959. Cigar City – 2014 Winter Warmer

959. Cigar City - 2014 Winter WarmerIt’s Thanksgiving weekend, and without any family visiting, it’s been pretty relaxing. It’s a football Saturday, and so I got in the hot tub and watched the Mizzou-Vandy football game – getting to see Sarah Fuller, the first woman play in a major college football game. Tonight, I’m just hanging out, watching TV, and eating leftovers from our Thanksgiving dinner. Since I’m approaching the last couple dozen beers of this 1000 beer journey, I thought I start digging into the beer cellar for good beers. If I remember correctly, my sister brought this one back for me a few years ago after a trip she made to the Tampa area. It doesn’t say what the gravity or ABV is on it, but figured it would last a couple years in the beer fridge. The bottle says, “We mashed up traditional English-style barley wine style ale and old ale winter warmer-style ales with citrusy American hops like Simcoe, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook, Amarillo and fittingly, Glacier, to create a Floridian Winter Ale.”

Location: Poured from the 22oz bottle into a large Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.

Numbers: 12.25% ABV, ~460 Calories

Appearance & Aroma: It’s a hazy dark brown with a thin, creamy, khaki-colored head with nice retention and lacing. It has a good, warm and sweet malty, barley wine aroma with dark some raisin and date-like smells.

Taste & Feel: The body is full, and the mouthfeel is smooth and slightly creamy from the head on it. The flavor up front is sweet and malty, with a very date fruit like flavor. The rich, dark caramel malty sweetness drops on you in the middle, and some bitterness comes up to join it during the finish. The finish is slightly less rich, but still pretty rich and sweet, but there’s a bitterness underneath it. Not only is the finish still very rich and malty sweet, but as promised, there’s a subtle alcohol warmth in your throat as well.

Food Pairing: This is a big, rich, malty sweet beer, so I’d pair it with something savory to cut through the sweetness. With the caramel and date fruit like flavors, I’d pair this beer with a steak or a thick burger.

Overall Impression: I was a little nervous with all of the citrusy hops used in this beer, and perhaps they faded out quite a bit over the last few years. However, this turned out to be a great, rich, malty beer with a lot of caramel and date fruit like flavors. The bitterness wasn’t citrusy at all, but blended in with the sweetness to balance the beer out a bit. This is really my kind of big beer – rich and malty, leaving you with a nice warming sensation. I’m not sure if they still make this beer, but I’m going to keep my eye out for it. I’d be interested to see how this tastes fresh, with citrusy hops, but I know that it’ll taste great after a few years of aging.

My Rating: ★★★★½

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Author: kkozlen

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