I've not been drinking much lately, and when I have, it's been a pretty mixed bunch. Here are the results of the latest two.
I've had Weisenohe's Altfränkisches Klosterbier in the cupboard for a while, and it needed to get the hell out. I'm still a little sketchy about the style of this beer but I used my best judgement to put it in the dimple mug. It looks like a Märzen or other dark lager, with a very slight haze. The aroma again reminds me of an odd Märzen, with darker malts playing off the light hop profile. The taste is much more exciting, with sweet grainy lagery stuff opening up, followed by a chewy toffee malt middle and a finish that emphasizes the herbal, fruity bitterness from the hops. Tasty and nicely balanced, if a little forgettable.
In the mood for a strong dark Belgian, I picked up an affordable bottle of Gouden Carolus Classic, my first from this brewer, and what I guessed to be a Dubbel of sorts.
It certainly looks like a Dubbel, with the very dark red body holding up a small but smooth off-white cap. I must say I was instantly impressed by the nose, with banana and dark fruit dominating initially, with sweet brown sugary notes underneath, grounded safely by mellower malt notes. In this way, you don't get the kind-of-satisfying-at-first yet ultimately sweetness overkill of a beer like the Floreffe Melior. The taste brings you even further from danger, with a gorgeous dark berries, figs and banana blending into a subtle toffee or chocolate character, with smooth malts throughout. It's delicious, but not as complex as I'd expected, nor as full-bodied. The 8.5% alcohol does show up at the end of the taste, but it doesn't do much harm. Well worth a go, but when I can get a Prior 8 for less, it probably won't feature much in the future.