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HeíBrew Reunion - A Beer For Hope 2013 (Shmaltz Brewing)



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RATINGS: 76   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.49   SEASONAL: Series   IBU: 38   EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%
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Teaming up with Terrapin Beer Co. for the third time, Schmaltz Brewing returns as a production partner for Reunion í13. We brew Reunion each year in memory of our dear friend and partner in this venture - Virginia MacLean. Virginia lost her battle with Multiple Myeloma in 2007. It was her wish that we continue to raise funds and awareness on behalf of the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research (www.imbcr.org).

This yearís beer is a dark ale brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla, cinnamon, and coffee from NYC and Upstate New York. It was originally inspired by a fantastic dessert that we used to share with Virginia at our favorite restaurant.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (1294) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 23, 2014
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date (my friend at the brewery tells me it was released in August of 2013). I bought it at the brewery for $7 ($0.32 per ounce).

Appearance: Seemingly opaque black but actually a deep blood/ruby red hue. Pours to a large, tan, soapy head which mostly dissipates and leaves some lacing on the glass.

Smell: Definitely the brown malts plus sweet flavors of coconut, chocolate and coffee.

Taste: Everyoneís making imperial stouts these days, but why not imperial brown ales? Itís a style thatís under-utilized and overlooked, so itís nice to see it given some proper respect in the form of ďReunion Ale Ď13Ē Ė a collaboration brew between Shmaltz and Terrapin. Though the bottle Iím reviewing is nearly a year old, itís held up extremely well. Big bold flavors of toasted malts, milk chocolate and coffee. Itís definitely not a hop-forward beer so it hasnít lost much by aging. If anything, itís become more sweet, and thatís something Iím okay with.

Right away thereís a strong sweetness of dark toasted malt. It doesnít have the intense bitterness or burnt-like flavor of deeply roasted malt, so the variation is quite interesting. Thereís a taste akin to toasted coconut or bakerís chocolate, though that could be the cocoa nibs and cinnamon (thereís no coconut in this beer). Mild bitterness at the apex and on the back end, though not so much from hops (which donít really stand out) but from coffee. A medium roast blend thatís lasted surprisingly well after a year in the bottle (coffee tends to fade quickly). Some bitter dark chocolate on the finish with just a minor alcohol warmth that ties up everything nicely. A great dessert beer, and a beer thatís commendable for its originality.

Drinkability: Judging by the label, Shmaltz/Terrapin Reunion Ale í13 would seem to be the type of beer you have to prep for. However, after just a sip or two itís clear that this is not intimidating at all. The mouthfeel is well carbonated and more of a medium body with no cloying characteristics at all. Itís calm and comfortable in the mouth with just the slightest warming sensation. Even at 8% ABV, I had no trouble drinking the entire bottle myself (and rather quickly, too).

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Thisis12ptfont (909) - Los Angeles, CA, California, USA - MAY 30, 2014
Aroma brings immense notes of nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, toffee, charred cocoa nibs, coffee bean oil and roasted malts. Darker shade of brown with a thin foam rim and decent lace. Taste follows nose as it is very nutty upfront with strong toffee, dark coffee roast, prominent cinnamon, herbs, toasted caramel and cocoa oils. Finish is rather dry with a lingering coffee bitterness and subtle booze. Overall, really impressive stuff. They really found a good balance where all the flavors are detectable yet, I feel the vanilla got drowned out. Really solid brew. A+ rating.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
williamherbert (1341) - Syracuse, New York, USA - MAY 9, 2014
Nose of sour raisins, cocoa, red wine tannins, dirt, cola. Very boozy aroma. Pours a cloudy brick red-brown color. Taste is pungent raisins, dusty mocha, grape skins, potting soil. Again, supremely boozy. Feels dry and earthy. This is a superior beer, period.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
coachd (192) - Missouri, USA - APR 26, 2014
The aroma reveals everything from the description - cocoa nibs, vanilla, cinnamon, and coffee all in equal parts. I am also smelling rye and some hard to define spice. Great looking beer, dark brown with tan head. Not much lacing, but I donít really care about lacing. The taste is similar to the aroma; more rye than in the scent, definitely picking up on the cinnamon and vanilla, but somehow it doesnít come off sweet. The coffee balances it out nicely. Great use of coffee without letting it overpower the whole taste. I have never tasted a beer like this. Points for originality. Palate is smooth and slick, but I would have preferred thicker. I canít define what style of beer this is; "American Strong Ale" seems to get all the beers that are in between categories. Perhaps RB should open up a style simply called "other". Highly recommend this one. If you like unique, this oneís for you.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
jgb9348 (4923) - Arlington (Pentagon City), Virginia, USA - APR 21, 2014
Dark brown coloured body with a very nice three centimetre tall tan head. Aroma of strong spices, nutmeg, anise, cardamom, canella and tons of roasted malts, alcohol and a touch of dry oak. Medium-bodied; Very assertive spice flavours dominate the taste with canella and cardamom coming out the strongest, but finishing a little bit spicey. Aftertaste has much more roasted malt, touches of alcohol and quite a bit of bitterness at the finish that doesnít go great. Overall, a decent beer - made with quality and is full of flavour, but the spices are a bit too much and the depth is not effective enough. I sampled this 65 cL bottle purchased from Whole Foods in Arlington (Clarendon), Virginia on 24-October-2013 for US$7.99 sampled at home in Washington on 20-April-2014 a few minutes after returning from a land with no spices in beer (Germany).

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
airrick2003 (586) - Louisiana, USA - APR 17, 2014
Appearance: this beer is a very dark maroon color, practically black in all but the brightest light, pours with a very large tan head, nice head retention Aroma: coffee, vanilla, dark roasted malt, Taste: vanilla coffee, sweet, has a bit of bitterness on the finish, milky, perhaps some cinnamon or spice like chili Palate: lively carbonation for a stout, slight coffee aftertaste, has some froth and a moderate mouthfeel Overall: not a bad beer, I like the hints of vanilla in it, could use more complexity if anything ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
LinusStick (2911) - Moon Twp, suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 16, 2014
This was a nice beer. Nothing exceptional but enjoyable. Aroma was the best thing about it. Chocolate and vanilla are the main smells. Pour was a nice milk chocolate brown with a one finger off white head. Taste was OK. A little thin, but that also hides the alcohol dangerously well. Chocolate covered coffee bean with notes of sweet vanilla. The finish was all coffee and as it warmed more flavors came out. I changed taste from a 6 to a 7 for this reason. Mild carbonation. Nice beer

   AROMA 2/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 2/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 6/20
Crash_the_dog (163) - Fairway, Kansas, USA - APR 16, 2014
Hands down, one of the single most disgusting beers I've ever tasted. The nose was way over the top, a crazed mishmash of flavors, and the taste was worse. It was also sticky. Very, very sticky. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
daknole (9796) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - MAR 29, 2014
Dark reddish brown pour. Tan head. Kind of tastes like an imperial brine thatís been treated like a hunahpus. I didnít love it.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
jbrana (526) - NASHVILLE, Tennessee, USA - MAR 26, 2014
Strong flavors of cocoa, vanilla, and some light coffee and cinnamon. Has a really rich mouthfeel, and maybe a bit too sweet.

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