GarrettB (1475) - San Diego, California, USA - SEP 30, 2005
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: AUG 1, 2007 Christmas is the one seasonal guest to our household that knocks far earlier than it should, but is almost always welcome. Itís immensely jolly character first crosses our threshold when the air begins to mellow, the sun sets with a more golden flare, and the leaves change into a more regal color in homage to their masterís salutary glint on the horizon. We joke and laugh at the table more than we would, and care less for the hardships of weather and more for the atmosphere inside our homes. Once nature tires of its celestial worship, it faints to a sleep, exhausted and satisfied. It is a time where we as humans stay awake when most everything else sleeps; a habit most contentious to my own philosophy. We walk around the fields and trees with our hands in our pockets and see, for what seems the very first time, how vulnerable and weak that great natural empire is. Yet we still write poems! We still write stories! We still set ourselves against the jagged edge of that more benign plaything, that inspiration to bards, that conspirator against our comfort. The less adventurous, forlorn and dismayed, take on the wisdom that nature held until it can bloom again. It is held for keeping, by we who hold fast to warmth.
It would suffice to sit by a fire and do something idle like knit a scarf or sort candles, but the body aches inside as much as it does outside. Better then to fill it, for thatís where the modern Christmas spirit comes from. The immense importance of Christís birth aside, Christmas fosters a deep sense of self-reflection, generosity and communion with oneís neighbor. It is an hour in life (perhaps the only one) that helps us to lean back and swirl a glass of fine beer to the rhythm of altruism. That beer, to me, is the New Belgian Frambozen. The Frambozen is a drink for heavy hearts, not because theyíre burdened with guilt or shame, but theyíre slow and earthy from a fondness for a life well respected. The color of the beer corresponds with the drinkerís attitude; dark, sanguine and murky, for philosophizing is not easy. The aroma tip-toes from the glass, slowly enough that it needs searching, but once found presents a distinct blend of raspberries and what might be called cutting apples. The foam on top has a reddish hue and sits astride the ale with a very gentle demeanor Ė a princess on a pony. The flavor, while cold, reminds one of dull, bucolic setting, though this impression is apocryphal. A little warmth and the Frambozen absolutely blooms; ironic for its seasonal appearance. The raspberry spearheads the taste, and steps aside for the burlier (and rather heavy) malt flavor which seduces the drinker with a chocolate and raspberry blend of tastes. The malt is a little over zealous, but I am too in the midst of autumn.
The New Belgium Frambozen is a beer well suited for the contemplative man or woman, and for the exhausted devotee of fall back from a long harvest. It pleases the palate, warms the belly and complements our swiftly approaching autumn wonderfully.
goldtwins (4320) - Nesconset, New York, USA - SEP 3, 2005
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Poured a clear brown color with a ruby tint and small tan head. Aroma of caramel and sweet raspberry pastry. Flavor is sweet and malty with lightly tart muted raspberry on the finish. Finish is somewhat thin.
BigNasty (55) - South Lyon, Michigan, USA - AUG 4, 2005
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
A wonderful departure from your typical wheat-based respberry ale. The brown ale appearance may be off-putting for some, but the relatively assertive raspberry aromas and flavors more than make up for it. More hop character than one might usually associate with a fruit beer, but very smooth. The only thing keeping me from giving this beer a higher overall rating is that is suffers from the same flavor inconsistencies that can be seen in other NBB offerings--no two bottles seem to drink the same, possibly due to variations in the fruit, in this case.
KAggie97 (3529) - Ugly, Hot, and Humid Spring, Texas, USA - JUN 13, 2005
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
It is exactly what it says it is. Nice raspberry flavors swirl around a tangy hops bite. Wonderfully tasty.
ColoradoBobs (31) - Colorado, USA - MAY 21, 2005
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 11/20
What a "mixed bag" this beer is!. Smoooth and lovely, nice head, good lacing, and a wierd smell and taste.
With a chocolate cheesecake or a smooth, not overly-sweet desert, this would be okay. Iím not crazy about raspberries, and raspberries are WAY UP FRONT in this brew.
At the brewery, on tap, this one was listed on 28 Dec, 2004, as 7.07% ABV (TWO decimal points!), which is different from what is indicated on the bottled versions.
In short, if you like chocolate covered raspberries, youíre gonna LOVE this beer, because those two flavors are all you find here. Only enough hops (the guy at the brewery said only Magnum hops are used in Frambozen) to keep a tiny bit of bitter-sour balance: measures only 16 International Bitterness Units. By contrast, SIX kinds of malt are used: Pale, Chocolate, Carapils, C-40, C-80 and Munich.
Lambic lovers should love this, I suppose.
muzzlehatch (4830) - Beloit, Wisconsin, USA - MAY 20, 2005
3.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
12 oz bottle. Thick rocky gouts of foam top the clear, very dark ruby-magenta body...nose expected fresh berries, sour and not-quite ripe with a light overlay of dark chocolate...alas the flavor does not hold up...tartness and sourness are fine, but the fruit is muted and the average brown ale malt character underlying it all is boring and pedestrian...finish rather flat, sour and a touch metallic. A letdown.
SpringsLicker (3466) - Tennessee, USA - MAY 12, 2005
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Thanks to csbosox for sending this a while back.
Clear deeply colored brown body that has a deep red running through it. On top is a generous head of creamy blush that coats the glass as it relaxes and slips below.
Tart fruit and cream aroma.
Smooth slightly sweet with a touch of fruit that adds but doesnít over power the malt. Alcohol completely hidden in this. Well balanced, not too tart or too sweet.
BuckNaked (1230) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - MAY 4, 2005
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle courtesty of csbosox: Brown body that turns to a brilliant ruby (as uriel noted) when held to the light; small light tan head. Aroma smells exactly like hot wort before the hops have been added mixed with snapple raspberry iced tea. Thatís caramel, amber liquid malt extract, cereal grains, freshly milled malt, raspberry syrup, and a hint of brown sugar. On the light end of medium bodied, slick, medium lively carbonation. Taste is exactly what you would expect from the aroma: sweet, syrupy malt extract, grains, fresh malt, light chocolate notes in the background, syrupy sweet raspberry, mild bitter tea flavors. Finishes pretty dry with notes of cereal and raspberry. I like it, but just canít get over the fact that it takes almost identical to drinking wort.
Bockyhorsey (2628) - Mesa, Arizona, USA - MAY 1, 2005
2.5 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Aroma is of a maly brown ale with some fruit aroma. Body is brown with no head. Lacked the sweet tart bite of most frambozen beer Iíve had. Flavor had a hint of raspberry and the malt made this beer rich enough to leave a roasted ale flavor on the palate. Decent brew.
Uriel (146) - San Jose, California, USA - APR 27, 2005
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Gorgeous brown color that turns ruby as you look through the glass at a light. Has a lot of raspberry aroma, with more sweet aromas that may still be the raspberry. Itís otherwise a fairly typical brown ale thatís nicely malty and not very hoppy. I like it a lot, but Iím a big fan of fruity beers. If you like fruity beers, itís a good one, but if youíre not fond ofíem, send yours to me. :)