De la Senne Bruxellensis is a Belgian ale refermented in the bottle with Brussels Brettanomyces.
May 2016 bottling reviewed one year old, pours hazed amber with a tall and sticky head, just barely crawling up out of the bottle when the cap is removed. Funky, buggy, nearly acetic apple-like (malic) brett impression, covering dense orange and apricot fruitiness. It’s medium-light bodied, lightly sweet with some low acidity, more tart and musty across the middle turning slightly sour in a wet finish. It seems to have survived out one year, no surprise given the continued brett fermentation in bottle, but still too much of this green apple and white vinegar resemblance, which thankfully subsides as it warms in the glass, the aroma showing more cork and old books / leather. There’s still plenty of sugar left but the carbonation is a mess, over-effervescing right out of the bottle (which comes across as disjointed / loose), before settling out in the glass after a couple of minutes, where its richness and sweetness overtake the diminished CO2 making it feel weighty. Fresh pours have more pizzazz and brighter carbonic acid.
Released every November, I reviewed this superbly hoppy Heller Bock less than two weeks after bottling. The aroma is absolutely gorgeous, perfectly clean, showing bright notes of lemon, persimmon, herbs, honeysuckle and dandelion with a background of faintly toasty Pilsner malt. The yeast is lightly sulfuric-eggy but not in an unpleasant way, more than made up for by the high minerality that is so typical of Franconian lager.
It’s full bodied, rich, sticky, full of savory melanoidins, semi-sweet to off-dry, made apparently drier in the mouth due to the strong hop bitterness. Not a touch of alcohol noticed, and the dryness and hoppiness work astoundingly well. Overall a singular Heller Bock, hoppy as can be, mineral-forward, bitter, malty and exceptionally clean.