April 15 2009 Bottle date; Sampled August 2009
A vigorous pour produces a four-finger thick, richly amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, concentrated amber / plum color that shows a brilliantly clear, cranberry red hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells distinctly of concentrated berries and finishes with a light herbal accent. The malt almost takes on a caramelized, cotton-candy like sweetness in the nose and it contributes some brown sugar encrusted toasted grain character to the finish. The nose on this is not bad, it can seem a bit too sweet smelling at times, but this sort of works with the other notes here.
Viscous feeling as this first hits my tongue, it definitely sticks to the palate as it rolls across my mouth. The beer isn't quite as sweet as the aroma might have suggested, but it is definitely laden with residual sugars. There is a solid herbal hoppiness here as well as a biting hop bitterness that go a long way towards mitigating the thick, chewy malt character here; this actually almost finishes on a dry note because of the ample hop character. In the long finish there is a touch of toasted, almost roasted grain astringency that is noticeable quite a while after the beer has left my mouth. Candied malt and candied hop notes tend to mingle in the middle of this beer; richly caramelized, but still quite sweet malt notes as well as some caramelized, sweetened berry hop notes and sugar crystallized herb notes linger in the middle of each sip. The sweet herbal character at times remind me of a German-type, rustic, sweet herbal liquor (similar to Jägermeister, but with a more herbal note than anise).
Not a bad beer, I was certainly not expecting this to be as flavorful as it is. This beer is definitely a sipping brew though & I would have a hard time finishing a bottle on my own as it can get a bit cloying at times.
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