Thursday 2 December 2010

Ultra délice, Ultra blonde & Ultra ambrée

My tour through the beers of Brasserie d’Ecaussinnes continued with three "Ultra" offerings: Ultra délice, Ultra blonde and Ultra ambrée. After the debacle of Cookie Beer, I was wary to even open the bottles...

Well, the good news is, removing the cap of Ultra délice did not result in a foamy wee fountain in my kitchen. It poured -- didn’t spray -- a lovely chestnut brown, in fact, with a gentle cappuccino-crema head.

The taste, however, wasn’t something I was thrilled about. It’s got a pleasant, thick mouthfeel, but it’s quite sour and marmitey. It seems like there are some spices trying to push their way out through the vinegar, but sadly, unsuccessfully.

Ultra blonde pours a butterscotch hue, and also suffers from a bit of sourness. It’s missing those flavours I associate with Belgian strong blond ales -- none of those bitter grapefruity pithy notes, for example. There’s something fruity, like over-ripe apple, that almost moves in to save the taste.

But not quite. It falls well short of being something I'd order again.

Third up, then, was Ultra ambrée. It’s got a pleasing copper colour with a healthy, lasting head. In taste, the first thing that hits you is candied orange peel, and then it mellows into a kind of fresh-baked lemon cake, smooth, with no sharp edges. Overall, it’s a bit too sweet for me, but Ultra ambrée is at least interesting and complex. It’s easily the best of the four beers from Brasserie d'Ecaussinnes that I’ve now tried.

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