Anyone familiar with "Global Beer Network?"

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Revvy

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I stopped in to one of the beer stores in town with the intention of mixing a sixer of some new stuff to try. Instead I walked out with a boxed set from Global Beer Network, which appears to be a shop in California that appears to sell Belgian beers and glasses, and other nifty beer stuff.

http://www.globalbeer.com/index.html

What I walked out with, (18 bucks later...eek) was called "Exclusive Belgian Ales; 6 different living beers." (Imported from Belgium-Brewed in Fladers)

The box also had the words "brouwerij Van Seenberge" on it...Must be the brewery? http://www.vansteenberge.com/index.htm

and this logo.
newnavpages.jpg


(the set I got is the box on the right)

BornemTriplegamma.jpg


The six that came in the pack were.

Bruegel Amber Ale
Bruegel is an easy drinking soft and tasty amber ale. Thanks to the refermentation it offers more body, more head and more taste than most other American and Belgian Amber ales. It is brewed with Dutch barley and German hops. Although the bitterness is clearly present, it is not dominant. Since the Bruegel is low in alcohol, you can drink many of them in an afternoon or evening. It is a typical alternative for the common pilsner, when you want more taste and more color in your life.

Food Combinations. An amber ale goes with meat, salads and fish without any problem. More often, the Bruegel is consumed without food. It is a beer to drink at the bar, at the barbecue, in the dance-hall, whenever you have fun with your friends. A beer to enjoy with snacks.


Augustijn
Full body - staying head - amber color with a spicy, malty palate that finishes very fruity with complex hoppy undertones. Extremely pleasant to drink during lenghty conversations. Brewed along a 700 year tradition!

FOOD COMBINATIONS: goes very well with spicy food (fish or meat.) The hot spicy food (Cajun, Mexican, Oriental ...) is pleasantly cooled down by this wonderful beer. The hops also help the digestion. Delicious with cheeses.You can age the Augustijn for many years, just like wine.

Piraat
Voted overall Best Amber Beer (Gold medal) in the California Microbrew Beer Festival 1995.

In the 17th and 18th century, strong ale like the Piraat was highly prized by the seafaring captains for its keeping qualities and its high and healthy food value. The daily distribution of a pint of this ale kept the pirates in good health and gave them the spirit to survive the hard life on the sea. One had no water on a ship, but wine or strong beer that could be kept for months on the sea. Piraat is a wickedly rich and rounded brew that packs a mighty punch. The powerful glow builds up from inside. Deep golden with a subtle haze. Lots of hops and malt. Mild sweetness. Reminiscent of bread dough, spices and tropical fruits.

FOOD COMBINATIONS: goes with fish and meat. Is often appreciated as an after dinner beer and cigar lovers claim there is no better beer to enjoy with a cigar.

Bornem Triple
Golden shining and soft feeling in the mouth - perfectly balanced taste - full body and heart warming, a splendid aroma, tickling in the nose - hoppy dry long finish. Triple means that the brewer adds 3 times the normal amount of malt in the brew kettle, which gives us a rich beer. You can age the Bornem Triple for many years, just like wine.

FOOD COMBINATIONS: Enjoy the Bornem Triple as a digestive (hops!) with cheese after dinner, or as a rich refreshing beverage with your main-course

Bornem Double
Very dark, coffee color - full rich body - staying head - effervescent nose - soft velvet feeling in the mouth - luscious. Malt character with a hoppy aftertouch. Monks used to fast on this type of beer for 40 days! No food, only beer.
Voted Best Trappist Ale in the last California Microbrew Beer Festival.

FOOD COMBINATIONS: ideal with steak, grilled meat, game or sausages. Also as a power-shot after physical exercise.

Gulden Draak Dark Brown Triple
Gulden Draak is a dark brown Triple Ale, which makes it an exception among the Belgian Triples. The second fermentation offers the nice creamy head, the full body and all the vitamins of the centuries old brewers yeast. It is a "thick" beer, that you can actually "nimble" to adventure the complex taste. Gulden Draak balances a natural malt toffee-like sweetness with a mellow happiness and some hoppy accents. The aroma is round, sweet and reveals the 10.5 alcohol by volume. Another name for this type of rich beer is: "Barley wine". You sip and enjoy this beer slowly, probably as a dessert, or as a treat you definitely deserve.

Holland International Beer Festival - Haarlem 1995: overall winner - best beer.

Silver medal in the International Beer Competition: Chicago 1996.

Silver Medal Dark Ales.at the California Microbrew Beer Festival 1995.

FOOD-COMBINATIONS: Dessert-beer after dinner. Or just before bed. Some like it with a cigar, others match it with chocolate.

Sealed from light in the white painted bottle, which is recycled as candle-holder.

Anyone familiar with these? I have a feeling I might have bought the BMC's of Belgium.....

On a side note, I saw a nifty snifter there, and was going to buy it to use with these beers, and the owner of the shop, who knows I homebrew) gave it to me for free:ban: He also suggested the order to sample them, which is the order I placed them in the descriptions.

I haven't opened them yet....I'll probably go for a walk and come back and sample the Bruegel Amber Ale...and if I'm still sober (I just had a couple of my own creations) Maybe the Augustjin as well.
 

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I had that same package over a year ago. Some beers were pretty decent, some didn't impress me. I think part of the problem at the time was that I didn't have much experience with Belgians, so I was not prepared for some of the unique yeast spiciness. I do think that 2-3 of the beers had the same yeast taste, and I didn't care for that.

The Gulden Draak was my favorite of the bunch.
 
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I had that same package over a year ago. Some beers were pretty decent, some didn't impress me. I think part of the problem at the time was that I didn't have much experience with Belgians, so I was not prepared for some of the unique yeast spiciness. I do think that 2-3 of the beers had the same yeast taste, and I didn't care for that.

The Gulden Draak was my favorite of the bunch.

Yeah I figured there will be a few that will suck, but if I like any of them, the store sells them in sixers. I figured if anything I got six cool Belgian Stubbies....

The interesting this is that they guy at the store said to make sure you re-rouse the yeast before you pour them...I've never heard that before....Anyone know for sure???
 
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Alright here goes....Bruegel Amber ALe

Bruegel is an easy drinking soft and tasty amber ale. Thanks to the refermentation it offers more body, more head and more taste than most other American and Belgian Amber ales. It is brewed with Dutch barley and German hops. Although the bitterness is clearly present, it is not dominant. Since the Bruegel is low in alcohol, you can drink many of them in an afternoon or evening. It is a typical alternative for the common pilsner, when you want more taste and more color in your life.



2693278.jpg


Bruegal Amber Ale.

Appearance
- An impressive white head at pour quickly dissipates to a thin layer of small bubbles around the glass at surface of the beer.

The beer itself is a hazy gold in color with a hint of reddish orange (much lighter than that of the picture.

Aroma - An interesting combination of scents hit the nose. When it was at it's coldest the smell of orange and coriander seemed present as it warmed even slightly those scents morphed into that of apples and apple cider vinegar (the vinegar smell was not unpleasant, not indicative of infection) the fruity/vinegar combination, though surprising, brought memories of apples that had fallen from trees, where some were beginning to ferment on the ground..Earthy and natural, .reminiscent of late summer/early fall.

As it further warmed, the apple became more pronounced and very tart. Reminded me of Calvados apple brandy, with even a pleasant hint of leather and horse sweat...very French countryside.

No hops/floral aroma at all.


Mouthfeel - Very thin and highly carbonated...like more like a sparkling apple cider, than an ale. Or a highly carbonated pilsner. Very effervescent.

As it warmed up it lingered in the mouth longer...It seemed to develop a bit more body than when cold...This gives it a richness.

Taste - If I had had someone pour this for me without knowing what it was, I would have thought I was drinking an expensive, and imported French Cider beverage...maybe a cyser. This had more of a connection to apples, and brandy than it did to beer. Not too sweet, very tart and crisp, with a hint of (again, not unpleasant) sourness.

More complex flavor than any fermented cider product I ever tasted, perhaps that comes from the malts that are in this, but which take a backseat to the apples.

Overall - If I were looking for a "beer," especially an ale, this would not be one I'd choose. It just doesn't seem "beer-like" in any way.

However if I were looking for a very complex commercial cider product, or a "fruity malt beverage" I might consider this one...definitely more complex than an American "malternative" beverages.....

I kept thinking this was a lot like Ed's Apfelwein, only not as dry, and a bit more malty...but still more along the lines of that than a beer.

The advertisements try to push this as a step up from Light Lagers, even calling it a "party beer." Maybe in the South of France, or In Belgium...but this is too complex for the typical "party" beer drinking crowd....this isn't for an American BMC or malternative audience...

Grade B/B-
 

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Alright here goes....Bruegel Amber ALe





2693278.jpg

with even a pleasant hint of leather and horse sweat...very French countryside.

Whoever started this whole "sweaty horse blanket", leather, gamey stuff anyways? How does anyone know what horse sweat tastes like? Isn't stuff like that illegal?
 
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Whoever started this whole "sweaty horse blanket", leather, gamey stuff anyways? How does anyone know what horse sweat tastes like? Isn't stuff like that illegal?

I never said it tasted like it....Only that it smelled like it....

But you might find this basic brewing podcast interesting...I bet this guy tasted sweaty horse...sounds like he tasted everything.

May 1, 2008 - Beer Eye for the Wine Guy
Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV brings the thunder to BBR and gives us his perspectives on the art of tasting as he samples homebrew.

http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicbrewing/bbr05-01-08garyv.mp3
 
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Beer Number 2 AUGUSTIJN ALE

Full body - staying head - amber color with a spicy, malty palate that finishes very fruity with complex hoppy undertones. Extremely pleasant to drink during lenghty conversations. Brewed along a 700 year tradition!...700 years ago, in 1295, the Augustijner-abbey of Gent was created with the help of the ruling Borluut family. That's the reason why 1295 is printed on every bottle of our delicious AUGUSTIJN Abbey Ale. The origin of our Augustijn goes back to this abbey, where today only 7 monks are left. More than 20 years ago the monks licensed the recipe and the century-old yeast-string for that delicious beer to Brewery Van Steenberge, situated a few miles north of Gent in a small village, called Ertvelde.



tn_AugustijnAle12oz.jpg


Augustjin Abbey Ale

Appearance
- They bill this as having a staying head, and indeed it does. Before even a third of the bottle was poured into my snifter, a massive head shot up (think Star San.) The first head took forever to dissipate, as did each successive head following a pour (it took three pours to empty the bottle. The head is thick and bright white, made up of small bubbles, reminiscent of the meringue layer on a lemon pie. As it receded, it left behind an impressive lacing from the lip of the glass to the 3 liter marking on the back of the snifter.

And eighth inch of surface foam remained throughout the entire drinking of the ale.

The beer itself is a creamy gold in color resembling dark, or amber honey.

Aroma - Cold the beer has very little aroma at all, just the barest hint of apple (which I am beginng to think is a signature aroma/flavor of the brouwerij Van Seenberge line of Belgian Beers. This aroma is very clean while cold, with no hint of the vinegar/cider aroma of the previous beer. This aroma is reminiscent to the smell that you get when you bite down on a fresh picked apple.

Upon warming slightly, the aroma begins to add more subtle layers, that of honey and apricot nectar....A slight note of peppery hops comes through as it warms, though barely detectable.

Mouthfeel - Although still highly carbonated the beer feels full bodied, Whether warm or cold the ale coated the entire mouth silkily. A slight alcohol bite to the tip of the tongue along with a slight bite to the back of the throat. At the same time it is very dry and effervescent. A nice combination or balance between the fizzy and the silky.

Taste - Very similar to a Belgian Triple but with more fizziness from the high level of carbonation. The taste is refreshing, hints of tart apple, honey, apricot, pepper, a hint of ginger bite, and coriander. But not sweet, very well balanced. There is clearly a bitterness from the hops that cut through what one might think with the hints of apple, apricot and honey, very skillfully.

There is a bit of back of the throat sourness, that I pick up whenever wheat is present in a beer (wheat beers literally make me gag) but the wheat presence is very minor in the beer (perhaps less than 5% of the grainbill perhaps?) and the overall complexness of the full flavors, and the balance between sweat and tart distract the palate from the sourness.

Overall - The only flaw I found was the issue with the head (see below). Other than that this was a delightful beer all around. The flavors were complex and well balanced between the sweet and the tart/sour. There was a delightful peppery-ness to it which may as well been a product of the effervescent carbonation, as it might have been from the yeast or the presence of actual spices.

This had all the elements of a Belgian Triple (so far my favorite Belgian style) that I like; the Appricot/ Honey, and the body, but without the heavy, "syrupiness" that I get (and like) in that style...The high carbonation (more like effervescence) balances it out deceptively making the 8 percent ABV seem almost session beer like, there is almost the temptation to quaff it, like a lawnmower beer, despite the warmth of the alcohol in my belly...This could be a dangerous combination, especially on a hot day.

On a side note, as I write this after drinking the beer, I am eating my favorite non-sweet snack, wasabi coated peas. They go intriguingly well with the lingering mouthfeel, and flavors of the ale. The marketing material recommends this beer with spicy food, and I can see why. I would like to try this alongside a spicy dish. They definitely compliment each other.

Grade A/A-. This may have garnered a straight "A" had there not been such difficulty with the head, and the need for the triple pour. It would be worth trying another bottle, perhaps trying to overcompensate for the head by pouring slower than normal.

I will be buying this one again...

:mug:
 
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Beer Number 3 PIRAAT ALE

Voted overall Best Amber Beer (Gold medal) in the California Microbrew Beer Festival 1995.

In the 17th and 18th century, strong ale like the Piraat was highly prized by the seafaring captains for its keeping qualities and its high and healthy food value. The daily distribution of a pint of this ale kept the pirates in good health and gave them the spirit to survive the hard life on the sea. One had no water on a ship, but wine or strong beer that could be kept for months on the sea. Piraat is a wickedly rich and rounded brew that packs a mighty punch. The powerful glow builds up from inside. Deep golden with a subtle haze. Lots of hops and malt. Mild sweetness. Reminiscent of bread dough, spices and tropical fruits.



2686477.jpg


Piraat Ale (billed on the website as an amber triple IPA, 10.5% ABV)

Appearance
- Another starsan like head poured from this bottle, this time getting three quarters into the glass before the head reached the lip of the snifter. Another meringue like head, this time seeming to be made up of a mixture of large and small bubbles.

The beer itself is a hazy gold in color resembling golden apricots.

There is a hint of lacing left on the glass after the foam falls (took over 5 minute) and a nice, small, creamy head on the surface.

Aroma - Cold the beer has the barest hint of apple as did the previous two brouwerij Van Seenberge Beers. There is also a hint of apricot.

Upon warming slightly, the nose picks up a trace of alcohol.

No hop aroma in evidence, cold or warm/

Mouthfeel - This is another one of those effervescence balance with silky mouth and tongue coating beers, though this time it leans to towards silky, like a hot toddy made with honey, whiskey and warm water.

There is also a noticeable alcohol "bite" on the tip of the tongue, as well as a bit of a burn as it goes down the throat, similar to any number of liguors, such as brandy, especially as it warmed significantly.

Taste - There is absolutely none of the "hints of sourness" as with the previous 2 beers. The flavor is apricot, apple, and honey, with a ginger "burn" which may simply be from the alcohol and not the spice.

It is noticeably sweeter than the previous too, but not cloyingly so.

As it warms, more of the apple tartness comes through. At it's warmist there is a strong alcohol bite on the tongue and lips as well as a highly pronounce hoppiness, although the hop is not identifiable to me.

Overall - This is exquisite. This is one of the best commercial beers I have ever had the pleasure of drinking, let alone the best of the 3 sampled. I have not had too many versions of the Triple style....I believe I have had 2-3 other commercial versions, one amazing one from a local microbrewery and an excellent one from one of my brew bodies. And except perhaps for the one from the microbrewery (Dragonmeade) this surpasses them all.

But is this a Triple or is it an IPA/Triple hybrid? Perhaps it shouldn't be judged in comparison to those that are truer to style.

The history of this beer is that it is very similar to that brewed to keep on the long voyage as a food suplement for the Flemish freebooters on long voyages.

Letting it warm to it's fullest lifts it fully out of the category of "mere" beer and places it squarely alongside brandy as an after dinner aperitif, along side a good cigar.....This could go head to head against any of the 4 Calvado's types, even the 6 year old Hors d'Age...I wonder how this would cellar.

This is what you bring out to seduce a lovely stranger over a game of chess in front of a roaring fire.


Grade A+


I have been considering brewing a triple for some time now...but after tasting this I think I would love to brew a clone of this, if soley to have this on hand. (and hopefully for much cheaper than 2 cases of this would cost, considering that at where I bought this set, a single 330 ml bottle retails for close to 4 dollars.
 

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The interesting this is that they guy at the store said to make sure you re-rouse the yeast before you pour them...I've never heard that before....Anyone know for sure???

Yes I have heard of that before. I read it on a bottle of beer, believe it was a hefe(possibly paulaner?) It said to pour slowly leaving the last 1/2" in the bottle then swirl and pour the remainder straight in. I think it had to do with getting the flavor and aroma in the head.

Revvy if you find any of these recipes particularly Gulden Draak please let me know. I don't know if I would agree with how they described it, But I enjoyed it enough to brew it. I didn't get much of a head on mine, the hop flavor was light to nonexistent and I still loved that beer. Maybe I finally learning to appreciate the belgian fruitiness.;)
 
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Yes I have heard of that before. I read it on a bottle of beer, believe it was a hefe(possibly paulaner?) It said to pour slowly leaving the last 1/2" in the bottle then swirl and pour the remainder straight in. I think it had to do with getting the flavor and aroma in the head.

Revvy if you find any of these recipes particularly Gulden Draak please let me know. I don't know if I would agree with how they described it, But I enjoyed it enough to brew it. I didn't get much of a head on mine, the hop flavor was light to nonexistent and I still loved that beer. Maybe I finally learning to appreciate the belgian fruitiness.;)

I see you found my piraat recipe thread...There's a couple of Gulden Drakk recipes floating around as well, the beertools recipe index has a couple....I still haven't opened, when I picked up the sixer, the guy at the store suggested the order I drink them, saving the Draak for last.
 
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Cant wait to read your review, to see if my tasting abilities have improved. I had already had a few others before trying the Draak, so I was sightly impaired:D.


I've been saving the other three, as well as a bottle of Bell's 3rd coast old ale for when I get some time to sit and make notes while drinking. This weel for some reason, every time I wanted to do it, I immediately thought it would be too much work, when all I really wanted to do was enjoy a beer.

:D

I have set a "rule" for myself to make tasting notes/review every new beer I try...I kinda wish I had started that years ago...I'd have quite a nifty journal of my beer journey.

I'm doing it to both improve my tasting skills/palate, and my writing skills as well.
 

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I went and did it. Yesterday bought a Piraat ale(never had) and a Gulden Draak(had one last week and liked it) to compare. I drank the Piraat last night or at least most of it. it was excellent. I would agree with Revvy on most of his notes. I never got the horse sweat and leather but that might have been his association with the tart apple, not sure. My association was of Uncle Hanks orchid in fall(tart apple combined with slightly overripe apple like on the ground around the trees). I also detected the sweet gum aroma, reminded me of Juicy Fruit. I think I have found my new favorite Belgian. I have been drinking the Gulden Draak tonight and although a bit cleaner does not have the complexity of the Piraat. I will stop here as I don't want to hijack Revvy's thread, and as a last thought wonder how a Piraat with Gulden Draak yeast might taste.
 

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The two Bornem beers are the least interesting in that box to me. The Piraat and the Draak are both fantastic. All in all, 3 bucks a bottle for those is a good deal, and that brewery makes pretty darn good stuff.
 

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Strange phenom. In my area, Beers like Gulden Draak, Bornem and Piraat are Very Cheap. Mostly like 2.50 or 3.50 a bottle and I think I find an untapped resource. They are great beer s but because most do not like them they are cheap. Local beer store had Bornem on sale for 1.50 a bottle.
 
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