Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Het Alternatief Ambetanterik

Het Alternatief Ambetanterik

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Alternatief
Izegem, Belgium

Belgian Stout

11.00% ABV

Commercial Description:
Ambetanterik is a stout 10% vol alcohol.
This includes access naughty taste in dark chocolate, coffee and chicory bitterness. You can taste the roasted malt very carefully dispensed. This beer offers a complex tapestry of roasted aromas and flavors. Unfiltered beer with secondary fermentation in the bottle.
Colour 144 EBC. Bitterness 43 EBU style: heavy stout.
(Translated From the Het Alternatief Website by Google Translator)

General Pricing:
11.2oz, 330ml bottle, ~$5.50 each

I am continuing my quest to try everything that 12 Percent Imports, imports. So far everything that I have had from 12 Percent has been exceptionable. This will be my fourth bier from this brewery. The Hik Blond was very good and the Piet-Agoras is an Outstanding Artisan Bier and just last night I had the phenomenal The Bitter Truth. I am really looking forward to trying this bier. I can’t wait to see what Piet Salomez does for a Belgian Stout. Fasten your seatbelts this could be a bumpy ride.

The bier pours a dark brown almost completely opaque with just a hint of dark ruby hues showing if the glass is backlit. The bier produced a fairly rich tan head and it looks like the head will be sticking around for a while.

The nose is delightful with dark roasted malt aromas, rich chocolate, coffee and dark fruit notes. My mouth is watering in anticipation of this bier.

Wow, this takes unique to a whole new level. It’s an interesting Flemish twist on a Belgian Stout. This is another amazing bier from Piet Salomez; just incredible.

The taste starts out with a dark malt sweetness up front then a creamy, smooth and effervescence in the middle of the sip. Yes there is some contradiction there. The middle of the sip is smooth and creamy until you start to get towards the back-end in which there is the most pleasant effervescence over the tongue. The back-end is very easy drinking with more carbonation releasing and this is where you start to pick up that Flemish twist. There is a unique sourness that starts just around the top of the swallow. The sourness builds slightly throughout the swallow but it is never dominate or overwhelming. Towards the end of the swallow into the finish is where all of these amazing flavors come together. The flavors on the finish are sweet with dark roasted malts, notes off dark fruit, chocolate, a touch of coffee and the most exquisite Flemish sour twist. The sourness is just enough to give this bier uniqueness but not enough to overpower the experience. The final aftertaste has some lingering roasted malt sweetness, a hint of that sour twist and of course those classic lingering Belgian yeasty notes.

This is just a phenomenal bier, a real Artisan Brew.

The head, as predicted never went away. It did diminish but into a thick, rich and creamy layer over the top of the bier. The lacing is more like a coating. You really can not see level changes it’s just a continuous sheet of lacing down the entire glass.

As this bier warms up there is an interesting bitterness. It’s not hops and it doesn’t seem like the typical malt bitterness of a stout either. I’m wondering if this is the Chickory? At any rate it’s not offensive at all just more noticeable as it warms. We are now at 65 degrees.

It’s a shame that I ain’t got to many big words to use to describe this bier because this is incredible. I know I’m not doing this justice.

That last sip was at room temperature and was just exquisite. It had the most interesting finish of sourness and malt bitterness. This is one of the most unusual biers I’m ever had.

I gingerly poured a few more ounces into the glass trying not to disturb the lees.

Just Exquisite!

The Lees
Well you know I got to try the lees; even if it’s just to tell you again not to pour them into the full glass of bier.

These lees are actually lighter in color then the regular bier was but also very dense and completely opaque.

Actually these are not too bad; funky, bitter and yeasty but lacking that strong sourness that I expected. Every time I try the lees they are different and unpredictable.

Final Thoughts
Well, these Belgian Artisan Biers are outstanding. I can not imagine going to the local pup and drinking biers like this on a regular basis. That must be just this side of heaven.

This is a solid A+. An exquisite Belgian Stout with a Flemish twist. The rich sweet roasted malt flavors with dark fruit esters, notes of chocolate and coffee along with the most unusual sour twist make this Artisan Bier an experience I will never forget. Hat’s off to Piet Salomez for and another amazing brew.


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