Pannepot Old Fisherman’s Spiced Ale (2013)

Total Score: 8.05/10 Clove1 BrownSugar1 Earth1 Chalice1

Another recommendation, from the colleague that recommended Rodenbach Grand Cru, so I am looking forward to this one. Pannepot is described by Struise brewery as being “somewhere in between a Belgian strong dark ale and a stout”… I like both of those styles [yes this statement is diminished by the fact that I do enjoy a great deal of beer styles… shut up!]. Anyway after the Grand Cru I have high expectations for this brew.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Deep, dark, murky almost obsidian brown, quite dark and luscious body with a thin ring of khaki lace in the glass… the bubbles in the glass are dense and I know that I am truly in for a heady beer treat. 9/10.

S: Spice heaven. Heavy notes of cardamom, cinnamon, coriander and mace combine with dark fruit (raisin and fig), truckloads of brown sugar, earthy hops and a coffee note. It’s very Christmassy, and in this hot Australian summer the brew warms up quickly… in fact I need to shut up and drink this now. 9/10.

T: Interesting! Hits you with the above spices, dark fruits, earthy notes and coffee. It’s quite sweet (yes brown sugar). However there is this heavy Vegemite™ note throughout – Vegemite (for those of you unaware of anything Australian or Men at Work’s classic single) is a salty, meaty yeast spread – an acquired taste for anyone not Australian or Kiwi (NZ has Marmite). In any case it is a classic mixture of Belgian flavours with an almost bizarre inclusion of Vegemite. Oh well, I happen to like Vegemite. 8/10.

M: Mid to heavy bodied with a rich creamy carbonation. 8/10.

D: This brew is a flavour punch in the face: Tasty but a tad over the top. The Vegemite character gives this Old Fisherman’s Spiced Ale a sense of the theatrical which indeed provides us with something different from the rest of the Belgian pack. Is it as noteworthy as Rodenbach’s Grand Cru (the Flemish Red Ale I now recommend to customers)? Not really. The flavour profile is Christmassy but the Vegemite note can be a bit much for others, and the overall flavour is a bit too chaotic, like a firecracker going off in your trousers. 7/10.

Food match: I’m making Vegemite on buttered toast now… not of much help to those of you outside Australia/NZ who don’t have access to or hate Vegemite, but you could just have an orange and five-spice glazed ham with roasted sweet potato and other vegetables.

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