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).