Jan 2, 2008

De Dolle Extra Export Stout

I don’t know about you all, but the past week or so has been a bounty for new beers in my household. I’ve been able to find a few brews that I had been on the look out for quite some time. Holiday brews kept popping up at a much quicker rate than I could keep up with. And a few bottles happened to get plucked from a variety of basements for some wonderful tastings thanks to dinners at both our home and that of my wife’s family (the 4-5 year old St Feuillien was quite lively and tasty).

But I just couldn’t start my recap of the season with anything other than a stout — like you didn’t see that coming. De Dolle Brouwers makes quite a holiday beer in Stille Nacht. It’s a beer that I can find, oddly enough, on a consistent basis at one of the local wine shops in the area. I actually went into the shop this Christmas eve with the intention of just picking up a couple of mixed 6 packs to accompany the cellared beers that I was planning on sampling.

Arriving at the shelf with the Stille Nacht, I started to pass by it since I already have a bottle aging in the basement, but something behind the lone bottle caught my attention. It was a second beer from De Dolle — and hot damn, it was a stout! Needless to say I removed a couple of bottles from one full mixed pack and replaced them with the last two bottles of this new-to-me stout.

Beer Label: De Dolle Extra Export Stout


This one poured a dark, dark brown with a huge head. Both bottles poured with an enormous head that filled ¾ of the glass and took some time to calm to a thin lacing. It wasn’t nearly as dark as some of the stouts that I’ve been drinking lately, but it looked damned good nonetheless.


This one certainly didn’t smell like your typical stout. It had your standard toffee and espresso characteristics, but it also had much in common with dark Belgian ales. There’s a nice dark fruit presence as well as a complimenting hit of alcohol to temper a caramel sweetness.


Once the head finally decided to play nice, I was able to start enjoying this one. This is an interesting brew. It’s definitely a stout, but it’s got that raisin/dark fruit characteristic that Belgian dark ales have. It’s a delightful combination that keeps you on your toes as you drink it. Upfront it’s slightly sour, but finishes earthy and malty. The texture of the beer is more like a Belgian ale, as well, with active bubbles on the tongue. It’s not thick and creamy like many stouts.


I found this one quite drinkable, even with the 9% ABV it weighed in with. I didn’t find the alcohol level too much to handle, especially with everything else that was going on with the beer. I had planned on saving the second bottle for another night, but found the brew too damned tasty to pass up and both were gone before I knew what happened. They were the perfect beer for grilling a leg of lamb out in the cold. And as long as it took for dinner to cook, I had plenty of time to enjoy this stout before the festivities really got started.

Rating: 4/5