Total Score: 7.1/10
Beer: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the beer-blogger Doc. His five-year mission: to explore strange new Ales, to seek out new Double Imperial IPAs and new Bière de Gardes, to boldly drink where no man has drunk before* [cue Beer Trek theme]. Today’s review in the lead up to my #500 milestone (for those keeping track this is #496) is Leffe Rituel 9°. Now those of you familiar with my reviews on BeerAdvocate will know that I’m not Leffe’s biggest fan – I find their beers sweet to the point of requiring an Insulin injection (i.e. too sweet). What makes me think 9° will be any different? I don’t really, but I’ll give Leffe another shot because I trust the monks when it comes to beer (religion “no”, beer “yes”).
Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Presents a hazy deep orange body with cream coloured 1cm dense head that leaves some light lace patches around the glass. Impressive head for a 9% ABV brew. Most impressive. 9/10.
S: Aroma is sweet over ripe cider apples, a hint of clove spice, followed by doughy bread yeast and a touch of pear/banana… then add A TRUCKLOAD OF SUGAR!!! Dammit Leffe, you always do that to me! It’s not all bad though – the truckload of sugar does accentuate the fruity esters of apple, pear and banana, in fact it’s like sniffing a bowl of fruit salad… with a truckload of sugar on top. 7/10.
T: Cloying sugar up front, we expected that from you Mr. Leffe, however what we didn’t expect was how the array of other flavours would work together (well it turns out): overripe cider apples, clove, pear, banana with a hit of brandy and a sourdough bread yeast middle. The flavour can be best described as “a bowl of overripe fruit, covered in sugar and fermented with sour Saison yeast”. Not bad but that sugar, again Leffe. 7/10.
M: Leffe generally get this part right, and Rituel 9° is no exception: Medium bodied with a dense but light carbonation. 9/10.
D: I would love Leffe if they toned down their sugar – they combine classic Belgian tastes well, Rituel 9° included. If you want something similar but less cloying I would go with the brilliant Brasserie d’Achouffe’s La Chouffe (the one with the Gnome on the bottle)… I guess that’s high praise for Leffe. 6/10.
Food match: The acidity of a cheese platter to cut through all the sweetness.
*Yes I’m watching Star Trek reruns, what of it?