Oct 31, 2018

Unibroue Ale Gâteau Forêt-Noire

I’m a big fan of the Belgian-style strong dark ales that Unibroue has produced through the years. Rich, full-flavored and with their own twist on the genre, each has been, for the most part, quite enjoyable. And that’s no different with the release of their 25th anniversary release, Ale Gâteau Forêt-Noire. Now, I’m well aware that the brewery hasn’t been independent for some years now, but that’s no reason not to celebrate the longevity of that brand. Many shops don’t even make it to year five, let alone something as momentous as 25!

At any rate, Ale Gâteau Forêt-Noire is a 10.5% ABV Belgian-style strong dark that was brewed to mimic the flavors of your traditional German black forest cake. I’ve treated myself to my fair share of these tasty desserts and have encountered more than a couple of breweries attempting to do the same — some quite well, others not so much. Unibroue’s interpretation leans heavily on the earthy and tart presence of the cherry juice, allowing that to shine as the star while bready malt, soft roast coffee and a hint of cocoa linger in support.

The big beer is full-flavored with that dominating cherry tartness — not to a level that is too potent — and a balanced overall experience. The higher level of alcohol gives Ale Gâteau Forêt-Noire a bit of a decadent character, as well as the expecting warmth in the chest after each swallow. There’s a “best by” date of 2023 laser printed on the bottle, so the brewery fully expects this one to cellar well. I’d personally love to find a bottle and set it aside for a while. I believe the cherry (and its tartness) will soften a bit more, allowing everything to fully come together cohesively.

This is a review of a promotional sample.