Sometimes the problem with drinking old beers is you don’t know what they were supposed to taste like fresh. Such is the problem I faced with the Vieille Cuvee from Leffe. I’d never had it before and so couldn’t really figure out how far it had fallen.
But, on the upside – unique check-in.
Also on the upside is this information from the always-correct internet ‘‘Vieille Cuvee is by far the most difficult of the five Leffe beers to come by, even in Belgium’’. So that allows me to say ‘‘suck it, losers’’ to the Leffe beer geeks in Australia. Both of them.
Anyway, Untapped says this is a Belgian strong dark ale and the internet says I could expect a musty malty flavour, some blackberry aroma and some all-round toffeeness. As some guy on Ratebeer said ‘‘Der Geruch ist schön voll-malzig-süß. Im Mund liegt es sehr schön vollmundig-ausgewogen-süffig.’’
Guess I shouldn’t be quoting people when I don’t speak their language. I think that guy was German.
So this special bottle (despite appearances in the photo, this is not a ceramic bottle) has a $5.50 price tag and a best before date of 30/5/98, which makes it 15 years old. The bottle cap had some spots of rust when I popped it off.
Pouring the beer, it reminded me a little of Coca-Cola. The aromas are of sultana or fruit cake, which is what I’d have expected from a strong dark ale. But the flavour is where things go all over the place. There’s an odd metallic flavour at the front, in the mid-palate it’s a bit watery and it’s only at the back end does that fruit cake flavour come through.
The abiding adjective that came to mind for the flavour was ‘‘thin’’, which is a word I never thought I’d use for an 8.1 per cent beer. So this is a beer that didn’t age well.
But hey, unique check-in. And ‘‘suck it, Leffe geeks’’.