Belgian Beer Tasting pushed to the Extreme @ Dickie's - Brugge - 13 Nov. 2004

Tasters: Katrien, my wife; Maxim Maes, colleague from work; David Simpson aka Homer (BTW: Big part of the beers are his contribution!); Josť, bartender Dickie's; Chris Pollard aka Podge and Filip Geerts aka Trappistbier (me, this is)

Accompanying food: Paté made with Liefmans Kriek; Onion confit and roasted bread! The paté is manufactured at the 'Veurn' Ambachtse' in Alveringem. A true delight !!

The first beer: Smisje Calva Réserva 2003, the first batch. This means the unsweetened version and the better one. The second and most recent batch was oversweetened to obtain a big foam head.

After several tastings already it became very clear that David is the perfect bottle openener and pourer.

There's just NOBODY who does this job better than him !

Smisje Calva Réserva 2003. Great beer. In fact this is the Smisje Kerst matured in two wooden Calvados barrels delivered by American company B.United. All was intended for export. Well, some bottles escaped as you can see here. A 12vol% with a nice wood tanin flavor, malt sweet and surprisingly dry mouthfeeling. Exceptional !!

Second bottle: American seasonal pumpkin beer from Dogfish Head called Punkin'Ale ! A full-bodied, spiced brown ale brewed with real pumpkins, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and brown sugar. Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale is named after the annual Punkin' Chunkin Festival held near Lewes, Delaware the weekend after Halloween.
7.0 % ABV 24 IBU
Available September 1st each year

Descriptors: Malty, pumpkin, caramel, brown sugar

Punkin'Ale being poured out.

All done with the most care !

Great line-up of Punkin'Ale poured out in those magnificent Moinette taste glasses.

The line-up with the bottle.

In the mean time Sabrina (Jose's wife) came up with a masterpiece of baking. A tart which would go very well with the sweet Punkin'Ale. Special about the tart was the ingrediënt Westmalle Tripel ! A perfect combination and overdelicious !

Continuing the sweet beers. Stille Nacht 2004. The new batch from this year. Although not ready yet, but somehow a bottle escaped the warm room at De Dolle Brouwers ! A nice escape if you ask me. Truly wonderful beer. Major difference with last years edition: Less sweet and significant more hoppy. The label finally indicates in the correct way: 12 vol%. The taste glass you see in front was very hazy due to the yeast sediment. It was the last glass poured out with yeast completly poured out. Other glasses contained clear Stille Nacht.

12 vol% Stille Nacht 2004

The label. Previous labels indicated 8 vol%. This year finally replaced with 12 vol%.

A nice couple.

The Westmalle Triple tart was in perfect harmony with the sweet beers we had at that moment.

Corked 75cl. Chimay Grande Réserve 2001

Nicely un-corked and poured out by Homer.

Perfect movements.

The division was nearly perfect ! One minor negative point about that beer: It had a somewhat watery tongue feeling. Somethings missing in the full-body structure.

Don't worry. Some 'real' Trappist was awaiting to be opened at the exact moment.

Trappist Westvleteren carrying 11 vol% on the cap !!! Opening will happen later that evening.

First some American wonders. Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA.

An Imperial I.P.A. brewed to be savored from a snifter.
A big beer with a great malt backbone that stands up to the extreme hopping rate.
9% ABV 90 IBU
Available year round, 12 ounce/4-pack bottles & draft

Descriptors: Brandied fuitcake, raisiny, citrusy

Pouring out revealed a nice orange color. Not much foam.

This beer is brewed with a continuous hopping program, where it receives a single hop addition that lasts over the course of the entire boil (90 minutes respectively). This breakthrough hopping method makes for a beer that is extremely hoppy without being overly bitter.

The EXTREME ! Dogfish Head 120 minute IPA

Too extreme to be called beer? Brewed to a colossal 45-degree plato, boiled for a full 2 hours while being continually hopped with high alpha American hops, dry-hopped daily in the fermenter for a month and aged for a month on whole leaf hops, 120 Minute IPA is by far the biggest IPA ever brewed! At 21% abv and 120 IBU's, you can see why we call this the Holy Grail for Hopheads!
Released quarterly, very limited availabilty
21% ABV 120 IBU

Descriptors: Marmalade, orange peel, woodsy, minty.


Our conclusion: We had some doubts about this beer being exactly 21 vol%. Our experience gave it more as a 16 vol% beer !! Bright orange color and tasting very sweet and hopbitter at the same time. Sticky, sloppy mouthfeeling. A beer to savour with slow movements.....................Exceptional quality this is and to be considered as a true masterpiece in brewing.

John's Generation White Ale. An American copy of Belgian wit- or wheatbeer. A gift from Eric Nielsen who's the representative of John's Grocery at Iowa.


No foam ! Tasting was quite an experience. The spices were really dominating.. Very refreshing and the name witbier really worthy !

Stille Nacht 2003.

Last years edition of Stille Nacht being poured out.

Orange and somewhat hazy.

The 2003 version carried 12% (NOT vol%!!) as indication on the right bottom of the label. Strange enough the same label did mention also 8vol% ?!?!

Stille Nacht 2003 is a very sweet beer and one year of aging has transformed this beer already into something different. The transposition into Port-taste has already begin. Delicious without any doubts !! and 12vol% !!

A sacred moment. Old Westvleteren Abt 1997. The cap mentions 11vol%.

The expression on the face tells we're dealing with a most exclusive and special beer here.

Everybody was excited at that moment !!

This 1997 version was 11vol% strong. One of the last batches as later the alkohol % would be lowered to respectively 10.8 -> 10.6 and nowadays being 10.2 vol% !

Westy 12 1997 poured out and ready to be savoured. Small head noticeable.

Santé ! Click to see the movie.

Sweet, malty, port alike, bread , warm alkoholic, extreme hopbitterness as we know of the fresh Westvleteren Abt has clearly diminished into subtile. FANTASTIC STUFF !!!

In the mean time when savouring, Podge (our friend in the middle) was telling some VERY interesting beer tales. It was a joy to listen and find out again that the Belgian beerworld is such an exciting and surprising subject again.

Many thanks to all the contributors and José and Sabrina for their kind hospitality. Also many thanks to Homer for making available those precious beers!

Up to the next tasting...........................