De Struise Tsjeeses 2013 Reserva PBA Belgian Xmas Ale


24293991_779020902282057_6653817597278570340_n“The amazing Tsjeeses Christmas Ale, aged in port barrels. 2013 edition.”

Served in a stemmed tulip. We’re met with an attractive chestnut hue which dons a short tan cap. Steady reduction with a healthy lace pattern sticking to the glass as we imbibe.
Oh man these Reserva beers by Struise are absolutely mind-blowing! The 2013 ‘Kerstbier’ was phenomenal but this aroma is simply in a class of its own. Crammed full of toffee apple, plum jam, raisin, fig, caramelised pears, sourdough, banana runts, spice, port and even a subtle hint of vanilla. How do these guys not carry a Trappist certification? This is without a doubt on par with the likes of Westvleteren and Westmalle.
All of those brilliant aromas have transferred on to the palate quite nicely. Waves of toffee and caramel, fruity esters, port, raisin, mild oak, spice and slightly tart plums start strong and mellow in to a super sweet dark fruity middle. The warming booze kicks in to gear as syrupy notes of honey and raisin finish with hints of apple and pear on the back end.
The texture is full-ish, well carbonated and sticky. 10% ABV is well concealed. Slightly cloying at times but no where near enough to hinder the overall brilliance of the beer.
World class drop right here. The years aging in port barrels has had a delicate yet effective outcome, handing this already rich and intense ale an extra layer of complexity, not to mention the softening of the booze. Excellent offering.