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He’Brew Reunion - A Beer For Hope 2013 (Shmaltz Brewing)



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RATINGS: 74   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.48   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 ’13. 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 year’s 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.

ThisWangsChung's rating

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
ThisWangsChung (747) - Leonardtown, Maryland, USA - MAR 2, 2014
22 oz bottle into a pint glass, from notes. A: Pours a dark ruby color with a one finger mocha-colored head. The latter has a nice creaminess, which allows it to leave some nice lacing on the glass. S: Wow. Nice. Tons of vanilla and chocolate make itself known immediately, with an underlying tone of brown sugar. The coffee really comes out strong when allowed to warm up. T: At first, it’s slightly chocolaty. Then BOOM! Coffee hits the palate hard. Normally, this would be great, but the coffee here is stale and vegetal. There are also hoppy and vanilla hints hanging around the finish. Shame about the stale coffee, because this is pretty decent otherwise. M: Light and fairly crisp, and quite dry. The coffee’s really going to work on the palate, giving this beer nice drinkability, even without the presence of assertive carbonation. O: Not bad, but it could have been so much more if the coffee here was ’fresher’. Incidentally, my friend who I drank this with enjoys stale coffee, meaning he loved it. YMMV, natch.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
monk191 (1087) - California, USA - DEC 18, 2014
A nice beer overall. Pours a thick dark brown with a milky tan head. Smells of cinnamon and cocoa. Taste is cinnamon all around, with some vanilla at the start and lots of bitter chocolate coming in the finish. Good, but we have had better examples of this style, like campfire stout or imperial tanilla. Had in the bottle.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
Homer321 (2125) - Rock Ridge, Florida, USA - NOV 19, 2014
Bottle. Really weird nose. almost spicy, but I don’t think they put peppers in this beer anymore. Pour is brown with a medium sized off white to light khaki head. Taste is pretty flat. lightly spicy, but chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla are all very muted. pretty mediocre.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
onceblind (4521) - Denver, Colorado, USA - NOV 16, 2014
Deep brown, nearly black, with a foamy light tan head. Very lovely nose of vanilla bean and cocoa nibbs and earthy fresh coffee, almost like a tiramisu. The flavor unfortunately falls apart a wee bit with some sort of flavor like chilli heat and bitter cocoa, with a bitter earthy woody vanilla tone and slightly acrid coffee. Overall its okay and somewhat tasty but it’s such a disappointment from the nose that it’s nearly hard to bear. More bitter and spicey than it ought to be.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
dmac (4206) - Toms River, New Jersey, USA - NOV 16, 2014
22oz bomber from Spirits Point. Poured a nice looking flat pitch black body with a smaller to average creamy beige head. Aroma is loads of fresh green pepper, coffee, dark toast. Medium body, softer carbonation thst builds and a milky finish. Flavor is coffee, milk, light pepper, dsrk toast. Sadly all the cinnamon, cocoa and vanilla is gone. Need a 2014 to compare.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
elbernays (620) - Dublin, IRELAND - OCT 26, 2014
Pint Bottle from local liquor store orlando. Pours brown with wispy tan head. Nose is cocoa, vanilla, coffee, little lactose. Flavour is dark chocolate 70 percent. Very dry palate, with a ash, lactose dark fruit aftertaste. The body is light very light. Probably my issue with it along with high carbonation. Plenty of complexity. Nice.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
fiulijn (15260) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - SEP 13, 2014
Draught at Taproom at Bayview Corner, Langley, WA
Dark color, almost black, with beige compact head. Smell of old wood. Somehow also the flavor recalls old furniture, old sofa, some cocoa, leather; there is some chocolate malt and spices.
Weird but not bad.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 7/20
lb4lb (2555) - Austin, Texas, USA - AUG 31, 2014
Smells like cigarette butts. Ashy. Tastes the same. Thin ashy unappealing.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
zach8270 (3582) - Henrietta, New York, USA - AUG 29, 2014
(bottle - 22 oz) Dark brown pour with a thin tan head. Coffee and cocoa instantly in the aroma with a light touch of cinnamon underneath. Flavor is a smooth cold coffee beginning with lots of the chocolate and cinnamon coming up in the middle. Coffee and vanilla blend together at the end. Really nice and really smooth.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (1245) - 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: Everyone’s making imperial stouts these days, but why not imperial brown ales? It’s a style that’s under-utilized and overlooked, so it’s nice to see it given some proper respect in the form of “Reunion Ale ‘13” – a collaboration brew between Shmaltz and Terrapin. Though the bottle I’m reviewing is nearly a year old, it’s held up extremely well. Big bold flavors of toasted malts, milk chocolate and coffee. It’s definitely not a hop-forward beer so it hasn’t lost much by aging. If anything, it’s become more sweet, and that’s something I’m okay with.

Right away there’s a strong sweetness of dark toasted malt. It doesn’t have the intense bitterness or burnt-like flavor of deeply roasted malt, so the variation is quite interesting. There’s a taste akin to toasted coconut or baker’s chocolate, though that could be the cocoa nibs and cinnamon (there’s no coconut in this beer). Mild bitterness at the apex and on the back end, though not so much from hops (which don’t really stand out) but from coffee. A medium roast blend that’s 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 that’s commendable for its originality.

Drinkability: Judging by the label, Shmaltz/Terrapin Reunion Ale ’13 would seem to be the type of beer you have to prep for. However, after just a sip or two it’s 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. It’s 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 (863) - 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.

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