FlacoAlto (3800) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - NOV 6, 2003
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
This beer is a deep, deep ruby color, it is very clear and pours with a tan head. At first the aroma is of dark fruit, then the hops kick in a bit. The hops come to dominate the aroma, but they are not super strong either. The first taste is lightly fruity (hints of cherry). The finish is off dry, and is accompanied by a hoppiness that is complimentary to the fruit flavors. No real strong flavors that jump out at me. The hops are the dominant flavor here, but for some reason this beer tastes a tad on the weak side.
Sham (1845) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 6, 2003
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Pours a deep mahogany, with an off white head, and nice lacing. Strong citrus hops in the nose, with some malt. Powerful hop flavor dominating most of anything else I can detect, though what is there, is a bit of roastiness. Finishes bitter and dry. Nice.
LaFinca (6) - state college, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 5, 2003 does not count
4 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: DEC 13, 2003 I’m not very much into spicy beers but decided to purchase a mixed case of ESB and Winterhook today (11/5/03). I purchased the beer at a drive thru distributorship and noticed when I got home they accidentally slipped an entire case of the Winterhook in the back instead of the mixed case. I was a little upset and went on the Internet and read, no surprise, a lot of terrible reviews which even made me more upset.
I was almost ready to take the case back when I went to the Redhook website and seen that the Winterhook was dry hopped (I’m a dry hop freak) and I also read one or two reviews stating that the 2003 batch has changed so I decided to take a chance and pop one open instead of returning the case.
Right of the bat, the dry hopped aroma hit me and it was breathtaking. I’ve never had a bottled beer with this much dry hop aroma unless I had brewed it myself. This is definitely a 10 in the aroma category and the dry hopping, I believe, also gives this beer a clean, crisp, and astringent taste.
As for balance, some reviews of previous years stated the beer was sweet and malty but I found this year’s batch to be somewhat on the hoppy side. Redhook’s website states the bittering units are 29.2 which isn’t too shabby if you love hops and they may have raised the alcohol level somewhat from the last few years to remove the sweetness.
Their website states “Best Damn Vintage Yet” and never having tried any of the others and after reading so many horrible reviews, I guess they made a lot of changes to improve this beer. Although they are not overpowering, I would love to try this one without the spices.
Don’t be hesitant, like I was to try it; you just might be surprised.
haddon90 (1451) - Denver, Colorado, USA - NOV 3, 2003
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Deep ruby color with a slim lacing head. Aroma full of malt and caramel. Medium body, slightly smooth. Some spice as well. Overall not a bad beer from Redhook.
beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - NOV 2, 2003
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Color is a clearish coppery brown, medium sized head of light tan hue, fades slow to a thin puff and lace sticks in moth holed-sheets. Smell is roasted malts, somewhat hefty and heavy, sweet with solid caramel and toffee thats reminiscent of burnt cookies. Hop notes of deep pine. Mostly coming through as it warms. Taste has a good portion of sweet malts, caramel, lightly burnt, lightly earthy, hops come across late with a fairly nice bite and bitterness that lends some dried pineyness. Some spiced grab shows through in the finish along with a smidgon of alcohol thats a bit warming. Feel is medium bodied and has a light grainy texture with a hop kick in alot of the finish with a spicy note. Not bad for Redhook, I was expecting something lack luster, but the late kick this has kept me intrigued.
JPDIPSO (4956) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 1, 2003
3.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: APR 12, 2009 Rerate. Looks about the same, perhaps a bit darker and some rudy hues. Flavors seem to match, but I do not have near the appreciation of this one I did in ’03. Nov 1, 2003, 7,4,8,2,15 - 3.6 Dark copper color with a stable tan head. Fresh hops and mild toasted malt aromas. Lightly roasted malt with a vanilla/nutty backdrop. Better then past years. A bitbitter and acidic in the finish. A touch "unclean" in the finish. Better than SNCA this year.
Suttree (5131) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - NOV 1, 2003
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: NOV 7, 2003 Cola brown, brown, thin head. Spicy, bready aroma. Earthy, piney flavors dominate, like when you lick the ground in the woods. Spicy and crisp finish. Above average, for Redhook.
Gromit (479) - Port Orchard, Washington, USA - OCT 29, 2003
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Full disclosure: I haven't been a Redhook fan since the origonal Ballard Bitter and then they sold out to AB... So I'm a bit biased against the brewery. In fact, I didn't even try last year's offering out of disgust.
Anyway, this is the 2003 offering, bottled, according to the lable, on 01-05-03, so it should be *well* aged by now.
Pours a dark brown with a decent head and some lacing.
Smells...Hmm, malty cloves at first, but more malt than anything else.
Taste is, well, rather underwhelming. Roasted malts and a hint of hops. Not bad, but highly understated for a winter beer offering.
Mouthfeel is a bit watery compared to other Winter beers. Overall it's better than any recent Redhood offerings, but still doesn't compare to Jubelale, Celebration, or several other Winter beers.
VA Homebrewer (525) - Portsmouth, Virginia, USA - OCT 27, 2003
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
2003 Offering: Enticing chestnut color with a large, off white head. Upon the pour, my nose was unexpectedly treated to a very fresh Pac Northwest hop blast. Didn't seem to be "Cascade-y", but definitely American varieties. Nice, malty flavors with a mild roasted malt and nutty quality. Medium bodied, with a sharp, clean finish. It seems almost like a "Barleywine light" or a revved up brown ale. Whatever it is, I just know I enjoyed it and that it is the best Redhook offering I've had.
xsketchyx (184) - Oregon, USA - OCT 27, 2003
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours with average head leaving a lot of lacing on the glass. Dark red almost brown color. Light brown sugar smell. Awfully watery when it hit my mouth, and didn't taste much other than carbonation. Finishes dry. Nothing exciting to see here, but not overly offensive either.