Located in the Belgian town of Wevelgem, the Brewery De Ranke was founded in 1994 by longtime beer enthusiast and home beer maker Nino Bacelle. Though he started brewing in the mid-'80s, Bacelle took his time to develop his recipes until he felt they were ready to be tasted by the world and eventually started Brewery Nino Bacelle. It wasn't until a couple of years later that Bacelle joined forces with acclaimed Belgian beer enthusiast and Belgian beer association H.O.P. founding member Guido Devos to form Brewery De Ranke.
De Ranke produces a strong collection of interesting beers year round. All of their ales are unfiltered, unpastuerized, and fermented at hotter than normal temperatures (between 65° and 68° Fahrenheit) bringing out richer tastes and aromas. For this tasting, we sampled their Saison and Noir.
5.5 % ABV
De Ranke's Saison is, in many ways, a classic farmhouse ale. A clear golden color exhibits amber hues that, because of De Ranke's lack of filtering, becomes slightly hazy towards the end of the bottle. The fine carbonation gives off rustic and natural scents of grass, hay, pears and spicy cider that are slightly acidic, but overall refreshing. The nose is reflected in the Saison's taste, which also gives off earthy notes of hay and grass while exhibiting a somewhat dry mouthfeel in this slightly bitter but clean ale.
9 % ABV
The breweries heaviest ale combines six different malts into an enticingly robust yet balanced mouthful. The very dark, cola-like color has subtle hints of dark purple and is topped by a finely carbonated head that opens up to a deeply-developed nose of sweet stone fruits balanced by a touch of dark mustiness. These scents are heightened upon tasting, with intense raisin and dark fuit flavors in a fairly smooth sip. Both sweet and bitter tasting notes are hit in this flavorful but not overly hoppy noir.
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