FlacoAlto (4133) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 22, 2009
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass released a pronounced juniper spiciness as well as a two-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The head is a bit fizzy and quickly disappears to a thin ring of a head around the edges of my glass. The beer is a light amber color that shows a touch of haze and a gold color when held up to the light. The aroma has lots of juniper character, but underneath this the Chai is quite noticeable with notes of nutmeg, clove and perhaps some woody cardamom. A sweet, honey-like malt sweetness is found in the finish and in fact helps to carry all the spice notes found in the aroma. The spice mix, whether juniper of chai derived, definitely dominates the nose of this beer. If you like the spice mix used you won’t find this objectionable and I even find it a bit enjoyable.
Lightly sweet tasting up front, with a viscous heft to it that makes this beer cling a bit to the palate. The beer picks up more sweetness as it rolls across the tongue and the juniper and spices are surprisingly muted when compared to the aroma. Up front the Chai spices are a bit more noticeable, will the Juniper is a touch more noticeable in the finish (though the Chai spices are also in the finish). Up front I get flavors of clove, cinnamon and some spicy cardamom, while the finish has some juniper bite as well as a light turpene driven cardamom spiciness. Sweet honey-like malt flavors and perhaps a hint of cracker-like malt are all that is noticeable of the base grain character. Mixed in with the honey notes is a touch of berry character, which could be contributed by the juniper. The spices in this beer are such that this beer comes off as being somewhat simplistic in its characterization of Chai and juniper.
If you like Chai and juniper, you might enjoy this beer. While I don’t mind either of these flavors, it can be just a bit too much at times. This is mostly enjoyable, though there is no way I could finish a pint of this, much less a 750ml bottle of it. Not bad though, and it was certainly worth trying. Ultimately though it serves as another perfect example of why brewers should learn to show restraint when using spices in a beer (I can’t believe I said that after the Theobroma I just had where I decry the opposite approach).
PorterPounder (7121) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - AUG 22, 2009
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Tallahassee, Fl. - Market Square Liquors - 750 ml bottle. Pours a dark, murky golden pour with not much of a head. Spicy-sweet aroma with hints of ginger and white grapes. Engaging, interesting flavor with some peach notes, subtle ginger, white grapes, pears, and a hint of green tea. Mouthfeel is crisp and clean. Another odd beer from Dogfish - more enjoyable than most.
TheSponge (342) - Lynnwood, Washington, USA - AUG 20, 2009
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
750 ml bottle purchased at Central Market in Mill Creek, WA. Pours a hazy peach/gold color with a white head. Aroma: Tea and sweet malt. Flavor: Just liek the aroma, with a hint of lemon.
chicagodri (1683) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - AUG 20, 2009
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours hazy gold with a thin white head. Interesting aroma, loads of spices with coriander and lemon. Usually I am not a big fan of heavily spiced beers, but for some reason this one sat well with me. Good flavor and easy to drink. Glad I was able to find this on draft instead of having to drink a huge bottle. Very good spices.
notalush (5707) - Denver, Colorado, USA - AUG 19, 2009
3.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Pours a very hazy medium gold, fizzy body, minimal head - loads of banana in the nose, but deeper sniffs reveal rye, caraway, cardamom (these are mostly squashed by the phenols from the yeast, though) - the flavor is mostly just cane sugar sweetness and banana - the black tea comes through a bit through the middle, as does a bit of cardamom and some minty character - much like in the aroma, the weizen yeast is kind of washing out a lot of the other stuff put into the beer - not nearly as interesting and complex as I wanted it to be - yet another dogfish head beer that looks great on paper, but disappoints the palate.
fiver29 (1036) - Cleveland, Ohio, USA - AUG 19, 2009
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle pours a golden color with white head. Aroma is a complex array of spices. I get the coriander and lemongrass for sure. Opulent mouthfeel. Flavor follows the nose and is rich with spices. I was glad I shared this bottle. It would have been too much to drink by myself. Because the spices build up on you after a while and begin to be a bit much. Still a solid brew.
tmoreau (3568) - Lombard, Illinois, USA - AUG 18, 2009
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: AUG 9, 2011 Sampled on tap at Brixie’s 75th anniversary beer tasting in Brookfield, IL. Poured to a fluted fest glass a golden tone with a lasting white, tight bubbled, thick and foamy head and thick, creamy lacing. The aroma high lighted spices as pumpkin pie variety. The flavor was again spice, and sticky sweetness. Interesting combo of spice notes. Next time at Lunar Brewing Co., and snifter served. Interesting part of enjoying this brew is to sort out the various fruit and spice notes. This time, it was floral, herbal, banana, orange, mint, nutmeg, cardamom, and cinnamon. Quite a pot pouri!
Ibrew2or3 (8040) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - AUG 17, 2009
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Courtesy of markwise. Pours gold with brief white head. The aroma is ginger bread, fruit cake and lots of winter spice like nutmeg, cinnamon and all spice. The taste has a brief pulse of sugar sweet malts moving into notes of vanilla and sweet syrup. It gets a bit honey like into the finish as well.
GandGKevin (933) - Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA - AUG 17, 2009
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours amber with a white head. Aromas of allspice and gingerbread. Flavors of allspice and juniper with a slight sweetness. Full bodied with a mouth coating finish. Overall a very interesting and enjoyable beer.
hopheadfett (50) - Oak Ridge, New Jersey, USA - AUG 17, 2009
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Pours a hazy slightly orange golden color, minimal head, good lace. Nose of yeast, honey, sweet malt, a touch of spice. Taste is sweet malt, honey, banana bread, finishing relatively sweet with a touch of spice. Overall tasty, the one thing I kept saying was, "weird". Definitely a strange brew, but enjoyable nonetheless, easily quaffable.