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Tasting Notes: De Strusie: Aardmonnik – Earth Monk 2013 Vintage

By Alcoholandaphorisms

Tasting Notes:  De Strusie: Aardmonnik – Earth Monk 2013 Vintage

De Strusie: Aardmonnik – Earth Monk 2013 Vintage (Belgium: Flemish Bruin: 8% ABV)

Visual: Very dark black cherry red to brown. Thin gray brown dash of a head.

Nose: Strong brandy cream. Rich red wine. Fruitcake. Glacier cherries and raisins. Malt chocolate.

Body: Vinegar. Malt drinks. Earthy. Dry white wine. Dry middle. Rich red wine. Blueberry. Yellow raspberry. Brandy cream late on. Pinot noir.

Finish: Dry white wine. Tart grapes to sour grapes. Tannins. Earthy. Teabags. Dry red wine. Yellow raspberry.

Conclusion: This is Vinous! As! Fuck! So, that is first impression dealt with.

Actually, that said, let’s take a bit more time to go over first impressions. Contradictory as that may seem – there are some interesting points here. Because the vinous first impressions is an overall first impression of the beer. The aroma was actually very different – the aroma is all dark and spirity, promising heavy fruitcake, deep dark fruit and a mix of strong spirits.

That first impression is bollocks.

The first impressions on first sip had me very disappointed. It was vinegar touched and very earthy that seemed simple and paid off none of the promise of the aroma. I was disappointed, but I should have remembered that generally I have to take a bit longer than normal to acclimatise to sours.

Time creates something very different to the first impressions, either the aroma of those first sips. Dry white wine at the base, still earthy and tannin touched. Then slowly tart blueberry and yellow raspberry notes come out, before it blossoms into rewarding red wine that mixes well with the fresher and tarter fruit notes. It becomes even richer wine over time, feeling like a tart beer meets pinot noir, which is quite an experience.

It is a slow burn beer, going from the initial simple tart grape and vinegar notes into a remarkably deep and expressive beer, with the earthiness becoming balanced by much malt drinks and malt chocolate. Shoot, very late on it even pays off those spirit cream notes that the aroma promised long before.

It is a hard beer to get into, which does keep it from being a favourite, but it rewards you when you get below the surface. Challenging but rewarding.

Background: I’ve been looking this for ages. One of the beers in 100 Belgian Beers to Try Before You Die and one that is released very rarely. You can see why, this one has spent 5 years in a Burgundy cask, that is something that may hold up your release schedule a while. Anyway, I never found it for all my searching. However my mate Tony saw it while he was in Belgium and grabbed it for me. So many thanks for that Tony. Anyway, went with Tool again while drinking – the new album gets better every time I listen to it.

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