Kasteel Winter, Belgian Ale, Ingelmunster, Castle Brewery, Van Honsebrouck, Belgium. 11 % ABV. bottled on 07/10/13. No further information, no gobbledygook. Guess we have to open it up and drink it. Sigh. Tough work. (I've since checked the brewery's website, and it's not listed there yet.)
Appearance: Jet black, fully opaque, slimmed tannish head.
Aroma: Espresso, cocoa, dates and figs. A little vanilla below. Many layers of complexity.
Taste: Hmm. Major coffee flavor. Rich, roasted malt. This doesn't give me what I love about the other Kasteel beers, namely the exquisite Belgian yeast strains. I'm sure it's in there somewhere, but this coffee flavor blankets over all in this. I like coffee beers, to be sure, but don't expect them or desire them in winter seasonals or Belgian brews. Sometimes you have to shed your expectations, drop your desires, and merely enjoy what is, for what it is. And this appears to be a Belgian coffee stout, which is a unique creature, and quite a good one at that.
Full bodied, long, malty, coffee-ful finish. (Yes, I invented a new word.) There's got to be other spices here, as well, for I'm feeling that, too, a bit more in the flavor than merely coffee. But that remains the main flavor component, and it really shines. Alcohol is not felt strongly, but give it time, it'll come.
I continue in, and the coffee flavor only gets stronger and bolder, and I find myself more and more enamored of it. Mmm, I say. Ah, I reply to myself. Oooh, I conclude.