Pacific Northwest – It’s fast approaching the November and already we are almost through our first month of the Fall Equinox. While its true that most people have a tendency to favor the darker side of the glass, there are those non-believers that would nothing more than to embrace something malty, but not dark in color.
For those of you that are salivating at the sight of an amber or burgundy clear glass, we would like to assure you there are still some beers out there.
Last August we reminded you of a beer from the same brewers that have given us Black Gold, Top Sail, Session Lager, and Session Black. Sanctuary Belgian-style Dubbel is the latest incarnation, brewed by the minds in Hood River and Portland. Under the inspiration of senior brewer John Harris, they manifested this dark ruby colored ale to remind you that not everything strong is black as pitch.
Arriving at our doorstep this beer was anxiously inspected and above all caused us pause as we sought out the history of this style.
Brewed in the monasteries of Belgium during the middle ages, this beer almost ceased to exist until its revival after the Napoleanic period in the 1800s. Described as a moderate in alcohol beer (between 6 and 7%) this beer traditionally leaves its audience with an impression of strong, but with a complex maltiness. Course we were dying to dig into this beer so we reached for the bottle and cracked it open in anticipation.
Full Sail’s Sanctuary Belgian-style Dubbel pours with a burgundy color but is clear to the eye. As the beer settles inside the glass a noticeable strong off-white, creamy, foamy head is produced, but only lasts for a little while before it recedes slowly leaving minor traces of lace throughout.
As one swirls the glass around you can’t help but pick up hints of raisins, plums, and other fruity esters.
To sip on this is to enjoy the welcoming embrace of raisins, caramel sweetness, that takes hold of your taste buds before allowing you a kiss of slightly dry pine mixed with some minor alcohol warmth. Overall the body when it rests on the tongue is moderate without being too assertive.
Inspired by the great Belgian Trappist and Monastic beers, Full Sail Brewing has put their heart and soul into Sanctuary Dubbel, the newest beer in their Brewmaster Reserve line-up. For centuries, the Trappist monks of Belgium have earned their daily bread by making “liquid bread” or beer. In the early years, the monks brewed lower alcohol or “table beers” primarily for their brethren to drink with their meals. As their brewing tradition grew the abbeys began producing stronger dubbel (double) style ales to serve to their guests and eventually for sale.
Full Sail’s Sanctuary is a dubbel modeled after the abbey style beers of Belgium complete with a flavor profile that invites calm and quiet reflection. Contemplate the soothing rich malt aromas as they fill the nose, followed by the flavors of biscuit and roast that are softly rounded on the tongue by a rich sweet malt character. With a light blessing of hops, Sanctuary finishes with a Belgian yeast spice notes and a chewy finish. ABV: 7% IBU: 20
“Sanctuary is part of our rotating selection of Brewmaster Reserve beers. Every eight to ten weeks we come out with a different beer that show cases the brewer’s art. We began the program back in 1998 as a way of celebrating our independence and creativity,” said Full Sail’s Founder and CEO, Irene Firmat.
You Should Try. The brewery that has given us such welcome beers as Black Gold, Top Sail, and Session Lager, offers up their impression of a Belgian-style Dubbel. For some food pairing thoughts, why not reach for some brie, gouda, swiss, or even limburger. Thoughts on meat lean towards red in color, so focus on beef, elk, or buffalo (or even venison).
Also keep in mind this beer is still available on the shelves till the end of October! So get out there and get your hands on one!
About the photo’s author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.