Wednesday, May 6, 2009

De Proef Flemish Primitive Wild Ale Batch #1 "Pig Nun"

Adorned with some Hieronymus Bosch monstrosities, this ferral beer is made in a unique style of brewing created in Belgium where wild native yeasts are used to "spontaneously ferment" the beer, which here seems to have started out as a blonde strong ale. Each batch is nicknamed after one of the strange creatures on its label - in this case a pig wearing a nun's habit.

I think this particular bottle, which I acquired at a Toronado cellar sale, had lost a little integrity in the cork as it came out a little too easily and the carbonation wasn't quite what I had hoped, thus giving the beer a significantly smaller head than expected. Nevertheless, all the classic blonde ale character was in the nose with lemon, sweet malts, and licorice root. The palate was where all the wildness came out, which was lesser than I expected, but still fantastic: bread, grains, biscuits, and a touch of funk gave the citrus and root flavours a real kick. Amazingly, despite the high alcohol (9%) this was very drinkable and clearly could be a great session beer (other than getting you hammered quickly).

The finish was very dry, and as the beer warmed it developed and changed its flavour profile with some pretty interesting funky and farm-like elements that are hard to describe. This is a chameleon on the palate and should be experienced by anyone who takes beer seriously. An outstanding creation. I can't wait to try some of the more recent batches with (hopefully) better carbonation than my bottle.

Note: De Proef also makes some great collaborative wild ales with American Brewers in its "signature series".

$15 at Toronado Cellar Sale

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