Review: Sip and Savor Ommegang’s Valar Dohaeris/Valar Morghulis Gift Pack

Ommegang

Game of Thrones’ Ommegang brews have long serenaded me with their siren song, the deep, gleaming bottles standing in rows of store shelves like delicious sentinels, waiting for me to rescue them from their retail prisons. Therefore it was with great jubilation that I tried the Valar Dohaeris/Valar Morghulis Gift Pack that was released this October. I’m a big fan of Ommegang, so after the last Game of Thrones offering with an IPA twist that I tried (Seven Kingdoms Hoppy Wheat Ale), it was exciting to see what they would tackle next.

First, let’s talk about the packaging: one may hesitate to throw it out because it’s so beautiful, with silver foil and references to the show. A large Ommegang logo hovers over the two bottles of ale included, perched in front of replica doors from the House of Black and White. “Game of Thrones” says the top of the box. “Yay,” I say in response.

Also included is a gleaming glass with the “Game of Thrones” logo printed on one side in gold. Try the beer in it, if you can; the glass not only adds to the overall drinking experience, but also took off the edge on Valar Dohaeris that one may encounter with Belgians, especially straight from the bottle. You’ll also find that the glasses are excellent to put out on display after the beer is drunk.

On the sides of the box are translations of “Valar Morghulis” and “Valar Dohaeris” (not that the target audience for this set will need them!), as well as descriptions of the ales.

unnamedValar Dohaeris, for anyone familiar with Ommegang’s other products, is a mellow Belgian with a richer, deeper flavor than Witte. It is described on the box as a Belgian-style Tripel Ale with “lovely aromas of  sweet grain and honey” blending with “subtle allusions of Belgian yeast,” with a “bright sweetness” and a mouthfeel (learn a new word every day) that is “richly creamy.”

The result of some gentle glass swishing.

The result of some gentle glass swishing.

As I found, it doesn’t have that distinctive aftertaste other Belgians do. In my notes, I had that “it was like their Belgian Witte took a Xanax, in the best way possible.”

In the glass, the Dohaeris Tripel ale has an attractive honey color. It mentions yeast on the bottle, which you can detect when you let the beer settle, then swish gently in the glass. It was very pleasant to drink, and one of those beers that is so smooth you may not even realize you’ve nearly finished the bottle. The mellowness may belie the 9% ABV. Sip carefully if you’re planning on downing the whole bottle! This is one to sit and savor.

Valar Morghulis is a Dubbel ale with an 8% ABV. Ommegang describes it as “A Belgian-style Dubbel” with “Rich aromas of caramel, toffee, and burnt sugar…followed by a hint of cloves” and “delicate hopping provid[ing] subtle bitterness.”

In my experience, it’s less of a flashy, readily flavorful beer that will appeal to some people’s palates more than others. Overall, the flavor is muted with a subtly bitter finish. It’s darker both in taste and color than Dohaeris, registering as a gorgeous, deep amber color in the glass. Chocolate and hints of smoke can be tasted, although a feature of this brew is that the flavor is thinner and disappears quickly in the mouth. There is less of a bouquet of scent and taste here. If you don’t like a fuller-bodied Belgian like Dohaeris, you may gravitate towards this. Valar Morghulis is a fine, smooth brew.

If I had to choose between the bottles in the store I would comfortably choose Dohaeris, though these are truly two different animals. Because this is a fabulous gift set, people with different tastes might enjoy splitting the set between themselves (fight for the glass, it’s pretty cool).

If you haven’t had an Ommegang brew in one of their beautiful, corked bottles, please fix that, as they are excellent gift and special occasion drinks. I would highly recommend purchasing this set if you can get your hands on it; the fancy packaging would make a great holiday gift. It was reasonably priced in my local beer and wine store, and the brand put in more effort this time around with its visual presentation, which is always appreciated when you’re paying money to sip a bit of Game of Thrones.

If you’re waffling, don’t. Get it. Drink it, or gift it. And don’t forget to toast Watchers on the Wall!

Valar Morghulis and Valar Dohaeris are available in 750ml single bottles, on draft and as the above collectible gift pack featuring a commemorative glass. The suggested retail prices are $9.99 for the individual bottles and $22.99 for the gift pack. Try Ommegang’s Beer Finder to see if the ales are in stores near you.

20 responses

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    1. Out of the review.

      We gonna have more funko pops right? I want jon with the stark cloth and new hair , tormund , Euron , cersei with short hair, jaime with his father armor, high sparrow etc

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    2. Opposite of Bex, I actually love the Valar Morghulis but am sort of meh-it’s-fine when it comes to Valar Dohaeris. And the packaging really is gorgeous- Ommegang sent me a gift pack to try out and I love the glass.

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    3. heh, I am a bigger lover (and former brewer) of beers. Alas! Belgian is the one general style I never liked! (I never brewed any Belgian styles, of course, but, then, wildly pitching yeast cannot be done by just anyone anywhere.)

      Still, it’s cool that they are doing this sort of thing. How about a stout or a porter next time? (An IPA would be highly unrealistic, I suppose…. 🙁 )

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    4. I enjoy the occasional bottle of Ommegang Black Stout. That’s what I do. I drink and I know… uh, what was I saying?

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    5. Sadly, I am only missing the Dragon brews… I collect these (I don’t really drink much beer, vodka man), wish they would re-release the dragons

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    6. Funny to read here about Belgian beer because I’m Belgian. Ommegang is a very well known brewery, but I never tasted it. There are so many beers here in Belgium. I live only a mile from brewery Inbev where they produce Stella.
      But next time I go to a shop, I will check if they have Game of Thrones beer.

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    7. The big question is how many bottles does one need to drink to get well pissed 🙂

      I’m probably biased being an English ‘real ale’ drinker and in my young days would travel around with friends to various pubs sampling real ales from different UK breweries. I’ve never been a fan of lager ales (eg. Carlsberg, Heineken, Stella, etc) which is found in most European countries. Give me a pint (or better several!) of good ol’ Fullers ESB or Youngs Special (which are London breweries) any day 🙂

      I’ve no idea how US ales taste in comparison or their alcohol strength, but did try Budweiser once which tasted pretty crappy!

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    8. Chilli: Funny to read here about Belgian beer because I’m Belgian. Ommegang is a very well known brewery, but I never tasted it.

      But isn’t that always the way? We sort of take the things around us for granted.

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    9. Black Raven:
      The big question is how many bottles does one need to drink to get well pissed ?

      I’m probably biased being an English ‘real ale’ drinker and in my young days would travel around with friends to various pubs sampling real ales from different UK breweries. I’ve never been a fan of lager ales (eg. Carlsberg, Heineken, Stella, etc) which is found in most European countries.Give me a pint (or better several!)of good ol’ Fullers ESB or Youngs Special (which are London breweries) any day ?

      I’ve no idea how US ales taste in comparison or their alcohol strength, but did try Budweiser once which tasted pretty crappy!

      Brewing in the US has gone a bit nuts in the last decade with literally thousands of small breweries popping up. Yeah it’s still a minority market (with bud & etc still outselling anything else) but you can get any style imaginable, even in a 7 eleven in the sticks.

      Variations on IPAs (like double and triple IPA’s which combine the high alcohol of a belgian with the complex flavor of an IPA) are my personal fave category. Great for your first qualifier since the ABV ranges in the 7-10% range… :p

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    10. QueenofThrones,

      Thanks for your reply – Yes, I agree 😉

      Drinking ales with an ABV in the 7 – 10% range one would certainly soon be feeling the ‘effects’ after a bottle or two! I was quite surprised how strong the ‘GoT’ Ommegang ales were?

      In the UK, draught (draft in the US) beer dispensed from pressurized kegs or direct from the barrel generally are not so strong in alcohol content. 4 or 5 % being the norm. However, in pubs these are served in pint (or half pint) glasses so a somewhat greater quantity than one gets from a normal sized bottle. Many UK breweries make seasonal ‘festive’ ales (like as for Christmas) and these can be very potent and often more of a Barley Wine quality.

      I see the Ommegang GoT beers come in 750 ml bottles. That is more than an English pint (568.26 ml) so the bottles must be somewhat larger. I’ll have to have a dig around in the supermarket, but looking at their website it would seem they don’t ship their beers outside of the US. So looks like I will have to settle for a few cans of Irish Guinness instead 🙂

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    11. Pigeon,

      Shouldn’t it be “tainted water”?

      Seriously, there now are a lot of good American beers. The old “American beer = yellow water” stereotype applied to things like Budweiser, Miller, Coors and the other brands that dominated up to the late 1980’s. As QueenofThrones notes, “craft brewing” and “microbreweries” have become very widespread since then. Part of the reason why I used to brew beer is because the only way to get a good stout, porter, bock, etc., was to make it yourself. Sure, you could buy imported beers: but they often did not travel well, and they also were pretty pricy. (Also, I was not yet 21, and you only have to be 18 to buy homebrewing material!) Now, you can get really good beers from a variety of ethnic styles quite easily and reasonably.

      Still, evidently the piss-water is what most Americans prefer.

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    12. Wimsey:
      Pigeon,

      Shouldn’t it be “tainted water”?

      Seriously, there now are a lot of good American beers.The old “American beer = yellow water” stereotype applied to things like Budweiser, Miller, Coors and the other brands that dominated up to the late 1980’s.As QueenofThrones notes, “craft brewing” and “microbreweries” have become very widespread since then.Part of the reason why I used to brew beer is because the only way to get a good stout, porter, bock, etc., was to make it yourself.Sure, you could buy imported beers: but they often did not travel well, and they also were pretty pricy.(Also, I was not yet 21, and you only have to be 18 to buy homebrewing material!)Now, you can get really good beers from a variety of ethnic styles quite easily and reasonably.

      Still, evidently the piss-water is what most Americans prefer.

      Oh yes, I agree regarding the microbreweries/craft breweries (some people get very sensitive about the terms for some reason) – there are many many good ones and I was using an old stereotype (shame!). There’s more interest and perhaps it’s more affordable to get into now as well. One of the popular craft breweries here is called ‘Lucky Bastard’, as the guy who was struggling with his company happened to win the lottery and the rest is history! 😉

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    13. Pigeon: One of the popular craft breweries here is called ‘Lucky Bastard’, as the guy who was struggling with his company happened to win the lottery and the rest is history!

      Ah! Aren’t they the ones that brew Arrogant Bastard ale? I bought some as soon as I saw it because I assumed that it was named after me! It turns out that the other two people in line thought it was named after them. Jerks.

        Quote  Reply

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