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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ommegeddon - a review

Ommegeddon from Brewery OmmegangThis beer has received mixed reviews, so I thought I would weigh in with my opinion.

I toured the Brewery Ommegang back in the summer during the Belgium Comes to Cooperstown Festival.

I loved the fact that its beers were fermented in open vessels. That's a brewing process I strongly believe in — open vessels allow off-aromas to vent during fermentation, thereby creating a softer, cleaner beer.

And that does not mean a less flavorful beer. Indeed, it takes nerves of steel to introduce no public entry! open fermenterthe brettanomyces yeast strain into your brewery, and even more so to allow that wild yeast to ferment out in the open.

Brettanomyces or brett is technically a wild yeast, that is, it produces flavors not recognized as 'standard'. Think: wet goat, horse blanket, barnyard, and even baby diaper!

Brewmaster Randy Thiel must have nerves of steel. He indeed ferments in an open fermenter with this bastard yeast. I wouldn't want to be there on cleaning day, when all vestiges of those brett beasties must be thoroughly removed.

Ommegeddon has that typical (that is, good) restrained Belgian golden ale spiciness (think coriander, fresh nutmeg, cardamom). The spices are not added to the beer, but a fermentation result of the non-Brett Belgian strain used. And there's some typical apricot fruitiness, and that typical touch of grandma's attic.

But then there's that funky brett-derived barnyard aroma ... but, again, in well-brewed moderation.

Like some other Belgian and Belgian-style beers, the bottles seem to have greater complexity than the draft. With the Hennepin Saison, these are my favorites from Brewery Ommegang. Recommended.

I had a bottle last night with dinner, hence the review now.

I noticed on the brewery's website the visit of of Saint Nicholas to the brewery yesterday, Saturday.

When I was a child, my family lived in Bonn, Germany. We would celebrate Saint Nicholas Day every 5 December by leaving Dutch wooden shoes outside of our bedroom doors. The next morning, they would be filled with chocolates.

My sister still honors the day; I'm sure she enjoyed a chocolate or two on Wednesday. I did myself, but two days later, on Friday ... and with beer.

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