Monday, May 12, 2008

Beer-a-Week

Note: I'm translating a pamphlet from French.


History
The abbey where the beer is produced has been around since 1216, but the beer that you can find in the Belgian supermarkets today has only been in production since 1997. They had to adapt the 13th century recipe from the first ingredients to actual ingredients and also to the tastes of today. However it's still brewed with the ancient method of infusion.

Inside the beautiful abbey.

Fabrication
The malt grains are ground to obtain the flour that is then mixed with water to get the mix. That mixture is then brought to 63°, 72°, then 75°, until the boiling point of 100°, to allow the enzymes to transform the starch to sugar.
The filtration allows the sweet liqueur (the rape) to seperate. The rape is moved to boil for 90minutes. The hops is thrown in to bring the bitterness and aroma to the beer.

The rape is made cold again and transfered to the fermentation tank. The lid is shut and the rape is let alone to ferment for 5 to 7 days. The conical form of the vat allows the meed to collect at the bottom. The beer is then maintainted for two weeks at 0°C in a preservation vat.

Finally the beer newly filtered. To allow for the refermentation in the bottle, levening and sugar is put inside. The beer is then bottled and left to rest in a warm room (23°C) for 3 weeks to allow for the refermentation.


Fenny enjoying a Blonde at the abbey.

The beers
La Blonde Val-Dieu
Moderately alocholic at 6%ABV, gives it a convivial ambience, digestive, and apparative. It wets the mouth and developes an agreeable character that's aftertaste is bitter. The freshness of the beer's departure, however, easily subdues it .
Like most blondes, I found this one sweeter and lighter than the others.
La Brune Val-Dieu
More coloured and alcoholic (8%ABV), the aroma is stronger and doubled with the flavours of coffee and mocha. The mocha flavor helps the digestion and leaves a place for the taste of the tripple malt to not be too neutral and not too profound. The beer gives a mild bite to the tongue, considering that it is foremost a beer of digestion. Closed or temerate, la Brune is considered a beer of cirucumstance.
While we were sampling in the abbey, I feel like Amanda really got it spot on by saying that the brown had a distinctive bite. I enjoyed the complexity of the taste.
the beer bottle's label
La Triple Val-Dieu
This beer, at 9%ABV, is the result of a long fermentation, sculpturedafter its brewer. The strong and supple flavour does not hide its natural, aromatic composition from the taste buds, and at the end, an alocholic aftertaste. Associated with gastronimic properties, la Triple is classified as one of the great beers of the posh tables.
I don't remember too much of this beer, but that it was good and very alcoholic. I think that part to do with the quality, though, is that the alcoholic taste is extremely subtle. From my experience, beers of less esteemed quality, but equal ABV levels will loose their flavor for the high alcohol levels.

2 comments:

Regina said...

This is a great review, Rachel. It's interesting. Any more beers?

Tim said...

God dammit, Rachel, how come you can't convince those European bastards to send their good beer over here??