Beer Reviews · Belgian Style

#45 Saltaire XS Belgian Red – Good but just lacking a little something…

Review #45 – Saltaire Belgian Red 72/10

This one is going to be quite a quick review of the Saltaire XS Belgian Red, purchased a few days ago and enjoyed last night before dropping off to sleep.


Out of the bottle and into a tulip glass this beer pours a deep ruby red, quite hazy, nothing really in the way of yeast sediment, produces quite a thin slightly off-white head which disperses rather quickly.  For something in the style of a Belgian red, I was expecting a big lively head which would stick around for the entirety of the drink.

On the nose the beer produces strong ester aromas of banana, raisins and tinned strawberries, a little bit of spice all entwined with layers of barley and the faint aroma of an old cellar.

On he palate, I am a little disappointed by the level of carbonation as Belgian beers are typically heavily carbonated, this is quite a bit on the low side which completely changes the mouthfeel.  The flavour profile of the Saltaire is very typical of a Belgian red, quite heavy on the ester flavours again, some over ripe strawberries, cherries, plums and prunes.  A fair amount of spice – black pepper and nutmeg.  What dominates the palate is the richness of the malt, it imparts a rich buttery caramel flavour to the beer.  The finish is long on this one, drifting off with notes of brandy laced fruit cake.

I enjoyed this beer and always like to see a British take on the Belgians, although I think Thornbridge have done a better job of this with their Barrel Aged Belgian.  I think what made the XS Belgian Red fall short was its lack of carbonation, the sparkling mouthfeel needs to be present in a Belgian beer, as without the high level of carbonation the richness of the malt becomes a little too overwhelming.




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