Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale Belgium 750ml

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Great ale? Of Corsendonk!

Dec 16, 2005 (Updated Dec 17, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Impossibly smooth with a range of flavor and aroma that tempts the senses to overindulgence.

Cons:Impossibly smooth with a range of flavor and aroma that tempts the senses to overindulgence.

The Bottom Line: This is an excellent introduction to Abbey beers. You'll find nary a beer as deliciously balanced as Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale.


The history of the Corsendonk Brewery dates back to the early Middle Ages. Founded in 1398, the Priory of Corsendonk has always been regarded as a rather significant brewery and malt-house.

Corsendonk is considered an "Abbey beer" despite the presence of the word "ale" in its name. In other words, Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale is a strong brew crafted in a similar fashion to some of the more well-recognized Trappist ales, such as Chimay, Orval, and Rochefort, but not under the religious aegis of a monastery. Some other noteworthy abbey beers are Leffe, Grimbergen, Duvel, Affligem, Karmeliet, and Kwak.

To many, Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale is as far from a household name as it gets, but the ale-drinking cognoscenti have known of its award-winning grandeur for years.

In 1985, Corsendonk captured the Gold Medal in Madrid, the America Award in 1986, the coveted German Reinheitsgebot in Berlin in 1989, an award that speaks to the absolute natural purity of this brew, as well as the Great Golden Medal of Luxembourg in 1990 and the Oscar of packaging in Brussels,in 1990 to name a few!

This beer has a pedigree that sets even the American Kennel Club to salivating!

But enough of accolades and history!

To the pour!

I selected a 9 oz. Anchor Hocking stemmed tulip glass for this abbey brown event prior to popping the cork from the 750ml brown-glass bottle. I found the selection of a thin-lipped vessel a wonderful pairing to the thinner-than-usual body of this brew.

Held to the light, this noble brew poured a dark copper-to-mahogany hue with a level of carbonation that waltzed across the face of the glass. A two-and-a-half inch cream-colored "bishop's collar" rose majestically above the pour line and left a gossamer Belgian lace on the glass as it fell.

Drinking deep the aroma of this brew brought to mind dark-roasted malt with nutty overtones and an absolute waft of fig. The vehicle for these more prominent effluvia was an enticing sachet of molasses, caramel, dates, and overripe apples.

The mouthfeel is underwhelming only in that the beer appears far more robust in the glass than it comes across in the mouth. The carbonation is light to moderate and is microfine and unobtrusive, a distinguishing feature of the Abbey and Trappist brews.

Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale immediately presented a roasted-malt backbone ushered in by a light nuttiness and a creme caramel lusciousness. There also was an undeniable maple characteristic in the palate, with cameos made by raisin, plum, and fig. The finish was moderately-to-lightly hoppy with a closing citric note of orange rind and nipped any potential cloying sweetness in the bud.

At 7.5% ABV, Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale is extremely drinkable and extraordinarily well-balanced while delivering a backdoor alcohol warmth and faint, lingering sweetness I find both comforting and endearing. With an overly smooth power ale, I urge caution - and calling me when you start pouring!

Thank you for spending some time with your (long lost) Mother!

~ Mothermeatloaf

And remember to drink responsibly! The world is better with you on it - not in it!




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