Aug 7, 2012

De Dolle Arabier

Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers is one of those Belgian brewers whose products are pretty damn hard to find in my area. It’s also a company whose products I absolutely adore. From their impressive Extra Export Stout to the out-of-this-world Bos Keun and rarified Still Nacht, I don’t think this brewery has a beer I don’t love. Any time I see one of their bottles on the shelves, I will happily swap one already in my possession for it — every single time.

Arabier is the brewery’s Strong Pale Ale and this particular bottle had a May 2011 bottling date. At 8% ABV the brew should be just fine in terms of sitting in the bottle that long, but you never know how it’s been kept. Thankfully, and luckily, the beer appeared to be just fine and my first encounter with it (despite its age) was more than I could have asked for.


Even with the gentlest of pours, Arabier still manages to produce a large amount of foam atop the pale amber brew. It certainly hasn’t lost any life over the last year. Once it faded there was plenty of sticky lace along the inside of the glass.


Grassy hops and a moderate biscuit malt character initially give the beer a pilsner-like profile, but once the peppery yeast opens up, it’s all Belgian pale ale.


Bready malt, citrus fruits, peppery yeast and a touch of apple arrive with a pretty decent tingle from the hops that is accentuated by the crisp mouthfeel. The hop bite isn’t overtly strong, but it is certainly there in the mix. I wonder how pronounced it was a year ago. The alcohol is present throughout the beer and leaves a bit of warmth behind,b ut it never really distracts from the overall drinking experience.


I was worried about how this beer would turn out after spying the older bottling date, but in the end it was a fine beer. Based on the lingering bit of hop bitterness, I would imagine that this beer would probably have been a better brew when fresh. As it stands, I would have gladly bought two more bottles of Arabier if only there been more on the shelf.

Rating: 4/5

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