Adelbert’s Brewing (Austin, TX): Dancin’ Monks Vintage Series

Sometimes being a beer reviewer is all about “right place, right time.” I was at Big Hops celebrating my birthday with fellow reviewer Aaron “Beer Metal Dude” Mendiola waiting on a third friend to join us, when we struck up a conversation with John, a distributor for Adelbert’s Brewery. In the course of the conversation it comes up that both Aaron and I write beer reviews, and John asks us if we’d like to review an Adelbert’s beer… as long as the review is subjective. Too many people expect every beer o be an IPA and therefore expect Adelbert’s beers to be overly hopped, John basically says to us. I love a good IPA (honestly, I just love a good hoppy beer of many styles, hops are an awesome invention of nature), but not everything has to be a hop bomb to be good, I explain to John, to which Aaron agrees. With that, John grabs a bottle of Adelbert’s DANCIN’ MONKS VINTAGE SERIES, a bottle condition Dubbel aged in cabernet barrels. Happy birthday to me!

Adelbert's Brewery, Austin TX
Adelbert’s Brewery, Austin TX

About the Brewery (from facebook.com/adelbertsbeer):
Adelbert’s Brewery is committed to brewing Belgian-style, bottle-conditioned ales for people to seek, savor, and share with others. We believe quality beers require quality ingredients and a painstaking attention to detail throughout the brewing process. Adelbert’s uses Bohemian old-world floor malted barley, low alpha Noble Czech hops, and fresh yeast propagated at the brewery. In our seven vessel brewhouse, we use a time consuming, multi-temperature decoction mash technique which extracts a more complex flavor from our grains. We produce a gambit of hand-crafted Belgian style ales right here in Austin, Texas. With our vast array of beer styles, you’re sure to find a brew that suits you.

About the Beer (from the label):
A complex ale with a sour wine funk and plum fruit aroma. Pairs well with tangy cheeses, rich meats, fried foods, and fruit based desserts.

Style: Barrel Aged Abbey Dubbel
ABV: 9.1%

 

DMVS pours a hazy, semi opaque tangerine rust with a light white effervescence that fades quickly and leaves behind just a remnant of lacing, just enough to remind you that the beer is gone now and you can’t have it back. The balm billowing from my Big Hops snifter is a complex cornucopia of citrus, grapes, sour, sweet, Belgian esters, and a deep conglomerate of miscellaneous fruit scents. There is just a whole lot going on in my nose right now.

Dancin' Monks Vintage Series Barrel Aged Abbey Dubbel
Dancin’ Monks Vintage Series Barrel Aged Abbey Dubbel

Tasting DMVS, it’s a one-two punch of sweet and sour right up front. I’m truly flabbergasted by how much grape character the Cabernet barrels imparted to the beer, and it’s a very unique flavor I don’t think I’ve really stumbled across in a beer before. The sweet Dubbel base is balance perfectly by a nice sour funkiness. There’s a little something coming off of those barrels besides the grapes, a bit of Brettanomyces and some Lactobacillus perhaps? The brett would bring the funk, the lacto would bring the sour, and that combination of mild funk and mild sour (neither is super overwhelming in DMVS) is really quite nice. I am not much of a fan of the original DANCIN’ MONKS – it’s not bad, but for the price there are other Dubbels I’d buy first for my tastes – but the barrel time has done magical, mystical things for this beer.

Manny, myself, and Aaron at the completion of a nice beer-share birthday, which started with the DMVS
Manny, myself, and Aaron at the completion of a nice beer-share birthday, which started with the DMVS

The body on DMVS id quite thin, thinner than I would expect for a Dubbel; It’s been a long time since I’ve had the original DM, but I don’t remember it being so light and most Dubbels are a bit heavier in color and body than this beer. I assume the lightening comes from the extra barrel bugs eating more of the malt and converting it, but that’s just a guess. DMVS is thin, spritzy, and smooth, and you can feel it tickle your throat; it’s much lighter than your average Dubbel… but this isn’t your average Dubbel! For such a complex and strong beer, I found it easily drinkable, but my palate is used to the more motley sour beers. For someone into AAL’s, this might not be the easiest to put down, but let’s get serious: what Bud drinker is going to spend the money on this? I would… again and again.

 

Overall 8.5 / 10

Brewery site: http://adelbertsbeer.com/
http://www.facebook.com/adelbertsbeer

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