5 March 2016

St. Stefanus Beer (@StStefanus Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]


I've held onto this blonde beer for quite sometime. In fact I can't remember when I bought it. "Why?" I may hear you ask. Well, there was no level of avoidance here. Perish the thought where beer is concerned. Let me tell you what I read on the label when I picked it up many moons ago. This beer originated with Saint Stefanus who was of the Augustinian order in the Belgian city of Ghent in 1295. Don't worry I'm not going to get all religious on you. It's what comes next that interested me. This highly fermented beer was brewed with three different yeasts. Each bottle, presumably including this fine 330ml bottle here, is then matured for three months in a dark Belgian cellar, before a fanfare release blinkingly to the daylight outside and the open market. Better still, the longer this blonde beer stays unopened in the bottle the beer continues to mature and the yeast's distinctive flavours develop.
Well I just had to pick up a bottle and leave it in a cool place and then move it into the fridge right up until the best before date. Slightly worried it would taste like bin juice combined with freshly rung out sweaty socks, I then opened the bottle. I was at first relieved that this 7% volume blonde actually smelt like a malted barley beer. There was also a strong aroma of yeast at the back of the smell. Fortunately the beer didn't explode all over the place like an over excited bottle of champagne either. This dark mirky blonde beer poured fizzily into my waiting beer glass with a rather shocking sized head. For an ex-barman this was a little embarrassing, but I was in polite company. When the head had finally calmed down. I took a tentative sip. I could definitely feel the strength of this beer as my tastebuds supped it greedily, whilst the sheer richness from the yeasts fired a volley of shots like a three gun salute up nose adding to the glorious malted barley and bitter hoppy flavours. The malted barley hit my happy tongue first, with the yeasts washing around my mouth and then came the bitter hoppiness that followed through into the aftertaste, where the malted barley reared its head once more. I'm rather glad I left this beer so long, because this beer is certainly one to admire and then to savour. My only gripe was that I hadn't bought more than one bottle that day way back when! Mmm... Lipsmacking bliss.
By Spectre

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