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Des de Moor
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Des de Moor

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From the archive: Van Steenberge Bornem Dubbel

Van Steenberge Bornem Dubbel

Bornem Dubbel

ABV: 8% (now 7.2%)
Origin: Ertvelde, Oost-Vlaanderen, Flanders
Websitewww.vansteenberge.com
Date: 16 April 2001

Another review from the  written for the pioneering Oxford Bottled Beer Database (OBBD). I’ve left it uncorrected — so please read it in that historical spirit.

The beer is still in production, though at a slightly lower strength. It’s an Erkend Belgisch Abdijbier, brewed under license from the Sint-Bernardusabdij, a Cistercian monastery in Bornem. Re-reading my tasting notes, I would guess this bottle was unintentionally infected with lactic bacteria.

A disappointing dark abbey double from one of Belgium’s medium-sized independents, also known for brown ales and other abbey beers such as the well-known Corsendonk Pater/Monk’s Dark. The beer is lively, with a deep claret colour with a good dense head and a winey, creamy, yeasty aroma.

Initially the taste is promising, combining classic double richness with the sweet-sour flavours found in the brewery’s brown ales like Vlaamse Bourgogne: nutty malt flavours mix with hints of treacle, banana, chocolate and leather, with a tingly hoppiness mixing with chocolate on the finish.

So far so good, but after a few swallows things go wrong, with unpleasantly bitter orange-peel flavours and a mineral-like iodine quality starting to dominate, making for a slightly sickly effect when coupled with the sweetness and the unusually high strength.

The beer seems to have the makings of something good, but strongly-flavoured products often tread dangerously on the border between exquisiteness and unpleasantness, and in this case the risk doesn’t pay off, for me at least. Or maybe I had a bad bottle.

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