Thanks to Ryan Johnson for giving permission to take from the warm six pack from Ryan Biesterfeld's Birthday Party. For some reason I have never logged this beer, after the numerous times of trying it. The dilemma in these cases arises when I know I've had it because I've logged it in my hard-copy journal, but still that's another 200 beers I haven't reviewed on this blog! Anyway I tasted this Sunday afternoon following an hour of working on the garden/Organic corn field. Tasted in a snifter. And original thanks back in March of 2010 to Joe Murphy for introducing this one to me!
Appearance: Exemplifying a glowing coppered color with an orange hue. The beer initially starts off with a 1" fluffy off white foam head but soon collapses into nothing more than a foamed ring. Left behind is a dry foam lacing. An underlying haze is prominent throughout yet still some transparency. No carbonation visible.
Aroma: Robustly carameled scent pierces the nostrils. Above coats a delicately woody and pine smell with nuts and a brown sugared sweetness. A little bit vinous as well as some overtones of dark fruit. Some citrus scent as well. Almost a stale smell permeates the nose at the end, but it is oddly appealing/masked by the more predominating flavors. Subtly grainy
Taste: Huge malt backbone, consisting of caramel and toasted malt maintain the forefront of the beer. By mid-taste, the bittering and more complex flavors begin to integrate into the beer leaving a woody, pine and herbal flavor behind. Incorporates some characteristics of a red ale by way of bitterness and a brown by way of malt flavors. The toastiness really begins to come through as the beer warms, while the alcohol carries it through with a drying woody/tannin element. Dash of honey.
Mouthfeel: Carbonation is lighter and fluffy but still a slight spike is present, though as it goes down the throat, there isn't much to it. This beer is medium bodied with a drying character at the finish. Some stickiness to the lips as well
Overall Impression: A bigger but easy drinking and palatable beer. I see this one as one of the highest quality gateway beers for those who want to begin their craft beer journey. It boasts a huge malt flavor with a balance of hops, yet just enough to appeal to a big crowd. Tasted, caramel sweetness and a slightly citrus but dominantly fruity and tannin'd bitterness