Craft Beer Review: Delirium Tremens

Craft Beer Review: Delirium Tremens
Delirium Tremens Belgian Strong Ale in its custom glass. Photo ©Mark McDermott

I told you I had some beers to review that I had paid for myself. Here's another.

This is a special case, since I first had this beer 15 years ago. Delirium Tremens, by Family Bouwerij Huyghe in Belgium, debut in 1989 and is considered an exemplar of the Belgian Strong Ale style.  This particular beer is 8.5% alcohol by volume, about the same as an Abbey Dubbel style but less "thick" and sugary. It's described as using three strains of yeast, with a secondary fermentation once it's been packaged. It's usually sold in 33 cl (11.15 oz) stubby bottles, but now it's turning up in .5 liter (16.9 oz.) cans. Binny's Beverage Depot had them on sale at 4 for $20, with a free Delirium glass, with their trademark pink elephants. I admit it, I was about snagging the glass.


This has a light, basic beer nose when I popped the can tab. It pours a bright golden color, again deceptively like any basic lawnmower beer. The only giveaway is a more pillowy head of fine bubbles, which leaves rows of "lace" along the glass.

The taste is more like a basic lager beer at first. Then you realize it's more of a Stella Artois' big brother, who beats up on its smaller sibling once a week. Malt is what we like to call "crisp" with a trace of spice from a note of Belgian aromatic malt. There's also a slight fruity note from the ale yeast and its refermentation. Only after I got more than halfway through the can did I notice the alcohol.

If I'm reading the code on the bottom of the can correctly ("9094") this was canned just this past April. I have not had much experience with canned beer with a secondary ferment. Should you hang onto to a can or two, and see if you can "swirl" some yeast from the bottom? That's up to you.

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Filed under: Beer Review

Tags: Delirium Tremens

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