Here’s a few tasting tidbits for everyone . . .
Mak’s Dunkelweizen: I tasted Mak’s Dunkelweizen on Sunday May 20th. It has a very different flavor profile from Mak’s Hefewiezen. The aroma is not so fruity (banana), and neither is the flavor. It still has the banana/clovey flavor, but not so intense as the hefe. The flavor is much more complex. The dark/crystal grains give it more malty flavor, with a hint of cherry. Yes, I would describe this as a light amber hefewiezen (well, that’s exactly what it is). It’s not quite as dark as I had hoped, but I attribute that to the last minute grain bill revision (my supplier did not have all of the specialty grains I wanted) – I was afraid it would be too dark. I erred on the side of caution, and ended up a little light. Now don’t misunderstand me, no one would mistake it for a hefe, it definitely looks like a dunkel, it’s just not as dark as I wanted it. I think the hop profile is good – it’s not hop bitter, but you can taste a slight grain bitterness.
I tasted this side by side with Mak’s Bavarian Hefeweizen. The hefe (that I raved so much about) was fairly bland next to this dunkel, so I think I accomplished my goal (a hefe with some carmel notes) and would rate this a very good beer.
Samuel Adams Cinder Bock: I saw this SA limited edition brew at Total Wine last week and bought a bottle to try. It is a “Rauch Bock”, described (by SA) as “Smokey and rich with a bit of mischief”. It is sold only in 22 oz bottles. This definitely has the rauch beer flavor (smokey), but then (as is described on the label) the heavy & rich malty nature kicks in. At first I thought it was too much – like syrup (thick, smooth, sweet). When I drank the second glass (from the same bottle – 22 oz, remember?) I thought it was pretty darn good. Maybe I liked the second glass better because it’s 9.5% ABV (you know, the more you have the better they taste). I really liked the Samuel Adams Bonfire rauch beer (had it in the fall SA variety pack). That was a true rauch beer, and I rate it as excellent. Cinder Bock is a hybrid, but overall, I would recommend it. The smokiness is not overwhelming, and the flavor is unusual (smokey at first, then malty sweet). Give it a try.
Samuel Adams Dark Depths: Like the Cinder Bock, I bought this limited edition beer at Total Wine last Week. It’s a Baltic IPA, described on the label as “Dark, fierce and blustery.” What is a “Baltic IPA”? It’s another hybrid beer – a Baltic Porter combined with an IPA. So what is it? It’s a porter fermented as a lager (I guess that would be considered a black lager). Then, it’s hopped like an India Pale Ale (IPA), for a very unique flavor. It’s chocolatey sweet, but then your palate is blasted by the hops. Wow, this is a really good beer. Dark Depths is 7.6% ABV, and is also sold only in 22 oz bottles. I highly recommend this one, but you better buy it soon, as it’s a limited edition brew, and won’t be around for long.
That’s it for now. I hope to bottle Mac’s Cherry Wheat this weekend. Also, maybe I’ll brew a red ale . . . we’ll see about that.