Brother David’s Abbey Style Ales is a series of beers being made by the wonderful California-based Anderson Valley Brewing Company. I’ve reviewed their IPA and famous amber, Boont Amber Ale, previously (just use the search bar to your right for “anderson valley” and you’ll find those reviews) and enjoyed AVBC’s offerings greatly.
I don’t know much about this beer from their site other than that this is a “triple” Belgian-style beer and that it is 10%ABV. I bought a 22oz “bomber” at Lukas Liquors a couple months ago, and I still have their Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout in a bomber to enjoy, too. So far I have been very pleased with Anderson Valley’s beers.
Belgian breweries have traditionally called some of their beers “doubles,” “triples,” and “quadruples” (or quads). This nomenclature is based off the “single” (usually called an abbey style ale or, more often, a “golden”). The double has twice the fermentables as the golden, the triple has three times the fermentables, and the quad is 4x. These terms are somewhat loosely applied, but generally as you go up the progression you’re adding fermentable sugars, often in the form of Belgian candi sugar, so the yeast creates more alcohol and the beers get more or less sweeter, too, because not all of the sugar ferments.
Goldens and triples tend to have a nice golden color while doubles and quads tend to be darker beers. Goldens and doubles tend to pair well with foods, while triples and quads are generally drunk alone almost like desserts in and of themselves. Triples tend to be very sweet and the Brother David’s Triple definitely fits this profile.
The beer pours a beautiful rich, golden-amber into my New Belgium glass, and an aggressive pour yields a nice head, but it quickly dissipates due to the high alcohol content. The beer is nice and clear and is very pleasant to look at. Aromas are sweet, with a little bit of that unmistakeable Belgian yeast character and a bit of alcohol, but there really isn’t a ton of aroma in this beer, for me.
Flavor is very sweet, malty and with a little hops to counter it from being like liquid candy. The hops are very subdued, so I don’t get any in the aroma, but like I said, they do balance the sugar and sweetness just enough to dry out the finish a bit. The main flavor experience I get with this beer is of soft fruit, like peach, with alcohol and sugar. What it reminds me of is when you’ve let a peach way, way over ripen and the sugars have actually been fermenting under the skin. There isn’t necessarily peach flavors, per se, in this beer, but the experience is very much one of fruit, alcohol, and sugar that reminds me a lot of biting into an over ripe peach.
I like this beer a lot. A 22oz bomber of this is a lot to handle by oneself. The 10% alcohol will definitely get you buzzing, but the sugar and sweetness, for me, got old after a while, even though I enjoyed this a lot. This is the kind of beer you want to split with one or two of your friends. This beer may pair well with some desserts or strong cheeses, but the sweetness reminded me of port, and I wonder if chocolate or a nice cigar would pair well with it?
Overall I think I like this triple better than the last one I had, Boulevard’s Long Strange Triple. Maybe I’m just in a different mood, and I didn’t dislike Boulevard’s version at all, but from what I remember of that beer I think I like the AVBC version a little more. In any case, downing all 22 ounces by oneself isn’t recommended, so I guess I had to take one for the team on this one! lol