An Exclusive Taste Session @ Brewery Tavern De Dolle Brouwers
19 Dec. 2004
Roeselarestraat 12b - 8600 Esen - Belgium

Website De Dolle Brouwers

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Sunday afternoon 14.30. Time to pick up my precious crate of Stille Nacht 2004.

Surprise surprise ! A taste session with members of local Zythos branch H.O.P. (Heerlijk Objectief Proeven) was busy at that moment. Lode Van Biervliet (Chairman HOP) kindly invited me and Katrien to take part of their taste session. A taste session which will become a true 'Classic'. At that time it was Lichtervelds Blond which was tasted. The label is inspired on an old label from bry. De Hoop. This beer is first brewed in 1990 and is brewed once in two years (so, this is the seventh brew), has a nice 9 vol% (previously being 8 vol%) and is very hoppy !
A truely great starter this one.

On the right: The bottle Lichtervelds Blond. On the Oerbier plate: Oerbier from bottle (10 vol%).

Jan Vandenberghe and wife Veerle Bal, and Lode Van Biervliet anxiously waiting to have the first taste sip. Note that Jan and Veerle are responsible for that small hobby-brewery called 'Lupiline', an amateur brewery which has as ultimate goal to become a 'real' brewery. More info on Lode sitting on the right side. Lode being chairman of HOP but not for long time anymore as Veerle (vice chairman now) will take over this difficult job in the near future.

Santé !

Observing the glass tells us that Oerbier isn't that dark colored.

About the Oerbier:

(Taken from the Dolle Brouwers website): "Oerbier means original, from the spring. This beer has been brewed in small scale (5 gallons) at home in a copper wash kettle, by two brothers who were students at the time. They took over an old brewery which was out of business and said: "If we don't remake the brewery alive, nobody will!". It was also a unique opportunity to create some interesting brews, so why not try it ? Therefore we want and will do the main work ourselves and keep the scale of the brewery like it was. Since then, the brewery and its beers have been an inspiration source for a lot of brewers. Oerbier is brewed from no less than 6 malts. Poperinge Golding hops in flowers and a special yeast which makes it a little tart, especially with aging. At the brewery we have excellent cellars which have a constant temperature of 8°C and allow Oerbier to age at its best. After a couple of years Oerbier tastes like it should have been blended with wine … Oerbier has been refermented in the bottle and contains a layer of yeast, having vitamins B. NAT en STRAF on the glasses means WET and STRONG, a warning for the 7.5 vol. alcohol content. The little person on the glasses is the Oerbier man, a simple creature who holds a brewers fork in his right hand, symbolizing the work and science, but looking to the other side, the result of all this, the glass of (Oer)beer. The artwork on the poster is a wallpainting found in Spain, (Altamira) and is considered by art lovers as being the best prehistoric art work (30.000 years BC). On the other hand we have Oerbier started in 1980, going on with the tradition.

Since 2000 we started a new yeast strain for Oerbier wich makes it no more acid with aging. In 2004 a new propagator is in function wich will restore the old Oerbier taste, we and a lot of beerlovers allover the world hope."

William Roelens and wife Myriam De Vos. William is responsible for the HOP-website. Nicely done if you ask me!

Time for another goodie. Draught Stille Nacht !

Commercial description taken from DDB website:

"Stille Nacht (Silent Night) is a prestige beer from De Dolle Brouwers brewed for Christmas. It has the highest density of any Belgian beer (27°Pl). It has been boiling for many hours, brewed with pale malt with white candi sugar in the kettle. The Nugget hops gives an extra bitterness to balance the extreme sweetness due to the density. The taste triangle is completed with some acidity of the fermentation. It is a very interesting beer to age. We have samples of every bottling we have done so far and aging does not mean decreasing quality with this beer. Keep some samples at 10°C and mark the year on the cap with an alcohol marker."

Stille Nacht 2004 side by side. Note that this beer is exactely 12.6 vol% strong. The picture showing the fourth brew already.

There's a small trick to know which batch of the bottled Stille Nacht you open. The cap clearly shows some stars. 1 star is the first brew. 4 stars the fourth brew, and so on...
The beer itself is very complex. Major difference from last years batch is that more hops are used and the beer is less sweeter (i.e. much drier).

Suddenly Kris Herteleer (masterbrewer) came up with some real treasures !
Aged Stille Nacht !!

Dark colored (!!) Stille Nacht anno 1986 ("year-of-the-beer" in Belgium that year!)

People, I want you all to have a very close look at that beer. This beer is almost 19 years old but still has a most beautiful creamy head ! Extraordinary if you ask me. Note that the first batches were dark colored beers.

Time for an ultimate taste experience. Chairman Lode taking the first steps. First of all: Smelling this heavenly liquid.

And afterwards having some intense and envious making tasting.

My turn now.
Smelling revealed lacto-acidity (Yoghurt) in combination with malts and Port wine. Only the nose is already such a wonderful experience, and it filled my nose completely with warmth and great complexity. Even when my nose was not inside the glass but let's say 20cm away from it. Very aromatic this means !!
When tasting I didn't notice any oxidation at all. Remarkable. This beer has aged SO well. The Rodenbach touch is so obvious again. The mouthfeeling is mushy. A nice back-throath lacto-acid/tanin tickeling. Aging into Port alike tastes makes it just that more enjoyable.
EXCELLENT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The glass, in which the beer is poured, is also a very old and rare glass. Abdij Ter Doest. In my knowledge there was no such beer as Abdij ter Doest. I presume this is the glass used at the beer pub opposite the Abbey Ter Doest. More info on Abbey Ter Doest here (Dutch!)

Stille Nacht 1986 tasted by William. William's face-expression does tell we're dealing with a most exclusive beer here!

Time for the second aged Stille Nacht. This being a big 75cl bottle from 1990 !

The bottle came from the cellar and was somewhat wet. The label being in a putrefied condition.

It was Els (wife of Kris Herteleer) who occupied with the pouring-out job.