“Abbey of the Dead perches on a mound of skulls above a river of blood, offering up candy to the lost souls. She is sweet, and beguiling, she is dainty and beautiful, but inside she is not cotton candy and rainbows. Brewed to celebrate Halloween and the Day of the Dead festival, Abbey of the Dead is our blood red Belgian ale brewed with sugar skull candies, spiced with marigolds and dried hibiscus flowers, and a hefty backbone of big Belgian malts to tie it all together. Spicy from 2 Belgian yeast strains, you’ll get cocoa and toffee on the nose, earthy marigolds and plummy, citrusy hibiscus notes. Light in body, but big in malt – and no pumpkin.”
Served in a snifter glass. The rich mahogany appearance caps off with a well retained three finger head that persists beautifully. Rings of thick, sudsy lacing are left clinging to the glass as it ebbs. Due to years of familiarising ourselves with this brewers beer we know he has the tendancy to sour or barrel age most of them. Let’s just say it works for certain styles and potentially ruins others. The Belgian Dubbel is one not to be soured and it perilously seems that is the case here. Offering malty scents of plum, raisin, fig, chocolate and pudding, this aroma flirts with scents of cherry, blueberry, phenols and currants. Although the base aromas are here the estery yeasts are coming through a bit too excessively. The mouth feel is soft and creamy but a subtle acidity that develops reinforces what we’re saying. Co2 is medium and a mild bitterness adds a little kick but this lip puckering sourness is a little untoward. The front palate is overbearingly sour with that vinegary phenol character that is simply not welcome in a Belgian Dubbel. Tart fruits like raspberry and pomegranate come forward as a restrained dark malt undertone tries to push through across the mid. The sour acidity lingers in to the finish and rounds out a slightly disappointing Dubbel. OK, there are beer lovers out there that enjoy sour beers. We don’t mind sour beer too but we truly think that some styles just aren’t meant to brett-fermented. A Belgian Dubbel is in the don’t sour category. Plenty of better beers from these guys, we aren’t fans of this one.