David Sapsis's picture

Judge's Review: 90 Rating - pFriem Belgian-Style Dark Ale by pFriem Family Brewers

March, 2019
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
36 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

pFriem Belgian-Style Dark Ale by pFriem Family Brewers is judged as Belgian Dark Strong Ale, aka BJCP Category 26D. Served at 49oF.  

The beer is presented by my assistant in a Belgian tulip glass after a vigorous pour down the middle; color deep amber-brown  estimated~12/13 SRM, with slight haze and a big beautiful light tan-colored foam stand.   

The aroma starts with an angular spicy phenol over light caramel and juicy-fruit esters of banana, strawberry and sweet melon with a noticeable ethanol hit evident with swirling Overall a sweet spicy and hot nose indicating a beer of strength and complexity 

The flavor profile starts with lush caramel-toffee,  trailing to a quick and fairly prominent phenol-clove/pepper spicy front dominating over light honey-malt sweetness countervailing the low bitterness. Mid-palate is a spice-fruit faint cocoa and a  gassy carbonic bite. The late palate trails out to a nice long finish that is dry, spicy and almost herbal, with heat and amazingly, a resurgent dry bitterness with just a hint or sweetness.  Body is full but more with alcohol than sweet viscosity, with a distinct astringent angle in the aftertaste  Overall the beer is strong, spicy, fruity, gassy and alcoholic. While the dark malt complexity doesn't quite match that of some classic examples (Rochefort 10 anyone?) and the phenolic spiciness is a little high for my tastes, this is a very good beer that would pair well with either a rich dessert or an after-dinner cigar.