Thanks to Jen for bringing this beer back from Plainfield's Binny's on her visit to Rock Island this week. Got around to reviewing it on a quite Saturday night (her last night here) after a day at Great River for the tapping of the Wit. Enjoyed over Mad Farmers Ancient world bread and hummus
Appearance: Quite dark and surprising at that. The beer is a rustic brown with an initial beige foam head, that soon dies down into a spotted bubble accumulation. Definitely filtered because upon the pour it was transparent.
Aroma: Fruit and smoked peat. Really earthy that almost singes the end of the nose. A basic caramel malt sweetness, maybe brown sugar. Perfumy. A bit of a burnt/roasted finish.
Taste: Foretaste reminds me of molasses, but not in a thick way. The flavor revolves around an absurd almost overwhelming smokiness and peated earthiness, especially initially. But the palate gradually adjusts, and it becomes more and more palatable. Wood and oakiness, as well as an undertoned peppercorn bitterness and spice. This may even be permeated into a mild fruitiness if one cares to really think about it. I try to think of this as a pilsner, and it's difficult over all that peated/smoked malt. Some roasted and burnt malt comes through in conjunction with the smokiness. The finish is herbal and burnt leaving a very dry and plainly bittering aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: High carbonation that bites the top of the tongue, yet it further maintains the light drinkable body. Finish is extremely dry and crisp. However, it does have a velvety feel to it.
Overall Impression: Ironically, the bitterness or IBU's from the hops are quite low, yet the burnt/roasted/peat malt adds an additional bitterness that may not be accounted for. Props for the low alcohol! A huge smokiness, so be weary. I do enjoy the rarity and uniqueness of this beer for itself, though probably wouldn't seek it out (but certainly would taste again). Definitely something to be served ice cold.