Oct 16, 2012

De Proef Reinaert Wild Ale

I’m a sucker for De Proef beers, especially their Signature Series. I’ve only published a couple of reviews from the series on the site, but I’ve had a handful or two of them through the years. Each one is distinct and usually quite an experience. This particular recipe, if my recollection is correct, is based on a much older style of Flemish sour/wild ale. I’m not sure if the modern take on the beer is true to style, but this one certainly is an intriguing brew.

Reinaert Wile Ale is fermented three times with two different yeast strains (Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces) and then dry-hopped with East Kent Goldings hops. The end result is a beer that has a classic wild character, isn’t overly sour or tart and carries with it a wonderfully hopped profile. Easy drinking, refreshing and funky, the beer hits the spot wonderfully.


Reinaert pours with a rocky white crown that rests atop the pale yellow liquid. The head drops to a thin film with excellent lacing along the glass’ inner walls.


A solid waft of estery yeast, a tough of grain, lemon zest, apple, a light sweetness and herbal notes fill the nose. I don’t get much (if any) sour notes. This beer smells downright delicious.


My initial impression after the very first sip was that this tastes like I would imagine a dry-hopped Orval would taste, but on further inspection there’s a good deal more going on here. Yeast, grain, cereal and a sharp crispness arrive first, then a bit of wild funk creeps in before smoothly transitioning to a drying finish packed with herbal notes. The beer isn’t sour by any means and has a slight tartness that is accentuated by the grassy hop profile which also leaves a lingering tingle of bitterness in the finish. The alcohol, which is masked quite well for 9% ABV, shows gently as a glowing warmth late. There is a ton going on within this beer, but not in a fashion that would confuse the senses — it’s all very well balanced and layered.


This isn’t the tartest or most wild of wild ales that I’ve had, but it’s probably the most complete and complex that I have enjoyed in quite some time. It’s got a great array of flavors that all work together quite well and compliment one another perfectly. With the yeast strains used in this beer’s recipe, it should develop quite nicely with a couple of years under its belt. As a result, I plan on heading back and picking up a few more bottles to set aside for a good bit.

Rating: 4.25/5

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