Total Score: 5.8/10
Belgian Pale Ale, by an American brewer, there’s something you don’t see often (least not in Australia). I’m interested in how this one will turn out – I love Belgian Pale Ales, and Belgian beers in general, I also love experimentation in those styles so I’m keen to see how this turns out. So far I’ve only reviewed 1 beer from AleSmith, their IPA, which I didn’t rate too highly due to what I expected to be hop fade (it was too malty and lacking a bit in hop flavour, though that could have been intentional I doubt it). At least with a Belgian Pale Ale hop fade isn’t generally a factor (as Belgian styles tend to concentrate more on sugar/yeast flavours than malt/hops)… well, Geronimo it is then.
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Hazed pale golden body with a thin white lace covering where the head normally resides. Bit lacking in the head department for a Belgian Pale – looks like AleSmith needs a new “head” brewer… wow that really sounded funnier in my head [pun intended?]. 5/10.
S: Spicy coriander/clove yeast character upfront, bit of pepper too, barnyard characters as well… we’re definitely in Belgian territory here, but it’s a bit of a style mix – Blonde and Saison specifically. Hints of candi sugar and floral notes as well, but it’s difficult to grasp at this stage if it’s going to be sweet or dry… we’ll know soon enough though! 7/10.
T: Dry it is then. Flavours of the above: coriander/clove/pepper/barnyard yeast, mingle with orange peel and floral hops. Pepper and a long (looong) dryness in the finish. I never thought I would say this about a Belgian style – but it needs more sugar. Yep, I said it. Even as I said it I imagined Belgian beers that are far too sweet but nonetheless much better within the same style (Leffe Blonde, La Trappe Blond, Tongerlo Blond…) this is a disappointing AleSmith. 5/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with a reasonably active carbonation – fairly typical for a Belgian Pale here. More body, as always, would be appreciated. 7/10.
D: Rather disappointing brew from AleSmith… they flubbed up the yeast somehow, granted I know for a fact that getting the yeast right in a Belgian style beer is f**king monumental, I have a huge amount of respect for Trappist monks as a (former) homebrewer. That said – AleSmith are PROFESSIONAL craft brewers: this beer needs less yeast/more sugar, it’s obvious even to me. 6/10.
Food match: A glass of water to overcome this yeasty dryness perhaps?