Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Brouwerij Alken-Maes - Judas

The next beer up for review will be Judas, a Strong Belgian Ale. Ironically I found it available widely in Spain (first time I had ever heard of it or seen it, despite traveling through Holland and Belgium this past spring). I first tasted it in Girona, a small town situated near Costa Brava in Northern Spain.

Judas is from Brouwerij Alken-Maes (one of the largest brewing companies in Belgium first formed by a merger of Brouwerij Maes and Brouwerij Alken in 1988). They operate a number of breweries in the region and brew an assortment (nearly 30) of other well-known beers like Grimbergen, Mort Subite, Kriek, Kronenbourg 1664, Fosters, and their flagship beers Maes and Cristal. Judas was first brewed in 1986 at their brewing facility in Jumet, Belgium and it won a silver medal at the "Monde Selection" in 1989.

Judas is a blonde ale, and some of the best blonde ales come from Belgium. Blonde ales are typically highly carbonated, and some undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle (this is known as bottle conditioning). Bottle conditioning is a process in which the beer is naturally carbonated inside the bottle (normalwise the beer is either combined with CO2 gas during bottling, or inside a keg). To achieve natural carbonation the brewer introduces a small amount of sugar to the beer right before bottling. The remaining yeast still present in the beer will consume the sugar and produce CO2 which, thanks to the bottle cap, is retained inside the bottle. Bottle conditioning a beer allows the beer to mature and the flavor to develop. A good blonde ale will be full flavored, slightly bitter and slightly sweet and ranges from medium to full bodied. Judas is also a strong blonde ale; characteristics of these stronger ales are obviously higher alcohol content and may be slightly sweeter than your normal blonde ale. Other popular Belgian Blondes you can look for in stores include: Leffe, Duvel, Satan, and Piraat. And now for the beer!

Name: Judas
Category/Style: Strong Belgian Ale
ABV: 8.5%
IBU: Unknown
OG: Unknown
Malt Types: Unknown
Hop Types: Unknown
Yeast Type: Unknown
Special Additives: Unknown
Bottled: Unknown
Bottle Size: 330 mL
Location Purchased: König Brasería, Girona, Spain

The Pour: Clear dark yellow, slight orange hue, head is fluffy and white, nice retention, nice lacing.
The Nose: Sweet Belgian yeast, white grapes, green apple, astringent metallic notes. Slightly alcoholic, not incredibly noticeable for such a strong beer. Cidery notes, corn, a bit of malty cereal and white bread.
The Taste: Taste is corn and green apple, tart and sweet. Carbonation explodes on the tongue initially, but quickly disappears. White wine, white grapes, and a burst of yeast midway through. Finish is slightly bitter, is quite bready and dry. A hint of fresh cut grass and corn is detectable on the finish....
The Verdict: Is delicious and very drinkable. The alcohol is quite hard to detect so be careful with this one. The flavor is fruity and sweet, slightly bitter, and the carbonation is bright and tingly. I really do enjoy this one for the simple fact that it is such a pleasure to drink. A great example of a Belgian Strong Ale :]

Thanks for reading!


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