On tap at Plank Pizza, soft-toned Abbey Ale aged in bourbon and brandy barrels seems a tad thin and underwhelming (despite heady 9.9% ABV), but not at the expense of its spicily candi-sugared plum, fig and date sweetness. Mild port, burgundy, brandy and bourbon illusions add subtle red-wined tannins.
Delightful easygoing copper-browned Abbey styling stays softer than most richer competition, but to no detriment. Sweet caramel-spiced plum, raisin, dark cherry and red grape illusions preserve molasses bread base as modest cellar funk spreads underlying musk.
On tap at Shepherd & Knucklehead – Haledon, ambitious ‘acorn squash abbey ale’ provides a nice ‘twist on traditional Belgian style.’ Like a fruitier mai-bocked barleywine, perhaps, its sweet candi-sugared crystal malting and zesty citrus perk gain earthen gourd resilience to contrast less tangible pumpkin-spiced reminder.
Mocha-endowed dubbel hybrid lets massive flavor profile battle indefinitely for blurrily mixed full-bodied breakfast fodder. Dubbel-like caramelized raisin, sugarplum and dark cherry spicing confronts heavily armed fresh-roast coffee, cocoa nibs and dark chocolate richness above oats-flaked rye malting. Light bourbon sweetness contrasts bitter tobacco chaw acridity below dried fruited mocha salvo. Confusingly confounding yet idiosyncratically supple.
“Burgundian” dubbel contrasts laidback candi-sugared dried fruiting and sweet orange peel subtlety with sharp peppery hop bittering and wispy tobacco roast. Stylishly embedded prune, raisin and plum tones gain mild honey-spiced chocolate malting as distant licorice-rooted anise star adjunct gains tingly coriander and cumin accents.
Durable Belgian-styled dubbel drizzles brown-sugared raisin, fig and sugarplum conflux and molasses-candied chocolate malting atop sharply spiced peppery hop herbage. Bruised apple, brown pear, toffee, cocoa and dried cherry illusions sweeten its back end.
On tap at Dog & Cask, vague dubbel needs deeper sweetness to counter sharp hop peppering and soured fig-plum-raisin tartness. Instead, candi-sugared yeast spicing and caramelized malting get beaten down by somewhat pedestrian dried fruiting.
Indecisive gourd-squashed Belgian dubbel gets mellow as maca-rooted pumpkin spicing picks up musty raw molasses souring and earthen barnyard leathering. Ripe banana undertones lay beside light cinnamon-nutmeg seasoning and sweet pecan wisp.
Triumphantly well-rounded dubbel delivers exquisite dark-fruited Belgian yeast spicing to creamy toffee-honeyed caramel malting, mild citric hop bite and sweet banana breading. Brown-sugared raisin, prune, fig and black cherry illusions override subtle almond-toasted chestnut nicety.
On tap at Ambulance, whiskey marinated herbal delight finds its sweet-liquored spirits whisked away by citra-hopped orange and lemon souring as well as wispy almond-marzipan nuances. Peppery Belgian yeast spicing enhances floral citric herbage at whiskey-dabbed finish.
Seductive well-rounded medium body contrasts musky Belgian yeast peppering with ripe raisin rampage and brown-sugared molasses malting. Caramelized brown chocolate nuttiness and grape-jammed plum-fig-date dried fruiting heighten its complexities. Tertiary dark rum, brown banana, black cherry and blackberry nuances sweeten the back end.
Easygoing Belgian dark ale crowds sweet cotton-candied entry with banana-bruised coriander spicing and doughy sugar breading. Although astringent ethanol burn overrides wispy dried fruiting, latent raisin-grape-cherry undertones enrich its caramelized backend.