Tasted Saturday night after a night in Iowa City at the Hy-vee Alcohol and Fleck tasting convention. This followed spending the remainder of the night at Old Capitol Brew Works. Woke up this morning and checked out Johns Grocery, the farmers market and Pioneer Co-op. Made it home for a yoga session (knee still bothering me) and tasting. Apologies for not getting one up yesterday. Thanks to Jen for getting me this in celebration of my Great River job!
Appearance: Rustic red with a dark ambered tint. Clarity is well defined apart from the otherwise dark color inhibiting overall visibility. Initially the beer had a heavy set frothy white-beige head that left behind a sticky lacing. The head resulted in an evenly distributed film across the top of the beer. Small, micro-bubble carbonation is fully visible.
Aroma: Huge caramel malt bill. Robust and definitively sweet. Some roasted nuts and a permeating over-ripened plum and raisin fruitiness. A little bit of a dough ball/ under attenuated scent. Finishing up there resides a floral, and healthily induced Belgian candy sugar smell.
Taste: Foretaste is very doughy and grainy, as I noted above. This makes me think the candy sugar was added, which took a primary fermentation status, by which the yeast ate first...this would have left a lot of the malt to maintain a lot of its mashed flavor. Caramel and toasted grains dominate. There lies also a rich fruity element in the back of the throat as the alcohol warms the mouth and the hops begin to blossom. There is somewhat of a maple characteristic along with roasted nuts and brown sugar. Over-ripe and dried fruit again remains as an undertone to the aftertaste, followed by a toffee sweetness. Alcohol is very appropriately melded into the general appeal of this beer.
Mouthfeel: Carbonation is relatively low, but enough to make a pronounced texture against the heavy body. Smooth drinking and soft. However there is a very apparent tackiness on the lips. Does coat the mouth and leave behind a bit of a cloying feel.
Overall Impression: The candied and malt sweetness significantly balance out what hops are played into this beer. Without the base, I could see this being significantly bitter. Definitely a big time sweet tooth beer. Definitely worth a try.