Saluting tradition and longevity
A Review of Ommegang XV by Ommegang Brewery
Posted on 1/31/2014 by Chops
In the wonderful world of craft beer, it's very important to highlight achievements. Craft brewers work tirelessly for their passions and often their biggest reward is just staying in business. While a strong sense of camaraderie is always present in their world, so is a competitive spirit. Successful brewers almost always have a unique aura about them, something special that sets them apart. Ommegang is one such brewery. Their claim to fame? World-class Belgian beers crafted in New York. The do it and do it well, which is why I recently found myself staring at a bottle of Ommegang XV, their 15th Anniversary Ale. As a big fan of the brewery, I couldn't help but purchase a bottle and offer a hearty toast to celebrate this achievement.

Ommegang notes that this Belgian Dark Strong Ale ''pays homage to the great Trappist ales brewed by monks in the Trappist monasteries of Belgium''. Trappist ales are known throughout the world for their rich history and complexity, so crafting these ales requires a great deal of skill, education, respect, and patience. This is why you rarely find respectable Belgian brewers outside of Belgian monasteries.

In the glass, Ommegang XV had a dark brown coloration with a ruby tint and a healthy amount of yeasty sediment. It came with a frothy beige head that had really nice retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a smorgasbord of dark fruits, namely raisins, figs, dates, prunes, and various berries. I also found an pleasant under layer of cocoa and toasted bread. It was a delightfully enticing introduction that reminded me why these beers are so rewarding.

Perhaps the most gratifying aspect of this beer was the mouthfeel. This beer had a thick and full body, but drank like a silky smooth Dubbel at half the strength. That hefty 9.6% ABV was almost nowhere to be found. It assumed the role of a mild warming note and little else. The hop profile was also quite tame and served more as a ghostly counterpart to the alcohol nip. Flavor wise, all aromatic notes were accounted for. The dark fruit notes shined through as dominate traits, followed by toasted bread and cocoa. Adding to the mix were notes of black cherries and caramel. The beer finished creamy smooth and exited with a pleasant fruity aftertaste.

Overall, the Ommegang XV (15th Anniversary Ale) was a delectably complex brew. I have come to expect a higher quality from Ommegang and this beer was no different. They have managed to pay tribute to a rich brewing tradition while also stamping on their own unique signature. This is a brew that I can easily recommend to any and all beer fans. Seasoned drinkers will love this beer's velvety mouthfeel and vibrant flavors. This is also a wonderful bridge beer for novices due to its high accessibility. But be warned, that strength is very well hidden, so give this beer the respect it deserves. This beer geek could not be happier with the experience and I salute Ommegang for their wonderful achievement in both product and longevity. Cheers to another 15 years!

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Ommegang XV by Ommegang Brewery
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