Thursday, December 26, 2013

Brasserie de Silly - Barrel Aged Scotch De Silly

For the Second Beer of Christmas, Belgium delivers a Scottish gift.

Brasserie de Silly
Barrel Aged Scotch De Silly
This was an unusual bottle sitting on the shelf at Spec's. With the champagne cork, it looks like the other Belgian beers on the shelf. But the large word "SCOTCH" said it was something different. And yet it's still from Belgium. That little anomaly cried out to me and said, "Put me in the shopping cart."

I've been a fan of Scotch and Scottish ales (what's the difference you ask ... see below) for a long time - going back to when I was still drinking Budweiser on a regular basis. This one was certainly not a disappointment.

The beer created a beautiful walnut colored glass with a moderate head that quickly thinned to just a ring around the outside of the glass. There was almost no lacing left after the beer was gone. The aroma was full of spice and molasses. A little hazelnut and freshly sawn lumber round out the nose.

The taste is sweet with a moderate molasses flavor that's tamed by the hops. There's a bit of raisins to it and woody undertones which much come from the barrel aging. An almost brazen flourish of alcohol comes through in the aftertaste.

Choosing a favorite between this one and Oskar Blues' Old Chub (reviewed for Christmas 2011) is a tough call. Old Chub is smoother and cheaper - the latter being a big plus in my book. This is a tasty treat. I enjoyed the rough edges versus Old Chub's smoother, creamier feel. I'll buy it again, probably on a whim, but I imagine I'll pick up a six-pack of Old Chub a lot more frequently.

Brewer: Brasserie de Silly
Location: Silly, Belgium
Website: (English, French, and Dutch translations are available)
Style: Scotch Ale
Alcohol Content: 9.0% ABV
Interesting Note: According to Wikipedia, Silly is named for a local stream (called Sille in French and Zulle in Dutch). It has nothing to do with the English word. Isn't that silly? Ba-dum ching!

Scotch Ale vs Scottish Ale
These siblings are best described as being like the twins Julius and Vincent Benedict from the movie "Twins." One is big, bold, and strong while the other one smells like Danny DeVito. Umm, no, wait ... that's not right. One is big, bold, and strong while the other one is a lighter, smaller version cut from the same cloth (or barley). Though brewed from the same ingredients (more or less), Scotch Ale (the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the pair) tends to be bigger, bolder, heavier, and higher in alcohol.  Scottish Ale (the Danny DeVito) is a lighter version with lower alcohol and tends to be more sessionable. Although, to be completely honest, I'd rather watch a series of Arnold movies than Danny movies.

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