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Cambridge Benevolence
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RATINGS: 45   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.74   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 378   ABV: 12.6%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
When we brewed Benevolence the first time, over fifteen years ago, we were treading some seriously untrodden ground with an altogether new and unique beer, and we caused quite a stir. Since then the craft beer-loving public has become more familiar with barrel-aged beers, blended beers, sour beers, etc., and we’ve dramatically expanded our barrel cellar and our production of, shall we say, challenging beers to greater acclaim.

Of course, when we burned all production notes for this beer in a fit of artistic pique, we failed to foresee years of requests for us to do it again. Nor did we imagine how appropriate it would be to attempt to reproduce it in honor of our 20th Anniversary. Now as we celebrate out 25th Anniversary, we’ve done it again. With more than a little bit of nostalgia, the original production and tasting notes are below for your enjoyment.

This is certainly a strange one…

An altogether new and unique creation in the world of beer, Benevolence combines the age-old traditions of Belgian lambic blending, Flanders sour ales, wild fermentations, and barrel-aged English strong ales with new American ingenuity and a penchant for the bizarre.

A very strong wort made with 8 different malts, aged hops, Belgian candi sugar, and organic black raisins was fermented with multiple yeast strains in stainless steel, then racked into used bourbon casks. Wild fermentation was sparked by the addition of dates, fresh sour cherries, and raw local honey, which left a dry, puckering tartness in the finish. After three years aging silently in the wood, this intentionally soured beer was blended with a young strong ale, and Benevolence was born.

Deep raisiny brown, the nose exhibits fresh dates, brown bread, oak, and subtle sherry-like oxidation. On the palate, soft carbonation, sweet raisin/fig/dates, a touch of herbal honey, oak, vanilla, and the slightest hint of maple lead to a rich but slightly tart finish with the character of well-aged madeira wine.


4.3
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 19/20
tiggmtl (4548) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 7, 2005
Woody, minty, herbal, maple, tart aroma with some Belgian yeast character, dates and raisins apparent. Opaque muddy brown body with very low, off white head that recedes to ring. Chocolate, raisins, dates, fig-like fruit flavours with some funky vinous character and some alcohol. Tart in the woody, bitter finish. Medium body is quite dry with lively, lightly prickly carbonation. Sampled at GABF 2005. This gets my vote for top overall beer at the festival for this year!

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
erway (1004) - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - NOV 4, 2005
GABF- Pours deep brown w/ no head. Nutty brown sugar aromas with some lactic sourness and a lot of ask and maple syrup. Med. Body w/ almost no CO2. Light sourness and very port like. Sweet finish. Just awesome.

3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Mangino (1027) - Mississippi, USA - OCT 18, 2005
Sampled @ GABF- Pours a dark brown, small white head. Aroma is cookie dough, hot chocolate cooked over an open campfire, sour cherries and just a hint of vinegar. Flavor starts sour, cherries and apple, goes into a chocolate and burn/roasted malt thing. Dry, but clean finish to it.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
lilannie (384) - Adamstown, Maryland, USA - OCT 16, 2005
GABF 2005
Aroma: peat, molasses, bittersweet chocolate, mustiness, earthiness
Appearance: murky brown, little head, no lacing
Flavor: plums, raisins, chocolate covered cherries, brown sugar, mustiness, and red wine
Palate: smooth and creamy

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
BBB63 (6013) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - OCT 16, 2005
GABF 2005: Murky brown hue with no head or lace to speak of. Not a pretty beer but what is inside made up for it. The aroma has a WOW factor of lots of swet and ripened fruits and malts (cherry, prune, vanilla, caramel, bread) with a splash of oak and whisky. The taste is equally sweet and sour with a grape and cherry twang balanced by a sweet sugary and caramel nature. The finish is oaky and tannic with a hint of spice, I dig it! The feel is sticky and warming, very full bodied. One of my favorites of the fest.

Perhaps the most rated beer of the fest as well with 9 yea and 2 ney so far.

2.8
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
MrRomero (1975) - Nolanville, USA - OCT 16, 2005
GABF: poured brown with little head. Had a wet cardboard and sour chocolate aroma. Low carbonation. Sour chocolate cherry flavor with alcohol notes. Interesting beer but not my cup of "tea".

4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Rastacouere (6126) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - OCT 10, 2005
Deep reddish brown pour with quickly fading head. The nose is immediately heavily vinous, shaping a date and grape richness that is only matched by the equivalent earthiness. Bourbony influence shines among the vinous nature, adding a generous dose of complexity, smoky and oaky to the already massive brown Belgian. Nutty, chocolatey, caramelic etc. maltiness has to cope with a fair bit of roastiness that, while it rounds the alcohol out nicely, may not have been the most competent complement to the liquorous and strong acetic environment. Sticky full body, very sweet. Decadent stuff.

4.3
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
willblake (2652) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - OCT 8, 2005
09.30.05 GABF Murky brown. Queer nose is like a barleywine crossed with an oude brune. Molasses, fresh caramel, honey, peanuts, prune juice, old cask. Fascinating sniffer. Smoky notes dance throughout. Tastes like sugar, wood, cherries, white sour balls, pineapple, bubblegum. Damn this stuff is wild and delicious. Palate is more like a sour than a strong ale as it’s unctuous but medium in heft. Really could be a dangerous quaffer.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Lumpy (1802) - Carrollton, Texas, USA - OCT 5, 2005
Nose-raisin, buttered popcorn, molasses. Taste-vanilla, cream, fig, brown sugar, some oaky tannins, very light brett character, tart cherry. This is excellent.

4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - OCT 5, 2005
GABF 2005. Hazy, dark chestnut body with a fast-fading, effervescent beige head. Aroma of bourbon, sweet dates, figs, organic dark honey, and maple syrup. Smells sweet and sublime. Flavor is very earthy, malty, fruity, oaky and wild with nice dark toasted cherry elements. Sweet but balanced by a long, organic fruit peel quality bitterness. Superb and exciting beer.


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