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Sunday, January 13, 2008

La Grande Blanche

Another beer from the SBS package: La Grande Blanche, a Belgian Imperial White Ale. Y'know... I see "Brewed & bottled by: De Proefbrouwerij" and I expect a beer that's at least going to make me stop, look at the glass, and say, "Well, all right." I'm tasting this and wondering why it's "La Grande" and why it's an "Imperial" white ale. It claims 7.5% ABV -- and almost certainly is -- but doesn't have the hit you'd expect. That could be an admirable thing, like the doublebock that slips under your booze radar, but in this case, it doesn't have the punched-up flavors and aromas and stuff that an "imperial" beer would lead you to expect.

Don't get me wrong: it's good, and I'm not going to pour it out. But when I want an imperial white ale, I'll go for Southampton's Double White or the impeccable Unibroue Don de Dieu.


Tandleman said...

Perhaps the term "Imperial" leads you to expect too much Lew? It seems in the US to be over-used and thus devalued. Peter A.

Lew Bryson said...


If it does, it's a fault of the label. One thing the term "imperial" in America does not mean is "just a little bigger than normal." If this was just a little bigger than normal, perhaps "Witbier Extra" would have been a better name.

As I said, it's not that the beer is bad; it's not, it was enjoyable. But the build-up and presumably the price (I'm not sure what shelf price is on this one; judging from the presentation I'm guessing it's more than a similar-sized bottle of witbier/blanche) are more than I'd go for it. As a consumer, I'd rather pay a 'normal' price for a 'normal' witbier, or a significantly bigger price for a significantly bigger beer.