John C. Tull's picture

Orange Vanilla Cream Ale

October, 2017
Judges Rating: 
19 / 24
5 / 6
32 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

This beer was judged as a Specialty Beer (30A) due to the addition of vanilla and orange. The base style was a cream ale. There is not doubt that orange and creaminess would fail to describe the aroma in this beer. The aroma is full-on orange sherbet push-up: you know, the ice cream deserts that you may have had as a kid with all the multi-colored dots on a little cardboard tube full of orange creamy goodness. The blending of the vanilla with the orange is uncanny in this regard. With some warming, you can almost tell there is a beer lurking underneath with subtle hints of malted barley. The appearance is a little hazy. A very light rim of effervescence clings to the edge of the glass. The color is a slightly opaque gold that hints at orange. The flavor is dominated by orange zest, some pithiness from pulp or that white stuff on the inside of an orange peel, a relatively large dose of vanilla, and some bitterness (hops, orange peel, both?). That orange push-up desert is less defined in the flavor, primarily because of the slight clash with the bitterness that becomes a little astringent in the finish. A perception of sweetness is also detectable, almost juicy. In addition to the astringency, a little bit of cloying sweetness lingers along with a touch of nutty, almost almond-extract tinge. All said, this doesn’t have the delicacy of a cream ale and, frankly, tastes like a much bigger beer. I would say that those of you with a penchant for orange-flavored beers or a passion for orange push-ups (the food kind, not the oranges doing push-ups kind) should give it a whirl.