Saturday, March 13, 2010

Belgian Beer Tasting - 10 Brews

Belgian Beer Tasting! (a.k.a. 10 Beers for $5!)

We know it’s been a little longer than usual since we’ve posted a review, but rather than give you a long story about pipes bursting and flooding our home, we figured we’d just give you more bang for your buck! (We realize it’s free to read our blog, so really… you’re getting a heck of a lot of “bang” for nothing!)

Last Thursday, one of Mugsy & Jugsy’s favorite purveyors of fine beers (and other spirits), Wades Wines, hosted a Belgian Beer Tasting. Jason, or “the beer guy” as Jugsy refers to him, selected 10 Belgian brews for the tasting and provided lots of cool information to all the curious tasters in tow. (Did we mention it was only $5?!?!)

Beers were presented in a specific order according to the complexity of taste and alcohol by volume, in general, lowest to highest. We struggled over whether or not it was fair to assign a point-value as we would normally do, simply because the environment and amount served was not conducive to the proper attention and appreciation that beer usually requires. So, bear that in mind before taking our ratings too seriously on these!

Without further ado, we present our mini-review of 10 beers!

Belgian Beer Tasting – 10 Beers for $5!

Beer #1 – Bavik Belgian Pilsner

Mugsy: Hoppy, clean – 4.5

Jugsy: I didn’t even bother to take notes on this one. It tasted watery and weak. 4.25

Beer #2 – Poperings Hommel Ale

Mugsy: Funky, citrusy, very yeasty, piney – 6.7

Jugsy: Amber/murky, funky yeast, mild piney hops, citrus, bitter, barnyard funk, aftertaste of yeast & hops – 6.4

Beer #3 – Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel

Mugsy: Funky, quite hoppy, quite citrusy & sweet. Not like standard American IPAs – 6.0

Jugsy: Clear/amber, frothy head, sweet, fruity yeast and floral hops, creamy, smooth & balanced flavors, yeast & hops blend beautifully. Drinks light & slightly sweet – 7.25

Beer #4 – Petrus Oud Bruin

Mugsy: Slightly sour, some malt, a little hops; maybe a little too sour for me – 5.75

Jugsy: Clear brown, some head, roasted malt & yeast smell, very funky sour yeast and malt flavor; not pleasant to drink – 4.5

Beer #5 – Malheur 10 (Tripel)

Mugsy: Super murky & super funky, very citrusy – like orange, smooth, sweet and creamy. Can definitely taste the ABV. Quite balanced between sweetness & hops. Fruity – 7.5

Jugsy: Amber/opaque (murky), lots of fruity yeast, smell of fresh citrus; smooth, creamy, fruity with a nice hop balance. Delicate, sophisticated flavor, and I’m feeling the ABV. Sweet and light. Love it! -- 9.0

Beer #6 – Grimbergen Dubbel

Mugsy: Malty, sweet, hoppy – 6.5

Jugsy: Clear brown/copper, malty/hoppy, initial taste is dusty/smoky; nice hops middle, fresh piney/yeasty finish – 6.7

Beer #7 – Brasserie des Rocs Gran Cru (Belgian Special Brown Ale)

Mugsy: Smells sweet, malty. Slightly sweet, definitely brown sugar – 7.0

Jugsy: Slightly murky/brown, coffee, malt, yeast scents. Wow! Coffee and sweet barnyard funk! Brown sugar, coffee, rotten fruit – good brew but not for my taste – 7.0

Beer #8 – Tappistes Rochefort 10 (Quadrupel)

Mugsy: Malty, sweet, fruity & slightly hoppy, sugary finish – 7.6

Jugsy: Dark brown, slightly murky, roasted malt & candy sweet scent, roasted malts and bitter hops, coffee and piney hops. Very complex, piney aftertaste with coffee grounds – 8.5

Beer #9 – Malheur 12 (Quadrupel)

Mugsy: Sweet, funky smell; lots of barnyard funk, sweet, sugary -- brown sugar, coffee can be tasted and roasted malts. May be a bit sweet for me – 6.9

Jugsy: Clear, reddish brown, sweet, malty, brown sugar smell, licorice. Very sweet taste with funky yeast, slight roasted malt flavor. Nice aged brandy feel – 8.25

Beer #10 – St. Louis Kriek Lambic

Mugsy: Cough syrup. 2.5

Jugsy: Sweet, funky, sour smell & taste. Not very pleasant. Like dessert wine that’s gone “off” – 4.0


  1. OK, I searched for a definiton of "barnyard funk," and alas nothing really came up. M & J, please educate me on this one.

  2. "Barnyard funk" is more a term of art, rather than a hard & fast distinction. It's really something you need to experience for yourself (and we're happy to help make that happen!)

    People have described tasting hay, straw, leather, horse blankets, over-ripe fruit of various kinds, sometimes a musty or "wet dog" taste or odor and more! The taste elements consist of things that are reminiscent of actually being in a barnyard -- and "funk" because, well, these aren't conventionally pleasant tastes or smells!

    However, we don't want you to go away thinking "barnyard funk" is a bad thing. On the contrary, in moderate doses (depending on personal taste), these are the elements which add character and depth to the flavor of beer. In particular, Belgian Ales are known for evoking "barnyard" sensations.

    As in everything which has to do with taste, you can educate your palate, but there is no right or wrong, nor is there an absolute standard of good or bad beers, regardless
    of what anyone says!

    Enjoy your beer!

  3. You guys should do a Pliny.

  4. Ohhh... Pliny is my all-time favorite beer!!!


  5. I envy you guys so much for having this blog and having tasted so many different brews! You probably travel just to taste some of world's finest drinks. Good job guys kudos!