanted to create a devilishly good beer that was unique.  So he created a used fruity Scottish single cell yeast, subtle, spicy yet mild Chzechoslovakian Sazz/Styrian hops. golden hued French double-row summer barley and a little Flemish water providing a balance between mineral and acidity.  The beer goes through four temperature changes, three fermentations and two months of maturation before being bottled at 8.5% ABV.

I took the bottle out and waited a good 15 to 20 minutes till the bottle reached about 40-50 degrees farenheit.  Upon first glance the deep straw yellow beer appears to be light and crisp looking.  The foam is bright white and thick and remains on the head for an extended period of time.  When it does dissipate however, little is left.  The beads of carbonation however, are lively, fast and constant.  The nose showcases mild lemon, green apple citrus with a strong bannana nut bread quality.  The mouth feel is completely more heavy than the glass perceives.  Thick and even almost frothy in the mouth, the effervescence is intense, backed by creamy eastern spiced orange tart then finishes with a little heat and dry minerality.  Very surprising ale!  What's nice about this one is you can also just drink it without thinking too far with it.  It's complex and yet, incredibly simplistic without being one note. 

 The greatest trick the Duvel ever did, was convince everyone it didn't exist.  It does this by deceiving all who look at the almost Pilsner bright color and light foam into thinking they are drinking something similare to a Miller Lite or a Red Stripe, but once sipped, the reality is almost sin.  I recommend trying it at least more than once.  Because it's third fermentation happens in the bottle, Duvel is one you can cellar for up to three years after purchase and will only get better.  Please drink it in a snifter at least.  It's completely worth it's price tag.


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