Monday, April 16, 2012

De Struise Brouwers Pannepot Grand Riserva Vintage (2005)

My father, brother-in-law and myself were shopping at a Binny's for some craft beers.  Personally, I was looking for beers that I had never seen before and cannot find around where I live.  My dad struck up a conversation with one of the employees about the beer selection.  The employee showed my dad a bottle of Pannepot Grand Riserva Vintage (2005), a beer that the Binny's had never stocked before and, according to the employee, probably would not stock again.  This particular beer is a very rare one.  Only 3,000 bottles were filled ... for the entire world.  Yet, there were half a dozen bottles on the shelf of that particular Binny's. Knowing of my particular objectives during this shopping trip, my dad alerted me to this beer.  We both bought a bottle and it sat in my basement for a few months.  Eventually, I decided to try it recently.  

The Pannepot is a beer brewed by De Struise Brouwers, a Belgian brewer located in Oostvleveren, Belgium.  De Struise first brewed the Pannepot in 2001, a Belgian quadrupel that is dedicated to the local fishermen from the village of De Panne.  After brewing the beer for a few years, one of the brewer's colleagues proposed to age the Pannepot in French oak barrels.  De Struise experimented with the aging of its beer with a batch brewed in 2005 (hence, the 2005 vintage).  The brewer aged the beer in those oak barrels for 24 months.  De Struise bottled some of the beer, which sold out immediately.  Rather than sell the remaining beer, the brewer decided to age it for another eight months in second hand Calvados barrels.  After this second aging, De Struise filled only 3,000 bottles.

The Pannepot Grand Riserva pours a chocolate brown in color.  The aroma has elements of caramel and yeast.  There is also a sweetness in the nose of this beer, reminiscent of Belgian candy, sugar or dark fruits. The sweetness carries over to the taste of this beer.  The aging in oak barrels and Calvados barrels has definitely contributed to the taste of this beer.  The oak wood has toned down some of the quadrupel flavors.  By contrast, the Calvados barrels provides a little apple tartness, which shines through every once in a while.  The tartness is an interesting contrast to the Belgian candy sweetness of the beer.  Finally, there is a little Bourbon vanilla interlaced amongst the sweetness and tartness, providing the final layer of complexity to the taste of this beer.   

This beer is definitely a sipping beer.  Of course, this is fine given it has a 10% ABV.  Given there is only 3,000 bottles, it is very rare and unlikely to be seen again.  If you see it, it sells for about $12.99 a bottle.  


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