David Sapsis's picture

Judge's Review: 96 Rating - Terrible by Unibroue

September, 2019
Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
6 / 6
38 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

Terrible by Unibroue is being judged as BJCP category26E, Belgian Dark Strong Ale. The beer is presented in a tulip glass after a big full and splashy pour, at 44°F. The beer casts a dark brown color with some obvious haze but not opaque; the foam is creamy and fine but lasts only  about 2 minutes. 

The nose is redolent with dark caramel and light cocoa with dark-dried fruit and nuts, and a side of dried herbs and molasses. Ethanol is evident in spades. Absolutely full, rich, alcoholic and sweetly dark in the nose, it is immensely alluring.

The flavor starts with a dark caramel malt and trails quickly to a low-but-there bitterness with mid-palate flavors of dark fruit (dates, black cherries), modest spice, some faint chocolate and dark Brazil nut, and a hit of molasses at the end. Carbonic level is high. The late palate is surprisingly short and off-dry with black cherries and an almost cola-like character that lingers sweet and herbal in the finish. The alcohol is obvious in the beer, but it's not hot. Overall, the beer is elegant and absolutely delicious but not overly complex. The subdued phenols and excellent malt structure top to bottom really make this beer shine.

If you like rich, sweetish and strong dark ales with malt, alcohol and herbs dancing, seek this beer out -- it is simply outstanding, bordering on world-class. For food complements, I am thinking a creme brulee would be a dynamite paring to close a meal. Salud!