FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - NOV 11, 2011
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
This is quite a bit darker than I was expecting; a steady, vigorous pour into my New Belgium Globe glass produces a fat-two-finger thick, lightly browned, dark tan colored head. The beer is a dark, concentrated brown / amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, burnt ruby hue when held up directly to the light. The aroma smells of tangelo zest, lychee, bright ruby red grapefruit, lighter aromatic notes of pine and a touch of herbal notes sum up most of the bright hop components. The malt plays a prominent role in the nose too, though it is secondary to the hops, but notes of toasted, slightly roasted brown bread crust, maybe a hint of pale coffee, spicy brown grain notes, toasted caramelized malt notes, ample brown bread chewy malt aromas and some sweet tea like crystal malt notes. I really like how the malt notes mix with the hop character, even though I wasn’t really expecting the beer to be quite so roast influenced.
The beer has a spicy, bitter, herbal hop note to it; these hop notes are more noticeable in the flavor, as compared to the hoppy fruit notes, mainly because this beer is fairly dry. The body is actually fairly light too, this is definitely a beer meant for quaffing. The spiciness is played up by a solid roasted note in the finish as well as a lingering toasted grain character. The fruity notes from the hops contribute notes of tangelo zest, some light lychee and a bright Curacao orange zest, though these are quite a bit reduced due to the dryness of this beer; still there is enough touches of malt sweetness to allow some of the hop fruit notes to come through. Much of the perceived dryness in this beer is accentuated by the roasted, slightly burnt grain notes. This beer has quite a bit of bite to the finish; both an ample hop bitterness and some spice and burnt bite from the roast malt.
This beer is a bit stronger than I expected, because it drinks so light and quaffable. It reminds me of a little, black IPA, so really a black Pale Ale , though really it reminds me of a hoppy Porter; it sort of reminds me of Avery New World Porter, though this isn’t quite as roasted as that beer. The burnt note that this beer has seems quite distinct compared to what is usually found in a roasted beer and it has me wondering if the distinctness is because this beer’s roast character comes from the roasted Midnight wheat. Not a bad beer, I think I prefer 2° Below Winter Ale quite a bit more than this one though; Snow day has the roast and hop character clashing enough in the finish to add a touch of harshness (and this is accentuated a bit by some warmth from the alcohol.
Westmeister (2006) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - NOV 10, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Black IPA, huh? Really was trying to think of what this beer was when I was drinking and this makes as much sense as any. Pours a dark mahogany but translucent with off white head. Smell is mild pine/resinous hops, dark roast and a bit earthy. Taste is a little spicy, some wandering hops, dark caramel roast. I actually quite enjoyed this one and have never had two below.
killjoy966 (677) - Washington, USA - NOV 10, 2011
3.1 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Nothing special. Tastes like any number of dark ales. Not as good as the two below.
Thinker (62) - Littleton, Colorado, USA - NOV 10, 2011
4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Nice dark color with a thick slightly brown head, there is a mild initial taste that ends with a nice hoppy bitter flavor. Great winter time beer.
trevor211 (1402) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 10, 2011
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours a very deep transparent red-brown, with a smallish tan head. Smells like a pale ale that’s had fruit subbed in for the caramel malts. There’s quite a hop contingent, countered by pomegranate, some cherry, and dark-roasted rye. The hops are definitely more of the bittering variety, as the aftertaste on this one is very dry and acerbic. The flavor is on the dilute side, and it’s leaving a somewhat skunky bitterness in my mouth that I’m not liking. Meh.
talon1117 (1152) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - NOV 10, 2011
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
The pour is a very deep garnet, mahogany color with a moderately full, beige, fluffy head which settles to a thin froth and leaves soapy lace. The nose is pleasant with florals, grapefruit, some spice and pine, roast, and toasted caramels. The flavor is similar with lots of floral, lupulin resins, some pine, grapefruit, light roast, and toasted caramels. The palate is medium, nearly lively, and velvety. The finish is still very floral, slightly spicy, subtle caramel undertones, and a roast note lingering. The beer was well put together put just too much styrian goldings for me with the intense floral notes overpowering things. The palate was a bit thin for a winter warmer and the hops were a bit dominant for the rich undertones to shine through. Nice but not as good as their former winter beer, 2 Below.
poisoneddwarf (1907) - Rathdrum, Idaho, USA - NOV 9, 2011
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
12 oz bottle. Pours deep deep mahogany with ruby red highlights showing through when held up to the light. Has a large fluffy beige head with great retention and lace. Aroma is worty, piney. Taste starts out sweet, turns tart briefly before ending slightly bitter. Tastes biscuity. Mouthfeel is creamy and the carbonation is average. Really good.
jmagnus87 (2888) - Rockford, Illinois, USA - NOV 9, 2011
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
12oz bottle from Pick’s poured into a shaker. Pours black with a half finger of light tan head. Aroma of light citrus hops, caramel malt and a little bread. Taste is light bitter. A good bit of pine hops and some caramel malt. Light bodied with a somewhat thin texture. Lively carbonation and a long bitter finish. Overall, pretty good. A lot better than 2 Below.
dumontn (529) - St. Joseph, Michigan, USA - NOV 9, 2011
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
First of all, this beer should not be classified as a Black IPA because it totally isn’t. It’s way more of a hoppy brown ale or something like it. Pours deep ruby with khaki head and good retention. Aroma is candy sweet Goldings hops, citrus, acidic wheat, biscuit, chocolate, maybe even some orange peel going on. Taste is honey, biscuit, tangerine, grapefruit, chocolate, grapefruit, and shortbread. Body is medium-full, creamy, avg carb, dry spicy finish. Overall, a great change of pace for winter. Just about as good as I remember 2 Below, the beer that this one is replacing.
Elwood (3336) - Leesburg, Virginia, USA - NOV 9, 2011
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Serving: 12 oz. bottle from Wegman’s Leesburg. It pours a very dark brown with a foamy, dirty tan head. The nose is a mix of roasted wheat, some pine, a touch of molasses, and some dark, fresh bread. The flavor has a mix of bitterness, some coming from the roast, some coming from the lightly piney hops. The malt’s there too, adding notes grain. Interesting brew. The burnt notes come out more as the beer warms. Light to medium body with average carbonation and a lingering, lightly bitter finish.