Nick Carr on January 11, 2016 0 Comments ALE TALE Quick Characteristics Brewery: Brouwerij Huyghein Location: Melle, Belgium Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale ABV: 10.0% IBU: ? Appearance: Slightly hazy deep red-amber color with tan-tinged head; Lots of carbonation and foam. Aroma: Belgian yeast characters very noticeable; Notes of burnt sugar and dark fruit; Malts are subtle. Flavor: Malty caramel sweetness upfront; Sweet blend of dark fruits with notes of biscuit, toast & Belgian yeast “funk”; Full, round and smooth with a dry aftertaste. Shelf Life: 5+ years Suggested Glass: Snifter Serving Temp: 50°F – 55°F Availability: Winter Seasonal Pairs With: Roast Duck with plum sauce, Oxtail, Munster cheese, Blackberry Cheese Cake “Hey, Burny got a transfer for you.” Burny hit the com button on the operations panel. “Now? It’s the 11th hour. Go time in 45 minutes and you have a transfer.” “His name’s Victor. Transfer to Stables, off Naughty-Nice. He’s had enough sooner then anticipated, so we’re rotating him through stables.” Burny shook his head sending the bell atop the his elfin hat tinkling wildly. “Well you’d better get him running if he’s gonna meet Dory and see how it all works. You do realize we still only do this once a year right?” The tinny voice came through the speaker. “Hey, talk to the Big Guy. I just pass along information.” “Yeah, all right. Send him up.” Burny turned to Dory who was sitting at one of the windows that looked, not inward at the city but out at the frozen landscape of sea ice. “Dory you’ve got a new guy coming. Hold for another couple minutes before you head to the stables.” Dory nodded, only half hearing. “He’d better hurry.” Her mind was already changing parts of the schedule to fit this new information. The sun’s weak light glistened off the ice and snow, turning the ground into a million twinkling diamonds. She watched an Arctic fox slink across the white-blank expanse of light toward its den and a warm winter nap. The door to the control room opened. Dory was already half way across the floor. “You victor? Follow me please.” She caught the edge of the door before it could shut fully and led him toward the bank of elevators. She stepped inside the first one that arrived and shoved her access card in the slot. The wall panel lit than scrolled: ALL UNAUTHORIZED ELVES MUST LEAVE THE ELEVATOR NOW. It flashed twice and she hit the enter key. The elevator began to descend and she glanced at Victor. “I’m Dory. Not the best day to change departments, but I guess when you’ve had enough you’ve had enough.” Victor swallowed, looking slightly lost. “No matter. I’m making you responsible for the Delirium. It’s the easiest step and the first anyone new to the stables would do. The Leads can be tricky and you’re not a Whisperer, so the Delirium it is. Daniel was scheduled for it, but he’ll instruct you instead. I’m not gonna explain much this time around. We’re in a hurry and you’ll have a whole year to handle the reindeer and ask questions. Questions?” Victor stared blankly for a moment than said, “Sounds good I guess. I never really understood all the security on the stables. I all elves can go almost anywhere but the stables. Why? “The stables are off limits to most because the reindeer need to be kept calm otherwise the magic stirs too early and bleeds away instead of being released all at once on this one night.” The elevator slowed and stopped. The door opened. Animal smells wafted about; warm and earthy. The barn-like interior of the stable was strewn with fresh hay. Stalls were at set intervals running the length of the central room. A name was painted on each gate. Dory glanced at her watch. “Alright people we’re behind schedule by a minute. Let’s go. Daniel this is the new transfer. He’ll be on the Delirium. So, watch him and don’t let the reindeer take advantage.” An elf came out of the shadows lugging a wooden pail by its handle. “Ok, new guy lets go.” Victor followed Daniel to the start of a spiraling ramp that wound its why up to the surface. Far above Victor could see bright light. A gate blocked passage up the ramp. “Alright here’s the deal. You’ll be doling out the Delirium to each reindeer. Once the first reindeer has it’s part we have about 15 minutes to get all of them hitched to the sleigh on the surface and the Big Guy in before the Delirium releases all that pent up magic. I’ll handle the gate. Each reindeer except Rudolph gets one scoop. Rudolph gets two otherwise his nose won’t glow.” Daniel stopped and looked at Victor. “Any questions so far.” Victor shook his head. “The reindeer will come one at a time each calmed and guided by their Whisperer. Don’t talk. Hide the bucket from the reindeer otherwise they get really hard to control. Behind the low wall there. Have the Delirium ready held in the bowl like so. After they are done drinking the Lead will put the harness on and attach a Lead rope. Then the Lead will help the Whisper wrangle the reindeer up the ramp to the sleigh. All you have to do is hold the bowl and make sure you have each reindeer’s Delirium ready as they come up. Got it? Daniel thrust the sloshing bucket toward him. Victor took it slowly and nodded. Victor caught the scent of dark fruit and earthy spices. He looked down into the dark amber liquid. It shimmered in the overhead light like some huge garnet suddenly turned liquid. He set the bucket down behind the low wall and reached in, pulling forth a bowl beautiful liquid and holding it aloft. The gate at the far end opened outward and he could see the name. “DASHER.” THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Delirium Noël. If you tasted this beer, please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Lots of carbonation, foam comes rolling out of the bottle top and it takes a couple pours to fit this clambering, big-bubbled foam monster into the glass. It settles to a finger of fluffy tan-tinged head. It is slightly hazy with a deep red-amber, almost chestnut hue. That Belgian yeast character is noticeable right away in the aroma. The yeast spice combines with other spicy aromas building pleasant character layers. There are some burnt sugar notes along with slight aromas of dark fruit; grapy raisin and prunes mostly. Malt is noticeable but subtle, coming through as a biscuit like background with light tendrils of caramel. Mouthfeel and Taste: Nicely warming in the mouth without going hot. I thought the carbonation was gonna come through prickly and wrong on the palate, but it’s just the opposite. It sits full, round, and smooth. Some malt sweetness upfront in the form of caramel before transitioning into sweet blend of dark fruit mid-palate. Still get some of the grapy character that’s present in the aroma, but it’s joined by the dark, dry, chewiness of raisins and dates. Some biscuity and toasty character. The spices level the sweet with signs of clove and cinnamon, maybe some allspice, and that indefinable “funk” of Belgian yeast. Warming at the back with both alcohol and spices; leading into a dry fruity drop. Aftertaste is a dry dark fruit character conjoined with nuances of spice. FINISHING THOUGHTS This is a great example of a Belgian strong dark ale and a yeck of a Christmas beer. Nice subtle spices and hints of dark fruit without going overboard at any turn. It is pleasantly warming and would make an excellent sipper on any cold winter’s night. I’d wager Santa’d love Delirium set out with those sugar and raisin cookies. Cheers!