Charles Quint blond 4 x 33cl VAT: 21%
Price: 7.20  (incl. vat) Price empties: 0.40  (Not included)

This strong, dark bottle-conditioned speciality from one of Belgium's larger independents is named after a son of Philip the Fair of Austria, Charles Quint (1500-48), who was born in Gent, became Duke of Flanders at the age of six and and went on to rule the combined territories of Spain, Austria, Burgundy and the Holy Roman Empire, including much of the west coast of the Americas. Nothing about the beer, however, seems to particularly relate to his story, other than that's it's spiced, strong, dark and unpasteurised, as most of the beers of Charles' era would have been. The beer itself is mid-brown, with a lacy head and a creamy and yeasty aroma with faint mineral traces, overall quite restrained. The palate is malty, sweetish and heady with a touch of lightly aromatic fruit and some evidence of botanical flavourings (angelica?). The overall effect is quite closed, however, and while there are some vivid hints the flavours never really open up and express themselves, weighted down by a rather cakey body. The finish is warmingly hoppy with woody whiskyish tones and some final wierdness that's difficult to describe -- banana liqueur, possibly. At this strength the beer might have been improved by keeping, but there was no best before date or other clue to its age.

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