Jessica Sullivan's picture

Judge's Review: 79 Rating - Smooth Sail by Heavy Seas Beer

June, 2018
Judges Rating: 
17 / 24
6 / 6
31 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

Smooth Sail by Heavy Seas Beer is an American Wheat Beer brewed with citrus peels. Because it is brewed with fruit, I will judge it as a Fruit Beer (29A), assuming the base beer to be an American Wheat Beer (1D). 

The aroma hit me with an overwhelming sweetness with hints of honey and vanilla detectable. There was a low spiciness that I associate with wheat, and aromas of banana (pleasant, but not appropriate for an American Wheat) and apricot. I did not detect substantial citrus character in the aoma, although there was a faint hint of something that could be orange.

The appearance was beautiful -- this beer is a rich golden color, was mostly clear with some haze, and had a bright white head with moderate retention. 

The taste reminded me immediately of fruit punch, with a presence of a fruit characteristic similar to that in tutti-frutti gum. This was followed by a promounced sweetness, and a low bitterness that effectively dried out the sweetness. Orange and banana were both present (again, banana is not appropriate for this style, although in this case I found it enjoyable), and a low, indistinct hop flavor could be detected upon warming. 

The beer had a medium body and a clean and crisp mouthfeel. No puckering, no astringency.

Overall, I love the idea of this beer, although there are some improvements that could make it outstanding. For example, as a fruit beer, I hope to detect the fruit character -- the idea of adding lemon and orange peel to an American Wheat is brilliant, because American Wheats often have a slight spicy/citrusy aroma and flavor, and the fruit could have really brought that out. However, the presence of strong banana brought this beer out of style, and the somewhat artificial 'fruit punch' flavors overwhelmed many of the more subtle complexities that could have been present in this beer.