Appearance - 8 | Aroma - 7.5 | Flavor - 7 | Texture - 7 | Overall - 6.5
The strongest of the three Seaking beers but the ‘smallest’ in terms of production volumes; allegedly brewed with seaweed in an attempt to evoke the seaside. Thick, egg-white, regularly shaped, dense and stable, tightly membrane-lacing head, initially clear deep and pure ‘metallic blonde’, old-gold robe with vivid sparkling, turning misty with sediment. Aroma of banana and banana bread, coriander seed, ‘oude jenever’, unripe peach, dry straw, sweet potatoes, dried field flowers, parsnip, parsley root and perhaps, indeed, a very faint salty-minerally accent in the background which I assume has to represent the maritime aspect of this beer. Sweetish fruity onset, clear banana ester mingled with hints at pineapple and halfripe pear, fizzy carbonation, minerally – but that more specific ‘salty’ minerality I thought I caught in the nose, remains all but absent; smooth and slick, full body, white-bready and lightly honeyish maltiness gently spiced by a pinch of coriander seed – after which a medium long, floral hop bitterness develops, slowly fading into the finish but lingering about when a warming, ‘jenever’-tinged alcohol glow appears. Standard Belgian tripel, very accessible, but also very correctly made without even the slightest trace of technical errors – which is something I can always appreciate, considering how many flawed local tripels are around these days. That said, my excitement about tasting a tripel with seaweed – and therefore changing the old standard tripel template with an interestingly far-fetched ingredient – was quickly gone, because seaweed is hardly noticeable here, if at all. I would have opted for a (modern) Gose-like saltiness instead, but I guess the brewer did not dare take the risk of presenting the unsuspecting, ordinary, macro-beer-drinking tourist at the Belgian seaside with something he probably would not be able to finish…
Appearance - 4 | Aroma - 7.5 | Flavor - 8 | Texture - 7 | Overall - 6
Saison spiced with Szechuan pepper and bergamot, apparently the first one in a series of collabs (called "Your place or mine?"), this time with Brewed by EDIT, an Italian craft brewer. Very extreme gusher: even in lifting the crown cap for about a millimetre, foam prayed out of the tiny opening, and kept doing so for minutes on end; even after letting the bottle stand aside like that for half an hour, I was unable to open it without further loss. Very foamy, egg-white, thickly plaster-like lacing, pillowy head on a misty pale orangey-peach blonde beer with refined but lively sparkling; murky and more ‘dirty’ brownish-orange with sediment. Aroma strongly characterized by both the added ingredients: perfumey, herbal, Earl Grey tea-like as well as spicy-peppery (Szechuan pepper) and orange or even grapefruit peel-coloured (bergamot), further accompanied by impressions of soggy rusk, red apple, ground peanuts, peach, soap, lavender blossoms, caramel but without the sweetness, autumn leaves, dry clay, sweat. Fizzy, crisp onset, very minerally carbonation effect (as befits anything labelled as ‘saison’), fruity with notes of peach, apricot and freshly cut red apple, but remaining fairly dryish and restrained in sweetness; a peanutty and rusk-like maltiness does bring in some sweetness in the middle, bready-yeasty at its edges and strongly aromatized by those pronounced ‘dry Asian spice’, dried orange peel and lavender tea-like effects from the bergamot and the Szechuan pepper. Spicy, herbal, soapy finish with a late, rooty and earthy bitterness, from hops but of course enhanced by the spicing, ending in a long, dry finish. The very violent gushing was really hard to manage here, but admittedly the eventual beer was not all bad, better than expected even, so I guess it was the sugar and yeast balance that caused the heavy gushing here rather than an infection induced by the added ingredients. I hope the others in this series are more manageable to open, but in any case this one was, in the end, quite enjoyable so I will not let it interfere with my rating too much.
Appearance - 8 | Aroma - 8 | Flavor - 8 | Texture - 6 | Overall - 7.5
Literally the darkest one in the Chinelle series, but weirdly not advertised as a porter or a stout, just a ‘black beer’, as if colour in beer has anything to do with flavour… Anyway, thanks to my girlfriend for the bottle! Very thick and foamy, creamy and dense, pillowy, pale off-yellow beige head, very slowly dissipating over a near-clear, very dark chocolate brown beer, approaching black but with clear mahogany hue, turning misty with sediment. Aroma initially dominated by carbon dioxide but this fades very quickly, making room for impressions of black (and non-sweet) chocolate, black toast, caramel, coffee grounds, toasted hazelnuts, leather, dried sage, red apple, liquorice indeed (actually used here apparently, but not too overpowering), dry clay, bayleaf, clove, dried fig, old raisin. Very fizzy onset, harshly stinging carbonation but clean and focused in its flavour, first bringing restrained fruity effects of fig, red apple and dried blueberries, sweetish with a mild sourish touch; rounded, slick body, marred a bit by this overcarbonation effect initially. Smooth-edged hard-caramelly, brown-bready and thinly chocolatey maltiness, bittersweet with the caramelly sweetness overruling the toasted bitterness, but a coffee-like roasted effect certainly unfolds in the finish, albeit in a gentle, elegant manner. Mild leafy hop bitter notes along with a clove-like phenolic spiciness and a clear but luckily nowhere too dominant presence of the added liquorice join in a medium long, nutty-roasty, pleasant finish. English brown porter-like beer with ‘Belgian’ style overcarbonation, I’d say – but no Belgian yeastiness here, so remaining very sleek, Anglo-Saxon and clean; very pleasant and well executed, in all.