Art of Darkness Belgian Strong Dark Ale
While Ommegang’s year-round offerings are all pretty great, I’ve found their limited edition beers to be some of the New York brewery’s best, and ones that put a really great twist on their Belgian-style beers.
Art of Darkness is one of the newest of those limited edition beers. According to the label, the only thing that went into brewing this nearly 9% strong ale was a variety of barley and wheat malts and some flaked oats. Seems pretty simple, but the result is magic. (Sorry, I had to stick with the Harry Potter vibe.)
The beer pours a deep, dank brown that’s more of a black toward the bottom, but there’s no light getting through. There’s barely a half finger of head that’s gone quickly. Very strong lacing and alcohol legs, as expected.
On the nose, there are these big globs of brown sugar, molasses and figs. Definitely a thick sticky sweetness to it as well. There are also those traditional Belgian notes, with a little bit of banana and clove. Only a slight booziness to it.
The taste starts off like a champagne, with big, strong carbonation on the front of the tongue. It does a good job of opening the taste buds, which is good, since Art of Darkness has a huge range of flavors to it. Plums, figs, molasses and burnt caramel are the most prevalent tastes. But what’s the most surprising is the roasted character. There’s a big coffee flavor that really lingers on the end. It is a bit boozy, but the carbonation makes it really drinkable. And for a rich beer, the mouthfeel is surprisingly light and bubbly.
I’ve heard a lot of mixed opinions about Art of Darkness, but the first word I used to describe it was “decadent.” It’s not a especially thick beer, but it’s incredibly rich and flavorful, and extremely drinkable for bordering on 9%. The coffee finish was a really surprising and welcomed touch. You get these rich, thick flavors, but instead of just sticking on the back of your throat, you get a really nice roasted note.