Sunday, March 28, 2010

271. Dogfish Head Immort Ale 2009

“It smells like fancy beer.”

More beer from Dogfish Head, the best little brewery in Delaware. And yes, I am making a purposefully obscure reference in that description. Care to take a stab at it?

Immort Ale pours a hazy maple syrup (the grade A all natural stuff, not that Mrs. Butterworth’s crap) and has a thin ivory head that leaves some lacing; the beer also has some legs when swirled or tilted against the side of the glass. Maple sweetness is the first aroma in the nose, followed by low levels of clean oaky wood aroma without much in the way of tannins, and a bit of alcohol spiciness; some smokiness emerges with some warmth. Immort Ale opens with maple syrup and brown sugar sweetness to start, followed by a bit of heat in the middle along with some carbonation bite, and finishing with oak, vanilla and alcohol, with a touch of smokiness in the lingering alcohol flavor. Heavy bodied with dryness from the alcohol and the oak; the carbonation is medium with small tight bubbles that help liven up the heavier body, and there is some creaminess from the oak without much in the way of a tannic bite. An enjoyable beer for slow sipping and picking apart the different flavors that emerge across the palate and as the beer opens up with warmth; we’ve got two more bottles from this four-pack that we’ll keep sitting on and try one of them again in another year.

From the label: “Vast in character, luscious and complex, this smooth, full-bodied ale reveals interwoven notes of maple, vanilla & oak.”

From the Dogfish Head website: “We started brewing Immort Ale at our brewpub in 1995 and began bottling it in 1997. For this beer, we use maple syrup from Red Brook Farm – Sam’s family farm in Western Massachusetts, peat-smoked barley, juniper berries, and vanilla. Immort is fermented with a blend of English & Belgian yeasts, then aged in the big oak tanks at the brewery. The sweet and earthy flavors meld magnificently in the Immort Ale. But, be warned the ABV is 11%, so after 1 or 2 you may start feeling immortal (even though we promise you won’t be). Immort Ale is released each and every spring (after the sap starts flowing).”

ABV: 11%


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