Original Post: Valor’s Golden Glory
Style: Belgian Specialty Ale, Tripel-ish with Grape Juice
Brew Date: November 9, 2012
Tasting Date: August 12, 2014
IBUs: 14This beer is very old, but it was meant to be aged, so I’m looking forward to see how it may have evolved since I last drank it. It pours tan with orange highlights. This head is small, tight, white and short lived. With 11% ABV, this is expected.
The white grape juice comes out in the nose right away, but it is joined by the spicy yeast character associated with Belgian Tripels and other Abbey style beers. These types of yeast can lean either towards fruit or spice, this one definitely goes more toward the spice.
I wasn’t originally going for a Tripel with this unorthodox recipe, but that is definitely the obvious association on the first sip. The grape flavor comes through in the aftertaste and even more if the beer is held in the mouth for a while, but up front, this tastes like a Tripel. I’m getting more hints of the honey than I remember from earlier tastings, as well.
I’m not sure if I’m just more able to pick it out now and previously associated it more with the grape juice or if time has helped it assert itself more, but I definitely get some clover honey character in this beer.
After tasting the Snow Wheat, I was kind of nervous to drink this beer. It is from the same time period and I remember liking it a lot, but was nervous I had rose colored glasses after finding all the obvious flaws in the other beer. This has held up remarkable well, though. A Tripel may not have been my original intent, but I ended up with quite a good and unique one.
The grape flavor coming through at the end of the sip really masks the extremely high alcohol, as well. This is definitely a sipping beer, but it is more because of all of the complexity than because of the heat, which is almost completely absent. If anything, I’d say the lack of alcohol bite could be an issue with this fitting into the Abbey family of beer styles, which all feature, to varying degrees, alcohol presence. I’m going to step away for a bit now and let the beer warm up a little before drinking the second half and finishing up my tasting notes.
All right, it’s been about twenty minutes, let’s see how the beer is doing. It has definitely warmed up a bit but is still well below room temperature. The honey comes out more in the aroma and there is a hint of graininess that I didn’t notice at all before. Taking a sip, I can definitely taste a bit more alcohol now, but it is blended in with the grape and honey flavors pretty well.
The yeast character is a bit more restrained, which I didn’t expect. Maybe it is just covered up more because the grape and especially the honey flavors are coming out more. This is still the same beer, but it is a bit different. I’m really blown away by the honey character in this beer, both cold and now that it has warmed.
At the time that I brewed this, I loved it but I felt that maybe I had wasted the extra money to use honey over just ordinary sugar. I’m not sure if it is the age or my evolving appreciation of beer, but I now think that the honey was definitely worth it. The beer is very dry and cleans up nicely, but it also gives an impression of sweetness that is probably a combination of the grape and the honey, but the flavor is leaning more towards the honey right now.
Like yesterday’s post, I still have a bit left and I think I’m done writing, but unlike yesterday, it is because I just want to sit and enjoy this beer. I can only hope that my first attempt at a Tripel turns out as well as my accidental Tripel. That beer, again named for my lovable bowling ball of a cat, Valor, won’t be ready to drink for another couple months, but when it is, I will definitely be measuring it against this delicious concoction.