From Avery’s “Daemons of Ale” series comes The Beast; a 14.9% abv Grand Cru powerhouse! And this beer really is a beast, no joke. It is brewed with five different malts as well as roasted wheat, and six different hop varieties as a Belgian Style Grand Cru. This type of beer has immense malt richness, vast complexity, huge hop bitterness, and can range in warmth of alcohol. In any case, you should expect something large and in charge from a Grand Cru.
This really is the case here – it is the middle of three beers in the Daemons of Ale series; the 14.5% Samael’s Oak Aged English Strong Ale, and 15.1% Mephistopheles’ Stout. Both of which are waiting for me when my palate has calmed down. I thought I knew what to expect when I opened The Beast, but I was just revenged by this immense beer. Part of this could be because this bottle was crafted in 2005 and is now anywhere around five years old!
I took it out of the fridge to warm a little, and set up a seat for myself on the balcony. A Grand Cru like this should be served around cellar temperature, between 12 to 14 degrees Celsius, or 54 to 57 F. If too cold you will mute all the complex and meaty flavors of the beer, so just take it out about 10 or 15 minutes before you plan to enjoy it so that it can caress you palate with favor and aroma.
I poured The Beast slowly only to reveal that it was closer to engine oil than beer! I have never seen anything so heavily viscous before – even some of the strongest Imperial Stouts I have had can’t touch how thick and heavy this beers body is. It fell heavily into my snifter slowly lifting a dense creamy tan head about an inch and a half off the surface of the beer. Oh, and the beer? I can’t call it black, cause its not. But it was the deepest and darkest maroon brown with touches of bronze, mahogany, and deep bourbon reds. A gentle swirl shows the legs, and proves the thick character that this beers holds.
The nose is full and wide with rum, raisins, port, prunes, dried dates, clove, cinnamon, plums, bitter chocolate, toffee, cherries, oak and alcohol. Its rich and heavy already on the nose. The alcohol is there, but mostly masked behind the huge druid fruit and molasses like aromas.
Ok, here we go! I went in for a good mouthful so that I could really get blasted by this beat right away – wow! There is so much in this beer! All of the aromas come pouring out in your palate. The first thing that I noticed though is the creamy and oil-like mouthfeel. The carbonation, if it exists, is negligible, and the beer just coats every inch of your mouth in a thick wave of massive flavors.
It comes at you like syrup with rich deep port, creamy rum and cognac up front. Thick butterscotch, vanilla and heavy rich malts flow over your entire tongue and fill your cheeks. There is a huge roasted malt character everywhere which is warmly sweet, and finished with prunes, dates, mild spice, barley, and round bitter hops.
There are a lot of different sweet and rich characteristics here all fighting for supremacy. The hops are hidden but the bitter is apparent, and necessary to balance this massive beer. The finish is mellow sweet, long and heavy. Overall the mouthfeel is simply thick, but also very fitting for a beer of this nature.
If you enjoy cognac, brandy or rich rums, you will probably enjoy this beer. It is a contemplative beer than demands your attention, and time.
I feel like it is probably still very young, and will benefit from several years in my cellar. The heat that comes from the heavy malts and alcohol will smooth over into less of an abrasive port feel, and more of a creamy malt. Avery claims that it can be aged for over 10 years. We’ll see if I have the patience for that…