The Grimbergen abbey in Belgium was founded in 1128 and fast became famous for warm hospitality and the brewing of fine ales. Like most abbey ales, these were high in flavour, malt and alcohol which helped the monks survive their customary fasting. However, the Grimbergen abbey seemed to be cursed. It was burned to the ground in terrible fires in 1142, 1566 and 1798. The monks rebuilt every time, took the phoenix as their symbol and developed the motto “ardet bec consumitur” – burned but not destroyed. I imagine that they also discovered that many of the knocked-over candles were a result of old Gregor’s penchant for dancing on tables after many of their fine ales.
As it’s name suggests, this beer has undergone double fermentation. It comes in a short, squat bottle that I imagine looks just like old Gregor. When poured, the beer has a deep, rich clear dark copper/amber colour and superfine creamy head. The carbonation is very light which allows the flavours to be fully appreciated. The aroma is fresh and complex with hints of oak and citrus. The flavour is incredibly complex (one could spend all day discussing the intricacies) and quite malty-sweet with only slight bitterness from the hops which lingers on the palate. There is prominent input from the wheat used in the brewing. The mouthfeel is huge and malty.
This beer is best enjoyed in it’s original intention – without food on a chilly winters night in front of a warming fire as a replacement for dessert. At 6.5% it’ll certainly warm the cockles of your heart as well.