Duvel Belgian Golden Ale – 8.5% ABV – this was a beauty. It is also an interesting lesson in the brewing process. Quite similar to the lengthy process we have been undergoing brewing some of our own beers, this Belgian beer from the Bourweirj Duvel Moortgart is brewed over a day’s time using blonde malted barley, the brewery’s own water well and Styrian Golding and Saaz hops. Then it is fermented for the next 5 or 6 days before being matured again (also known as being lagered) for another 20 days. After one month’s time since the brewing, the beer is bottled and conditioned for a second time. This time, they set the bottles in a warm cellar for 2 ½ weeks before switching to cold cellaring for the next two months. After 90 days comes the moment we have all been waiting for – Drinking Time!
When you first pop one open, the smell that hits your nose is quite refreshing, and one that would make you eager to soak it all in. Classified by the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) as a Belgian Strong Golden Ale, this one hits your nose with the aroma of yeast, bananas and citrusy lemon. When pouring this, I would recommend a tulip glass or snifter, but I’ve seen many pour this into a weissen glass. Because the bottle is 750 ml, it is possible to pour it into both the weissen and either of the other two previously mentioned. What comes is a somewhat hazy, beautiful golden color, full of bubbles racing to the top and creating a nice thick white head that resembles a dense, foamy cloud in the sky. But that pales in comparison to drinking it.
Let me start by saying this one is not weak. After all, with a name like Duvel, which is Flemish for the word Devil, you would expect it to strong. This big boy is 8.5% and with a bottle this size, you’re sure to feel the effect if you down the whole thing. It would not be hard to, considering the flavor in this is exceptional. Right off the bat I get a taste very similar to the aroma, fruity and well carbonated. Almost like beer-flavored champagne. The taste of the light fruit (banana, lemon) comes at you immediately, then some of the mild alcohol burn follows, finishing with a slight hop bite. Very nice stuff. If one thing is for sure, those Belgians sure know how to make some damn good beer. After all, they’ve been doing it for centuries, and it’s like a religion to them (see Trappist monks and Abbeys). When all is said and done, this beer is good year round, but its light and refreshing flavor and gentle crispness make this a spring and summer necessity.