Daily Archives: November 10, 2009

#5 – Judas

#5 - Judas

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 8.5 %

Judas was first brewed in 1986, probably as a Golden Ale that could compete with the highly successful Duvel (#34) beer made by the Moortgat Brewery. The similarities in title, label and goblet are evident. In fact, it is surprising to find the number of beverages of this ilk which refer in some degree to the darker side of the force.

Duvel of course means ‘Devil’ in Flemish, Liefman’s brewery (now sadly defunct) produced the similarly styled Lucifer (#169), and of course there is the De Block brewery who are famous for their Satan Red (#215) and Satan Gold beers. Judas may not directly represent the devil, however the story of Judas Iscariot – one of the 12 disciples of Jesus who betrayed the son of God for 30 pieces of silver – is one that certainly leans towards the more macabre side of the spiritual fence. Certainly in the Gospel of St Luke there is a reference made to the fact that Satan himself enters Judas during the last Supper which might rather diminish the view that the 30 pieces of silver had any significance in the decision to hand Jesus over to Pilate’s soldiers.

The real truth about Judas is one of the most debated topics in modern day Bible school, and much of it depends on what school of thought you have or what book or version of the Bible you read. Either way he played an extremely inauspicious role in the history of Christianity and for that reason finds himself in the pantheon of evil Belgian beers. Quite what this fascination is remains to be told, however if the drippy Stella Artois (#116) can be rightfully labelled ‘Wifebeater’, then perhaps your more potent Belgian craft beers deserve to be associated as more sinister !

In terms of the beer, there was little head and very little sediment, although plenty of bubbles. A fruity aroma accompanied the opening with a strong uncomplicated flavour initially. He was a little coppery, yet fairly drinkable but there was nothing wholly tantalising. I am left unlikely to be a traitor and leave other better beers for this, but beware the strength though – two or three of these may leave you forgetting where you hid the silverware !

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Filed under 7, Alken-Maes, Belgian Strong Ale

#4 – Corsendonk Agnus Tripel

#4 - Corsendonk Agnus Tripel

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 7.5 %

Corsendonk is the name of a priory in Oud-Turnhout which was established way back in 1398, and which had a rich history of brewing beer. It was eventually shut in 1784 as was the common trend in Europe at the time, as secular powers came up against those of the church. The Priory has since been restored and reformed, however the beers have long been made elsewhere – under the care of the Keersmaeker family but now in the modern brewing facilities at Du Bocq in the Namur countryside.

The above story though perfectly sums up why so many beers in Belgium are known as Abbey Beers. Only those beers brewed on monastic premises by Trappist monks can be labelled ‘authentic’ Trappist beers, however those that are brewed elsewhere with a connection to an Abbey or a history of being brewed at an Abbey may lay claim to being an Abbey beer. It is often extremely lucrative for brewers to associate with these institutions and some links remain more tenuous than others however in the case of the Corsendonk Agnus we can remain fairly happy with this association.

The term ‘Abbey beer’ has no particular reference therefore to taste or flavour, although there are a few general standards. Most tend to be top fermented and undergo warm fermentations which allow the yeasts to produce a wide variety of interesting flavours. Most Abbey beers also tend to be at the higher end of the ABV scale, with Dubbels normally weighing in at between 6% and 7.5% and Tripels from 7.5% to 9.5%. There are some Abbey beers however which are relatively low strength and normally exist as some kind of reference to the beers the monks would have drunk in reality in medieval times – of which the Chimay Doree (#49) is a good example.

After a dry(ish) week drinking in the Arab Emirates and Oman, it was nice to get back to the higher quality end of the beer scale, and in particular this one. She poured a great frothy white head on a fine blonde body, which was rich in bitty sediment. The flavour was quite a tart vanilla which actually tasted more potent than the ABV. Despite this, a very palatable beer with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Immediately went out and bought another couple for the cellar, plus a Corsendonk Pater (#35).

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Filed under 8, Abbey Beer, Abbey Tripel, Du Bocq