Friday, December 2, 2016

New Belgium Spiced Imperial Dark Ale

It must be winter, as most of the best new releases are spiced. Today's review of New Belgium's limited edition Spiced Imperial Dark Ale is no exception. Brewed in collaboration with Anne-Francoise, this beer is brewed with spruce tips, dry-hopped, and aged on white oak spirals. The final product comes in at 9.5%ABV and a smooth 30IBU.

"Va D'Or, the valley of gold. It's in this pastoral corner of Belgium that elegant stone buttresses and sun-kissed statues mark Orval Abbey, producers of one of the finest golden beers in the world, Orval. Valley of gold, indeed. For our final Lips of Faith collaboration this year, we teamed up with Orval brewmaster Anne-Fran├žoise Pypaert to craft a counterpart to the classic golden ale: Spiced Imperial Dark Ale. 
This bold beer's brewed with layers of specialty malts, dry-hopped with herbal French Strisselspalt, and spiced with citrusy grains of paradise and spruce tips. We then steeped toasted American oak spirals in the beer for two weeks, bringing a subtle spicy, vanilla flavor to tie the chocolaty malts and citrus spices together."

Upon pouring, this pale brown imperial is surprisingly delicate. I am reminded, somewhat of the brewer's, nutty, bready, Fat Tire amber ale though with hints of spruce and subtle oak layered in. But as the beer warms a bit of astringency and alcohol which should mellow over time, begin to reveal themselves. Look also for notes of cherry hidden in the nose, and perhaps a bit of tobacco on the pallet, along with trace amounts of that spicy/peppery Belgian yeast thing....

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