RATINGS: 46   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.8/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 378   ABV: 12.6%
When we brewed Benevolence the first time, over fifteen years ago, we were treading some seriously untrodden ground with an altogether new and unique beer, and we caused quite a stir. Since then the craft beer-loving public has become more familiar with barrel-aged beers, blended beers, sour beers, etc., and weve dramatically expanded our barrel cellar and our production of, shall we say, challenging beers to greater acclaim.

Of course, when we burned all production notes for this beer in a fit of artistic pique, we failed to foresee years of requests for us to do it again. Nor did we imagine how appropriate it would be to attempt to reproduce it in honor of our 20th Anniversary. Now as we celebrate out 25th Anniversary, weve done it again. With more than a little bit of nostalgia, the original production and tasting notes are below for your enjoyment.

This is certainly a strange one

An altogether new and unique creation in the world of beer, Benevolence combines the age-old traditions of Belgian lambic blending, Flanders sour ales, wild fermentations, and barrel-aged English strong ales with new American ingenuity and a penchant for the bizarre.

A very strong wort made with 8 different malts, aged hops, Belgian candi sugar, and organic black raisins was fermented with multiple yeast strains in stainless steel, then racked into used bourbon casks. Wild fermentation was sparked by the addition of dates, fresh sour cherries, and raw local honey, which left a dry, puckering tartness in the finish. After three years aging silently in the wood, this intentionally soured beer was blended with a young strong ale, and Benevolence was born.

Deep raisiny brown, the nose exhibits fresh dates, brown bread, oak, and subtle sherry-like oxidation. On the palate, soft carbonation, sweet raisin/fig/dates, a touch of herbal honey, oak, vanilla, and the slightest hint of maple lead to a rich but slightly tart finish with the character of well-aged madeira wine.

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   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
AdamChandler (4885) - Enfield, New Hampshire, USA - MAR 28, 2016
Dark brown to black. Red edges. Smells really good. Dark fruit, prunes, figs and pepper. Taste. Whoa. Oxidized, sherry and port with loads of dark fruit, wine barrel. Malt backbone is huge. Really lovely. Finish is like a very old port

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Beerathon (1683) - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA - JUN 18, 2014
Says retired but i had on tap at the source today. Dark fruits, raisin, slight roasted malts, bit of sour funk. Very complex layered flavors.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Tonkun (1296) - New Jersey, USA - MAY 27, 2014
Tap at brewery. Dark pour. Rice, syrup, sherry. Dried fruits. Dessert wine like. Interesting

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Bacterial (2955) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - MAY 21, 2014
Wow what a nice surprise to find. Brewed again for their 25th anniversary. Dark brown pour with a reddish hue and almost no head. Nose is huge raisin with a hint of lactic tartness. Taste is wonderfully complex with lots of things happening, yet working together so very well. Raisin, oak, tawny port, awesomeness.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
dnstone (3052) - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - JAN 3, 2011
Barley heavy aroma with woody-nutty aroma. Deep brown, almost black in color. Very sweet with sour edges and a nutty-woody finish. A bit like a wild barleywine.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
That1Guy (2225) - Colorado, USA - MAR 9, 2010
Avery Sour Ale Fest. Strongest brew at the whole fest. However no alcohol apparent. Sweet, but not overly sweet. Surprisingly not that full-bodied. The barrel adds some cool character to the brew. Some woodiness and nice tart flavors. One of my favorites of the fest.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Ratman197 (14380) - Arvada, Colorado, USA - FEB 28, 2010
On tap at Avery Sour Fest poured a hazy dark brown with a lingering ring of tan foam. Aromas of leather, horseblanket, cocoa and light fruittiness. Palate was light bodied and crisp with a dry lightly tart finish. Flavors of leather, cocoa, fruittiness, barnyard and light spice with a smooth dry lightly tart lingering funky finish.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
BeerandBlues2 (12847) - Escondido, California, USA - OCT 10, 2009
GABF 2009. Pours hazy brown with an average, fizzy off-white head, somewhat diminishing with fair lacing. Aroma is heavy malt (cookie, caramel, toffee), light hop (herbs, grass), heavy yeast (dough, earth) with notes of cherry, wine, and brown sugar. Medium bodied, sticky texture, average carbonation, and a bitter finish. Long duration, moderate sweetness, acidity, and bitterness.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
nickd717 (4562) - Sofia, BULGARIA - OCT 6, 2009
On tap at GABF 2009. Another great and really interesting beer from Cambridge. Pours a cloudy dark reddish-amber color with a small off-white head. Aroma is dark fruits, brown sugar, spices, oak, and orange peel. Flavor is sweet malt, spices, cherries, dates, orange, honey, candi sugar, red wine, and a little alcohol. Also a little oaky tartness to it that really adds to the complexity. Palate is medium-full with soft carbonation and very well-hidden ABV. This is a well-done beer overall.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
bu11zeye (13020) - Frisco (Dallas), Texas, USA - OCT 1, 2009
(Draught) Pours a murky dark reddish brown body with a small beige head. Aroma of raisins, dates, vinous, honey, and cherry. Flavor of raisins, dates, cherries, candi sugar, light funkiness, vinous, caramel, light honey, and some vanilla. Nice complexity in this high abv Belgian Strong.

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