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Beer – #998 – Emerson’s – JP

I’ve bitten off a big chew here, but you can only eat the Elephant one mouthful at a time, and so encouraged by the lovely staff at the local Liquorland I’m going to do a side by side step ladder stairway of the  Emerson’s JP – which is an annual beer,  one that seems to be an annual escalation too.  All I have to do is work up courage, and convince MrsPhil.

A Brave Man

It is with some trepidation than that I have in front of  the 2015, the 2016 and the 2017 version of  JP. I’ve previously had the 2013 version and it was mighty good. So here we go;

  • The JP 2015 is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale of 7.6% ABV
  • The JP 2016 is a Belgian Tripel of 8.1% ABV
  • The JP 2017 is a Belgian Quad of 10% ABV

These are Brewed by Emerson’s Brewing Company (Lion Breweries – NZ)  and they  are in the styles that are  Belgian Strong AleAbbey Tripel and Abt/Quadrupel Emerson’s can be found in Dunedin.

JP is named in memory of Professor Jean Pierre Dufour, legend.

2015 – A Belgian Specialty Strong Ale. Candy shop aroma with a delicate rich body and fruity caramel-toffee finish. Serve lightly chilled. Food matches: Enjoy with a spicy Tangine or apple pie.

2016 – A Tripel Strong Belgian Ale, deep golden colour, tropical fruit aroma with a slight ester note. Flavours are a balance between complex fruitiness and subtle sweet malt with a spicy hopped finish. Best served: 8-10 degrees C Pairings: Thai Basil Chicken, Asian Style Pork Belly

2017 – A beer to celebrate JP Dufour – this is the 10th Anniversary. A Belgian Quad made with Candi Sugar, Cherries and Brett yeast – this is one not to forget!

Trio of Trouble?

So, What could possibly go wrong? Well a number of things as it happens.

  • Finding 3 glasses the same
  • Convincing MrsPhil that’s it a good idea
  • Waiting for the in-laws to leave because they’re likely to be Judgey
  • Convincing MrsPhil that it’s still a good idea

But I managed all of that and I press on…

The 2015: Deep rich aroma on opening, plenty of the candy sugar thing.  Boozy aroma in the glass, a clear darker brown pour without head.

This has the hints of a stronger fuller beer but there’s a thinness in that that I didn’t expect.

It is quite nice with a hint of mustiness/dryness in the finish that I enjoyed.

To be fair this did get nicer as it warmed up and that malt had time to get into it, and this added a nicer fuller feel about the drinking. This looks really nice in the glass too.

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this a 8 from 10 of the things. I changed that up from the original lower score, although this still isn’t as full in the mouthfeel as it could be and has a short profile of taste that could do with filling out.

The 2016:  This has a citrus aroma on opening, that wasn’t what I expected at all, lots of lemon. Pour is very light golden without a head. There’s not much by way of aroma that I can discern with this.

A disappointment.

This was without aroma and the pour a light golden without a head. The taste in this is very muted and almost absent, I was expecting a much dryer, or at least a towards dry finish and didn’t get that.

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this a 6 from 10 of the things, it’s not that good, and it didn’t get better as it warmed, that sugary candy thing became annoying and out of place and didn’t seem comfortable in this, and it was a lone taste in an otherwise unremarkable beer.

The 2017: A bright aroma on opening this, a richness indicated. Dark red pour with a head that quickly faded. This has a richness in the aroma, and this translates in the taste with is fuller fruiter and deep with some carry to a hint of alcohol tang at the end.

Lovely malt sweetness in this, a fruitless even, but it’s raw fruitless and not steeped fruits that indicate richness,  and  for me I think it needed more body and fullness

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this a 8,5 from 10 of the things, it has potential to be much better, I think it needed more middle.

The bookends to this were the best, the 16 was a weakness when in comparison to the others. When it came to going back and choosing which one to try again it got hard.  The 15 has a booziness about it but even as it warmed it still needed some body. The 2016 has more candy yeast about it but it seems to be short of the mark in a couple of places, for me there was one flavour note, that candy, and it seemed out of place, the 17 is the pick of the three being more rounded but still not spectacular in any particular way, it s however the pick of the three on flavour and taste, it’s close though in appearance between the first and the last.

These are nice ‘of style’ but they don’t advance it, or lead that way, they are homage to anda reflection on Jean Pierre Dufour and his contribution, I think he’d be chuffed with these.

The double dip review

  • Where did I get it? Liquorland had all three at once, I haven’t been keeping them.
  • Am I enjoying it? Two out of three ain’t bad
  • Would I have another? I don’t know that they’re individually worth while, they each have their thing, but it’s not an outstanding thing.
  • Would I share with a friend on a porch and set the world to rights? The three in a taste out would have been an ideal thing, if you have the chance go for it, otherwise check out the 17 and the 15, they’re the bet two from me in my opinion.

Music for this:  The Death of a King by Reverend And The Makers on Spotify

Reverend and The Makers are an English rock band based in Sheffield, Yorkshire


Belgian Strong Ales can vary from pale to dark brown in color, darker ales may be colored with dark candy sugar. Hop flavor can range from low to high, while hop aroma is low. The beers are medium to full-bodied and have a high alcoholic character. Types of beers included here include tripels, dubbels and ultra-strong abbey ales.


Like other abbey ales, Tripels are strong, yeasty-malty beers. But they are also pale, and have a notable hop profile. Hop bitterness may be higher than a typical abbey ale, up to 35IBUs. But the finish is where the hops really shine, as tripels should finish fairly dry. Otherwise, maltiness is still essential to the style, and the assertive yeast note typical of all abbey ales will be more apparent in tripels, since they do not have the rich dark malts to distract the palate. Alcohol flavours feature more prominently in Tripels that in just about any other style.


Abt, or quadrupel, is the name given to ultra-strong Trappist and abbey ales. The name Abt was pioneered to describe Westvleteren and the beer that would become St. BernardusQuadrupel was pioneered by La Trappe. Abts are the darker of the two, with more rich, deep fruity notes. Quads are paler, with corresponding peachy notes. Neither have much in the way of hop, and both are very strong and malty. Though both are bottle-conditioned, abts trend more towards yeastiness. Alcohol is very high (10+% abv) for both.
























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