Abbey Normal by BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse

10365921_10102019956917110_1571724735164320888_nRating: 4.85/5

Abbey Normal by BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse is a 6.6% ABV Belgian Dubbel.

BJ’s Abbey Normal is a light brown ale with a sweet malty profile. The style is what the Belgians call Abbey Ale, molded after the famous ales brewed by Trappist Monks. BJ’s Abbey Normal is full-bodied and rich tasting, with a complex bouquet of fruit and spice derived from fermentation with an authentic Trappist yeast. Subtle aromas and flavors emerge as the beer warms up – caramel, plums, raisins, currants and figs. BJ’s Abbey Normal may not be brewed in an abbey but it sure tastes heavenly.

This ale is bottle-conditioned and flavorful enough to age in the bottle for several years. Like a fine wine, the balance of flavors will change over time. For optional aging, we recommend that you store BJ’s Abbey Normal at between 55 and 65°F. Or enjoy it now!

Since 2010, when I first really started exploring beers, BJ’s brewhouse was a central theme to explore different beer styles as well as different beers. Abbey Normal was one of the first Belgian style beers and it was damn good back then. I never realized until a recent visit with my brother and my friend Alex that they started releasing these beers in bottles. I definitely had to bring one home for review as they ran out of the tap. So if you happen to visit BJ’s, this maybe something to try that is out of the ordinary there. Unless they have Westmalle which is more expensive but way more awesome. Either way, this is a very good Belgian dubbel even pre-review.

Dark fruit raisins, plums, figs, dates, phenolic banana notes, clove spice, stone fruit apricots, peaches, apples biscuit bread, dulce de leche caramel, toffee, honey, rock candy, pecan hint, ginger bread, chocolate hints, cinnamon and hints of brown sugar.

Phenolic notes of bananas, clove spice, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, dark fruit raisins, figs, plums, trappist yeast hints, rock candy, candi sugar, pecan notes, hazelnut hints, dark cherries, ginger bread, cinnamon, chocolate hints, coffee, nutmeg, biscuit bread, bubble gum and toffee.

Biscuit bread, rye, dulce de leche caramel hints, dark fruit and phenolic hints fade into a dry finish. No alcohol in the taste, medium drinkability, amber medium to full body, light to medium mouthfeel.

A very good Dubbel for sure despite this comes from restaurant & brewhouse chain. I love sweet Belgian beers so even at the ABV presented, this drinks like champ. It nice in terms of balance providing you a very nice rich complexity of flavors while still not being over powering. Wish I had this more often but now I realize why I loved this one so much back then. This one I would definitely recommend if you are able to get it at BJ’s on tap or snag a bottle from them to take home and relax.

Anime Corner:
Stocking Anarchy from Panty & Stocking with Ganterbelt was used in this pairing in relation to how awesome this beer was back in the day. At my youth of craft beers, this presented me with something very distinct that I had never had on tap and really drove me to try out more beers. Now, how it relates to the Abbeys, the monks and heaven, well guess what, Stocking, along with her sister Panty are angels fighting for humanity vanquishing ghosts. She is lover of sweets to the point where she should be diabetic but she is not. The colors of the label fit her perfectly and in respects to heaven, she is just that. The flavors of dark fruits and dark sweet flavors are basically her whole embodiment. She is a sweet dark Gothic angel with a lot of heart and power.


Abbey by New Belgium

1512801_10101561386106690_1780227651_nRating: 4.8/5

Abbey by New Belgium is a 7% ABV Belgian Dubbel

A beauty of a Belgian dubbel with six different malts and an authentic Belgian yeast strain that’s happiest being served in a New Belgian globe glass.

Yes, I agree. While it would be plain and simple to use the NB globe glass, I decided against it since I wanted to use the Monkish glass to appeal to the art pairing. Anyways, this beer comes out every year around the Fall/Winter season ready for X-mas. I have never got a chance to review it since the last time I bought a 6 or a Folly 12 pack, they are all gone. This one did not get away and is here for the review. You can get this nation wide in 6 pack or the NB Winter Folly pack.

Rich banana bread, dark fruits like raisins, plums, figs, dulce de leche caramel notes, vanilla, chocolate hints, cinnamon, ginger bread, nutmeg, biscuit and toffee

Dulce de leche caramel notes, dark fruits forward from the raisins, the plums and figs, dates, banana bread, coffee and chocolate notes, cinnamon, ginger bread, nutmeg, earthy hop notes, molasses, anise notes, clove and coriander spice, peppercorns and bubble gum hints

Close to a dry finish but some biscuit, raisins, earthy hop bitterness and caramel linger for a little bit. Despite being a dubbel quite the easy drinking. No alcohol in the taste either.

A Great beer very delicious. To the height of many of the New Belgium beers that I have tried, only some have made it with a high rating. This one takes the cake and is probably one of my favorite annual releases from New Belgium. This beer definitely makes it to the world class (14th best dubbel according to beer advocate). Belgian beer lovers will love this one

Anime Corner:
I am not sure who created this piece but I was able to find it when looking for different pictures online. This was a perfect pairing because it includes everything about Belgian Abbeys, monks, monasteries and so forth. A tribute to the Belgian abbeys

Grand Gru by Abbaye-Abbey du Val-Dieu

1239642_10101353312512840_1852664825_n 1234101_10101353312562740_447530807_n 1011629_10101353309933010_684180145_nRating: 5.15/5

Grand Gru by Abbaye-Abbey du Val-Dieu is a 10.5% Belgian Strong Dark Ale/Quadruple

This authentic Abbey ale is based on the recipe perfected centuries ago by the monks of Abbey du Val-Dieu.

Anno 1216

While browsing for grand crews at the store near my house, I was looking for a grand cru beer to try as this type of beer has become a favorite of mine (like Belgian quad or strong dark weren’t already lol) The person at the tells me to try this one as it is lower in prices than even Alesmith Grand Cru. So I go with it as it is authentic Belgian stuff. Hell yeah!! Now the interesting thing is, many site cannot compare this as a quad or a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, I’ll say it is both. Grand cru is already kind of borderline anyway in terms of beer styles.

Aromas were rich in dark fruits like plums, raisins, figs, dulce de leche caramel, chocolate notes, grapes, pears, oak, earthy spices and blackberry preserves

The flavors are much better than the aroma. Very rich raisins covered in dulce de leche caramel, raisin bread pudding, plums, pears, dates, figs, sweet bread, butterscotch, flan, cinnamon, grapes, cherries, blackberry preserves, peppery notes, loads of candi sugar, pilloncillo sugar cone, brown sugar and rye bread. As the beer warms up, you get more complex flavors of pecan pie, hazelnut and banana which is definitely awesome.

The aftertaste continues with raisin and caramel sweetness and leaves an nice dark fruit and pecan taste in the palate. Full to medium body yet, the flavors cover up the alcohol a lot to the point where it is quite drinkable. I almost want to finish the whole bottle as it is is damn good. 

Over all, to me knowing it is an Abbey Ale (I love authentic Abbey and Trappist ales) and the fact that it hits it home with the caramel and the raisins, it is a phenomenal beer. May not be to the Alesmith in terms of complexity or even as buttery raspberry preserve on toast as the Avery beast, but it still hits those Belgian lover spots in my heart reminding me of the St. Bernardus. In fact, I may actually get this over other grand crus. Especially since it is cheaper in price and easier to find. The best part is that it is a complex Belgian so this actually starts to transform in flavors as it warms up, this is why I gave it a higher rating.

Holy Sheet Heavy Seas Uncharted Series 2013 by Clipper City Brewing

934683_10101327425635350_1681737459_n 999123_10101327426977660_1777526877_n 1098173_10101327426463690_1603637619_n 543858_10101327426423770_332987039_nRating: 5/5

Holy Sheet Heavy Seas Uncharted Series 2013 by Clipper City Brewing is a 9% ABV Belgian Abbey Dubbel aged in Brady Barrels

Rich, complex and unique. Abbey style ales are transcendent, and ours stands proudly in the ranks. Aged in brandy barrels, Holy Sheet is a mahogany ale brewed with Belgian Abbey yeast, candi sucre, and unique crystal malts. Rounded, spicy caramel flavors mixed with vinous notes and oak overtones, this ale pairs well with quiet contemplation…

Uncharted Waters explores the unique changes that happen to beer when exposed to wood. Each beer showcases a robust style, carefully matched with a wood treatment to showcase a range of complex flavors. Vintage dating encourages further exploration on the aging process. As much about the voyage as the destination we hope you enjoy these beers in the spirit in which they were brewed.

Been looking for this beer since I first heard of it. It was not an easy find at all since many of the Heave Seas Beers aren’t normally sold around in the west coast. Thank goodness for online stores.

Aromas are of dark fruits and caramel like cherries, raisins, figs, dates, grapes, preserves, some vanilla and toffee notes, apple, white wine notes, banana, coconut, brandy, oak, rye and biscuit bread.

Flavors are of coconut, dark cherry preserves, rich dulce de leche caramel spread on raisin bread pudding, biscuit, vanilla, toffee, raisins, dates, figs, oak, brandy, candi sugars, banana phenolic notes, marshmallows, grapes, minor white wine notes and chocolate on rye bread

The aftertaste leave sweet and slightly boozy but not too boozy. This works very well as the alcohol is hardly present overall and is very pleasant. This makes it quite the moderately drinkable beer at that.

Overall Holy Shit I mean Sheet is very fucking delicious. This is my second Heavy Seas beer and already I love the beers I have reviewed so far. Definitely recommended for those that love Barrel Aged beers but also Belgian beers.

Belgo Belgian India Pale Ale by New Belgium

601638_10101089982054190_1473596584_nRating: 4.5/5

Belgo Belgian India Pale Ale by New Belgium is a 7%ABV Belgian IPA. I have tried this several times but I finally got one to sit down and review.

Friday night and the lights are low; Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Simcoe, looking for a place to belGO. Get in on bottle condition beats and hop aroma blasts as India Pale Ale grooves with Belgian yeast.

Fragrance of this beer reminds me so much of all those delicious Belgian IPAs and Belgian Pales I have tried many times although in a lighter sense. With a mix of sweet honey, biscuit bread, citrus, floral and grassy hops, herbs, spices, rye, peppercorns, grapefruit, peach and apples. The taste is where it saves the beer. Flavors are of herbs and spices, apples, grassy and grapefruit hops, biscuit bread, a little bit of peppercorns, slight flowery flavor but to the level of Saison,citrus orange, honey, peach, slight caramel and a bit of those tripel clove esters. While a lot of the flavors of the delicious BPAs and BIPAs are there, they are not full frontal and overwhelming. Meaning it is a beer to enjoy the flavors one enjoys from the awesome Belgian Pales but without too much of a full body giving way to a beer of very good flavors but still light crisp and refreshing. They mostly sell this in a 6 pack and it is a major winner for me. From the regular stuff (not Lips of Faith series) I would call this one number 2 next to the their Abbey ale. The Abbey ale is simply world class awesome. I will review that one as soon as I get my hands on one 😀