Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winter ESB (2011)

Jen discovered this beer at RIBco last Wednesday during the Local beer tapping party. I was so excited I asked Thad (manager of Hy-vee Wine and Spirits) if he had it in. He did. The very next evening we bought a six pack. Luckily I had one left before I realized I needed to jot a review down for 2011!
Check out 2010's Winter ESB

Appearance: Copper colored with an underlying haze about it. Carbonation can be seen when the beer is held to the light, along with small particulates suspended as if the media were gelatin. The head is a strong foamy cream with a couple eyes (larger bubbles) interspersed throughout. Lacing is sticky and slightly dry.
Aroma: Rye and biscuit come through most prominently, along with dark fruit such as plums and raisins. A toasty undertone gives a brief transition to a subtle fruity hop complexity.
Taste: The taste is just as I remember it. Malty and sweet, yet evenly balanced with a fruity, slightly pined bitterness. The front is composed of toasted and biscuity malts, while the rye comes through more in the finish. Fruity esters, and interactions between malt and hops produce deceptively similar flavors to plums, cherries and even kiwi. As the beer warms, I draw more undertones of brown sugar in the sweetness. The finish is spicy of rye, but dry with a mild pine and earthy flavor.
Mouthfeel: A front of the tongue fizz sizzles initially, but then is distributed palatably across the entire mouth. The higher end of Medium bodied with a smooth creamy mouthfeel. The finish, due to the hops is confined with a spiced, yet dry afterfeel. Definitely stickiness is left on the lips. Refreshing, nonetheless.
Overall Impression: I still love it. Perhaps this one has a bit more of a body to it than those of the past, but the flavor is extremely similar and the rye is still to die for. Smooth and crisp, yet fulfilling and satisfying. The flavor profile is equally complex with fruits and malt flavors running rampant throughout.


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