Sampled on tap at 1702, July 2009
The beer arrives from the tap a clearish, dark amber – brown color. The head is about half a finger in height and is a full tan color. The aroma has notes of cardamom, clove and perhaps a touch of plum. As the beer sits in my glass it begins to open up a bit more with aromas of pear, apple, black pepper, ginger and some sweetness that comes from esters more than actual sugar.
The beer tastes dry and spicy with a sharp, spicy phenolic note in the finish. Turpene like clove notes in the finish are joined by an herbal, even menthol leaning, hop bitterness. This has a nice high level of carbonation, more than one would expect from a tap offering, but it works well with this beer as it provides a prickly texture and a peppery bite. Phenols add a perceived sweetness to this beer that tastes quite a bit like clove.
My second pour of this beer is noticeably more fruit oriented, the spiciness actually gets quite a bit cleaner and it isn’t as muddled as it was initially. There is a touch of toasted malt character to this beer and there is even a touch of tartness that starts to come out. The tartness nicely accentuates more of the fruit notes in this beer. This is actually quite a bit more characterful than I was expecting. The yeast choice was clearly spot-on and Sierra Nevada fermented this in such a way as to contribute a lot of flavor to this beer. I hope to be able to try this a couple more times.
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