Belgian Beer Board

Kempisch Vuur Winter & Kempisch Vuur Winter Oak Aged

Started by Viv, December 26, 2022, 12:10:04 PM

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Viv

Hi huys,

I wanted to taste these 2 brews side-by-side to determine the differences
that may be apparent from the oak aging.

Both have an ABV of 9.0%.  They pour with a lovely deep golden blonde with a large creamy frothy head. Good lacing.

Hoppy herbal aromas but there is a strong woody/oak addition to the aroma of the Oak Aged.

They're both medium to full bodied, and perfectly carbonated. Rich, creamy, very smooth, luxurious tastes and textures. Complex, balanced, and layered, with great depth of flavour. They both have lots of malts, caramel, toffee, butter, butterscotch, some background hops, and gently warming heat. Slightly bitter and dry throughout.

There's very little between them, but the Oak Aged has an additional distinct woody/oaky flavour throughout, and is a bit harsh compaired to the soft mellow base brew. 

My preference is for the Winter brew without the Oak Aging, as I don't think it is improved in any way by aging on oak barrels....

( but maybe smoking like Gulden Draak Smoked may be very interesting.... )

However, they are both definitely outstanding brews!

Cheers!


Viv




Trappist

Quote from: Viv on December 26, 2022, 12:10:04 PMMy preference is for the Winter brew without the Oak Aging, as I don't think it is improved in any way by aging on oak barrels....

Hi Viv,
Barrel ageing indeed don't always improve the basis beer.
If that's the case, it sure is a waste of time and money, because those barrels aren't exactly cheap.
The barrels needs space and the aging takes some precious time too.
It also involves much more hard labour to make it.
But.... if things are well made, it actually can improve the beer, but that indeed needs some skills, which not every brewer has the knowledge of.
It's not a simple inserting of beer into a barrel, and let it stand for a while, that's for sure  ::)
Cheers,
Filip
"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson

Viv

Hi Filip,

I don't think that the extra cost involved to taste a barrel
aged beer is justified as it rarely improves on the base beer.

So, for me I don't mind tasting a barrel aged beer once or
twice but I would usually just buy the base beer, which in most
cases is top quality anyway!

I also ask myself why do I want my beer to taste of whisky....?
Or wood? Many years ago I tasted a few beers ( mainly French and
Belgian ) that had spirit flavours but I wasn't too impressed or
interested in them. At least they were priced at the same level
as base beers.

Each to their own but for me it's simply a novelty.

Cheers!



Viv
 

 

Trappist

Quote from: Viv on December 30, 2022, 09:11:33 AMI also ask myself why do I want my beer to taste of whisky....?

That's exactly what I think too Viv.
There is beer, and there is whisky.
Both products are actually very similar made, but the whisky undergoes that extra distillation and barrel ageing.
There's also the whisky infused beers, which are different from the barrel aged beers, but the goal is the same, ie giving that extra whisky or bourbon flavor to it.
Personally, I'm not against this kind of beers. They sure are wonderful products. I'm thinking of Gouden Carolus Whisky infused, which is a BIG success here in Belgium and abroad.
Stille Nacht Réserva for instance is an amazing beauty too, and there are so many other examples. Actually, whisky flavored Belgian beers are a true success story lately. A trend that's actually coming from the US.
I always ask myself: "Why not making a whisky infused beer myself?".
Take a Westvleteren 12 and add a dose of the finest Scottish whisky. Would that be a great idea?
We do it with making an Irish coffee anyway, do we  ::) Coffee with a whisky flavor.
Barrel aged beers OTOH are a luxury product. Expensive Bourbon barrels need to travel to the Belgian breweries.
More expensive ofcourse, and much higher prices.
Belgian barrel aged beers are in fact a tradition. Look at Oud Bruin (Rodenbach) or Oude Gueuze.
Traditionally wood lagered. But there is that lack of Bourbon flavors ofcourse.
So I think that if a Belgian brewery wants to make a barrel aged beer without Bourbon or Whisky flavors, it could become a very expensive business, knowing new barrels need to be bought instead of used Bourbon barrels, which I think are less expensive as they are second had.

Actually, apart from both examples, I don't know a Belgian brewery making wood aged beers from new unused barrels.



Cheers with an amazing woody Ferre Oaked Whisky. Wow !!
Filip




"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson

Viv

Hi Filip,

You make some good points and I can see the attraction, but as you
also suggest, why not just have a whisky chaser!? They have been
popular for a very long time, and even the coffee market has drinks
with spirits added.

The French have many beers that are whisky, or spirit flavoured,
and these have been available for many years so it's nothing new, but
they usually cost the same as the normal base beer.

Considering now that a bottle of Belgian beer, albeit usually the 750ml size, costs many times the price by volume of a base beer they should still be classed as novelty or luxury niche products! Not an everyday drink at all. Beer should be accessible to the average purchaser, as
per the Westvleteren Monks', not charging up to £50 for one bottle!   

I like beer and I like whisky; but I don't really like them together,
either as a chaser, blended, or barrel aged, so for me they hold
little interest. But there are a few exceptional brews, some of which
you mention.

Frankly, if people want to spend a lot of money chasing down and endlessly ticking every possible brew combination of base beer and spirit ( how many whiskies are there alone! ) then that's up to them! Good luck with that!!!

Cheers!


Viv
 

   

Trappist

#5
Hi Viv,
After reconsidering, this matter is quite complicated to me though.
I still don't have my final thoughts on this, ie being against or pro.
With a whisky chaser, you actually can reach the same effect, if not a better one.
But it sure will not give that luxuxry feeling as opening a Trappist Chimay Grande Réserve barrel aged
>>CHIMAY GRANDE RÉSERVE BARREL AGED – OAK & WHISKEY - 34% French Oak, 41% American Oak and 25% Whiskey<<
Beautiful heavy bottle too, much more sensational feeling. luxury, expensive, name it..... and still quite tasty too.
Personally, I don't buy those expensive barrel aged beers myself, only at rare occasions.
I consider them as luxury products, a bit similar with using those expensive truffles for seasoning festivity food. Caviar is another example.
As I'm not against caviar or truffles, I sure won't be totally negative on the barrel aged niche luxury products either.
But, and this is important, we sure won't loose our regular favorit quality beers due to them luxury beers.
So, it's not really a big problem. I still can taste my favorit Rochefort 10. Good grief  t_u
Cheers,
Filip

"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson