A couple months ago, my friend Joe stopped through town on his way back to St. Louis from Chicago. He and I stopped at Destihl and had a few beers (I had Destihl St. Dekkera Reserve Bela Imperial Pilsner Sour Ale, Destihl Downstate Pale Ale, and Destihl Destihl Strawberry Blonde Ale), and after we were finished he reached into his car and pulled out several beers he had gotten in Chicago for me. I had heard of 5 Rabbit, but haven’t been able to have any of their beers yet, so I was excited about trying this one. The bottle says, “Five Vulture is a deep amber ale with complex caramel aromas, toasted sugar notes and a long elegant spicy finished, roasted Ancho chili is used to add depth, without much heat or strong chili flavors.”
Location: Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass from the bottle at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 6.4% ABV, ~ 190 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s a very dark, rusty-red color and pretty clear. It’s got a thick, creamy head on it, and lots of carbonation in it. There’s a light caramel-malty aroma with some hints of an almost cardboard-like smell.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium, and the mouthfeel is fairly creamy, with a little bit of carbonation bite. It’s got a bready, slightly caramel malt flavor up front, with hints of nuttiness coming in the middle. The finish has a good amount of the bready caramel flavor, along with a decent dose of bitterness to match. The bitterness is earthy and spicy with almost no hint of the ancho chili. The caramel and earthy bitterness last for a minute or so in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: There were mostly bready and light caramel flavors in this beer, perfect for helping to knock down big spicy flavors. I’d obviously pair this with Mexican food (as it is a Mexican beer), but I’d especially pair it with a very spicy dish, as this beer would not only help to cleanse the palate, but would help to knock down some of that spiciness.
Overall Impression: Given the description on the bottle, I was expecting a complex beer with lots of different flavors in it. However, I was a bit disappointed, as it had primarily light bready and caramel flavors, much like I’d expect from a dark lager. The added bitterness was nice, but not quite enough. To my palate, the Ancho chili flavor was nowhere to be found in this beer. It’s not a bad beer, just average, not necessarily delivering on the marketing copy on the bottle.