Zymurgeist2 (1285) - Redwood City, California, USA - APR 24, 2013
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
On tap at the brewhouse. Pours a copper color with a full khaki head. Aroma of caramel and biscuit. Nice smoke on this beer and a slightly cloying aspect from the caramelization.
FlacoAlto (3850) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - SEP 7, 2012
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Pours from the tap with an almost two-finger thick, pale amber tinged, full tan colored head. The beer is a dark, slightly murky amber color. The aroma smells of caramelized malt, brown bread crust, a hint of herbal notes, and maybe a wisp of phenolic smokiness. Malty raisin notes, a hint of smoke and woodiness somehow, but really the bready & brown cracker malt notes are the most noticeable here.
Somewhat sweet tasting, with a definite fruitiness up front and a finish that is quite dry, with a hint of malt astringency and even a hint of smoky phenolics that light spice the finish. Flavors of raisins, perhaps a touch of berries, a spicy whole grain character, lots of crystal malt character (not quite sweet tea, but very malty with lots of caramel & grain character). There is a bit of tongue numbing character in the finish, some is from the prickly carbonation, some is perhaps from the mesquite smoke, but the rest might be from some yeast derived fermentation spiciness; this character is quite light in the end though. A definitely quaffable brew, but it still has some malty heft to it; the beer has a rounded mouthfeel to it, and it lingers just a bit on the palate, though the carbonation does a good job of scrubbing the palate clean after each sip.
The mesquite smoke is exceedingly restrained here, without the warning, I wouldn’t even have guessed that there was any smoked malt of any sort used here; having said that, since I know it is here, I do get a sense of its influence in this beer. This is definitely a malt focused beer, I get the sense that the mesquite adds just enough complexity to make this beer that much more interesting and enjoyable. I, perhaps dangeriously, am wishing for a touch more mesquite smoke here; not much more is needed, and mesquite smoke can easily get quite harsh, but I wouldn’t guess that any smoked malt was added to this beer as it is.