This beer has sort of vexed me in a way, mainly because it shows the limitations of using the BJCP as a guide in the beer world.
At 13% ABV, this is a very strong beer, stronger than most. And while this beer claims to be a Blonde Ale, if I use the blonde ale criteria as my starting point, then this beer ends up with major marks against it, because of the high ABV. The same is true if I use the Belgian Pale Ale category, which happens to be the one that Beer Advocate classifies this beer.
No, truly this beer is something else entirely, and should be treated as such. This has brought me to a major beer epiphany – beers may be made under traditional recipes, but they also may so that something new and unique is developed. In other words, there is still room for innovation when it comes to beer recipes.
Belzebuth comes from a French brewery, and I believe it’s the first French beer discussed on this here site.
Appearance: Gold with amber tints. crisp, nearly clear. A white head that lasts several minutes.
Aroma: sweet and malty, with citrus in the background. There’s a small hint of hops, but it’s below the other aromas. Just about the stereotypical aroma for a Belgian Pale Blonde ale.
Taste: Sweet and malt, but it doesn’t leave a cloyingly sweet aftertaste that you get with some overly malty brews. Hint of toffee on the finish. Just the slightest bit of bitterness on the back of the palate. And then the hit of alcohol brushes your nose at the end. Very pleasant beer.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, light carbonation. Judged against the criteria of the BJCP, the alcohol hit is a weakness, but hey, I like it.
Drinkability: A very nice beer that borders on great. The mouthfeel could be a little more present, and the high alcohol content does make this less than a standard blonde ale. However, if I were to submit this for judging, I’d throw this under the speciality beer category and take a chance there. This is a good, nearly great beer, but should not be considered the standard bearer for strong blonde ales.