Friday, November 30, 2012

Bière de’ Hougmont – Brewery Ommegang

                This marks the third post on a beer from Brewery Ommegang, the first two being Art of Darkness and Seduction.  Biere de’ Hougmont is the most recent limited release from Ommegang, or at least the most recent that has made its way out to Wisconsin.  As with any Ommegang special release beer, my hopes were high with this one.  I don’t often drink a bottle of bière de garde, if for no other reason than that it is a hard beer style to find here in Wisconsin.

                Bière de Garde is a style traditionally brewed in northern France as regional farmhouse ale.  They were traditionally brewed during the winter and spring for year round consumption.  They are often earthy, with toasted, sweet malts and musty aromas.  They can be slightly acidic with fruity, barnyard, or leather notes.  The style can be remarkably complex and may contain too many funky flavors for some.  It is definitely not a beer style for everyone, but can be extremely enjoyable for those who are seeking a broader range of flavors and aromas in their beer.  On to the review.

                On Beeradvocate, Biere de’ Hougmont currently has a score of 85.  Over at ratebeer it has a score of 94 overall and 97 for style.

They Say:

                Our Limited Edition Biere d’ Hougoumont is brewed with traditional French ale yeast, eight malts, French Strisselspalt hops, and aged on white oak and hard maple wooden staves. A traditional Biere De Garde style, this malty French-style farmhouse ale is brewed to be aged. The name honors the Hougoumont farmstead at the pivotal center of the Waterloo battlefield. Napoleon repeatedly failed to take the fortification, he then lost the battle and “met his Waterloo.”

                7.3% ABV

                Available for a limited time in 750 ml bottles and 1/6 BBL keg starting July 2012.

Brewmaster Phil Leinhart adds

Four of the malts used are Munich, Vienna, Acidulated and wheat.

The Bottle adds

                Pour slowly so as to not disturb the yeast sediment, but with enough vigor to create a luxurious head and release the rich bouquet.

I Say:

                Biere d’ Hougoumont pours a gorgeous apricot in color with golden hues.  It has a thick, creamy off-white head that holds excellent retention through the entire glass, and leaves intricate lacing.  The aroma is extremely complex with sweet, caramel and biscuit malt notes, maple syrup and earthy hops, the complex toasted vanilla notes of a charred oak barrel, a slight musty (farmhouse) quality, and slight alcohol warmth on the back end.  This is a truly complex beer in the traditional farmhouse-style.

                The flavors are equally complex, with caramel and biscuit malts, dominating but not overwhelming, maple syrup notes, vanilla/toasted/oak barrel flavors in addition to slightly spicy hop/yeast notes.  It finishes crisp and slightly dry with a medium-light body and a moderately high level of carbonation.

                This is a wonderfully amazing beer!  If I can find another bottle of it will definitely have a place in my bottle cellar.  If you can find it near you, buy two bottles; one for immediate consumption and one for extended aging (6 months to a year).

                Thank you Mr. Leihart for the additional information! 

                That’s all for tonight, be sure to check back soon for another beer review.  There are also a few interviews in the works.

                Happy Drinking!!

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