He'Brew Jewbelation 18
Shmaltz Brewing Company

He'Brew Jewbelation 18He'Brew Jewbelation 18
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American Barleywine
3.96 | pDev: 13.38%
Shmaltz Brewing Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
He'Brew Jewbelation 18He'Brew Jewbelation 18
Notes: Our 10th annual tribute to extreme beer: Jewbelation 18 was indeed brewed with 18 malts and 18 hops and finally dropped to a "sessionable" 12.4% abv so we can sell to all our states. This year's monster emerges as a big, big juicy dessert of a beer with rich sweet blasts of chocolate and mocha with layers of dark fruit notes of black cherry, date and fig. More like a port or sherry - hints of what might come from barrel aging - but this year just from the enormous amount of malt, piles of hops and the 8 weeks of fermentation and aging that brought our 18th anniversary creation to life. If your "sessions" include sharing precious ounces of huge beers with good friends and family, grab one now, save one for later, and enjoy!
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Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 98 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of darktronica
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick and syrupy, dark cola-brown with tiny bubbles clinging to the glass and erupting when swirled. Dark caramel, bittersweet chocolate, anise, malty richness, and prune. Delightfully sludgy, and eminently boozy. Just as much boozy heat as it had when it was freshly released, and still with as much alcoholic character as the Jewbelation 17 that weighed in at 17%.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.24/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Four year old, properly cellared bottle. Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing nearly opaque black in the glass with a fine, half finger light brown head with great retention and nice lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, chocolate, dates, figs, a little plum and aged hops. Flavor is dark, lightly toasted malt, dark and milk chocolate, dates, figs, raisins, molasses, hints of cherry and plum. Light grassy, aged hops lightly in the malty, chocolatey finish. Excellent, medium body with moderate creaminess; soft silky mouth feel. Well, this one aged for longer than I anticipated and I wasn't sure what to expect, but it has aged very gracefully. I did not try it fresh, but liked the other annual incarnations. The hops have turned grassy and a bit tired, but are light enough to add a rustic note in the finish. The main taste is really chocolatey, which is enhanced by the creamy body; this is reminiscent of a foamed hot chocolate. There are fruit notes similar to port, lightly cherry and plum, but they meld nicely to the deep malt. I approached this with mild trepidation, but now I wish I had laid more of these away. Very nice and enjoyable and a cellaring success. The style is much closer to an American strong ale than a barleywine, in both depth of color and dark maltiness.

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Photo of troyvar
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Found this one sitting in the back of the beer fridge, no idea how long it's been there but time to let it out. Wow! Pours black as black, can't see a 5000K LED through it. Nice creamy off white head and the lace just sticks to the glass like it's supposed to be there. Smell is big, lots of malt, sweet with chocolate and coffee, fruit as well. Thick and creamy mouth, this is defiantly a desert to be shared.

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Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.71/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Really loved this out of the chute. Time to grab one from the cellar with a year on it.
look: Deep dark, nearly opaque brown. Full dark mocha head. Looks like liquid brownies.
smell: Chocolate port. Just decadent and inviting mocha, dark fruit and hints of booze.
taste: Liquid dessert. Like the nose, rich and decadent chocolate, and dark fruit.
overall: fantastic.

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Photo of zeff80
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a dark, dark copper color with a small, off-white head of foam. This beer blurs the lines between Barleywine, Stout and Quadrupel. There's chocolate, sweet toffee/malt, dried fruits and piney bitterness.

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Photo of CHickman
3.2/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours the darkest brown possible that looks black with a 2 finger thick foamy light brown head cascading up that was full of bubbles and faded very slowly, leaving very good spotty lacing and rings went down. A thick layer stayed on top and stuck around for a long time.

Smells of sweet dark fruit up front like cherries, plum, date, fig and chocolate dipped banana, followed by Hershey's chocolate syrup, toffee, molasses, cocoa powder, burnt coffee grinds, brown sugar, caramel, more dark fruit and a boozy sweetness like dark rum. The nose has none of the 18 hops listed on the bottle and is basically a giant sweet malt bomb that crosses over into cloyingly sweet. It smells good and complex to a degree, but it's so lopsided that it's nothing great to inhale.

Tastes just as sweet as it smells with the dark fruit leading the way front and center as the assault starts with cherries, fig, plum, date, grape and rotting pear, brown sugar, red wine like merlot, toffee, molasses, cocoa powder, syrup, coffee, caramel, and dark rum. The 12.4% ABV is well hidden, but it's so sweet I may need an insulin shot after this bottle. It's got some nice malty complexities, but the hops are non-existent and the sweetness is so overpowering that it's like a sugar drink mixed in a red wine with rotten fruit tossed in it.

Mouthfeel is creamy and slick but the feel is very thick and almost like a syrup, with that level of sweetness. No carbonation in this viscous beer-soup, it's a lava type of booze that is very dense. Chewy does not describe how heavy this bad boy is. Overall this was too sweet, even for a slow sipper. Just too extreme in one direction, the malts could not pull off the sweetness alone and needed the complimentary hops or at least some spice bite to lessen the candy essence that just seemed like the fermentation turned this brew into a bag of sugar cane. This was like honey or a thick mead and missed the mark for me.

Cheers to 18 years Rabbi Cowan, the effort was appreciated.

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 9/26/2014. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 2 finger dense tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big caramel, molasses, toffee, toast, dark bread, chocolate, light coffee/nuttiness, raisin, plum, plum, cherry, fig, date, red wine, herbal, light pepper/pine, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of huge caramel, molasses, toffee, toast, dark bread, chocolate, light coffee/nuttiness, raisin, plum, cherry, fig, date, red wine, herbal, light pepper/pine, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, molasses, toffee, toast, chocolate, light coffee, raisin, plum, fig, date, red wine, light pepper/pine, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and very full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and fairly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic black barleywine style. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of stortore
4.36/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle into a snifter.

Pours almost black, no head to speak of, nor much lacing. Smells of malt, chocolate, red wine, a little mustard (?), touch of yeast. Not thinking I'm describing this well, but it smells great. Taste follows on the malt and chocolate. It's sweet, but not cloying to me. Might be to others. Getting some wine on the taste, as well. Full bodied, great aftertaste.

Wow, I love this beer, wish I had another to age a bit. I'm struggling to put the details of this beer into words, but it's really, really good. Try it, if you can still get one.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.21/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thoroughly enjoyed in a snifter----this beast of a barley wine pours a cloudy blackish brown with a moderate light tan head of foam that becomes a decent ring and nice oily/soapy lacing. Nose of chocolate, strong booze, dates, dark fruits of cherries and plums, grapes, and sherry. Flavors follow on the nose with dark chocolate and plum notes crashing into raisins and cherries. Sweet sherry dances with figs and dates settling with a moderate spicy hops character that is luscious and extravagant. A finisher to be certain, this barley wine boasts some serious heat and low carbonation that sizzles in the back giving it a lightly oily mouth feel that is slick and easy to sip. Finish is long on the malt department. Beefy, meaty, and bouncy. What a barley wine should taste like. Another great from a great brewery.


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Photo of Tone
4.21/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a black color. One inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong sweet malt, slight roasted malt, strong alcohol, strong yeast, slight wood, dark citrus, and hops. Fits the style of an American Barleywine. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong alcohol, strong sweet malt, slight roasted malt, dark citrus, hops, hint of coffee, yeast, and wood. Overall, great appearance, strong aroma, strong body, good blend, and a great feel.

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Photo of Halfpump
4.7/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

First sip was a surprise. Lot of things going on in this beer, pruny, carmally, lots of malty sweetness, and nice alcohol taste balance. Lots of nose, excellent smooth rich mouthfeel that you look for in a big beer like this. Overall, lots of layers of flavor. Definitely a memorable beer!

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Photo of metter98
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured out of the bottle like motor oil and is jet black in color. It initially had a short dark tan head that left some small patches of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of dark fruits are present in the nose—dates, figs, and grapes seem to stand out in particular—along with notes of boozy sweetness.
T: Like the smell, the beer is like a malt bomb bursting with flavors of chocolate, dates, figs, grapes, plums, port wine, and soy sauce. There is also a light to moderate amount of malty sweetness. No hop flavors or bitterness are perceptible.
M: It feels full-bodied and very thick on the mouthfeel, coating the inside of your mouth. There is a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a nice beer to sip and savor on a cold winter night as it has lots of different complexities. It is rather drinkable considering its strength because the alcohol is well masked from the taste. The only thing that really makes this a sipping beer is its full body.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of MDHopster
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Don't turn your back on this one and careful with the pour. This deceptive little head was a picture taken after a medium pour. Note the nucleation forming on the glass. I turned my back for a moment and when I came back it was as if Mt Sinai erupted, a two inch head had suddenly appeared without the glass having been disturbed. Precious black gold was running down the glass as a brown foam pooling on the counter in a black lake of waste.

Appearance upon pour, black with tiny dark tan head, nitro effect forms after pour building into large lasting head, releasing much of the beers aroma that dissipates with the head. Aroma is as widely mixed as the malt and hops varieties, 18 of each. Chocolate, toffee, caramel, fruit like fig or date, cherry. Taste is similar but stronger with booziness and malt breadiness. Mouth feel is nicely carbonated but somewhat smooth but finishes with alcohol burn.

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Photo of brureview
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

To fully enjoy this beer- drink at a warmer temp- starting at about 50°F.
I first drank the beer from a snifter, later in a Stone Barley Wine Style glass
which brings out a more mellow depth of character to the beer.

Poured a dark chocolate color with almost no head.

The aroma is not strong- raisin-like fruit- prune and fig.

The mouth feel is moderately carbonated- on the smoother side.

Taste- excellent. Best appreciated warmer. Strong raisin and fig- dried fruit. Some toffee, candy-like sweetness.

The finish is slightly alcoholic and a little hoppy.

Overall- quite enjoyable. Very deep raisin and other dried fruit flavors.
Mellow at warmer temps. Different than other American barley wines which have a sharper alcoholic edge to the finish. Definitely worth checking out.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle - too bad Shmaltz had to discontinue the hop/malt/ABV arms race at 17, I was looking forward to seeing how they would actually prolong it, but alas.

This beer pours a solid black, with the barest of basal red cola edges, and two fingers of weakly puffy, tightly foamy, and somewhat bubbly brown head, which leaves some low-lying mountain scape relief lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells of bittersweet chocolate, gooey caramel and toffee malt, black licorice, wet ashy tobacco, molasses, dark Middle Eastern fruit, oily nuts, some ethereal leafy, weedy hops, and a creepy, threatening estery booziness. The taste is big, big, big caramel/toffee/nougat/treacle sweetness off the top, with some dense plum, prune, and fig/date fruitiness, still damp and dank chewing tobacco, a slight smoked anise essence, medium-dark cocoa butter, a hint of filled whisky barrels, subtle cafe-au-lait notes, itchy pine and citrusy hops, and an alcohol measure that does its best Sword of Damocles impression.

The bubbles are surprisingly rather engaging, their lilting frothiness lifting this one from darker depths, the body a full heavyweight, thick, unctuous, and devilishly smooth, with a creaminess that warps the mind and palate even further. It finishes decidedly sweet, the caramel (and all its friends), chocolate, fruit, and let's face it, alcohol not seeing a whole lot in the way of opposition.

Not my first jig at the rodeo with this line of boundary-straining ales, so I know how to approach them - like a wild animal, ya gotta be quiet, but firm, and don't go running off (i.e. glugging is out of the question). Relatively speaking, and for good reason, Jewbelation 18 is not as challenging an elixir as the past 5 years or so have been, but that's all right, I am a-ok with the flavour packed into this one. Not to mention that the analogous effects of a wine bottle are easier to deal with, when compared to the fortified variety, eh?

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.82/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thin head on a dark brown, if not black, body.
The aroma is chocolate, ripe cherries and dates, licorice and anise. It has a lot going on.
The taste is sweet all around: alcohol heat, ripe fruits, chocolate and black licorice.
The texture is thick but super smooth with low, but fizzy, carbonation.
It's a big beer that's good for sipping.

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Photo of Pencible
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

A: This poured an opaque black ruby with a little dark tan head.
S: It smelled like sweet honey wheat bread and dark fruits, blended with bitter citrus zest and roasted coffee and burnt sugar.
T: It tasted like sugary sweet dark fruit and molasses, with some bitter coffee and citrus zest and leathery malt. It had a clean and mostly sweet aftertaste with lots of alcohol warming.
M: It was super thick and chewy with a little carbonation. Gigantic body.
D: This was an over-the-top brew, as expected. The net effect of all the ingredients together almost smelled like latex paint. But upon closer inspection, the scent and taste were quite complex. The body was outrageously big. The finish was super hot, even though they scaled the ABV way back. So this was definitely a sipping beer. Age would definitely help...maybe a few decades or more. I think this series peaked around 14, but I still enjoy trying them each year.

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Photo of BKotch
2.83/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Two words: hot mess. Might be better with 6 months or a year, but I'm not holding my breath and won't spend the money. Hot on the nose, even hotter on the palate. Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of sweet beers. But bigger beer is not always better beer. And calling it a "dessert beer" is not an excuse.

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Photo of byronic
2.08/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours nice and looks great in a glass. However that's where the disappointment begins. Interesting concept however the finished product seems a mess. Just a sweet, syrupy, sticky mess.

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Photo of chinchill
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle consumed on the high seas.

Dark pour looked black as used motor oil in the glass. A moderate pour only raised a thin head but this had a sustained ring and left decent lacing.

Aroma of sweet toffee and dark roasted malts. Hints of dates, prunes and other dark fruits.

Flavor: rich, sweet, fruity and boozy. Too sweet up front but some of those 18 hop varieties kick in and manage to produce mild then moderate bitterness in the aftertaste although some sweetness still lurks there too.

Feel: very full body, syrupy feel followed by an oily finish; adequate light carbonation. Sticky finish.

O: more or less a barrel-aged black barleywine with exceptional richness and sweetness. Too sweet and just too much going on for me but glad to have had a chance to try it.

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Photo of kojevergas
1.9/5  rDev -52%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

My notes below are truncated; I'm having this beer as part of my annual Christmas tasting. Reviewed live at high altitude in Castle Rock, CO.

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Pry-off pressure cap.

Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated. Served cold into a Guinness goblet.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Reviewed as a purported "black session barleywine" per the label. 12.4% ABV. Expectations are low.

HEAD: 1 finger wide head. Khaki colour. Creamy, full, thick. Soft-looking. Retention is good - about 4 minutes. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Opaque black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears well-carbonated. Not great looking beer if it really is a barleywine. I'm curious to try it.

AROMA: Overhopped. Herbal notes. What the fuck is going on? It's a chaotic mess of the beer. Cream. Evergreen dominates. An unpleasant aroma of average strength. What a complicated mess of a brew.

TASTE: Herbal, evergreen, dank cannabis sap, dark malts, caramel, schwarz malts. Imbalanced as hell. A chaotic mess of a brew. What the fuck were they thinking? More ingredients does not equate to a better beer. It could be less boozy, I guess.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. Zero subtlety, careful intricacy, and/or nuance whatsoever.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, full-bodied, mildly creamy, overcarbonated, thick, syrupy, and sticky.

OVERALL: I'm at a loss for words. This is a sticky sap-bomb with a fundamental lack of brewing expertise behind it. I wouldn't dare touch a bottle of this again, and would caution others from doing so. This is a strong avoid. What's next, a beer with 18 strains of yeast?


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Photo of Beersaday
2.11/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

The idea of 18 malts and 18 hops is awesome, kudos for that, but this was disappointing. The feel is too syrupy and combined with cherry notes only brings to mind children's cough syrup. Too sweet to be a dessert beer, as the beer shouldn't be sweeter than the dessert in my opinion.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
2.97/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

this is terrible. i have been up or down on most beers from these guys, always leaning towards down, but this one is maybe their worst to date. its like soy sauce in taste with the thickness of hersheys syrup (which i actually dont hate in terms of mouthfeel). tangy and boozy, oddly not a lot of grain flavor in this beer for how many malts the proclaim to have used in it, and the whole thing has an asian food weirdness that just doesnt belong in beer. at least for me. i liked some of the other beers in this series, but to call this a barleywine is generous, and if someone out there enjoyably finished a glass of this, i am impressed! too thick and almost salty sweet, just a convolution and contradiction in here that just cant be saved. little redeeming about this one, sees sloppy and far fetched, and frankly is a real disappointment. a great turnoff, and the first beer i havent finished maybe this entire year. maybe i had a bad pour? but it seems to me like this was doomed from the get go.

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Photo of barczar
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%

Dark cherry, clove, cocoa, sweet caramel malt, citrus, dates, and perfumey, floral notes form part of a very complex aroma. There's a touch of acetone. The cloves and cherry notes are reminiscent of cough medicine. Flavor is very sweet molasses, with dark cherry, citrus tartness, and phenols dominating, again giving a cough medicine impression. Notes of rich cocoa are pleasant as it warms. Rum-soaked raisins, plums, and dates linger in the aftertaste. Best enjoyed warm. The phenols detract, but will hopefully fade with time.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%

Beautifully sculpted from eighteen different malt varieties and eighteen different hop varieties, Shmaltz's eighteenth anniversary ale is a monster! Lavish, dedadent and certainly not for the timid, its a transcendent taste meant for the connoisseur.

As the ale nestles into the snifter, something of viscous porter and oil catch the eye. Its dense blanket of foam carry mouthwatering aromas of chocolate, port and dark fruit. With the most supple of sips slather on the tastebuds, its succulent sweetness erupts- black-strap molasses, fudge, brownie batter, mild coffee, candied walnut and nougat sweetness all saturates the mouth without apology.

Its powerful taste says to proceed with caution. Those fudgy, molasses flavors trample over the middle and give the beer a dessert-like character. Balance from weathered tree bark, light pepper and coffee-type bitterness contend with part of the malt sweetness while the mild tangy tartness of black cherry, blackberry, plum, date and fig offer an earthen fruitiness offsets even more.

Still, the beer finishes long, savory and malty- much like chocolate cake in a glass. Just off of cloying, the beer's chewy, rich and full body brings on palate fatigue quite quickly despite its thinning of spicy alcohol, complex flavor spread, and hop bite pull the beer from a sticky-sweet closing.

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He'Brew Jewbelation 18 from Shmaltz Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 98 ratings