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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.

05-06-05

Beer Review #290 Terrapin Rye Pale Ale

05-06-03On my last visit to the beer store I saw a large display of a new beer to the area, Terrapin Beer Company of Athens, Ga. I never tasted their beer and a Rye Pale Ale sounded delightful, so I picked up a six pack along with a few other beers.

This Rye Pale Ale pours a light copper color with a thin white head. It is perfectly clear and looks really nice in the light. The nose didn’t give me the sense of hops. I got a strong dose of honey-like sweetness and some bready notes. There was a slight rye malt, but not as much as what I was hoping for. After a bit more smelling, I finally found a light citrus hop odor. I like my pale ales a little more malt forward, so this one fit the bill.

The honey carries over to the flavor and the rye/honey combination really plays nicely. The bread also comes in and adds a nice roundness to the taste of this beer. Hops come in at the end and provide a light hop bitterness. I mainly got pine from the hops and oddly no rye spiciness. I know that some say that rye doesn’t deliver a spicy component, but I would argue that it does, especially when given a proper hop profile to work with. It’s one of those flavors that can be masked or enhanced depending on what is around it. This beer doesn’t add to the spicy notes that I’m used to at the end, but it does allow for the rye to shine upfront.

This isn’t a bad pale ale, but I do wish it had something more to it. There is a lot of potential there, but it tastes a bit watered down to me. I’m going to contradict myself from earlier and say that I wanted this beer to be more aggressive with the hops. Malt forward is great, but in a pale ale, the hops also need to shine. I have a few other beers from this brewery to review but I think I will pass on this one next time around. It’s not a bad beer by any means, it’s just not one for me. (more…)