notalush (5922) - Lakewood, Colorado, USA - AUG 18, 2012 3fourths (9358) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - AUG 18, 2012
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
firkin at the brewery. semi-dark amber / cola body with a thick tan head, lasting retention, heavy lacing. nose a menagerie of lemon pith, sugary meringue, cream, light butter, growing apple / armagnac, brined maraschino cherries / fruit cocktail and a distinct cantaloupe note. much more ester-forward than any other firkin from these guys. touches of cedar spiced apples and flower blossoms begin to dominate as it warms, and the yeast begins to be more muddy and thick than is enjoyable. creamy, round, full carbonation though the body thins late. musty, pitty and tannic stone fruit character overwhelms the malt. almond syrup / amaretto and calcium also have a strong presence. fun to try but the malt is less vibrant and visible, the yeast overpowering and musty and dirty.
I had a much different experience with this brew than others have - came out of the hand pump surprisingly clear - in fact, had I not seen the draw myself, I might have though they gave me a draught pour by mistake - perhaps that is why I did not taste the dull and musty yeast notes and muddled character that others did - for me, the hops were center stage, especially in the finish - fruity, crisp and vibrant - this played well with the rather prominent ester profile - there was some breadiness - a bit of baked apple and spice - but again, the hops had a nice bite at the end that washed the heaviness away - I enjoyed it. TAR (2787) - Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, USA - AUG 17, 2012
Cask, handpump at Hogshead: Deep rufous. Thick head mostly dwindles to a foamy halo. Dull, unfocused aromas of unripe estery fruitiness, hops (hay, spent tea bag), Red Delicious apple and paintlike yeast. Soft, watery carbonation. Opens with scant florals and undefined bready malt. Muted floral softness is bludgeoned by intrusive yeast. Aside from the slightest biscuity heft, malt definition is curiously nonexistent due to the rampant Red Delicious apple character. Severely dull all-around, consequently. Also some overripe apricot limpness as well as some unripe plum skin acidity which sorely hampers the malt development. Finishes muddled and lifeless with no hop or malt vitality to bring any semblance of balance. Had high hopes for this as Hersbrucker is among my favorite hops. Then again, Simcoe is among my least favorite hops, yet, in certain batches, the Simcoe Lake Lightning showed no signs of why I am not particularly keen on it. Rather, it was quite perfumey and elegant. Duds like this are bound to happen when dabbling with blends, but hats off for the effort.