Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Mad Elf Ale

Ale Brewed with Honey and Cherries.
Thanks to Justin Brooks for giving me this bottle before I left for Christmas. Tasted Thursday evening, right before leaving for a concert in Iowa City of BLIND PILOT, literally my favorite band. Try them out and listen to One Red Thread. They're playing with the Shins in Denver on May 28th...I'm there!

Appearance: Glowing ambered red. There is hardly a head atop this beer, aside for the ring that embraces the inner perimeter of the glass. The hue is generally opaque, but taking on a glowing appearance. Carbonation is present, but not very active.
Aroma: The honey and cherry tartness permeates the nostrils over any potential malt base and flavors that may be present. There is a pleasant Belgian yeast character in the beer that seems to compliment the honey and alternate phenols present near the end. Floral.
Taste: Initially, the beer is candied and sweet, probably due to Belgian candi sugar/syrup in the whirlpool. There is a brief window where one may be able to pick out a base biscuit malt, but that is no sooner obliterated by the strong sensation of cherry tartness and honeyed phenols and floral sweetness. Plums, pears and grapes are other fruit characteristics that come through. The alcohol is very present, but not overbearing. In fact it may even complement and pull through the residual phenolic compounds and cherry undertones that would otherwise have been lost. In no way do the cherries impart a cough syrup flavor. They maintain a balanced sweetness and a careful tartness to really even out this beer. Quite tasty and quite rich. Slow to leave the mouth, leaving behind a fruity flavor in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Low carbonation leaves a bit of a watery mouthfeel, especially from the high octane alcohol. However the beer still retains some thickness in the end. Actually, this beer is pretty darn drinkable.
Overall Impression: I was worried this might just be a typical cherry beer, choked full of fruit and perspiring cough medicine. But to my surprise, it was very balanced and fruity, but not to the extent it touted any synthetic flavors. Rich, but smooth. Dangerously drinkable.

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