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Review by SAP on 08/22/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
58 3 7 11 3 5 2009
2009 release; Sampled August 2009
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a four-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The beer is a rich copper color that shows a brilliantly clear, copper-gold color when held up to the light. The aroma has such a clean malt character to it that it smells like candied maltose; fairly sweet and a bit cloying in its simplicity, I seem to get this in a lot of Dogfish Heads stronger beers, a sort of house character. This has quite a bit of fruitiness to it, it reminds me of concentrated pears, green apple, a touch of honeydew melon and some green raisin notes. There is a touch of an artificial smell to the nose, not quite chemical like, but it is something that I can’t quite place; perhaps it is a touch of herbal honey character mixed with some phenolic fermentation character. Despite the complex promise of the ingredients, the nose ends up being fairly simplistic and completely lacking in the interesting ingredient list.

Soft and creamy feeling up front, the beer picks up a light prickle of carbonation as it moves across the tongue. The cocoa nibs / powder are non-existent at first, but then a faint, white-chocolate like note starts to creep in towards the finish. The finish has that sort of phenolic, chemical like note to it that I noticed in the nose. A touch of bitterness is barely noticeable and doesn’t do much to balance the sweetness. There is perhaps a hint of spice / chile heat to the finish; it isn’t noticeable until a couple seconds after the beer has left my mouth, and it is incredibly subtle (though it might be more noticeable to someone that doesn’t enjoy spicy food as much as I do). The sweetness reminds me of honey with an herbal bite, bad apple juice with a chemical aftertaste, and some sulfurous green raisins. While the sweetness isn’t overly excessive here, the lack of balancing bitterness or spice in this beer tends to make this beer lean towards the cloying side of the spectrum.

I was really excited to try this beer as the promise of a mix of cocoa, ancho chiles and ground annatto sounds really exciting, unfortunately both the aroma and flavor are almost devoid of these. The flavor does have the cocoa, and there is a touch of spice in the finish, but both are pretty tame. My expectations of this beer were a bit too much I think, I still think these ingredients could come up with a much more interesting beer. Unfortunately I didn’t really enjoy this beer all that much.

Served In: Tulip