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Advent Calendar Window 20 - Tsjeeses 2011

I wrote about my little bit of history with De Struise when I had the X-mas Zinnebir in Window 3 of this calendar which I very much enjoyed. I picked up this bottle of Tsjeeses 2011 Vintage 10% in Beermoth after eyeing it for a while and it forms Window 20 of this Advent Calendar. A "Winter Triple" that delights, as so many De Struise labels do, with it's depiction of a stoned Jesus in a Father Christmas hat. I picked up a 2013 version in Gent last month too (for a quarter of the price it's sold in Beermoth) and considered doing a side by side tasting. That decision was revoked with the 20th being by Christmas work's do, so this beer had to be drunk in work hours before we all departed on our night out.
"Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel"
Pouring light amber with a big, frothy head, there's an initial surprising hit of a cherry hop nose as it pours, like an American Red. This is surprising as this is billed as a Belgian Triple Ale brewed with spices. Settled in the glass there's plenty of rum soaked raisins on the nose and a subtle smokiness I wasn't expecting. The taste is sublime; a real festive treat of a traditional Belgian Christmas beer revamped and recharged. There's plenty of those rum soaked raisins with bacon wrapped dates and sweet cherry cheesecake. Fresh this may have been quite a hop delight, as the dying bitter hops tickle your taste buds gently before breaking into sweet fruitiness. The smoke that was on the nose remains every time you put the glass to your mouth and adds a complexity to the finish that's extraordinary and savouring. It's not a beer to rush, with it's huge body sticking in your throat, and I find myself a tad disappointed it's been demoted to being drunk at work, such is the luck of the draw. The alcohol never hides itself, nor does it fight with you and shout that it's present. This is a magnificent beer.
Purchased at Beermoth, November 2013.


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