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07-10-03

Beer Review #299 Reunion Ale 12

07-10-03I have yet another collaboration beer up for review today. Reunion Ale 12 is brewed by Shmaltz Brewing Company in collaboration with Terrapin Beer Company. This was a wife picked beer and not something that I normally would have gotten because of the description on the label. The bottle says it is a “dark imperial ale brewed with cocoa nibs, cinnamon, vanilla, and natural flavors.” I always hate the natural flavors part of a beer description. If you aren’t going to be specific, don’t add it to your label.

Reunion Ale 12 pours a deep black with an off-white head. The nose is packed with cinnamon and has a slight vanilla twinge. A light caramel note can be found in the background of the nose as well. I was expected to get some roasted odors out of this one but none could be found.

On the first taste the cinnamon really attacks. The cinnamon doesn’t taste fresh like a stick cinnamon would but rather powdered and clingy. The vanilla also comes in and asserts itself strongly. At the end the malt finally has a chance to show itself with some light bread coming out of the woodwork. The cocoa nibs also make an appearance at the end of this one, but they seemed to have missed the party as they don’t blend with the other ingredients. The beer finishes on the sweet end of things and lack any hop presence.

This one gets an “eh” from me. There is way too much going on with too many strong flavors. All of the flavors fight each other for dominance and they just don’t fit. I usually like flavors to sing when they get together, this beer’s ingredients yell. I would like it to end a bit more on the dry end of things as well to maybe closeout the beer on a better note. At 8% this beer will make you feel better but this one is just not for me.

Beer Review #174 The Vixen Chocolate Chili Bock

This will be the last beer review of 2011 on Brewery Reviewery. I still have a bunch of winter beers to get though during the weeks ahead, but I will get to them next year. I saw this beer while I was at the beer store last week and picked it up. My father-in-law also got me a bottle for Christmas. The Vixen Chocolate Chili Bock is brewed by Boston Beer Company, aka Sam Adams, of Boston Massachusetts. This bock is part of their series of one-off production beers, meaning that this beer is brewed only once and is never rebrewed again. I have a feeling that a very successful beer in this series would be produced again (I’m looking at you Victory Dark Intrigue). To my knowledge Sam has three other beers in this series currently.

The Vixen pours a nice black color and has an accompanying tan head. I have no idea on the clarity of this beer as its darkness blocks out any light (or is it that it absorbs all of the light, science!) The nose is fully of chocolate with some sweetness in there as well. I didn’t get an chili odor and I looked all over for it. The bottle says “ale brewed with cinnamon and with spices and cocoa nibs added.” I didn’t find anything other than the cocoa on the nose.

The taste is full of chocolate as well. And when I say chocolate, I mean lots of chocolate, like a bigger version of their Chocolate Bock. Again, I wasn’t able to get any chili flavor. I tried this beer cold and at room temperature and there was no chili to be found. There was a slightly strange ending on this beer, but not a flavor that I would attribute to chilies or the other spices mentioned. The only thing I found other than chocolate was some heat as it warmed.

This beer comes in at 8.5% and comes in a “stylized” bomber (22 oz). The Vixen is a very smooth, fully flavored chocolate beer, but it is not chili beer. If you are scared off by the chilies, don’t be fearful of this beer. You will not find any chilies, but just some rich chocolatey goodness. (more…)