Jun 11, 2013

Ommegang Duvel Rustica

Ommegang Duvel Rustica is pretty much what it’s name implies — a rustic interpretation of the classic Belgian Strong Golden Ale, Duvel. It’s not, however, just a one sided endeavor on the part of the Cooperstown brewery. Duvel Rustica is a collaborative effort, blending Duvel’s pils malts and its Styrian Golding hops from Slovenia with Ommegang’s proprietary yeast strains during fermentation. The end result, a 8.5% ABV Belgian Strong Pale Ale, has echoes of Duvel’s traditional flavors, but is a beer all its own.

Honestly, I’m surprised this collaboration hadn’t occurred earlier than this. Brewery Ommegang was purchased by Duvel Mortgat (the controlling interest of the Duvel and d’Achouffe brands) back in 2003. Hell, the organization had already released the fun and tasty Gnommegang back in 2011. It’s high time that the two brands have finally come together in this joint effort.

Now, just to be clear. Duvel Rustica is not a stylistic off-shoot of Duvel. There’s just no way that you’d get the same Duvel flavor utilizing Ommegang’s yeast. This is a completely different beer that uses the same initial ingredients as the Belgian classic. And when all is said and done, what you’ve got is an earthy brew that carries a bucolic character within it’s golden depths. It’s very tasty, and I thoroughly enjoyed, but doesn’t quite live up to the namesake on the label — then again, what beer would.


Duvel Rustica pours with a resilient white cap of foam that sits proudly atop the golden straw colored brew.


Grains, fruity Belgian yeast, pepper, light stone fruits and a subtle farmhouse funk all come together for an inviting aroma.


A soft fruitiness from the yeast arrives first and is quickly joined by earthy grains and a light bready character. There’s a slight funk lingering in the background as a hint of pepper leads the way to the drying, warming finish. There’s a moderate amount of hop bitterness that arrives half way through each sip that lasts a good while, fading gently in the finish. Duvel Rustica isn’t as sharp as Duvel and it’s got a bit more of a sweetness to it.


I really enjoyed this beer. I don’t believe it to be their best collaborative effort (I still really enjoyed the Gnommegang), but I’ll be damned if I won’t be purchasing this one again. Brewery Ommegang’s yeast strain alway seems to bring that earthy, Saison-like character to their bees and it’s present within their Duvel Rustica. It’s not overly funky, but there is a touch of it to accompany the fruity esters and rustic grain that this beer emphasizes. I’d love to see more joint efforts from the Mortgat family of beers in the future. Perhaps something dark and rich with the Maredsous line of beers. Just sayin’.

Rating: 4/5

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