I review a lot of Dogfish Head beers. I generally like their style, love their willingness to do something different, and I’ve met the owner. With all of that said, I would’ve picked up this beer if it was brewed by anyone. The label beckons, ” Vast in character, luscious and complex, this smooth, full-bodies ale reveals interwoven notes of maple, vanilla and oak.” It also comes in at a hefty 11% ABV, which means that it’s a sipper. There’s something special about slowly drinking a beer and having it change over time. It also means that you don’t have to get up as often. Score.
Immort Ale pours a nice ruby color. It has a thin off-white head that quickly fades. There a several small bodies suspended in the beer which I can only attribute to yeast. The nose has a bit of heat along a wonderful aroma of woody earth. This beer is barrel aged but it strikes a nice cord of oak and earth flavor that you usually find in some funkier beers. A slight bit of sweetness can be found in the recesses of the nose. Finally, a nice aged hop flavor comes forward to round out an already nice odor.
The nose on this beer is super complex and lovely and the taste is right along the same lines. It starts with a sweet upfront flavor that I would describe as grainy caramel. The oak flavor comes in and provides a solid contribution and future background flavor. There is a slight bit of vanilla to be found but I would have expected a bit more with vanilla mentioned on the label. The hops do not deliver a super crazy bitterness but instead provide a nice spicy bitterness that really round this beer out.
This beer stays earthy throughout with lots of great flavor and complexity. I really like this beer overall. It has great characteristics that make it easy drinking (for an experienced craft beer drinker) but rich and flavorful. I really enjoyed this one and I can’t wait to age a few bottles and see how it transforms over time. I’m really hoping that it loses a bit of the heat.