24 February 2014

Divine uninspiration

This pair of Belgian abbey beers, brewed under licence at Brunehaut, sat in my fridge a few months longer than they should have, largely because the label is so dull. I reckon my eye just slid over them every time I opened the door.

Ramée Blonde is a 7.5% ABV tripel. It's a pale orange colour and quite clear, probably from sitting in the cold so long. Still, there's a honeydew freshness in the aroma which is encouraging. On tasting there's no trace of staleness, thankfully, and it leans very much towards the sweet rather than the spicy side. I get honey and brown sugar, golden syrup and fruit cocktail. The texture is nicely light and the fizz busy enough to prevent the sugar building up unpleasantly. Received wisdom is that tripels should be consumed young but I'm really not seeing how this one would be any different at an earlier stage in its life.

Now here's an odd thing: the sister beer, Ramée Ambrée, is also badged as a tripel. An amber tripel? Messing with the style purists' heads? Or not really caring about such things? This is rather murkier, perhaps because it's two months less out-of-date than the blonde, and definitely brown rather than amber. It smells like a dubbel, with prunes, figs and a touch of marker-pen high alcohols. These elements blend together quite nicely on tasting, the rougher edges softened by a dusting of muscovado and a subtle touch of ripe banana. The texture is nicely soft as well, the bubbles providing a gentle mouth massage rather than a full-on pummelling.

I enjoyed these much more than I thought I would. There's a lesson here about not judging a beer by its label, I guess.

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