Oh, have you not Herd? It was my understanding that everyone had Herd!

Bolero_The_Herd_My_BlogOn the docket:  Bolero Snort’s IV Anniversay, The Herd 750mL

Poured into:  Dogfish Head craft goblet with enough vigor to produce a head, but as not to disturb the yeast from the bottom of the bottle.

Sight:  A deeply gingerbread body fills the glass with a quick-forming khaki head.  As dark as it is, there’s nice evidence of carbonation, tiny, delicate bubbles well up from the base.  A few seconds later, the head dissipates to a tightly hugging ring and a storm-front mass of suds on top.  Further insepction reveals a lovely reddish hue to the body.  No lacing, but hey, it’s a 10.5% abv drink.  Taking a look at the bottle, one can observe a ring of  yeast sediment on the bottom.

Aroma:  Intense, sweet malt.  Almost rootbeer-like spicy sweetness.  Just a fleeting sense of vanilla and gentle perfume of esters and alcohol.  Molasses.  Dark purple fruit note.  Yep, the plums are there.  No hop presence.

Taste:  Much of the aroma follows through to the palate.  Malt and sugar sweetness, on the fuller side of the style.  Pleasant warmth from alcohol which keeps it from becoming too sweet.  The plum note manifests as part of a “fruitcake” sort of fruitiness, along with the yeast.

Mouthfeel:  Highly carbonated, with very fine bubbles, not sharp and biting.  Finish is moderately dry with a slight bitterness, bringing another means of balance.  Medium-full body.

Overall:  More abbey-style than Trappist, a nice New-World interpretation.  This is not your father’s Chimay.  A great way to celebrate four years… at least that’s what I herd.

Suggested food pairing(s):Mongoian beef and broccoli, port-wine cheese, filet, raspberry chocolate cheesecake

It’s Scolgian… it’s Botch? Ach… McChoufe

On the docket:  750ml bottle of Brasserie d’Achouffe’s McChouffe, bottle date:  best before end of 2015.  Seems like I’m cutting it close.

Poured into:  Etched Chimay Goblet

S:  An initial mass of beige-gray head, thick and puffy forms.  Underneath, a dark, burnt-sienna body sits, with an orange tint at the base.  Tiny bubbles snake up to the top.  Eventually, the head dies down to a thin cap on top, bubbles populating the head, sort of like soap.

A:  Fruity esters immediately wend their way into your nose, laddie.  Ef ya couple that with some yeasty bubblegum and a bit of caramelized malt, you have the knack of it.  The hops, while muted, are spicy and earthy.  It’s entertaining to smell, the sweetness being a draw factor here.

T:  Some of the aroma carries over into the taste.  The fruit here is dark and plummy, but gentle.  A spot of hay, or husk, sweet caramel, a definite melanoidin tang like that of a Scotch ale, and a bit of spice and earth from the hops.

F:  Tingly carbonation, chewy mouthfeel, fluffy.  Deceptively light bodied.  A kiss of warming alcohol on the end, more pronounced as it warms up (at 8.0%, it’s certainly prudent to exercise a dram of caution.  A finish that sticks around.

O:  Though the brewery calls this beer a brown ale, and while they’re not exactly wrong, I feel that comes up short in describing this one.  Picture the offspring of Gerard Butler and Ellen Petri (go ahead and look her up, I had to, too) in a beer, and this is much closer to the mark.  There are equal parts Scotch ale and Belgian Strong Dark in here, and they combine to make something that while new, is evident of its parents.  This is a pleasure to sip and meditate on; much like the upcoming celebration of our Lord’s birth.

S:  4  A:  4.25  T: 4.5  F:  4  O:  4.25

Suggested food pairing:  Molasses grilled barbecue ribs, beef Szechuan, sharp cheddar cheese, crème brûlée, on its own as dessert