Tried this the first Monday night back from thanksgiving break, following a 17 mile day (double). Picked this one up at Binny's in Highland park (of which I now have a job at over break) after discovering the amazing Hop Devil. I was hoping to taste more tonight, but after realizing the ABV, I doubt that will happen.
Appearance: Slim to none when it comes to the head. Color is a toffee red with brown tint. There is an orange cloudiness. Micro fizzed carbonation slightly visible among the cloudy glow of this beer.
Aroma: Fruity with a strong caramel malt background. There is a phenolic nose with clove and diacetyl esters that carry a large weight to the smell. Some yeast character as well. I think I sense some honey and brown sugar sweetness too. As the beer warms, there is some citrus and orange zest elements.
Taste: Tart with a yeasty citrus finish. The beer starts by exhibiting a flavorful caramel toffee malt with extra adjuncts of candied (brown) sugar. Nevertheless, the wheat malt makes its appearance by finishing off the flavor. Lastly the beer ends on a slightly spicy clove note with a alcoholic taste to finish. There are banana notes as well as a very subtle medicinal quality to the sweetness. There is little to no bitterness to speak of. Given the huge amount of malt caramel, phenolic, esters and wheat, this beer hardly finishes boozy given the huge ABV. Yeast and clove taste remains on the palate after the swallow.
Mouthfeel: Overwhelmingly drinkable and refreshing. The Body and mouthfeel are light, carbonation breaks the liquid just enough to quench the desiring taste buds. Doesn't finish clean, in fact semi cloying. But served cold, this beer gets it done.
Overall Impression: Neglecting the 8.7% ABV, this isn't a bad beer once you can get past the smell. This beer delivers a decieving first impression. Finding myself semi-perplexed and reluctant to consider this beer anything but ordinary, the deeper one goes into the glass, the more they may find themselves taking bigger gulps. Quite interesting. Careful now.