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Beer #15 – January 15, 2010: Delirium Tremens

January 15, 2010

Beer: Delirium Tremens

Brewery: Huyghe Brewery, Melle, Belgium

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Serving Type: Bottle

Price: Unknown – part of a mixed gift pack

Availability: Year-round

Glassware: White wine glass

Strength: 8.5% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: While strong, the alcohol in this one is well hidden.  Maybe that’s the reason for the “Pink Elephants” on the bottle: drink enough, and you’ll see pink elephants too!

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours a hazy rich golden hue with a fizzy white head that audibly crackles in the glass.

Aroma: Honeysuckle, sweetness, hint of spicy yeast.

Mouthfeel: Slightly thick and syrupy, with big bubbles of carbonation.

Taste: This one starts with an orange-blossom honey sweetness, which is enhanced by the thick, syrupy mouthfeel making it seem even more like drinking honey.  Fruit flavors then come forward of orange and Asian pear, with a slight mineral tinge.  The flavors also remind me of sweet German wine, say a late harvest Riesling or Gewurztraminer.  A woody, black tea, slightly bitter finish helps balance the overall sweet character.

Pairing: This one makes a great aperitif, like a champagne to cleanse the palate before a meal.  It also would pair well with something light but salty, like lox, where the sweet/salty contrast intensifies both flavors.

Trivia: The term “delirium tremens” is a Latin for “trembling madness”, typically caused by withdrawal from alcohol.  It is truly scary and disturbing from the medical descriptions I came across when searching on the internet when simply looking for more information on the beer.  And while I did enjoy this beer, I’m not a big fan of the name after learning about this.

However, I do like the imaginary animals that appear on the label: the pink elephant, green alligator wearing a beret (or is it a crocodile?  I can never tell the difference, and not sure which, if either, would wear a beret) and the red dragon balancing on a ball!  Why?  Apparently, “seeing pink elephants” means having drunken hallucinations.  While this is a strong beer, I certainly hope I won’t be seeing pink elephants after just one glass!

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