Total Score: 8.95/10
This came HIGHLY recommended by a fellow craft lover (i.e. the craft of loving). When I say HIGHLY in all-caps I’m not practically shouting through the internet at you – it means this guy really gushed over it and was even so bold to say that “if I love Belgian brews…” [indeed I do] that “this represents the best stab by an American at a Belgian styled beer. Ever.” Pretty big words IMO, I’ve had plenty of excellent Belgian styled beers from US brewers such as Sierra Nevada, Victory, North Coast, Cigar City, Clown Shoes, etc… not sure if Heretic here have managed [damn I really wanted to keep that alliteration going…] to top the works of these top flight US brewers [hmmm, I’ll allow it]. I guess that’s one of the many reasons I drink beer and write about it – to find out if this is the ultimate US brewed Belgian styled beer.
Poured from a wax-sealed 650ml US bomber sized bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Fuck it smells good… jumping ahead I know, but this really smells good, OK focus Doc. Presents an almost opaque deep dark chocolate brown, bit of mahogany in there too, and a tan head that drops back to a lace ring. Splotches of lace on the side of the glass too, not bad at all. 8/10.
S: Spicy cinnamon notes mingle with rich caramel and dark fruits (date and fig mostly) with a slight woody tone that gives an impression of dryness in the finish that may or may not be there. This aroma is close to flawless – there’s plenty of complexity and balance going on, I would be hard pressed to pick between this and Chimay Blue, although I do love cinnamon [it’s like a naughty Rastafarian]. 9/10.
T: The balance continues to surprise with how well this has been done – it’s sweet but not overly, the above notes: cinnamon, rich caramel, date, fig and that woody note work so well together and the finish has just the right amount of dryness to pull it all back. There’s a lingering aftertaste of cinnamon as well. Yet I don’t feel that it’s outclassing Chimay Blue (though it has been a long while since I’ve had a Chimay). Also it’s a tad boozy (like a granny on bingo night). 9/10.
M: Medium bodied with a decent and creamy carbonation, but a touch too gassy (as the burps are my witness). 9/10.
D: Yeah old mate wasn’t far off: This is one of the greatest US brewed Belgian styled beers I’ve had. Everything was pretty much spot on, would drink again [and again, but maybe not a 4th time – I can be mercurial with beers]. 9/10.
Food match: I would def cheese platter this baby… [that sounded less weird in my head].