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.

Label:
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!
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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.

Aromas:
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.

Flavors:
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.

Aftertaste:
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.

Overall:
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.

Sources:
http://oi61.tinypic.com/2cgf23k.jpg

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Proprietor’s Vintage 2014 Stickee Monkee by Firestone Walker Brewing

10367160_10101855188798740_2114165657521152561_n 10415632_10101855188424490_8147857933327523719_nRating: 6/5

Proprietor’s Vintage 2014 Stickee Monkee by Firestone Walker Brewing is a 13.4% ABV World Class Central Coast Belgian Quadrupel aged in bourbon barrels.

Label:
Since founding our brewery in 1996, we have specialized in the rare art of brewing beer in oak barrels. In the fall of 2006, we embarked on a program to barrel age a series of vintage strong ales that would later be used as components of a blended beer. That blend would become our first Anniversary Ale, “10”.

After the release of “10”, we released limited amounts of the component beers on draft only. Many of these beers gained a cult following that craft beer fans raved about and begged for us to put in bottle. Stickee Monkee was one of these beers.

We present the 2014 vintage of Stickee Monkee, a barrel-aged Quad. It has been said that the only constant is change and the same is true for barrel-aged Quad evolves and shows a different face each year; a result of time spent aging in the barrel.

Turbinado brown sugar from Mexico adds wonderful molasses flavors that are reminiscent of Belgian candi sugar. It has a full body and lush texture with battle expression all over; toasted oak, coconut, leather and rich cigar tobacco.

This Central Coast Quad is a one-of-a-kind sipping beer built to last and will reward careful aging for years to come.
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This is very damn special. So special along side some of the best in the world so far. This beer was so coveted that I barely was able to get a bottle for myself. Initially sold at the Firestone Brewery, it saw a very limited distribution. I really wanted to bring this forward for a review here at the site and lucky for me, my chance was answered. If you seek this beer, you may have to trade.

Aromas:
DAMN! Smells like Black Tuesday. This isn’t an imperial stout but damn it has so much complexity going on here. Dulce de leche, grilled bananas with Irish cream, vanilla, oak, coconut, flan, almond joy chocolate, marshmallows, bourbon, pecan pie, hazelnuts, maple syrup, bourbon, molasses, pilloncillo sugar cone, dark fruits like raisins, plums, figs, dark cherries, currants, maple syrup, milk, dark and Belgium chocolates, waffle cone and raisin bread pudding.

Flavors:
Brown Sugar Grilled Bananas with pilloncillo sugar cone, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, bourbon, toasted coconut, French Vanilla ice cream, oreo cookies and cream, flan, sweetened condensed milk, marshmallow smores, maple syrup, hazelnut nectar, pecan pie, dark fruit raisins, figs, plums, dark cherries, black berries, currants, port wine, capirotada raisin bread pudding, dark cherries, currants, maple syrup, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, Belgium chocolate, candi sugars, waffle cone, clove spice, rocky road ice cream, almond joy chocolate, choco flan, molasses, tobacco, leather, Trappist Belgian yeast, grape nuts, peaches and cream.

Aftertaste:
Caramelized Bananas, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit raisin pudding and pecan pie. No alcohol in the taste, Unbelievably smooth, syrupy mouth feel and extremely dangerous. This is one of those beers that you want to be careful as you can probably finish the whole bottle in one sitting which is not recommended. Take you time with this one.

Overall:
This beer was a fucking mind blow. There is a reason this is a key player in the anniversary ales they release every year. Each year the recipe is different and each one just pushing the edges of what I can give as extra credit. This might truly be the best quad I have ever had, yes even in lines with the Westvleteren. Also the strongest quadruple at 13.4% ABV except for the Agave Maria at 13.5% ABV and Forgotten Island at 15% ABV. Each one is just unique in its own way. I really love this one for reminding me so much of Black Tuesday or Bourbon County but it is a quadruple and its flavor profile really shows.

Anime Corner:
SonSon III was chosen for this pairing for the fact that she is a monkey but she is also a Buddhist Monk. As it applies to the monks in Belgium, those characteristics about her are what worked well in my mind, hence why I chose her. The peaches and cream aspect fit as well as she represents what is sweet about this beer. Her origin is that of the monk Son Goku or Sun Wukong or the Monkey King. She is inspired by the Chinese classical novel of Journey to the West. Her grandfather was the original SonSon. Her power comes of the that of the martial arts and the is Ki attacks. Yes, this beer is very powerful and she makes a great representative. Can you come up with any nice aspects from this pairing?

Source:
http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080319020048/marvelvscapcom/images/b/bf/Sonson-big-mvc2.jpg
http://johnjoseco.deviantart.com/art/Monkeys-and-Peaches-395292236

Four Swords by Deep Ellum of Dallas Texas

10308279_10101798924353140_2507784664141282451_n 10171239_10101798924767310_2789327850861873377_nRating: 5/5

Four Swords by Deep Ellum of Dallas Texas is a 9.5% ABV Belgian Abbey Quadrupel.

Label:
A Quad in the Belgian tradition.

Four Swords is not a beer to be taken lightly. Inspired by the Trappist brewers of Belgium. This Quadruple is an ale of great strength and bold flavor.

In the early days, there was no precise method of measuring the alcohol content of beer, so in order to increase the strength, the brewing monks would use double, triple, or even quadruple the ingredients to achieve a desired result.

Beginning with a big surge of complex, fruity aromatics, the flavor of this full-bodied dark ale gives way to notes of dark fruit and caramel with a slightly spicy finish brought forth by a traditional abbey ale yeast.

Style: Traditional Belgian Style Quad
Hops: Magnum and Williamette
Malts: Pilsner, Cara Munich 60, Special B and Honey Malt
Yeast: Belgium Abbey Ale
Other : Dark Belgian Candi Syrup
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What an awesome name for an awesome beer. I love quadruples and this review could have not been possible without the contribution to my good friend Aaron at www.beermetaldude.com and the good folks at Deep Ellum Brewing of Dallas Texas. We don’t get their beer here in California. So like many quadruples I have had in the past, I really want to look at why this one is so special. Let’s go ahead an break it down, 1 sword at a time. Cheers!

Aromas:
Dark fruit plums, raisins, figs, prunes, dates, cherry, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, bananas, clove spice, anise, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, peaches, apricots, biscuit bread, lots of Belgian candi sugars, cinnamon, pecan pie, berry marmalade and nutmeg.

Flavors:
Very Rich Dulce de leche caramel, candi sugars, dark fruits like raisins, figs, cherries, plums, prunes, anise, toffee, berry marmalade on biscuit toast, molasses, brown sugar, bananas, clove spice, peaches, apricot, pecan pie, whipped cream, vanilla and some earthy notes.

Aftertaste:
Candi sugars, dulce de leche caramel, raisins, mild bananas, clove spice and earthy notes. No alcohol in the taste. A sipping beer with full mouth feel.

Overall:
I must say, a very damn well made quadruple. If you love quadruples, you will like this one. This one hit all sectors in terms of flavor and drinking experience. If you are in Dallas and are some how able to grab this beer, do so as this one is great and delicious.

Anime Corner:
The multiple versions of Saber from Fate Zero/Fate Stay Night and Mori Ranmaru from Sengoku Taisen were chosen for the obvious reason, the 4 swords. With Saber, this is the 4 versions of herself which reflects this beers complexity with each sword ranging from dark cherry, Caramel sugars, Dark fruits and pecan flavors, 4 of which only highlight the other dozen of flavor complexities mentioned in this beer. Each with 4 swords and well, paying respect to the Knight aspect of the sword in relation to the Abbeys and possibly Legend of Zelda too. Sure why not, the beer was named after that game too.

Westmalle Trappist Dubbel by Brouwerij Westmalle

10299929_10101781315087250_2476054496409003819_n 10300029_10101781315356710_6285675966911128119_nRating: 5.25/5

Westmalle Trappist Dubbel by Brouwerij Westmalle is a 7% ABV World Class Belgian Dubbel.

Commercial Description:
Westmalle Dubbel is a dark, reddish-brown Trappist beer with a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The creamy head has the fragrance of special malt and leaves an attractive lace pattern in the glass. The flavour is rich and complex, herby and fruity with a fresh-bitter finish. It is a balanced quality beer with a soft feel in the mouth and a long, dry aftertaste. The Dubbel contains 7% alcohol.

Since 1856 the monks have also been brewing a dark Trappist beer along with their table beer. Since the recipe was modified in 1926, they have been brewing slightly heavier beer. This is the foundation of today’s Dubbel.

The 33 cl bottles are distributed individually, in baskets of six or in 24 bottle crates. The Westmalle Dubbel is also the only dark Trappist beer available on draught in some 300 selected hotels, restaurants and cafes, from kegs of 30 and 50 litres. Dubbel Trappist continues to ferment, making the draught version slightly sweeter than the bottled version.

Dubbel Trappist is also available in 75 cl bottles, in which the beer matures differently than the smaller bottles. You will particularly notice a more subtle aftertaste.
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The need to try some of the Trappist ales of the 10 Trappist Monasteries of the world got me to finally pick up a bottle and do a review. I have tried this one long ago at a restaurant but I had yet to do a review on it. What a better time than now. Many of the craft beer shops will sell this one as it is easy to find like Trappist Rochefort or even Chimay. I have done reviews for about 6 (including this just now) of the monasteries and some of their beers but I still got 4 more to go. All world class so far, you really can’t go wrong. So let’s check this one out.

Aromas:
Very rich dark fruit raisins, plums, prunes, figs, dates, cherries, currants, dulce de leche caramel, candy sugars, raisin bread pudding, pecans, hazelnut, chocolate notes, vanilla, pears, blackberry marmalade, rum, oak, brown sugar, toffee, cinnamon, bananas, phenolic notes, clove spice and molasses.

Flavors:
Once again, rich dark fruits, raisins, plums, dates, toffee, candy sugars. Rich raisin bread pudding notes, pecans, walnuts, hazelnut, vanilla, blackberry marmalade, pears, blackberry marmalade, chocolate notes, bananas and clove spice, molasses, peaches and cherries.

Aftertaste:
Raisins, blackberry marmalade, vanilla, rum hints, dulce de leche caramel and brown sugar lingers. No alcohol in the taste, sipping drinkability with almost syrupy mouthfeel.

Overall:
Perfect Belgian Dubbel with some exceeding great qualities. Seems like the hidden secrets of the Holy monasteries can brew up something that cannot be copied but may be similar. This is the second best dubbel in the world and rightfully so. When drinking this, it really is raisin bread pudding in a bottle. No joke at all, this stuff is sweet and bready. This really comes close to the Partridge in a Pear Tree except not as strong and its not using pears. It seems like a base for that beer though.

Anime Corner:
Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titan was used in this pairing to pair with the colors of the label but mainly the abbey aspect. While it is not shown in readily in the the background, but if you know the Attack on Titan Story, she fights for unveiling the truth outside of the walls which protect from these giants called Titans who destroy and eat humans, which you find later on are tied to the religious sects. While Westmalle is a holy trappist monastery, and it seems to share a special flavor of the Dubbel Belgian style which even the best, Westvleteren will not share since you actually have to visit. Nevermind the complexity of getting the Westvleteren 8 but either way, Westmalle is knows of making the second best and even then, is responsible for sharing the best strengths to the world of its style. Mikasa is all about being the best but at at the same time humble and only doing for her only family member left, Eren Jaeger of the series. The Red scarf she wears represents the hard work of the monks in getting this special style together for everyone to try. Mikasa always wears this scarf which was given by Eren, like Westmalle wears the proud logo of the Trappist.