When I come across a brewery that specializes in traditional brewing techniques while focusing on specific styles, I am immediately intrigued. Abbey of the Holy Goats, in Roswell, GA, is one of those said small craft breweries that focuses on Belgian-style beers. The beer in judgment, The Goat’s Ascension, is a Belgian-Style Red Strong Aged in Port Wine Barrels.
13.9% ABV, No listed IBU
This Belgian-Strong comes in a 22oz bottle that opens via a bottle opener. I’m pointing this out because for a Belgian-style beer in a bottle of its size, I would have been more pleased with a distinctive corked experience; needless to this in no way diminishes the quality or taste of the beer. It’s just a preference.
Opening this beer and pouring it was such a beautiful experience. The body was a deep copper brown with a monstrous and vibrant but dark tan head. Rising directly from the head, aromatic notes of sweet malt. Very fruity and youthful with dark fruits like raisins, prunes and dark cherries; reminiscent of a red wine. Once I was fulfilled with the aromas of the Ascension, I rose the glass to my lips and experienced the pillowing carbonation with slim amounts of esters and alcohol coming through. Coming in at basically 14%, I was surprised.
Now, let’s get to how it tasted.
The sweetness and esters seem to be the focus of attention as they race against each other during their journey over the palette. Hops play a role mid-way that eventually lead to a minor to moderate alcohol burn. Some oak on the finish as well. Nothing overwhelming about the Ascension, but at the forefront of this beer, it will be sweet. As I mentioned, it’s well balanced between the minimal hop presence and the 13.9% alcohol bite.
I guarantee this rich and semi-sweet beer would pair perfectly with a nice dry cheese or some type of aged apple sausage. I’m getting hungry just thinking about how that would be together.