Fuck Art This is Religion
Brewery: To Øl
Type: Belgian Strong Ale
To Øl tend to make beers with shocking names. Wether it is an honest artistic edginess or just a marketing gimmick is up for debate. This is another beer in their "Fuck art this is something" line of beers, most famous for it's burger label being banned in the US. They take classical Belgian beer styles and give them a little twist. This time they take aim at bringing religion to their beer. Of course the religious angle of this beer is that it is aged in sacramental wine barrels with some sour bugs thrown in for extra sacrilege.
The label reads: "This religiously explosive brew is a classical dubbel gone mad. Brewed with the finest malts and hops and then aged for 9 months on sacramental wine barrels with lacto acid bacterias resulting in a hybrid freaky mix of styles". The sacramental wine barrels being the root of the edgy name of this beer. I won't go much into sacramental wines, but it is kind of interesting if you want to read about it here. One such interesting fact is Catholic law forbids the use of wine that has been tainted or soured by bacteria in church ceremonies. If using the lacto bacteria was a nod to this rule, then I do have to give a tip of the hat for that little wink wink from To Øl.
Pours out an orangy amberish color with a thick slightly white head, which I will refer to as the beer equivalent of a pope hat. Smell is dark sweet fruit with that funky farmhouse smell from all the bugs in the barrel. Not surprisingly it tastes a lot like a strong Belgian ale, a style I am not the biggest fan of. I had hoped the barrel aging and added wild elements would change it for the better on my palate, but still not buying what this beer is preaching. Mixed taste of strong ale, funk, oak, and a bitterness I was not expecting. The original ale obviously had that strong spicy caramel and fig flavor, the barrels added a touch of wood and the wine and lacto bacteria kind of made it slightly sour. It is not nearly as sour as I would have thought a beer barrel aged with lacto acid bacteria would be. A shame as that would have really balanced the flavor more in my opinion. Still too rich and spicy from the base Belgian beer for my taste. It has a full mouthfeel with a tingling long lasting oaky aftertaste. Certainly a complex and interesting beer, but seems it's a beer thrown together just for the sake of the name. I applaud the tongue in cheek idea behind this beer, but personally I had a hard time getting all the kool aid down.