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Michael Heniff's picture

Judge's Review: 91 Rating - Bastogne Ardenne Spirit by Brasserie de Bastogne

May, 2018
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
37 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Bastogne Ardenne Spirit by Brasserie de Bastogne is a Belgian interpretation of an Old Ale and is being judged as a Mixed-Style Beer (category 34B in the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines).  The Mixed-Style Beer category is a is a catch-all category for hybrid beers that are not covered elsewhere in the guidelines. Old Ales are noted for their prominent malt character and high alcohol content.  Belgian ales are noted for their prominent phenolics (typically black pepper) and fruity esters.  Ardenne Spirit is brewed with 100% malt (strong Belgian beers typically have a percentage of sugar in the recipe), Nelson Sauvin, Citra, and Mosaic hops, and is fermented with Orval yeast.

This beer pours dark amber with ruby highlights with a cover of tan head. The aroma is prominent aromatics of Brettanomyces yeast with notes of cherries and oranges. Behind the Brett is a moderate caramel malt and dark fruit esters reminiscent of red currants. A light barnyard funkiness rounds out the aroma. The body is moderate caramel malt balanced by an equally-weighted black pepper phenolic. Light chocolate, smokiness, dark fruits, and a light acidity complement the caramel and pepper.  This beer finishes with a light bitterness with a long-lingering caramel and black pepper.

This is a very interesting beer, especially if you enjoy a little funkiness from Brett. Rich, complex, Old Ale inspired with a Belgian twist - just as advertised. Cheers!