I am a bit behind on blogging, and also on Game of Thrones. So this is the perfect time to catch up on both beer and lore and launch the first ever “Beer Battle” between two Ommegang creations: Valar Morghulis and Three-Eyed Raven. Both of these beers have been inspired by the violent HBO series Game of Thrones, so what better way to rate these beers than to let them battle to the death! So what does that mean? Basically, a Beer Battle is where both beers are reviewed and a winner is selected at the conclusion of the review.
Valar Morghulis: “All Men Must Die”
In the Game of Thrones world of Westeros, the phrase Valar Morghulis means “all men must die”. An ominous logo for a no-nonsense abbey dubbel style beer.
Here is a picture of my Valar Morghulis:
Brewery Ommegang: Valar Morghulis
Rating: #20 in style
Valar Morghulis poured a murky dark orange to brown color with a substantial ecru head that showed significant retention. Valar Morghulis smelled predominantly sweet and malty with plum and caramel. The taste of Valar Morghulis is much like the smell, with malt taking the forefront followed by blending fruit flavors. The deep plum and pear flavor of Valar Morghulis is complicated by spice such as cinnamon and clove. The syrupy sweetness gently acquiesces to a signficant alcohol burn on the palate. Belgian yeast are present but not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is medium and carbonation is appropriate.
Three-Eyed Raven: From the darkness I watch you. All of you, all of your lives, with a thousand eyes, and one.
This dark saison is a tribute to the deceptive character on Game of Thones called the Three-Eyed Raven. This beer is rightfully billed to straddle styles between a saison and a dark beer.
Here is a picture of my Three-Eyed Raven:
Brewery Ommegang: Three-Eyed Raven
Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Rating: 87/100 with 205 ratings on Beeradvocate.com
Three-Eyed Raven pours an opaque black with a thick khaki head. The smell of Three-Eyed Raven is sweet and malty and the roasted malt smell is noticeable. Three-Eyed Raven delivers a bitter and rich taste, with roasted malt and spice blending. Three-Eyed Raven has a pronounced Belgian influence from the yeast choice. There are also some saison-type flavors at work in Three-Eyed Raven, including some subtle funkiness that gets buried in the black. Mouthfeel is sticky and yet light and the carbonation is low.
So who is the winner of this Beer Battle? Make no mistake: these beers are both extremely well crafted and far superior to many beers. But the decision of a victor was not a tough call in my opinion. Valar Morghulis is packed with deep fruit and sweet malt and spice notes. Three-Eyed Raven is a lighter but roastier style-straddling dark saison. Three-Eyed Raven doesn’t quite do the job of bridging a saison and a dark ale, and Valar Morghulis is comprehensively a better beer. Therefore, the winner of this Beer Battle is….