Duvel, pronounced (Doov’l), is the Flemish term for Devil. Surprisingly the brew is not all that “devilish,” but nursing a glass while reading Jonathan Edward’s Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God might give you a new perspective.
This beer throws a lot at you all at once. From the fruity and spicy aromas, to the yeast, the color, and head it was almost too much to take in. I likened it to North Coast Brewing Company’s Le Merle, except this was not a Saison.
It was a pleasant straw color with very high carbonation…similar to champagne. The head was egg shell white and lasted for a long time. This might have been the best thing about the beer. As I sipped, the head remained on the glass as if it were fluffy clouds (this is known as Brussels lace). The aroma was a vigorous explosion of fruits and spices that included pear, apple, slight orange, pepper, lemon zest, honey, and some sugary sweetness. You could pick up the Pils malt, but on the whole I say it was very close to smelling and looking like a perfumy white wine. This was very intriguing to me thinking how all these flavors were produced from just barley, water, hops, and yeast. The hops seemed to be absorbed by everything, but you could tell there was a floral bitterness. On second thought, that might have just been the smell of the yeast.
The taste was just like it smelled. It had a dryness to it and the aftertaste was nothing to write home about. The carbonation made me feel like it was drinking sparkling grape juice during a wedding toast.
While this is not a style I embrace, I would recommend trying this at least once. Buy the large 1 pint 9.4 oz bottle and share it with some friends. This way if you don’t like it you’re not stuck with it and you can compare your findings.