Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ommegang Three Philosophers review

Ommegang Three PhilosophersThis review comes a day late as the 4th of July festivities kept me really busy last night. I've had the pleasure of sampling two different and unique Belgian Quadrupel ales this weekend. My previous review was of Avery's The Reverend. Tonight I broke open a big 25.4oz bottle of Brewery Ommegang's 2007 Three Philosophers. This brewery while related to parent company Duvel of Belgium, is actually made in Cooperstown, NY. My local liquor store just started carrying this brand and I jumped at the chance to try it out.

This bottle of Three Philosophers (3 Phils) came with a cork and a wire twist. After carefully removing the cork with a distinct 'pop' I poured the ale into a clean tulip glass. The ale has a dark burgundy color and quickly grows a tall tan head. The head remained for a very long time. I sipped this brew over the course of an hour and later when the head totally disappeared it looked much like a brandy.

The brew is actually a blend of 98% Belgian Quad with 2% Kriek, a cherry lambic. There is a very subtle hint of cherries in the aroma, but you also get a rich sweet aroma of a quad. There is a small whiff of alcohol as well due to the 9.8% ABV in this beer. Swirling the beer really brought out the full bouquet on this beer.

The taste reminded me of a fine Chimay, but a bit less refined. Still, you get the feeling that this beer is no ordinary ale and was created by brewers who know what they're doing. The alcohol on this beer comes out fairly quick. The high alcohol content should not be taken lightly. This beer brought out a little sweat on me despite being sampled in an air-conditioned room. I felt that I would have difficulty finishing an entire bottle by myself without getting too buzzed. You can enjoy some nice dark malts in this brew. I'd suggest drinking this beer with a nice chocolaty dessert or perhaps ice cream with cherries on top.

Three Philosophers is very very smooth. A bit on the sweet side but balanced well. I couldn't really detect the cherries in the taste but knew from the smell that they were present. You get a rich malty taste with a distinctive Belgian flare. After the first glass I felt that I had drank over 2 beers already. Ya, it kicks ass. I started a second glass and knew I'd be sleeping well tonight. There was little or no head upon the second pouring. This beer quickly becomes one of your best old friends after the first glass. It's a taste to be savored, not in quantity but sparingly and slowly over the course of an evening. Don't rush to finish this glass.

I highly suggest you share a bottle of 3 Philosophers with 1, 2 or 3 friends. There is enough brew in this over-sized bomber bottle to give a full experience for up to 2 couples. I'm not going to try to drink all of it as I want to avoid getting too drunk. Overall, I'm very satisfied with this beer. It's not like your common craft brew. It's strong, dark, rich and full of flavor.

The beer ranking sites seemed to praise this ale as well. Check out Ratebeer and BeerAdvocate for more reactions but do so after you've tried it for yourself. I really appreciate the craftsmanship that went into this beer. It beats out Avery's quad by a long shot. I'm going to give this beer a 3.7 out of 5. I'd buy this again for a special occasion to share with friends. Be sure to drink it around 50 degrees (beer temp that is) and don't drink it in a hot environment as it will bring out a sweat in you. Good stuff.

Related articles:
- St. Bernardus Abt 12 review
- Avery the Reverend review
- Oud Beersel Kriek Ale review

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