Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Winter Beers 2 - Winterbraun and Old Jubilation

First up, Lost Coast’s Winterbraun. I am Lost Coast fan, and enjoyed many 12 packs of Great White throughout the summer. But what can they do for my winter needs? A lot. The beer is a very nice brown color, and I can instantly pick up the smell of malt. It is brewed with a mixture of pale, caramel, and chocolate malts. Saaz hops simply balance it out, and add no noticeable bitterness, except on the very finish. The beer is not super sweet, and is a lot like a Brown. At 6.5%, this does fill this blogger’s rule of higher winter ABVs, especially when compared to Great White’s 5.0. In fact, except for a tie with their Raspberry Brown, rates it as the brewery’s beer with the highest ABV. A very pleasant beer at a good price. But, the question is, is it a great winter warmer? It is malty, it is heavier than a summer ale, and the alcohol content is higher. Mmmmm, I’m not so sure. It just doesn't have the full, heavy body I was looking for in my quest.

Avery’s Old Jubilation is their winter seasonal. This is the first year I have tried it. It pours very dark, with a very nice nose of cherry and malt. The first taste is an interesting blend of Two-row barley, special roast, black, chocolate, and victory malts. There is no bitterness, even on the finish. At 30 IBUs, it is definitely heavier on the malty than hoppy side. The hops used are bullion hops, which do give it a noticeable currant flavor. The bullion hop is one I have not come across before, and has an interesting story of it’s own.
The beer’s 8% ABV surely fill the needed for a strong brew for the winter. Check. The body leads itself to sipping, not guzzling.
The complexity of the beer is amazing. Every time I grab my glass for another drink, I notice more and more flavors emerging. Brown sugar, caramel, slight citrus notes. The website suggest hints of hazelnuts, toffee, and mocha.
Like the Winterbraun, this is an excellent value beer. Let’s face it, there are some epic beers out there, but we do not always have, or want to spend the money for them.

In this pairing, Old Jubilation is a sure win.

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