Mike Castagno's picture

Snake Handler

January, 2016
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
36 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

Note – This beer was shipped in a vacuum-insulated growler. More on this later.

A moderate hop nose laced with grapefruit and pine hit you initially. Underneath are low levels of passion fruit and guava with a bit of a floral tone and a touch of hay. The alcohol is obvious with some underlying fusel alcohols and a slight bit of a solvent character. The flavor packs a punch, heavy on the resiny and piney American hops supported by some rich toasty malt. There is a firm bitterness that hits you, then quickly fades into the background allowing for an enriching hop-forward experience. The body is quite full and tends to get in the way of the overall enjoyment of the beer. There is noticeable warmth with a fairly crisp, slightly dry finish.

One can expect a beer in a growler to be low on the carbonation due to the filling process. Since you cannot evacuate the air in such a vessel, oxidation can be expected. Coupled with transit conditions and time, I suspect that the hop aroma would be higher in intensity and the alcohol would be softer. With a drop in CO2 and lots of shaking you can volatilize the alcohol to make it more apparent and also oxidize some of the yeast-derived compounds into solvent-like esters. I would anticipate that fresh, this would be a great beer to try. If the body were a bit lighter this could be quite exquisite.