The Christmas period is great for beer lovers; lots of seasonal bottled joy. For the most part these beers are strong, dark, not very bitter, complex and full in taste. Just the right thing to sip in front of the fire when it’s cold outside.
Kerst Pater (Dutch for Father Christmas) is brewed by Van den Bossche in Sint-Lievens-Esse, East Flanders. This was my first from this brewer; I’d read good things about their dubbel so I was looking forward to the experience. Unfortunately it proved to be something I won’t repeat in a hurry.
The beer looked like a dark brown with a red tint cola with a similar quickly disappearing head. The smell was malty sweet as one would expect but lingering in the background was a sour (old sock) mustiness.
Not really a good start, but first appearances can be deceptive. The taste was suprisingly sharp up front followed by candy sugar, which seemed to overpower the malt and any spiciness. Hardly any bitterness to counter the sweetness.
The carbonation and the thin feel plus the absence of warming alcohol (despite its 9.0% alc. vol.) seemed to back up my initial cola impression. The sharpness never really found its way towards fruitiness but the sweetness finally abated sufficiently to let a slight spiciness and a good malt aftertaste through but for me it was too late to save the beer.
A disappointing beer which I found hard to finish; a shame as there are so many really good winter beers out there. The only consolation I can find is that the consume by date on the bottle was 24/09/19 so maybe I should have left it for a year or two to allow the various elements to establish themselves.