February 23rd, 2012
It was in the 70s here in Nashville today (in February!) and tomorrow night it will be 29 degrees. Might as well review a winter beer while I still can! This one was sent to me from Brooklyn Brewery, and it is their Winter Ale. I’m a big fan of Brooklyn Brewery, so I was excited when I saw the package on my doorstep!
According to the Brooklyn Brewery website, this Scottish-style ale features Scottish Floor-malted Maris Otter, English crystal malts, Belgian Aromatic malt, American roasted malts, American oats, and Willamette hops. According to me, it’s a tasty Scottish-style ale indeed.
This caramel-colored ale comes, poured correctly, topped with a 2-finger thick fluffy beige head comprised of tiny delicate bubbles that cling to the glass. The beer itself resembles a cola in which the ice has been allowed to melt, but with reddish undertones.
The nose features some woody-ness and peat, hints of bourbon, slight tart cherry hints and a sweet and toasty malt backbone. There seems to be a slight whisper of chocolate as well. All in all, a very interesting nose with a lot to show off.
This beer comes across malty and sweet, but with a crisp edge, not at all cloying. The nose definitely alluded to the nice flavors within, as a woody and peaty character is introduced, with subtle nutty and chocolatey accompaniment on the finish. There’s a very good depth of flavor here, and the peat and wood really speak to all that is winter. There is even a slight sourness that edges forward as the beer warms. This beer is medium/full-bodied, with a mouthfeel that is both crisp and slightly cloying. The flavors tend to stick around on the palette, which is not at all a bad thing.
Appearance: A nice head floats atop this beer that shows a good rich coloring, quite appropriate for the richness within, waiting to be quaffed.
8 points out of 10
Nose: Smells great, and rich, and lets you in on what to expect on the palate, without betraying all the flavor notes.
14 out of 15
Taste: Good malty, earthy flavor, with good depth and really spotlighting a lot of characteristics I enjoy, such as slight chocolatey hints and tart cherry, as well as a sourness that arises as it warms and breathes.
49 out of 55
Style: When I think of a Scottish-style ale, I think of a deep, rich earthy flavor, and this beer delivers that, to be sure. But it does it in a way that is far from one-note, showcasing other complementary flavors and profiles. This is an example of a beer that takes a style and fits it, then does even better.
19 out of 20
Total rating: 90 points out of 100.
In a nutshell: If you like a Scottish ale but want one that isn’t so earthy you think you’ve been buried alive, this is the beer for you. Excellent, excellent brew.
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