It was Decemeber 2012 when Brewery Ommegang first announced it would be producing a line of beers inspired by the hit HBO television series Game of Thrones. Since then, a total of four beers have been released, each promising to tie into certain themes of the show.
The first of these beers, Iron Throne Blonde Ale, called attention to the show’s ruling family, the Lannisters, while Take the Black Stout paid homage to the brotherhood of the Night’s Watch. A third beer, Fire and Blood Red Ale, carried the motto of House Targaryan and was released with three different labels depicting the dragons of Daenerys Targaryan, the last surviving member of the clan.
That brings us to the fourth beer in the series, Valar Morghulis, whose style and name were voted on by fans of the series in an online poll. The phrase meaning “all men must die,” was selected as the beer’s name, while an Abbey Dubbel was chosen as the style. The very loose tie in being that a dubbel is meant to represent the double-sided coin the character Arya is given by one of the Faceless Men of Braavos, assassins who change their appearance at will.
Sold at retail in corked and caged 750ml bottles, Valar Morghulis is a beer with a somewhat cloudy disposition when it comes to appearance. It’s got a sort of reddish brown look to it, with a murky presence I suppose some might associate with the beer being cloaked in shadows. This, you might say, fits right in with the idea of the aforementioned assassins and how such people generally go about their work.
Aromas are a bit more revealing, as fruity esters come out right away rather than hide out in the periphery. Ripe raisin and burnt brown sugar are the most noticeable flavor components, backed by a layer of caramel malt, some raw grain and a kind of yeasty bread character. There’s a little bit of spice interplay as well, but this doesn’t go much further than the hint of cloves suggested by the beer’s commercial descriptions.
The beer is malty to the taste, and while it does have some sweetness, things dry out fairly quickly towards the finish. A faint bitterness helps the overall balance, while prickly carbonation lightens the body and a soft warmth blankets the aftertaste.