B+ / 3.85
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | drink: 4
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Purchased: $6.99 per 22 oz. bottle at Vintage Cellar in Blacksburg, VA
Hazy, pale orange with minimal head. Nose heavy on sweet orange, rich with vanilla undertones, the way flavored Belgians should be done. Very candy-like, surprisingly low on phenols for a Belgian. Second pour produces 1/2 inch of head that settles very quickly with minimal lacing. Just not a strong point of this one.
The flavor exhibits a similar honey-candy-marmalade from the aroma, while the yeast pokes its head out a bit to add trace clove to the mix. The hops add a subtle earthy spice and are well-placed for the idea. However, while the aroma is warm and relentless, the flavor seems to peter out towards the end of the bottle. I feel that this is because the beer is under-carbonated, which consequently produces a more oily rather than dry mouthfeel.
Nevertheless, the alcohol is far less noticeable on the tongue than in the brain. It's not hard to drink, so heed the warning signs...like the 9% abv sign on the bottle.