This beer pours a clear, dark red-brick brown colour, with two chubby fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and somewhat fizzy beige head, which leaves a bit of thickly sudsy forest canopy lace around the glass as it very slowly sinks away.
It smells of bready and doughy caramel malt, bittersweet cocoa powder, some mixed dark fruitiness (raisins, dried cherries, and bruised apples), an ephemeral yeastiness, a sort of sweet nuttiness, and very subtle leafy and mildly perfumed floral hop bitters. The taste is gritty and grainy caramel malt, a twinge of biscuity toffee, besotted black orchard fruit (essentially the same from the aroma), dead-seeming yeast, an oily bar-top nutty character, brown sugar syrup, and more plain herbal and estery floral hoppiness.
The bubbles are pretty low-key in their workaday frothiness, the body a decent medium weight, and generally smooth, just a hint of yeast and alcohol ingress keeping this from obtaining top marks, as such. It finishes off-dry, but in a duly moderated sense – malt, yeast, fruity, florals, and alcohol, all playing nicely together.
Overall, Brugse Zot Dubbel (say that 10 times fast!) comes across as a version of the style that has been made this way forever, and they ain’t gonna be changing it anytime soon. Well-constructed, if not particularly complex, but that’s ok, it just renders it all that much more easy to quaff, brain duly turned off.
Distiller: Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan | ABV: 7.5% | €4.50