Grey Lady | Cisco Brewers Inc.

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Grey LadyGrey Lady

Brewed by:
Cisco Brewers Inc.
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Witbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
The name "Grey Lady" comes from the nickname for the often-foggy island on which it is brewed. This hazy, Belgian-style Wit emits a complex nose with sophisticated notes.

Added by jamie2dope on 01-09-2008

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Reviews: 179 | Ratings: 704
Photo of Brenden
3.55/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grey Lady is a clouded pale gold color or, more accurately, sort of dusty near-medium yellow. The off-white head is sparse, peaking at just under half a finger of big-bubbled froth and leaving spotty lacing while leaving a layer atop the beer for the duration.
The spiciness is prominent in the smell, sort of an allspice and cardamom before a light hint of sweetness coming from the yeast kicks in to add a touch of banana and something like pear. The earthiness expected is there, and some lemon under dry wheat.
The flavor is likewise spiced, though a distinctive note of something like bergamot makes itself known, and I wonder if that's intentional. Otherwise it's very floral and perfumy, while the wheat sets the foundation and a lemony twang comes out front. more Belgian character would do this beer some good, but it's far from bad.
It's got a little more spritz than crispness, but it does have a nice running dryness with a spicy bite on the tongue, and it's fairly smooth as well.

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Photo of mthomp081
3.56/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy/murky yellow, slight lacing, 2 inch foamy white head

S - citrus, spice, lemon, very fruity

T - grain, what, citrus, lemons, multiple spices, herbal tea

M - light bodied, crisp, refreshing

O - Interesting combination of the herbal tea, lemon, and the fruity citrus. The aroma is quite nice that leads into a bit underwhelming taste, but still a nice beer. Very zesty and refreshing. I would enjoy this beer more if the spices and fruit were a bit more powerful.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.49/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a pale gold, with a slight haze. A thin film of bubbles remain on the surface.

Smells really enticing with honey, biscuits, and raspberries with a touch of ginger, coriander, pineapple and a distant rose hips.

Hmmm, this is an odd duck. Tastes quite pleasant with a crisp and very light wheaty base with a variety of dry and tart fruits (e.g. cranberry, coriander) in the background. What compromises the overall delightfullness of this beer, is that there is a finish of friggin' potpourri. This is amplified when drank from the bottle. Better pour this one in a glass!

Feels super light and clean, but with a slight dryness from the spice.

I liked it; I'm glad I tired it. But, I regret that I got an entire six-pack. Just to say it again, POUR THIS ONE INTO A GLASS!

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy gold with a thin white mousse that recedes quickly.

S: Spicy and floral on the nose, this ale presents strong aromas of wheat, pepper, coriander, orange peel, lemon, flowers, and grass.

T: Notes of wheat, minerals, cream, lemon, orange peel, pepper, coriander, flowers, and grass fill the mouth. The finish is boisterous and spicy with pronounced floral, orange, and coriander notes.

M: Light in body, but not as dry as I typically expect beers of this style to be. Carbonation is very intense, maybe a bit too intense for the style.

O: This is not a bad witbier, but it is a bit unbalanced and one-dimensional. There are definitely better out there, but this one should not be entirely avoided.

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Photo of chickenflea
3.69/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

A beautiful pale pour with a small fizzy head and cloudy body. Great lacing. Aroma is clean with notes of hay, celery and magnolia seed (Lemon Pledge). Some graininess and Belgian funk from the yeast. Mouthfeel is light and somewhat tart. Flavor is quite malty with grain being the most predominant. Floral hops finish clean. It's a very nice beer. Refreshing and complex.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.42/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is quite fetching as it has a clean yet cloudy look with an iridescent golden pear color. The head was bright white with a thin yet sturdy build.

The aroma is perfumey, with a bubblegum-like sweetness. Peppercorns and clove mix with a dish soap and banana to make an array of the most unusual characters.

The taste is a bit watery but there is a wheat, clove and anise that stands out. A bit of cinnamon, banana, bubble gum and rose petal finish.

The feel is silky and light and leaves a film on the tongue.

Overall this is an interesting and funky Wit that has a lot of merits.

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Photo of porter_collie
2.81/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from can into pint glass

A - light straw color, with a wispy foam head.

S - Lemon zest, coriander, and yeasty esters.

T - First, biscuit flavor from the malt with some earthy spiciness. Then orange/lemon zest. The finish is dry and sour, with a slight reminder that there are hops in the beer.

M - The mouthfeel is slick and unpleasant.

O - Definitely not a favorite in the Belgian Wit category. The sourness of the beer was unpleasant and seemed to put the beer half way on the path to a Berliner Weisse. Sourness has a place, just not in Witbier.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.49/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

With the farmhouse taste of Belgium looming, Cisco's Grey Lady gives a sense of Earl Grey tea and peppermint through its tangy citrus, bready wheat and its vibrant bouquet.

Its heady pour floats a cottony thick blanket of stark-white foam that settles to a veil across the glass then holding firm through the session. Its delicate hazy body beneath is bright straw with a scattering of golden light. Lacing spottily, I expected this Belgian wheat beer to have more togetherness.

Its herbal tea and lemon character is a match made in beer heaven. Even as a spicy waft of seemingly allspice carries into the nose, a soft pillow of musty wheat, fresh-baking bread and husk gives a mellow and rustic scent in support. A slight cola-nut sweetness rounds out the scent as the first sip draws close.

With a delicate savory taste of bread crust, cashew and toasted wheat, the light flavor of cola with lemon expires on the tongue- just ahead of peppery spice, mint, coriander, clove and citrus. Its herbal tea-like finish is mildly earhty, slightly woodish (sassafras), and playfully acidic in finish.

Its light body is zesty and creamy early, but as its bready texture trails, it takes with it the more sprite character, leaving the acidity and peppery warmth to contend wit a flat cola texture. Charging in with late spice- the peppermint cooling/warming sensation teases the aftertaste.

There some uniqueness to Grey Lady- Its a more savory taste with exotic spice combinations to give the beer an identity. However, I wish that it remained breadier and creamier later in the session before falling apart.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.73/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Light golden pour with just a touch of haze. Massive head with a lacing that retains very well. Light nose of coriander, Belgian yeast and a sweet fruity spiciness with lemon notes. Very light medium bodied with an attempt to be slick over a normal level of carbonation. The flavor profile is a bit weak, but nice. It begins with a blend of light spice that progresses to light coriander. In the middle, the citric lemon and wheat characteristics are evident. The finish is crisp with lingering notes of spice and citrus. A nice offering for a hot day session. A bit more body and flavor intensity would make this one outstanding.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.01/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz can poured into a witte glass.

A: Very hazy golden pour. Fine bubbled creamy white head. Collars of fine mesh lacing.

S: Fragrant perfume on the nose. Lots of sweet orange peel. Church incense. Black licorice. Muffled black pepper. Doughy at its core. A much bolder nose than you'll find with most whites.

T: Licorice and lavender. Floral. Black pepper. Sweet, oily orange peel butts in and soon becomes the dominant flavor. Yeasty and chalky. Doughy, wheaty base. Mild wheaty snap of tartness. Doughy and wheaty on the finish with soft floral and spicy accoutrements.

M: Light bodied. Round with a chewy, frothy texture. Fine bubbled carbonation scrubs very gently.

O: Where many witbiers can be understated in their complexity, this one is brash and bold with its flavor additions. It certainly makes it stand out from the pack. An excellent beach beer on a sunny summer day.

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Photo of geaux750
2.68/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

I will start by saying this: I received this beer as a gift, and I had no prior knowledge of what to expect.

Upon pouring into my glass, this beer took the appearance of a wheat beer. The aroma reminded me of a spice from my kitchen cabinet, but I could not put my finger on it. I took one taste, and realized that this beer is not for me.

After reading about the brew, I realized that the ever-so-prominent spice I was observing was coriander. Which, since I cook with coriander often, made sense as soon as I discovered this ingredient.

As beers go, I'm sure this one is appealing to many. But for my own personal tastes, this one is not for me.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky light yellow with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is very mild with some malt, spice, and slight citrus aromas. Taste is much the same with lemon zest, spice, and tea flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that has some interesting flavors and a fairly subdued aroma until the beer warms up.

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Photo of shivtim
2.13/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Slightly hazy straw/copper in color. Nice thick foamy white head.

Nose is heavy on spices. Cloves. Some floral notes. Interesting but odd.

Taste is off-putting. Lightly spiced water. Almost like an astringent, watered-down tea flavored with pear and nutmeg. No semblance of hops or malt.

Mouthfeel is watery.

Just not a good beer at all.

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Photo of AUGRAD06
3.67/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very light yellow in color, almost like lemonade. The smell is of citrus and coriander or allspice. A light white head but it feels very bubbly on the tongue. Refreshing with a slight spiciness. A really nice Belgian White. I'll definitely enjoy drinking the rest of the samples in my Beer of the Month Club.

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Photo of AAG
3.39/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from an ice-cold bottle into a room-temperature pint glass. This is my first beer from Cisco Brewers out of Nantucket, Mass.

Appearance - Very light amber in color; decent 2-3 finger head initially but it evaporated pretty quickly; weak frothing; appearance is probably this beer's weakest characteristic.

Smell - Amazing; I've never smelled a beer like this before; tremendous, spicy smell; smells like orange zest, cinnamon, black pepper, flowers.

Taste - Slightly bitter at first (like a sour Blue Moon) but as soon as my palate adjusted to it I could taste the spices, particularly the orange-zest, black-pepper…enjoyable overall.

Mouthfeel - Very comfortable; easy on the palate.

Overall - I really like this beer; obviously a wit beer; a sophisticated blend of spices; very light on the palate; a beer meant for mass consumption on a hot day. Very nice...

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.76/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

P- Thanks to my buddy Matt B. for this brew

A- yellow green color. almost a mix between wheat and lemon grass color. A frothy foamy head. poor lacing.

S- orange zest, black pepper and a faint hint of clove. very nice nose.

F- a great flavor of black pepper and citrus. the citrus I believe is the orange zest, but I feel like there is something else there on the citrus end of things. I think it may be clove that mixes in there.

M- peppery spice that is heavy on the unfiltered yeast. you can definitely tell this is a wit. The pepper comes through stronger as you continue to drink.

O- an above average wit in my mind, and I could drink a six of these easily. Aside from the appearance a very good beer.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.76/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

What an effin' find for The CANQuest (TM) at Breukelen Bier Merchants this past Saturday! I had been up to NYC for the day on an MWR trip and Alex Hall recommended them as a possible Racer X source. No luck, but loads of new CANs, including this one. Guess where I will be going on a regular basis henceforth?

From the CAN: "The name Grey Lady comes from the often-foggy island on which it is brewed. This hazy, Belgian-style Wit emits a complex, earthy nose with sophisticated notes."

The loud Crack evinced yet another brimful CAN, this one to the point that I got a bit of a spritz. The Lady is a squirter, apparently, which does not bother me, plus she is also spicy and inviting, so I feel like a good time is upcoming. We began with an inverted Glug to measure her tolerance and I found out that she does not necessarily like being turned upside-down unexpectedly, but that she deals with it nicely. The massive three-plus fingers of dense, bone-white head looked like meringue atop a lemon pie! I was so envious because as a teenage baker, I could never get my meringue right. Man, this stuf looked like marshmallow Fluf as it began to slowly fall! Before initiating my final pour, having left about a third still in the CAN, initially, I gave her a good shake to really stir things up. No sense in leaving anything in the CAN that you might want later, right? This really stirred things up, both literally and figuratively. Man, she was as angry as the hornets nest on the day that I dang near put my hand through it while retrieving a frisbee! She was swatting me with her tail and threatening to conk me with the bottle in her left hand. Color was a hazy sunshine-yellow (SRM = > 2, < 4) with some floaties in evidence. I lifted her towards me and inhaled deeply, taking in her spicy, clove-like perfume. She smelled like my first lover, an older patchouli-wearing hippie following a Grateful Dead concert on City Island in Harrisburg, PA in June 1983, shortly before I left for boot camp. She smiled at my recollection and threw her arms around me, allowing and enabling me to uncouple her seashell bra, which I kept as a souvenir (Don't believe me? See my Facebook picture from Iron Hill's Mahalo, Apollo! release party when I wore it in her honor). Ah, what a Lady! The mouthfeel was on the thin side, and the style usually evinces such, but the spices were just about right, said as I toss my golden locks. I agree with an earlier reviewer that it falls short of Hoegaarden, but if I wanted a Hoegaarden, then I would have purchased one, wouldn't I? That is a non sequitur, but nor have I reviewed the one that he felt was overly spiced. I CAN only tell you what I like and I liked this beer. It probably would not measure up as a Hula in the Coola Day (01 Feb, annually) beer because it is more suited to warm weather. Really. Have you ever made love in the water? Cold water sucks for that purpose. Fair winds and following seas, my Grey Lady! I'll see you in the summer.

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Photo of asaharyev
3.77/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Goldenrod with a good amount of haze. A fluffy head a couple fingers thick with moderate retention.

Aroma: Orange peel, clove, a bit of pepper, and wheat. Sweet and light aroma.

Taste: While the aroma tended toward orange, the flavor is much more toward lemon zest. Big citrus flavors, with a nice spice character, though not overwhelming. Some clove, a bit of corriander, and black pepper round this one out. A very good beer, if a bit simple.

Overall: This is one of my favorite beers. It’s a very simple beer, extremely refreshing, good flavor, with a good mouthfeel. It may be lacking in complexity, and it certainly doesn’t exhaust the style, but it really does hit the spot. I’ll keep drinking this as long as they keep making it.

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Photo of FLima
3.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Slightly hazy golden color with a thin head with short retention.
Aroma of orange peel, a touch of condiments and wheat.
Delicious and refreshing taste, lots of citric notes, both lime and oranges. Hints of white pepper, champagne, lemongrass and coriander. Acid citric aftertaste with a distant tartness.
Light body with good carbonation with tiny bubbles.
A very creative Witbier, different from what I had tasted so far. It cannot be more refreshing, though its body could be a bit bolder.

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Photo of asteroidgalaxy
4.3/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I had this for the other day and I was quite impressed. At first there isn't very much flavor but it ends on a very nice spicy note. I would say peppery. The alcohol flavor is well masked by the spices. I was expecting it to be extremely spicy but to my pleasant surprise it was not overwhelming.

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Photo of mynie
4.34/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

What a nice little session wit this is!

Pours pale and hazy. Smells aggressively spicy. Only with the usual witbier nodes of pepper and corriander, you get some mellower, greener nodes of cardamom, lemongrass, and orange zest.

Tastes like the aforementioned yeast and spice profile but with some long, lingering bitter nodes on the back end to keep things nice and balanced. It starts off like some kind of potpourri tea that's like a grab-bag of strange old candies, and it ends tasting like a nice crisp witbier.

This is fruity and light and so most BA people aren't gonna hype it. But it's really quite exquisitely brewed.

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Photo of argock
2.73/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a clear glass mug. No obvious freshness date. Gifted to me by my father-in-law Erv.

A: Pale, slightly hazy gold with foamy, 1-finger off-white head with minimal retention and little to no lacing.

S: The aroma is heavily spiced with coriander and overbearing clove clouding over most of the other aroma characteristics. The orange character expected in the style is more grapefruit-lemon in nature and the maltiness itself is lost.

T: The flavor is a further step backward from the aroma with a very astringent clove and coriander combination. The base beer is overwhelmed by the spices, which manage to turn the citrus component to be almost lemongrassy in character. It is overly bitter for the style as well.

M: Light bodied with medium carbonation for the style but a slightly astringent feel due to the heavyhanded spicing.

O: This brew needs a de-spicing to have any chance to go anywhere -- it has way too strong of clove character which overpowers all the other possible flavors this brew may have. The coriander is also too strong and the astringency heightens the bitterness and pithiness of the citrus notes. Not a good beer from Cisco.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.9/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A fairly simple, but quite pleasant witbier. It isn't the most attractive beer in the world, but not too bad- straw colored with little head, but fair carbonation. The rest is pretty good. What's particularly interesting about this beer is that you don't get a big hit of orange or coriander like many wits, but what you do get is a very balanced and surprisingly floral beer, with notes of peaches (particularly in the aroma), tangerines, melon, and even a bit of the white of the watermelon, with a finish of lemon juice in water. It is a bit thin in body, but overall it's probably underrated.

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Photo of VictorWisc
3.85/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

An easy-drinking Wit that is easy to compare to Long Trail Belgian White and Hoegaarden Wit that I had in the last two weeks. This is a big improvement over LTBW--none of that overwhelming coriander flavor. But it falls short of the Hoegaarden benchmark. Some of the distinguishing features of the Grey Lady may also be its downfall.

NB: I've had this beer in a bottle previously and it was much better. This may be due to growing pains--canning is relatively new for Cisco and is done offsite at an Upstate NY brewery (Union? Cans say "Brewed and canned by Cisco Brewers, Nantucket, MA", but the box says otherwise)

I've tried this at different temperatures (the benefits of a 12-pack) and the result is always the same.

Can opens with some difficulty--easiest to use a flat object (like a coin) to pull the tab--then squirts some foam up. Pours very pale yellow, somewhat murky with visible carbonation and good clean-white head. The murkiness is a bit lower than on Hoegaarden, but it's clearly of the same type.

The nose is highly floral, with typical floral yeast and malt notes for the style. Secondary notes of citrus (closest to lemon), apricot and clove. Slight, almost subdued whiff of hops--or straw.

Taste is similar to nose. Starts out yeasty, floral, actually very similar to Hoegaarden, with coriander, cloves, white pepper and licorice notes. But the citrus flavor soon overwhelms. Leaving some beer in the can for about 5 minutes makes this worse--the sourness is dominant and unyielding, hiding any malt flavor. There is presence of both lemon and orange peel, but just too much of it. Still, the floral yeast notes and some light maltiiness eventually come through in the finish. The aftertaste has lingering sourness and sweetness combined, with hints of yeast, which is a good thing.

Mouthfeel is light, effervescent. Carbonation is visible, but moderate, eventually subsiding. Odd note about the carbonation--the head starts out uniform, fine, but soon develops large bubbles that tend to expand to about 1/3" and pop. Hoegaarden tends to have finer head.

Overall, a pleasant sipping Wit, with some citrus issues. I don't recall this issue in the bottled version, so this may eventually be resolved. I'd like to give it a better review, but it seems to be above average as it is. I would certainly buy more, but might steer clear of the cans (although the 12-pack canned price was much better than bottles). Would be a great accompaniment to spicy or Southeast Asian foods. Can stand up to ribs too, although it would not be the first choice.
NB: This was a fairly fresh batch--less than two weeks off the line.

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Photo of MistahBeah
3.72/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Clear straw colored. Good head with moderate retention. Decent carbonation. Doesn't look bad and it doesn't look special

Aroma: Wow..unexpected. You get your usual players - cloves, coriander, citrus - and then you get some spices that you would typically expect to find in fall seasonals - cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe a little allspice. Being one for said seasonals, I am very excited by this

Taste: Spicy as expected. Big citrus zest up front. More lemon than orange. Tart followed by spice. The other spices mentioned above come out in the background. Definitely some nutmeg flavors. Then the finish is crisp wheat. Slightly unpleasant aftertaste that I typically get from the style

Mouthfeel: Very light and crisp. Mild carbonation. Spicy

Overall: I really enjoyed this beer. Pleasantly surprised by the spiciness. Maybe I've just not had enough of the style but this seems differently spiced and I commend them for it. Would gladly get again and recommend it for a nice summer day. Cheers!

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Grey Lady from Cisco Brewers Inc.
3.52 out of 5 based on 704 ratings.
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