Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011
Shmaltz Brewing Company

Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011
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American Brown Ale
3.83 | pDev: 12.53%
Shmaltz Brewing Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011
Notes: An Imperial Brown Ale with chocolate, cocoa nibs, vanilla & chili peppers.
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Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 198 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by MaxSpang:
Photo of MaxSpang
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter.


The color is a very deep reddish brown and pretty hazy. The head was massive when first poured, but went away fast. As it disappated, it clung to the glass leaving some lovely lacing. One of the darker "brown" ales I have seen.


There's a big amount of maltiness in the nose, as well as a fair amount of dark fruits and a little raisin. It has a nice bready biscuit character which reminds me of a nice English ale. The cocoa comes through in a subtle way, and the chilli pepper is present but hardly noticeable - it's almost more like black pepper than chilli. I am not getting very much of the vanilla in the nose. Overall a pleasant smelling brew.


The vanilla is much more present, as is the chilli pepper. The front of the tongue is sweet vanilla, with some dark fruits and breadiness. The middle of the tongue is a nice hop bitterness and spicy hop character and a wee bit of citrus. The finish is a little more bitterness and astringency, and a good amount of the chilli pepper. There are some black pepper, raisin, and biscuit notes. There's a lovely malt character that disappears after you swallow, leaving the hop bitterness and tea-bag astringency lingering, which works well in this brew. The cocoa is there if I search for it while sipping, but is very present in the aftertaste. As it warms, the cocoa comes though in a big way. There's almost no alcohol in the taste. Overall a tasty and interesting brew!


This beer is medium-high bodied. It's very warming, which is accentuated by the heat of the pepper. Though the flavor is subtle, the chilli pepper leaves a slight burn on the lips and in the mouth (an interestimg sensation when drinking beer!). The carbonation isn't that high, but it feels fizzier because of the heat. I's fairly easy drinking, but works well as a sipper.


This is an interesting beer. It's very tasty, and each sip seems to taste a little different which is something I like in beers like this. It warms you up quite a bit, and is great for cold nights. Buy a bottle and feel good about it! Some of the proceeds go to a great cause.


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More User Reviews:
Photo of MacQ32
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep mahogany color with a pretty massive head that quickly dissipates but holds a small head across the surface of the beer. Wonderful lacing on the glass

S - Smells of chocolate and vanilla pretty faint, I can detect pepper of some sort.

T - Lots of cocoa and caramel up front, then noticible vanilla characteristics and back to the pepper, although the pepper is not dominating at all which is nice. Toffee flavors in there as well, nice aftertaste..

M - Medium to light bodied, appropriated carbonated

O - Overall pretty good, not amazing but a solid beer and a good cause! Drinkable and enjoyable but it will not rock your socks

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson-brown with a 2 inch foamy khaki head that settles to a small cap. Random patterns of dots form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, chocolate syrup, and vanilla aromas. Taste is of roasted malt, coffee, cocoa powder, vanilla flavors, and a distinct cinnamon flavor with the aftertaste. I am not getting any chili in either the smell or taste of this one. However, this beer does have a warming in the back of the throat with each sip which I assume is from the chili. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly flat and watery mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some nice smells and flavors but the mouthfeel is a bit lacking.

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Photo of jmarsh123
2.84/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes. Split 3 ways at dinner last week.

Pours dark brown with a thin brown head.

Aroma is faint chocolate and vanilla. Don't get much chile from the nose and all smells are kind of muted and bland.

Rich chocolate flavor hits at first. Not as much vanilla as the nose would indicate, but the chiles are more noticable especially as it warms. Always just a complement though, they never take on too much heat. A little astringency in the aftertaste.

A touch light bodied for the style with medium carbonation.

A little bit of a harsh finish and not overwhelmingly great flavors or combinations. Not horrible, but probably won't seek out again.

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Photo of joefc
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of nassaubeercop
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A- Dark brown to black with a 2 finger white head which dissipates pretty quickly leaving a 1/4 in head and leaves some lacing.

S- Vanilla and cocoa and a touch of spice.

T- Dry with chocolate, caramel and a little salt. A little spice burn in the back of the throat.

M- A little thin but with a butterscotch stickyness on the roof of the mouth that lingers as an aftertaste.

O- A good beer I suppose, even though the beer had a lot of flavor, those flavors were subtle. I prefer something a little bolder.

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Photo of rudzud
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

A - Poured int oa duvel tulip a deep brown pour with a one finger light brown head that faded to leave very nice head retention.

S - Sweet malts and light chocolate with just a hint of chile on the end.

T - Sweet malts, light chocolate and smoke with some nice chile on the end. Not much vanilla at first, but as it warms the vanilla begins to come through.

M - Creamy but nice carbonation. Not thick or heavy at all. Quite nice.

O - Overall this is a nice beer. Its a bit boozy, but I suppose thats understandable with the ABV.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Howlader
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of grittybrews
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured near-black into a tulip with three fingers of sticky light khaki head. Pleasant aroma of vanilla and caramel.

Moderate carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel. Smooth, roasty cocoa and a hint of coffee up front followed by mild caramel sweetness. Vanilla and a lingering chili warmth on the finish that grows stronger as the beer warms.

More subdued than I had expected, almost too muted. The chili was a nice touch but I was left wanting a bit more impact from the other flavors. Still, solid overall and quite easy-drinking (no hint of the higher ABV).

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Photo of ZacharyJ
3/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of crusian
2.99/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle from some place near Boston, from my awesome girlfriend.
Pours a thin looking brown, and settles in the glass a very dark brown with a nice finger of head.
Nose is weak... I to get brown malt, and some wheat, but that's about it. I want to say that I get a tiny bit if vanilla also.
Taste is different... cocoa comes out first, followed by brown malt, and finishes with a hint of vanilla... but honestly, a huge disappointment. This sounds like such an amazing beer, but fails to deliver.
Mouthfeel is fine... medium to thinner body... but overall, I am disappointed in this collaboration, especially from some great brewers...

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Photo of sommersb
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 01-10-2012
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: Dogfish Head signature glass
Purchased: Received in a trade

Appearance: Dark brown, nearly black, with garnet highlights when held to the light. Head is tan, with small tight bubbles about 2 and a half fingers high. Good head retention and very good lacing.

Smell: Rich aromas of dark toasted malts, with chocolates, chili peppers, and some alcohol.

Taste: Up front has chili spices and some heat. Also taste sweet chocolate and vanilla. I like the balance here of chili and chocolate, sweet and heat. Some alcohol warmth as well.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with a creamy texture. Carbonation is medium to high. Finish is lightly sweet with some lingering heat and a hint of the vanilla.

Overall: Very interesting and well-constructed brew. I think this one compares well with the Terrapin version.

Thanks to DrewShal9 for this one!

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Photo of klipper
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of socon67
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Chocolate brown pour. Tan foam settles quickly and with minimal lacing. Very little carbonation.

S - Nice smell of milk chocolate and vanilla. Over time the cinnamon came through nicely. I really did not get much from the chili peppers at all.

T - Rich chocolate flavor; very malty. Sweet flavor of vanilla rounds this one out well. Finish has a spicy feel.

M - Very flavorful brown ale. I'd have loved ot try this again, though I doubt its possible. Plenty of flavor, and smooth feel.

O - This was a highlight of my tasting event. I'd look for future colaborations from these two.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of russwbeck
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Churchkey DC for #DCBW11. Happy to help a charity along the way!

A: Foamy light brown head with a lot of lacing. Retention on my friend's glass is a lot better than mine 4

S: Malty. Chocolate. Really doesn't smell like it has been aged in
everything it says so 3.5

T: The malts from the smell come first, followed by the coco nibs and at the very backend the chile peppers. 4

MF: Heavy medium to low carbonation. Very dry overall 4

O: Pretty good. Not great but good. 3.5

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Photo of jeff1973
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

Photo of TheStove
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a good ol half liter beer mug.

Pours like a crazy dark stout with a nice white foam head. It's like a coca cola you can't see through. It smells deeply of malts reminiscent of German dopple bocks. Despite the flavor additions listed no other scents are discernible

Are we sure this is a Brown Ale? It easily drinks like a stout with a rush of malts starting off the sip, though slowly transitioning into vanilla, walking a plank bridge of chili pepper and finally ending in a delightful cascade of chocolate that is almost too sweet to be cocoa nibs (likely the balance of the vanilla) but the lingering richness on the tongue remind you that this is the case. The lingering cocoa flavor in the mouth is nice. Flecks of chili remind you of it. Again, coloring aside, the smell its probably as much of a brown ale as it gets to be. Arguably if it were a stout malt would start to take over the flavor profile but toning it down in a brown lets the other flavors shine.

Not bad. Enjoyable but not quite as complex as some beers that feature similar flavors.

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Photo of bcostner1
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up on a recent trip to Florida. Hope it makes it to Nashville...

A: Dark brown with a thick, aggressive 2-3 finger tan head. Looks delicious.

S: Mostly chocolate and malt. Just the slightest, slightest hint of chili pepper maybe? And a little vanilla. Interesting...

T: When I bought this, I was like "Cocoa? Sure. Vanilla? Absolutely. Chili peppers??! I don't know about that but I'll give it a shot..." Well, I have to say, it really works. Mostly what you get is a lot of chocolate and malt up front which gives way to subtle, smooth vanilla. The chili peppers serve just to give it a little bit of a bite on the back end that blends with the chocolate to make it taste like a bitter, dark chocolate aftertaste. I didn't think this would work well together, but it absolutely does!

M: Smooth, perfect carbonation. Drinks very easily.

Overall, a winner for sure! I would buy a couple more of these if I can find them. Reminiscent of the He'Brew Vertical Jewbelation (which is one of my all time favorites) combined with that Olive and Sinclair Chocolate element that you find in Terrapin Moo Hoo (also one of my favorites). What's not to love??

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Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of pirmannt1
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of BeerdedEric
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Copper Mine

Nice creamy light brown head. It looks pretty dark. It leaves very nice lacing on the glass.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, floral and caramel with the nose but is quite faint.

Wow! What a taste! Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, gramcrackers, cocoa, vanilla, dark fruits like cherries. I don't get too much chili that everyone was mentioning (maybe that was the taste I couldn't figure out) but I don't care because this is quite a complex and delicious collaboration.

Silky, smooth, easy to drink but is something you'd want to sip.

Holy smokes, this beer almost made me fall out of my seat! Delicious and shocking because the aroma I had an idea what it was going to taste like but this was mind blowing-ly different from the smell. So many different tastes at once. A must try.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark cola color with a huge, creamy tan head that fades slowly and leaves walls of thick lace.

The aroma is sweet, dark malts, some roasted and nutty hints with cocoa, vanilla, and brown sugar notes. Subtle hints of earthy hops.

The flavor is awesomely rich with molasis, dark brown sugar, dark chocolate, vanilla touches, and some earthy pepper skins. Not much heat as I expected, but loads of delicious chocolate and vanilla like a chocolate bar with hints of coffee.
Stout like flavor complexities but thinner. As it warms up the chili is more noticeable. A slight kick in the throat, but nothing warming or any kind of heat. More earthy and vegetal than hot.

Medium bodied, creamy, rich, and smooth.

Absolutely delicious!

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Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011 from Shmaltz Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 198 ratings