Thanks to Joe Weitlispach for giving me this beer to do a review. It came from a Winter seasonal case that included the Samuel Adams Winter Lager, Chocolate, Black and Brew, Old Fezziwig, a porter and one other. I got to review this on Thursday evening while listening to Blind Pilot's One Red Thread (if you know me, you know this song...) and after going to practice with the team (2nd day back to running after getting hit by a car three weeks ago). Snifter served.
Appearance: The pour was pristinely clear and as it entered the glass, sprouted a bubbly beige head worth at least 1/2". Some carbonated bubbles cling to the edges of the glass. Up to the light, there beer is glowing red with a touch of crimson.
Aroma: Malt forward and sweet. Notes of caramel and chocolate complimented with a brief fruitiness. Even a subtle tinge of orange peel is a notable undertone at the very end of the scent. While I cannot distinguishably say I can pick out the cinnamon is there, but the ginger is.
Taste: Huge caramel malt bill with numerous other adjunct specialty grains. One could easily draw out cocoa, biscuit, toasted bread and toffee. Much of this resides in the middle while toward the end, a roastiness develops rounding out a slightly acidic flavor, but remaining sweet and enjoyable. a roasted nut flavor is pronounced throughout as the beer becomes warm. I do not get much cinnamon or orange peel in the taste, which means they were most likely added end or post-boil. By the end of the beer and when the palate has adjusted, I get more chocolate in the end.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and slightly tacky. The carbonation takes a short time to be acknowledged, but it does come through with a micro-bubbled bite on the tongue. Mouthfeel is slick yet bubbly.
Overall Impression: I'd simply call this an ideal Nut-brown ale. Complete with a big malt backbone, while the hops remain completely neutral, yet enough to slightly dry the palate. Spices come through primarily in the aroma (Cinnamon, Ginger and Orange peel). The malt profile is so complex that any taster can debate the make-up of this beer. A party pleaser.