They make a cute couple, this pair from Den Ouden Advokaat, a Belgian maker of egg-based liqueurs. I've no idea why they felt the need to commission two beers, but when in Belgium... Neither of them contain any actual eggs, I was relieved to discover.
Boerken is a murky dark red ale of 9.5% ABV. It smells like a bakery on Good Friday, heavy with wholemeal flour, raisins, sweet spices and heat. One might expect it to be a heavy affair but the texture is nicely light and barely troubled by carbonation for a kind of vinous quality. The flavour intensity is up to this descriptor as well: there's a certain spiced and fortified wine vibe, with juicy boozy raisin notes out in force. The bakery theme is well represented too, with a massive cakey-bready element to the taste. There's a slight crisp roast flavour at the very end, adding a very mild dryness to the whole, but the lasting impression is of sweet dark fruit, almost like a dubbel but benefiting greatly from the lighter texture. Still, the impact of the taste, amplified by the alcohol, meant that one was plenty.
So we turn from the farmer to his wife, Boerinneken. She's just as strong as the oulfella, though paler -- an orange amber shade. The alcohol heat is just as apparent here, and has less space in which to hide. The flavour just isn't as complex, with the honey and golden syrup sweetness of a tripel but none of those invigorating spices you usually get in the style. Instead there's a kind of warming herbal element, Deep Heat and eucalyptus. It is not a fun beer, nor an easy beer, but I can't really say there's anything technically wrong with it. The warning is right there in the ABV.
Two slow sippers for a winter's evening are what we have here. For refreshment, best look elsewhere.
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