Ding Points: 77.00
Pour: 70.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00
Original Review: 12/07/2013
I always look forward to The Bruery release of the 12 days series, but this one has me wondering how much I will enjoy it. I was hoping for a continuation of the Dark Belgian Ales but I suppose ‘5 Gold Rings’ in the song represents an interesting break and change of pace, so perhaps this fits well.
Pour is a slightly viscous, mid-orange, with some initially decent head. Lace is not terrible for an 11.5% beer, and the head settles to give a nice, thin film on the surface of the beer. Alcohol legs are quite significant.
Nose gives some pretty potent, alcohol infused fruit, but neither are too strong considering the style and ABV.
First impressions are of a Belgian Strong Pale, but with more fruity sweetness and less edgy yeast or white pepper. The fruit is strong, and to the point that one might want to categorize this as a ‘fruit beer’. Of course, it is totally atypical of such a thing given the hot alcohol, but I could see how that might be an initial conclusion.
The second and third pours continue to pile on the alcohol, but to be honest this is a beer that handles it well. The spice element also starts kicking in a little, although this remains outside of the realm of a seriously peppery, yeasty beer, mainly because the fruit and the alcohol continue their collective, unrelenting assault.
The beer is definitely quite sweet, but it avoids being cloying – a pretty impressive feat given the ABV and the purpose and the style of this monster. The specific nature of the pineapple grows as the beer is consumed after the initial, more generic ‘fruit’ elements. I’ve heard some people use the words ‘sour’ and tart’ associated with 5 Golden Rings, and I think that those adjectives are both misleading and terribly confusing. Whilst one could argue that there is a sharpness around the edges, this is definitely a light tartness associated with the fruit, and NOT a ‘sour’ tartness associated with this being an acidic beer. Let’s be clear, this is NOT a ‘tart’ beer by any stretch of the imagination.
Amazingly non-slick in the mouth given the ABV and the legs that were observed on the pour.
The alcohol builds quite a bit and this is still an aggressive beer at the end of the bottle despite all of the fruit elements. This is a beer that I am anticipating will age very nicely, and perhaps, over time, we will see some more typical Belgian Strong Pale notes. I’d like to think so, but only time will tell.
One year on and frankly, not much change. I was hoping for a slight tempering of the fruit and sweetness but it hasn’t really happened. I was also hoping for some more white pepper and some more typical Belgian Pale elements but again, they are not really there. The beer still has plenty of pineapple and alcohol along with the lack of viscosity which is surprising, but it remains a BIG beer with fruit, sweetness and EtOH all over the place. Looking for more change, I did not find it.
Aged bottle. Carbonation almost completely gone, and for this beer, that’s not good. Look, I’m not about to ding a beer for being this way after all of these years, but it’s a pretty important reminder to drink beer pretty much as soon as one can.
Outside of the carbonation issue, this beer remains pretty true to the original notes. That’s all.
Other: 11.5% ABV, 12 Days of Christmas, Belgian Strong Pale Ale.