“De Dolle Brouwers is one of the classic small breweries of the early Belgian Craft Revolution. De Dolle came into existence in 1980 when the last small brewery, Constenoble, in the village of Esen was on the verge of closing due to illness. Instead of closing, so many other small breweries seemed to be doing in the second half of the 20th century, Constenoble was saved by architect, artist, and home brewer; Kris Herteleer.
Kris had won a prestigious brewing contest with his rich, dark beer and saw the opportunity to step into the brewing game when so many were choosing to leave it. That dark, award-winning beer became De Dolle’s first beer: Oerbier. Oer is a play on words. It’s a combination of “our” bier and the German “ur,” meaning original.
Originally, Herteleer obtained his yeast from Rodenbach until 2000. At this point, De Dolle had to start propagating its own yeast and did so from its older stocks. If you’ve read any of the Michael Jackson “Great Beers of Belgium” books, this beer was listed at 7.5% ABV. Currently, it’s coming in at 9% ABV. Oerbier is also renowned for its ageability.
This is due in part to a change the brewery instituted in 2005 when they began mixing lactobacillus into the fermentation mix. Over time this will cause the beer to sour and develop more depth and complexity. Because of this, I’ve acquired several bottles with the same bottling date. ”
Appearance: Brown with amber highlights, tan head, great retention.
Aroma: Chocolate, spice, rum, cinnamon, woody notes, toffee, sherry/tawny port, bourbon-y.
Taste: Spicy, boozy, Rum, toffee, sherry/tawny port, bourbon-y.
Overall Impression: The second bottle still tastes incredibly fresh with a lot of the same flavors and aromas. However, the added time of just over a year has introduced some of the typical sherry/tawny port notes you’d expect. A year and half from the bottling date, Oerbier has added even more complexity. It’s tasting fantastic, but if you’re holding any of these bottles there’s still a lot of time left.
Availability: Perhaps some still left in stores from this bottling. There are definitely more current bottlings available, imported by B. United International.
Note: Bottled in June of 2014, tasted on 12/21/2015