Total Score: 6.5/10
Today’s fancy (and heavy ABV’d brew at 8.3%) American Brown Ale carries the distinction of a Gold Medal at the 2012 San Diego International Beer Festival for an American-Style Brown Ale, it’s none other than *drumroll* Twisted Manzanita Gillespie Brown!!! *cue cheesy gameshow music* In any case I am looking forward to trying a big bad [the good ‘bad’] American Brown as it is a style I’ve not had a great deal of dabbling in (the disappointingly dry and bland Brooklyn Brown Ale being the only other US made American Brown Ale).
Poured from a 355ml can into a nonic pint.
A: Nice seal brown hazy body with a tan cappuccino foam 2cm head that fragments well with lacing around the edge of the glass… looks sticky, which usually means sugary too, as long as it isn’t boring as Brooklyn’s Brown I’ll be a happy man. 8/10.
S: HUUUUUGE CARAMEL BASE! So huge I had to write in ALL-CAPS! beneath all this sugar-laden caramel are some earthy/nutty notes and the teensiest-tiniest hint of milk chocolate. Others have suggested heady booze notes but I’m not finding that at all. Time to get my Insulin ready for the tasting part. 8/10.
T: Oh right… there’s the booze… more straight Vodka spirit than anything else, but it is noticeable with a slight burn and the feel of it hitting my blood stream. Apart from that the caramel malt less flavourful than expected but the nutty note is there along with some roasted malt. Finish is slightly astringent with that ethanol burn. You get the feeling that if they could pull back on the ABV there is a decent brew to be found in there. 6/10.
M: Medium bodied with a light but fizzy carbonation. The alcoholic astringency is distracting the mouthfeel somewhat though. 6/10.
D: This is one of those “gee I’m glad I tried it but I won’t be getting it again” type of beers, good-not-great, but it’s that shot of Vodka taste that really drags it down, and if you want to get an idea of what I mean take your favourite brew, pour a shot of Vodka in it and tell me what you think… yeah I thought so. I did however like the amped up caramel-ness of Gillespie Brown… damn this would have been nice at 5% ABV. 6/10.
Food match: What goes with caramel-flavoured Vodka? Kotlety with stolichny salad and a borscht soup starter, mmm… vkusnyy!