He'Brew Jewbelation Sweet 16 Anniversary Ale - Shmaltz Brewing Company
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Ratings: 478 | Reviews: 134 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by SPThirtyThree:
2.95/5 rDev -24%
A: Pours two shades lighter than pitch black, with a rich, deep brown, one-finger head. The foam soon settles to a wispy garnish that looks a bit like a Van Gogh. As it warms, any remaining head loses the battle to the alcohol. The thick liquid sticks to the sides of the glass like a strong scotch.
S: Oakey and complex. Sticky, sweet, malty, tarry. Caramel and root beer. Cinnamon. Hot fusels. Sour cherries. Gasoline. Burnt vanilla. All of the elements are well-balanced together. After warming, though, the balance is completely gone. Hot fusels sear my nostrils like huffing rubbing alcohol. Below 35°F, this beer was fine, but somewhere around the fifty-degree mark, it went horribly wrong. Smells like those crazy Jews over at He'Brew let the fermentation get a bit too warm.
T: Delicious. It's a warm, wintery stout. I'd expected something lighter, but the appearance and smell were clear indicators it would be a very dark, malty beer. The high alcohol content does not hide. The taste begins with a rich sweetness in the front of the tongue mixed with a hot harshness at the center to back. Hop astingency and tarry oak provide a powerful mouthfeel, and a warmth that borders on alcoholic sting linger. Served warmer, the same spoiling characteristics begin to dominate.
M: Kinda described above, but bitter from black malts. I'd venture a guess that there's a lot of roasted barley in here, either that or a questionably large dose of black patent. A stickiness from both sugar and alcohol combine for a nice mouthfeel. It's almost like drinking a slightly hopped white Russian, only made with Bourbon. (Is there a name for that?)
D: The drinkability of this beer is pretty low. While it's hot, charred richness might be good on a frigid, snowy day after a cold morning on the slopes, it's generally unpleasant, and the alcohol content is high enough to blast you far from sobriety, meaning it's only good for when you (and maybe a friend, depending on your alcohol tolerance) want to get drunk off one bottle. Nothing against that occasion, but a beer only good for that purpose isn't very versatile.
Overall, this beer is okay. I can't fault it too much for some of it's characteristics, but the solventy, harsh flavors and smells aren't desirable under any circumstances, for any style of beer. I served it colder than normal, making it initially acceptable, but at warmer temperatures, it was almost a pour-out. It had enough redeeming qualities aside from the fusels to make it just barely finishable, but if you can't enjoy the good qualities, what's the point of having them?
I don't know if BJCP still publishes guidelines, but I've never seen a description of what an American Strong Ale is supposed to be, so I'm not sure how to perceive some of the aspects of this beer. Knowing that it's a 16% ABV beer, I understand why some of these traits are present (and nearly inevitable), but that still doesn't justify this bomber from being so unpalatable.
01-10-2013 02:20:01 | More by SPThirtyThree
More User Reviews:
4.43/5 rDev +14.2%
Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.
Appearance: Pours very dark and black with a moderate amount of bubbles. A small finger of tan head fades into a thin layer around the edges of the glass. Leaves a decent amount of lacing around the glass.
Smell: A big, sweet, and complex aroma. Big presence of dark fruits with hints of raisins, prunes, dark cherry, fig, and dates. Dark roasted malts with hints of burnt caramel, toffee, chocolate, oak, and smoke. Sweet molasses and burnt sugars. Some anise licorice. Earthy and grassy hops linger around. Sixteen hops are listed but they take a back seat to the dark fruits and malts here. Alcohol scents as expected. A very complex and good aroma that doesn't smell overly syrupy.
Taste: As huge and complex as the aroma indicates. Big taste of dark fruits with notes of raisin, dark cherry licorice, prunes, dates, and fig. Big dark malt taste like a stout with notes of chocolate, burnt caramel, toffee, and burnt toast along with a good kick of smoke. Burnt sugars and molasses. Some anise and other spices. The hops come out more in the taste and provide a nice bitter bite to counter the sweetness. Earthy and grassy hops with a subtle undertone of citrus hop. Noticeable taste of alcohol as expected from the 16%. A really good taste.
Mouthfeel: Full thick body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and somewhat syrupy. Quite a hot feel from the heavy alcohol but its nothing I can't handle.
Overall: This came out very good. Huge flavor with lots of different tastes. The hops do a really good job of keeping things from becoming a cloying mess. Nice roasty undertones.
12-01-2012 07:49:39 | More by MattyG85
3.75/5 rDev -3.4%
Blackish brown and opaque with a thick and frothy head of dimpled foam that lingers long. Aroma of vanilla and bourbon, some woody notes. Rich flavors of darkly roasted malt, cocoa, bourbon, vanilla, espresso, slight cherry tang, pine board, hints of smoke, raisins, root beer, dried leaves, and charred bark. Amazingly complex flavors. The sky-high ABV is fairly subdued. Good beer overall, a sipper for sure.
12-31-2012 00:57:11 | More by far333
4.41/5 rDev +13.7%
Aged 18 months
Appearance: rock solid milk chocolate head with body as near to black as it gets
Aroma: port & dark chocolate, prunes; deep, dark, and addictive; rum; rich, sweet, dried fruit aromas are crazy
Taste & Mouthfeel: dark caramelized fruit flavours start things off, but rapidly transition to beautiful and strong cocoa that when paired with unrestrained alcohol burn make for a memorable finish; nothing held back, it's in your face intense flavour - small sips advised; velvety texture accentuates the sense of creamy hot chocolate - that's been liberally doused with port; the interplay between fruit and chocolate flavours is perfect and lacking any bitterness that can come the dark malts
Overall: this is for a cold winter night, paired with a rich chocolate cake, and throw in some raspberries/blackberries
07-19-2014 19:04:22 | More by BGDrock
3.61/5 rDev -7%
A strong ale? This beer pours like an imperial stout! Thick, burnt molasses brown and opaque. The head is an oak yellow brown that starts out thick but fades to a rainbow oil slicked cluster of bubbles. For sure a worthy looking beer for a 16th anniversary.
Deep rich nose of dark fruits and heavily roasted grains with hints of coconut. Again the nose is stout-ish and as it warms the scents get more complex. This is becoming a more and more impressive beer.
The taste is the first point where the sweet 16 jives from the stout formula. Instead of chocolate and coffee roasted malts this brew is more dark fruit, hops and sweet cereal. There is an overall boozy undertone that is masked nicely by the dark fruit flavors but still there. This one for sure is a sipper.
I feel this beer slips in the mouthfeel department. It's very thick and sweet that leaves you with an overly coated mouth. I do like how the grain notes and boozy burn lingers but I've had better strong ales and for sure better stouts. All in all, this is a solid beer. I can feel it coming on and I like most of its angles. Well done shmaltz brewing, I'm glad I've got two of these bombers.
03-29-2013 23:02:09 | More by jbphoto88
3.94/5 rDev +1.5%
650ml bottle, deemed a paltry 15.2% ABV by the guv'ment operators in our particular provincial bailiwick. Happy age of consent birthday, Shmaltz!
This beer pours an admittedly hard to discern clear, very, very, very, (did I say very?) dark brown hue, with slight basal reddish cola highlights, and three fingers of tight, silkily foamy, robustly beige head, which leaves little beyond a low ebbing ring of lace around the glass as it readily recedes.
It smells of sweet black fruit esters - figs, plum, and soused cherries come most readily to mind - with some musty baker's chocolate, earthy anise, leafy, somewhat bitter earthy hops, and a well bridled sugary booziness. The taste is more sweet, concentrated dark fruit - plum pudding and dried prunes (different enough, I would put forth) - quickly eclipsed by a bitter citrus rind and earthy, leafy hoppiness, all surprising detectable before the latent, yet still rather hefty caramel/toffee malt bomb that you just knew had to come about, comes about.
The bubbles are quite restrained, but with a wisp of edgy frothiness here and there, the body a muscular, dues all paid up, full weight, and with a pretty straight-up smoothness, one which seems to have no fear of interlopers. It finishes still on the veritably sweet side, the deep fruit somehow sublimated by a lingering sassy citric and earthy hoppiness, and a now burgeoning booze warming.
Well, this does indeed push the boundaries of what any sane soul might proclaim as one individual 'beer', but hey, ho, what the hell. Any milestone anniversary celebration should be a heady affair, and this fits the bill quite accordingly. The sugar, hop, and booze notes are all so well integrated as to make one oblivious to the effort put forth to get to this point, to get more and more and more out of things. A tasty, way over the top strong ale, which should be consumed like a red wine. Or not.
01-20-2013 06:37:12 | More by biboergosum
3.71/5 rDev -4.4%
A big beer which revels in its bigness. LCBO acquisition, who promptly gave a lab evaluation of only 14.5% abv - whatever, it is only to be supped. Big chocolate and roasted malt, and heavy anise finish. Black and bubbly head is attractive. Booze in the finish. Its hidden but its instantly apparent. Sweet stout bias. Above average mouthfeel.
04-15-2013 03:45:55 | More by Sammy
4.5/5 rDev +16%
A - dark brown with a big, brown, frothy, head that has great retention
S - wood, alcohol, caramel, roasted malts, dark fruit
T - roasty, chocolate, earthy, spicy hops, woody, alcohol, dark fruit
M - full bodied, warm, smooth
This is a great beer that is very complex. There are so many different flavors that I know I didn't give them all their justice above. The ABV is definitlely noticeable but it didn't detract from the flavors or the overall drinking experience. This is yet another big beer from He'Brew that is nicely done. It's well worth a try.
11-26-2012 10:23:11 | More by tdm168
4.08/5 rDev +5.2%
22oz bottle served in small wine glass. Beer pours a dark brown color, decidedly neither opaque nor black. Viscosity looks surprisingly thin given the ABV, which is advertised with a big shiny "16" on the label. Medium-thin head of lighter brown. Big aroma of grapes or raisins -- this is clearly a barleywine. On the first sip I've discovered I've served this *way* too cold. But there's no rush, we can fix this....
Fruit flavors come through strongest in this beer. The contrast of the richness of the dark/stone fruit with their sweetness (figs, plums) is the focal point. There's also a complex mix of hops which serves to neutralize the aftertaste and leave the overall profile relatively dry. I can't imagine how the brewer finds just the right IBU level to make this beer work. The mouthfeel is not too heavy, consistent with how it pours, which is nice because this is a REALLY big beer (1x 22oz beer @ 16% ABV = 6x 12oz beers @ 5%...holy shit...not bad for $8).
Maybe not an every day beer, but highly recommended nonetheless.
04-04-2013 02:08:32 | More by hreb
He'Brew Jewbelation Sweet 16 Anniversary Ale from Shmaltz Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 478 ratings.