With the claims of a Belgian dubbel plastered about, the incredible, deep, dark brown was a bit shocking. There was a caramely tan head that drifted to the top and rested comfortably in a thin film. The scent was more convincing than the look, that indeed this brew was Belgian. Rich caramely, sweet malts were thick, almost palpable and reminded me of winters gone by, where I would sit and sip a rich, warming ale like this. There was a definite dark fruit scent as well, raisins perhaps. This carried through on the tongue as well. It blended incredibly with the sweetness, which turned out to be chocolate, to give a very well balanced combination.

Despite sitting for a few extra minutes in my fridge and cooling to slightly below optimum temp, this beer went down incredibly well. There was enough carbonation to make it cleansing and interesting, but it was so well built it went down smooth. It was flavorful and complex, but not overwhelming, making for an easy sipping beer. There was a burnt quality on the aftertaste, earthy and chewy. There was no sign of hops as the maltiness dominated in a very pleasing manner.

It’s been a few dozen IPAs since my last Belgian and for a brief moment I forgot what I was missing. As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, I’m glad to have Bell’s reminder of the perfect type of beer for this season. Rich, complex and distinct, I would definitely put this on your list if you enjoy a decent Belgian Ale.

ABV: 7.5%

Grade: B+