The holidays are quickly approaching, and rather than attend our homebrewing club holiday party, I decided to stay home and spend the evening truly relaxing. As I catch up on some computer work here at home, I decided to crack open this beer. I’ve been looking forward to trying it since we picked it up at Silver Harbor Brewing Company when we had lunch at the brewery this summer in St. Joseph, MI. While there, I saw that this beer won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival last year, so I had to buy one. Since I’m not going anywhere tonight, it’s the perfect evening to crack open this big, flavorful beer.
Location: Poured from the 22oz bottle into a goblet style pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 12.6% ABV, 60 IBUs, ~420 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s deep brown in color with some obvious brown and ruby highlights visible through it when held up to the light. It has a nice, fluffy tan head that fell after a few minutes to a thin ring around the edge of the glass. It has a very nice malty, sweet raisin-like aroma that’s lightly boozy.
Taste & Feel: The body is full and the mouthfeel is smooth and lightly viscous. The flavor up front is sweet and malty with a very light alcohol burn. The maltiness gets even stronger and richer in the middle with some sweet dark raisin-malt flavors. The sweet malty richness carries through into the finish, opening up a little bit more of the caramel and toffee-like maltiness. The malty sweetness fades slowly in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: This is a very sweet and rich beer, so I’d pair it with something equally big and rich, like a steak. I think it would also go great with a dessert like a cheesecake. I paired this beer with homemade tiramisu and they went perfect together.
Overall Impression: I really enjoyed the rich malty flavors in this beer, along with the raisin, caramel and toffee flavors throughout. While the malty flavor was rich, sweet, and consistent throughout, there was a light layer of complexity to it. While there was a very light hint of booziness to it, it was very smooth for such a big beer. Overall, this was, what I would consider, to be a perfect example of the style.