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 we’ve 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, we’ve 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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Ratman197 (15364) - 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.

Lubiere (14151) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - JUL 28, 2009
A nice reddish amber ale with a thin creamy moka head. A wonderfully pleasant dark fruits in aroma, molasses, treacle and maderized porto, enticing and intense. In mouth, an interesting mix of dark candy cane extract, sour molasses, and raisins. Challenging in a good way. Rich and warming. On tap at brewpub, July 1, 2009

argo0 (14127) - Washington DC, USA - OCT 3, 2005
(GABF05) Murky red-brown body with minimal beige head. Aroma is moderately sweet, vanilla, peat, alcohol. Taste is very sweet, syrup, vanilla, alcohol, peat. Full body with some acidity.

BeerandBlues2 (13814) - 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.

bu11zeye (13215) - 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.

MartinT (10036) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JUN 29, 2009
UPDATED: JUL 7, 2009 My Bottom Line:
This grandiose achievement in brewing harmoniously marries bourbon, sour cherries, medjool dates and wild yeast flavors into a luxurious body worthy of meditation. This ambitious project has bloomed into a most marvelous osmosis of Flemish Sour, Fruit Beer and Barley Wine.

Further Personal Perceptions:
-A slice of foam surfs the mahogany-tinged dark brown.
-Alcohol seems to vary a lot from batch to batch; from 8.6% to over 12%!
-Vinous fruitiness, tartness and wooden dryness meld beautifully into the vanilla sweetness.
-Alcohol is remarkably well hidden for a 12% brew.
-The soft tiny bubbles are effervescent, making this a very classy, easygoing sipper despite all the present flavors.
-Complexity here is endless, yet all flavors seem to coexist on the same plane. Very impressive!

On tap at the brewpub.

DJMonarch (9179) - Northwich, Cheshire, ENGLAND - MAR 14, 2006
Barrel Draught from the jug at the GABF, Colorado Convention Center 29/09/2005 Dark coloured and very strong in alcohol. Some fruit and chocolate flavours. Slightly bitter whisky finish.

Ernest (7819) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - APR 15, 2006
GABF 2005. Body is medium brown. Aroma is moderately malty (roasted grain, caramel), with notes of cherry, sherry, and wood. Flavor is moderately sweet, lightly acidic. Finish is lightly sweet, moderately acidic, lightly bitter. Medium body, watery/syrupy texture, soft carbonation, moderately alcoholic. Had several samples of this due to the buzz surrounding it on the floor, but could not form an affection for it. Aged too long or improperly (fairly strong oxidation that took away the charms it may have had). Looks great on paper, but rather disappointing to sample.

ClarkVV (6862) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 11, 2004
UPDATED: MAY 19, 2005 2004 draught @ Cambridge Brewery. Dark magenta tones swirl throughout a murky brown body with dark blacks and a creamy yellow-tan head. Aroma is yeast, yeast, yeast. It’s got alcohol, prunes, figs, musty old wood, dry vinous notes and raisins. What is this stuff reminding me of???? I had to sit there and smell it for a while but then it hit me, this stuff smells almost exactly like Kuhnhenn Fourth Dementia Old Ale! Which is great. It’s full, pungent and wonderful. Flavor is a mix of sour fruits, dry wood, vanilla, sherry and dark malts. Finish has a big vinousness, a bit of bitter dark chocolate. The complexity is astounding. Wonderfully made stuff, though admittedly not as Belgian tasting as I would expect. More like a baltic porter mixed with a really strong English Old Ale and then aged on wood. Body is not thick and syrupy and though the flavor is full, it is much more loose than I expected.

BBB63 (6567) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - OCT 16, 2005
GABF 2005: Murky brown hue with no head or lace to speak of. Not a pretty beer but what is inside made up for it. The aroma has a WOW factor of lots of swet and ripened fruits and malts (cherry, prune, vanilla, caramel, bread) with a splash of oak and whisky. The taste is equally sweet and sour with a grape and cherry twang balanced by a sweet sugary and caramel nature. The finish is oaky and tannic with a hint of spice, I dig it! The feel is sticky and warming, very full bodied. One of my favorites of the fest.

Perhaps the most rated beer of the fest as well with 9 yea and 2 ney so far.

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