Review: Val-Dieu Grand Cru

Review of Val-Dieu Grand Cru from Brasserie de l’Abbaye du Val-Dieu in Aubel, Belgium

Beer Type: Quadrupel  ABV: 10.5%  Tried on draught.

Their Description: “Val-Dieu Grand Cru from Brasserie De L’Abbaye Du Val-Dieu is the latest addition from Cistercian abbey of Val-Dieu, has a deep dark color, is quite oily and spicy, with aroma of roasted malt, chocolate and port wine; finishes slightly dry.” (Disclaimer: I could not find a description directly on the brewers website, but this is the commercial description on several liquor distributor websites).

The Reality: This beer gives off a potent smell of dark fruit (maybe port wine) and alcohol. I did not detect an aroma of roasted malt or chocolate. The flavor does have roasted notes with plenty of dark fruit and a bit of malt sweetness that the alcohol cuts through. The finish is slightly dry, with even the mildest of tartness like you’d get from a plum and a touch of spice. It is very complex and decently balanced. I don’t know if I’d call it “oily”, but It does drinks fairly smooth and heavy.

Final Verdict: This was an interesting beer to try, because I had it on the same night I tried De Struise Pannepot (review here), both on draught, and even though BeerAdvocate gives Pannepot a higher score, I preferred the Val-Dieu Grand Cru. The main reason is the balance, as I found Pannepot too sweet, and although this beer isn’t perfectly balanced, it does have some more tart and spicy notes that help to round it out. Maybe I’ll drink some the next time I head out on my ATV so I can have some serious Quad-on-Quad action.