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RATINGS: 163   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.43   IBU: 55   EST. CALORIES: 285   ABV: 9.5%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
An American-Style Strong Brown Ale developed by eight Redhook brewers working in four teams of two to create one beer. The ale reflects a compilation of each team’s individual receipes that were then carefully blended into one distinct beer. 8-4-1 Expedition Ale offers complexy flavor notes, delivering malty sweetness, medium bitterness with hints of smoked flavors and oak chips balanced by the addition of honey, brown sugar and candi sugar.

Style: American - Style Imperial Brown Ale
ABV: 9.5%
Malts: Pale, Wheat, Munich, Caramel, Chocolate, and Smoked Malt
Hops: Alchemy, Cascade, Willamette, Crystal, and Sterling
Bitterness Units: 55 IBU
Original Gravity: 20
Brewed Since: October 2009
Shelf Life: 365 days


2.7
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
beersearcher (2334) - Glendale, California, USA - AUG 22, 2010
I love experimenting with brown ale but this one adds too much. I don’t know if it is all the different sweeteners added but this is a step too far for me.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Ibrew2or3 (6905) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - AUG 22, 2010
Bomber pours clear mahogany with deep copper hues and short lived tan head. The modest aroma is smooth with sweet malts, some honey and sweet smelling dark fruity esters to go along with a faint background of caramel covered wood. The taste starts both smooth and rich and then ends a bit rough with booze. I get roasted malts and a bit of honey. By midway roasty malts are met with nuttiness, sweet dark fruitiness and wood. Into the finish booziness grows to sort of harsh levels before this dies off into the after taste.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
skortila (4514) - Baarn, NETHERLANDS - AUG 19, 2010
Wesy USA trip 2010. Bottled. The aroma has caramel, raisin, grass, some oats. Clear, amber coloured beer with an off-white head. The taste is a bit sweet, slightly bitter and has grass, caramel, sugar, raisin, some wood. Nice one.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Taverner (1098) - San Ramon, California, USA - AUG 14, 2010
Not sure I get the haters. Pours an amber with some head, clear. Nose is tannin and honey. Flavor is honey light sweetness with a bitter, oaky finish. Like OBAB without the expensive price tag.

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
potbeerjob (1343) - Denver, Colorado, USA - AUG 12, 2010
Bomber. Clear brown orange with thin tan head. Aroma is brown sugar sweetness and oatmeal, with dried fruit (raisins), caramel, and maybe touch of vanilla, and heavy present booze. Flavor is also sweet caramel and oatmeal with brown sugar, booze, and raisins. Not too thick but sticky. A pretty good brew

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1181) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 11, 2010
I’ve been taking an expedition through the world of craft beer over the last two years and I’ve encountered many things, both good and bad. What I always enjoy is encountering a beer that radically departs from its style guidelines or a beer that proves an otherwise ho-hum style can surprise you. Redhook’s 8-4-1 Expedition Ale is a perfect example of this as it takes the otherwise pedestrian brown ale style and makes it incredibly robust and complex.

APPEARANCE AND AROMA

I split a 22oz bomber with a friend and poured my half into an English pint glass (nonic). This beer pours to a lovely color of pure mahogany, which is mostly hazy but free of sediment. It forms a thick, eggshell-colored head which leaves plenty of lacing on the glass and never fully dissipates.

The aroma is fairly mild. There’s a noticeable honey and malt scent with some dark fruit notes and just a touch of alcohol.

TASTE

If you know me you know I’m a fan of brown ales. They tend to be sweet and mild which makes them easy to drink and very satisfying. I couldn’t help but wonder if an imperial brown ale would be a contradiction in terms. Thankfully, 8-4-1 Expedition Ale was anything but.

There’s so much going on with this beer it’s difficult to find a starting point to describe it. Much like the aroma, the palate is rife with dark fruit and a rich sweetness. While not quite as fruity as a barleywine, 8-4-1 does have some notes of cherry and plum up front, but they are quickly overshadowed by a rich sweetness on the back end. Caramel and honey combine to form an almost syrup-like texture, and the beer leaves a pleasant aftertaste of dark chocolate.

The bottle’s description claims the beer is brewed with cherry-wood smoked malts and brown sugar. While I wouldn’t say there’s an overtly smoky taste here, there is definitely a rich brown sugar flavor and perhaps a hint of smoke to the palette. As the beer warms, the sweet flavors become more prominent and surprisingly soft around the edges to make for a delectable palate found in traditional dessert beers.

DRINKABILITY

As tasty as the palate is, it’s really no surprise 8-4-1 Expedition Ale is a sipping beer. The palette is strong and slightly peppery at first, especially when consumed cold. As it warms it seems to round out the edges - creating for a thick, soft, and sticky mouthfeel.

The brew weighs in at 9.5% ABV which probably has a lot to do with the intensity of the palate and the noticeable warmth on the throat during the swallow. As tasty as this beer is, it can really only be enjoyed by the sip, as bigger gulps only magnify the potency. I recommend splitting a bomber with a friend or a special companion as an alternative to dessert.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Redhook is a brewery that had never really impressed me until now. With 8-4-1 Expedition Ale, they’ve shown they can make big, complex beers that can compete with the bigwigs of the craft beer community (since Redhook is partially owned by Anheuser-Busch, they’re often scoffed at by beer geeks). However, this is a limited seasonal so it’s a bit pricier than the average Redhook beer, but the quality is worth it if you like beers of this type. I know I did.

NOTE: Watch the video version of this review at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxzEDnj77XI

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
GG (2039) - NorCal, California, USA - AUG 11, 2010
22oz bottle -

Aroma - this one has it all. Breakfast cereal, smoke, honey, brown sugar, butty and milk chocolatey. Crazy good aroma.

Appearance - clear dark amber body, 3" beige head, creamy with really beautiful lacing

Taste - raisins, toffee, kinda woody, caramel, a nice showing of chocolate with the alcohol burn kept well in check.

Palate - creamy smooth, supple with a slightly sticky mouthfeel

Overall - a very nice suprise from Redhook and a success with their Limited Release series. A nice beer to finish the evening off.

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
hellbilly (3249) - scottsdale über alles, Arizona, USA - JUL 30, 2010
bomber 4/26/2010. clear. auburn with a small off white ring which lasts. it smells of sweet caramel grain, bubblegum, raisins and spice. the flavor is the same... mixed with a touch of wood and a spicy alcoholic finish. it is thick but some how light enough to put away. 6/3/6/3/14/3.2

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
BuckeyeBoy (2720) - Boise, Idaho, USA - JUL 26, 2010
On tap at Redhook brewpub. Pours out dark ruby amber topped with a small sand head. Aroma is of toast malts, caramel, and light hops. Taste was more of the caramel and roast malts. A nice hop ending to help balance it out.

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
jgb9348 (4738) - Arlington (Pentagon City), Virginia, USA - JUL 23, 2010
Very nice ruby tinted amber coloured body with a deep brown glow and a very thin tan head. Aroma of figs, roasted malt, honey, wheat, yeast, pit fruits, raisins and a bit of spices. Medium-bodied; Assertive fruits and sweetness with a touch of honey and oak, but mainly a solid sweetness throughout. Aftertaste shows some alcohol bite and a bit of the pit fruits, but mainly a malty and oaky sweetness stay throughout. This isn’t an American Strong to me, just a simple Barley Wine. Overall, a good beer - nothing spectacular, but nothing bad at all. Nice to try! I sampled this 65 cL bottle purchased from Whole Foods in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia on 13-June-2010 sampled from home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia on 23-July-2010.


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