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Phil Farrell's picture


March, 2016
Judges Rating: 
20 / 24
5 / 6
34 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

After pouring, I'm greeted by a light brown beer that's clear around the edges but otherwise difficult to see through. The head is off-white and drops low, then sticks around, lacing the glass nicely. Roasty initially with an earthy coffee aroma being the most noticeable element in the nose. As it warms, there is nuttiness and biscuit graininess that creeps into the picture. The aromas are very homogenous. I can’t say I detect anything that speaks to wood or oak specifically. The coffee earthiness is also nutty, leaving a dry impression. The base malt has that brown malt graininess that's common in the bigger versions of the brown ale segment. The second wave of flavor is dark baker’s chocolate with generic fruit, and there is no noticeable hop flavor. The bitterness is medium-high but isn’t harsh, which is difficult to do when hop bitterness, roasted grains, oak and coffee gang up on your palate. Because of some alcohol warmth and a medium body with moderate carbonation, the beer is not creamy, and I didn’t expect it to be. There is some mild astringency that makes the beer seem just a little fuller and more substantial than the actual body is. A pleasant beer concept that's executed well, however the flavors and aromas suffer from melding so well together that they actually get a little blurred. I only experienced one element at a time while drinking, rather than a complex layer of perceptions that sneak in at unexpected times. This collaboration will please the fans of brown ale as being more than a normal American Brown Ale, but it will likely disappoint many coffee or wood-aged beer connoisseurs.