Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beer Review: Goudenband (1999+2010)

Reviewing the Goudenband from Brouwerij Liefmans out of Belgium. Prior to the Bourbon County Stout vertical, we all sampled the 1999 and 2010 vintages of the Goudenband. I guess Liefmans' ownership changed hands somewhat recently and that the formula changed at some point. Whether or not the 1999 original formula was used for the 2010 batch, these two beers were like night and day. The scores below are for the 1999 vintage, though I noted the differences between that and the 2010 vintage in my review.
Score: 88

1999 and 2010 vintage bottles shared and served side by side in a "The Bruery" tulip and enjoyed on 03/23/12. The 1999 vintage bottle was a massive 1.5 liter bottle.

Appearance: Pours a caramel amber color that falls between transparent and translucent. My glass was not very hazy, but I had one of the first pours from the bottle. Minimal head at pour settles into a thick and bubbly tan colored ring around the glass. Minimal oily lacing, poor retention. 3.5/5

Smell: Starting with the 1999 vintage, I smell sharp red grape acidity and sweet caramel. This beer smells like a slightly funky blend of merlot and chardonnay. There's oak, a moderate amount of maple and a little bit of funky sweet vinaigrette salad dressing aroma in the nose too. A little heat. The aroma is powerful enough that I can smell it clearly while the glass is sitting down in front of me. By comparison, the 2010 vintage smells substantially grainier and is seemingly without any of the grape aroma. The 2010 vintage's aroma is "flatter" and also contained a moderate amount of black licorice. 4/5

Taste: Tart red grape sweetness, red wine tannins and caramel. A little bit of cherry. At first there is a pleasant and like sweet vinegar funkiness that gets strong and turns into a gym sock-like funkiness as the beer warms. The 2010 vintage tastes much funkier and has a pronounced bitter barley flavor. I give the taste a four out of five based on the slightly chilled temperature taste. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, high and lively carbonation. Dry, tart and crisp with a lingering sweet vinegar flavor. 3.5/5

Overall: This rare treat (the 1999) is probably lost on my palate because I am not a big fan of sour styles, but I enjoyed this beer nonetheless. I personally would not go seek this one out again, but given that I dislike sours and enjoyed this one, I would have to believe that fans of the style would love it.

Recommendation: If you like the style, seek this one out -- but do not drink it if it has two years or less of age and ideally seek out the original formula bottles.

Pairings: I feel like a stronger, funkier cheese would go well with this beer. Maybe blue cheese or Gorgonzola? And yes, I know Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese.

Cost: Since the 355 ml bottles tend to retail around $6.99, I would have to imagine that the 1.5 liter bottle cost between $20 and $30.

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