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Monday, February 25, 2013

15th Anniversary – Brewery Ommegang



                BreweryOmmegang continually amazes me with their interpretations of traditional Belgian and French styles.  In commemoration of their 15th Anniversary, Ommegang released XV, a Dark Belgian Strong Ale.  This ale is unlike any that they have released, and at $18 retail, I should hope not.  This bottle was unbelievably hard to find, but I did not even hesitate at the $18 sticker price and picked up multiple bottles due to its uber-rare status.  So, was it worth $18?  Should you pick it up if you find it?  Check below to find out.  On with the review!



                On Beeradvocate, XV has a score of 90.  Over at ratebeer it has a 97 overall and a 93 for style.

They Say:
On the Website -
Ommegang XV pays homage to the great Trappist ales brewed by monks in the Trappist monasteries of Belgium. Created with deep devotion to the brewing art, using the finest ingredients and made with infinite care, XV is unlike any ale we've ever brewed. Even by our exacting standards Ommegang XV stand alone.
Ommegang XV pours a deep walnut hue, with a ruby highlight, full head, and lively carbonation. The nose is malty and complex. Flavors of toffee and chocolate arise, mingling with molasses and caramel as the ale warms. Fruity esters and hints of raisin follow. The body is full and finishes with creamy smoothness.

9.6% ABV

Available for a limited time in 750ml bottles starting October 2012.
Extremely limited.

On the Bottle –
                Ommegang XV Reserve Ale is an extraordinary and uncommon ale even by our discerning and refined standards.
                One year in creation – and brewed but once – Ommegang XV Reserve celebrates 15 years of creating fine Belgian-style ales.
                This celebratory ale honors our ancestry, and pays homage to the world’s most desired ales – the legendary Trappist ales of Belgium.
                Like the revered Trappist ales, Ommegang XV Reserve is brewed with only the finest ingredients and with devotion and care – creating an ale with strikingly complex aromas and flavors.
                Deep, dark, and elegant, this ale will delight and satisfy today. And will age gracefully in the cellar.
On the Commemorative Tin
                Ommegang XV Reserve Ale is an extraordinary and uncommon ale, even by our discerning standards.
                A full year in creation - and brewed but once – Ommegang Reserve Celebrates 15 years of creating fine Belgian-style ales.
                This celebratory ale honors our ancestry and pays homage to the world’s most desired ales – the revered Trappist ales of Belgium.
                Like exquisite Trappists, Ommegang XV Reserve is brewed with only the finest ingredients, with devotion and patience, creating an ale with strikingly complex flavors and aromas.
                Deep, dark and elegant, this ale will delight and satisfy today, and will gracefully cellar.


I Say:
XV Reserve pours a very dark, translucent mahogany with subtle garnet highlights.  It has a thick, creamy light brown head that holds moderate retention (2 minutes before it fades into the glass to cling around the edges), and leaves exquisite lacing in the glass.  This is a gorgeous beer!  The aroma is full of plum, figs, raisins, brown sugar with pleasantly spicy black pepper phenols.  There are trace amounts of smoke, which might come from either dark malts or the yeast.

The flavor is full of toffee, milk chocolate, molasses, caramel and plums, with very slight peppery phenols (not as apparent as in the aroma).  It is sweet throughout with a very nice dry, crisp finish and a considerable chocolaty linger.  Poured into a tulip glass, rather than a snifter, the dark cocoa notes take center stage with slight alcohol notes on the back end.

XV Reserve is medium to full-bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.  The moderate carbonation helps to keep this beer from being overly sweet and greatly benefits the overall experience.  As with every beer that I have had from Ommegang, this one is perfectly primed for the style.

So, was XV Reserve worth the $18 that I spent on it?  Do I regret picking up the bottles that were in stock?  It most certainly was worth it!  I only wish that I could buy more than the three bottles that I picked up!  If you are lucky enough to find a bottle of Ommegang XV Reserve near you, then pick it up, don’t pay attention to the price they are asking, just do it.  You will not be disappointed.  I have had many wonderful beers from Ommegang, but this is the best yet!

It is hard to believe that each new release continues to top the previous, but over the course of their past 6 special releases the beers have continually gotten better (I can’t count “Iron Throne” or “Duvel Rustica in that list because they haven’t made it to Wisconsin yet).  Ommegang, much like the other breweries owned by Duvel Moortgat continues to produce brilliantly crafted ales that should be in high demand in any household that enjoys finely crafted beers.

While Ommegang cannot be referred to as an American craft brewery according to the Brewer’s Association, due to ownership by Duvel Moortgat, they are still one of the best “craft” breweries in the US!  Be sure to pick up and beer that you can find by them, whenever you can find it!
That’s all for today, be sure to check back soon for another post!

Happy Drinking!

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