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



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RATINGS: 79   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.5/5   SEASONAL: Series   IBU: 38   EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%
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.

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onceblind (10322) - 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.

dmac (6429) - 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.

elbernays (1641) - 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.

fiulijn (21022) - 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.

zach8270 (4021) - 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.

ChadPolenz (1847) - Lakeland, Florida, 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).

Thisis12ptfont (1215) - 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.

williamherbert (1546) - 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.

coachd (899) - 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 don’t 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 doesn’t 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 can’t 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 one’s for you.

jgb9348 (6434) - 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 doesn’t 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).

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