Posted by: Michael | 13 December 2008

Brew Review #4 – Augustijn Ale

Tonight I’ve reviewed Augustijn Ale, a delicious Belgian brew. Let’s jump right in with a photo of our bottle and choice glassware.

The Augustijn chalice and an 11.2 oz bottle

The Augustijn chalice and an 11.2 oz bottle

I’m using the signature Augustijn goblet, which holds an entire 11.2 fl oz bottle. It’s a basic chalice, without much in the way of decoration, but pleasing to the eye and with a good weight for the hand. Let’s check out the bottle. From what you can see in the photo above, it’s in a rounded tiered shape, vaguely reminiscient of a Red Stripe bottle. For the front label, I’ve just copied a graphic from the Augustijn website (probably a shade illegal, but if you click on the phot you’ll find that it leads directly to the website).

Front label of Augustijn Ale

Front label of Augustijn Ale

It’s a pretty basic label, with a photo of a monk carefully tending to his brew. We read “Augustijn Ale” across the top, with “anno 1295” below. That yellow stripe you see on the right bears three lions. Basic, but pretty. Let’s check out the other side:

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Also a basic label here, as well, and we read (from top to bottom): “Brewed & bottled by Br. Van Steenberge, B-9940 Ertvelde / Imported by WIN-IT-TOO Inc. Santa Barbara CA.” There’s also a standard US government warning about the proper use of alcohol. Now let’s to the beer itself.

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On the first pour, we see a (rather disappointing, from my point of view) head of about 1/4” – I’ve heard that up to an inch or more is normal, so I’m not quite sure what the issue is here. It’s got a beautiful, deep, amber glow to it – when I held it up to the light, that “glow” was quite literal. The nose was wonderful, too – very sweet, with hints of citrus and a very strong apricot scent.

On the first sip, I felt a great deal of carbonation, but not unpleasantly so – the beer was still smooth. The aftertaste brought a swift wave of powerful yeast, almost as though I was chewing a big piece of bread. After that wave, however, that apricot taste was back. It was big on the initial tongue, and it hangs around for a long time. Afterwards, the head was still at about 1/4”, and this was the case throughout the rest of the beer.

Continuing on with the beer. Not much changes after this.

Continuing on with the beer. Not much changes after this.

I haven’t included much in the way of more photos because the physical appearance changed very little over the course of the ale – not much lacing was in evidence, and that head stuck around. After the beer warmed up for about ten minutes or so, however, I did notice a substantially stronger alcoholic bite. Augustijn ale is 8% alcohol by volume, and this comes through loud and clear once you’ve reached over 50 degrees Fahrenheit or so. I did notice that as the beer progressed, I found it to get sweeter and sweeter – the apricot tones become very strong, and there is perhaps a hint of caramel at a few points.

I highly recommend checking out the Augustijn website – it’s incredibly informative and has sections on the ale we’ve reviewed here, the brewing process, the history of the brewery, recipes for cooking with Augustijn, and directions for visiting the brewery. Definitely go check it out!

I found Augustijn Ale at Big Red Liquors in Bloomington at the price of $2.69 for an 11.2 oz / 330 mL bottle. This beer is a steal, in my opinion, and I give it a solid B+. Go find some!

Don’t forget – alcohol is meant to be enjoyed, but it can hurt you and those around you. Drink responsibly – buzzed driving is drunk driving, too. Enjoy your fine brews in moderation, and don’t be afraid to know when it’s time to stop. As they say over at Beer Advocate – Respect Beer!

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