Huyghe Delirium Noël

Reviewed by on December 23, 2013 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Brouwerij Huyghe

  • Origin: Belgium

  • Rated On: December 19, 2013

  • Best Before: September 2016

  • ABV: 10.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

  • Rating: GREAT !!

The Review

Christmas time, Christmas beer. Easy choice, encased in a shiny foil capped faux-ceramic bottle, with Santa leading a team of pink elephants on a spacey (in more than one way) flight away from Earth.  The label for this offering also varies from market to market between ‘Delirium Christmas’, and the native French ‘Delirium Noël’.

This 330ml beer pours a very dark red brick amber hue, with swirling sediment, and one finger of creamy, cake batter-like ecru head, which seeps away slowly, leaving a raised ring of barbed lace around the glass in the process. It smells of sweet cherry cordial, caramel/toffee malt, saucy raisins, vanilla, and mild cinnamon/clove-like spices, all very complex. The taste is musty caramel malt, a bit of tannic red wine fruit character, more subtle earthy spice, and a persistent, non-partisan dryness – the hops and well obfuscated alcohol the usual suspects. The booze is only eventually perceptible in the slightly medicinal fruitiness that evolves as the beer warms (amongst my central heating, and lack of roaring fire environs, malheureusement).

Things started off quite fizzy, but slowly settled down to a nice, even frothy tingle, with the body a steady medium weight, and smooth with a warming, airy caveat. It finishes with a slightly waning sweetness, fruit and malt still well meshed, the spice and latent heat tingling in the background.

A lovely, complicated, and remarkably easy to put back (not that I did, or should you) strong dark Belgian ale – and the plucky dryness sure would help when sided with more of that good ol’ Christmas baking.

Brady White

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