Shmaltz Brewing Company
Saratoga Springs, NY
The final installment of this month's big, black, high-gravity beer picks is this monster kitchen-sink anniversary ale from He'Brew. With 12 malts, 12 hops, and 12 percent alcohol, it is a mouthful. Caramel malts, herbal hops, and some molasses in the nose give little hint of the intense flavors within. The taste is full of burnt sugar, roasted malt, huge toffee, anise, chocolate and alcohol that is sort of like Kahlua on steroids. I searched desperately for some fruity elements and found a bit of black cherry and raisin, but this is more about charred malts and piney, resiny hops. Some baked grapefruit and brown sugar provide a juicy, quenching finish. Charcoal flavors and some hot fusel alcohol that burns the tongue give it a challenging drinkability. Full-bodied and sticky, with an oily mouth-coating bitterness, this is a big beer that would probably benefit from cellaring for a year or two. I really enjoyed last year's Jewbelation 11. Did one more malt and one more hop variety push this one over the edge? Hell yeah. This one goes to 12!
(photo by Jeff Holland)
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