Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011 | Shmaltz Brewing Company

very good
132 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011

Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.30%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
An Imperial Brown Ale with chocolate, cocoa nibs, vanilla & chili peppers.

Added by Jason on 05-13-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 197
Photo of pat61
3.22/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From tasting notes L: Pours bright dark chestnut under a frothy, sudsy tan foam collar. S: Strong cocoa and vanilla aromas. T: Vanilla and cocoa flavors overwhelm the malt creating the impression of a cloying vanilla chocolate water sweetened with malt and alcohol. Some pepper heat and vegetal taste on the finish. F: Medium light body, medium carbonation. O: Hard to finish the whole bottle and would not buy again.

 417 characters

Photo of Jadjunk
3.44/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"This year's beer is a dark, complex ale brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla and chili peppers. It was inspired by a fantastic dessert that we used to share with Virginia at our favorite restaurant. This brown ale leads with a sweet and subtle spicy aroma. The flavor begins with complex malt overtones and quickly gives way to a chocolate and vanilla mix of satisfying bliss. Just when you thought it was over, the heat from the chilies sneaks in and coats your tongue with tantalizing heat." Brewed in the style of an American Brown Ale with Cocoa Nibs, Vanilla and Chili Pepper added. Available in 12 oz. bottles and on limited draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a tulip glass. Served above 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp frothy foam head of a cinnamon cream complexion over a dark brown body with soft ruby highlights. Retention is above average and lacing is light and spotty. 3.5

(Smell) Toasted caramel grains, bread crust malts, modest cocoa character, lesser vanilla and chili pepper aromas. Potency is moderate. 3.25

(Taste) Strong malt character, with bread malts, caramel syrups, flavorful chocolate character which overpowers the chance of picking up vanilla flavors. Finishes with toasted caramel and chocolate, with subtle chili flavor minus the heat. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, lightly viscous, mildly chewy, moderately dry. Carbonation is light, generating a moderate frothiness and a lightly crisp finish. Body is medium/heavy for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is slightly sweet over earthy bitter. Alcohol profile is mild and there are no off characters. 3.5

(Overall) Still a very enjoyable ale years following its initial release, Reunion Ale '11 brings lots of decadent chocolate flavor to compliment a robust malt body, although the subtleties of vanilla and chili have not sustained over the years, I appreciate the cause and the effort behind brewing this beer. You may be hard pressed to find a 2011 vintage, but the series is worth seeking out, as it is currently brewed and packaged again through Shmaltz as of 2014, but not Terrapin. 3.5

Shmaltz Brewing Company's
A Beer For Hope: Reunion Ale '11

 2,179 characters

Photo of jkeefe1800
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Smell is great sweet faintly spicy really setting up for what is to come. First taste is cleaner then I would've thought the vanilla comes through as sweet slight pepper on the finish. Carbonation isperfect helps the beer finish clean makes u want to take another sip.

 307 characters

Photo of LeRose
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled,into Sams glass. Poured coffee colored, compact head that stayed around. Some lacing from the thin head. Aroma was chocolate and coffee, roasted malt. Maybe some vague vanilla. Not strong. Flavor was sweet coffee leaning to mocha, toasty and smoke, a little cinnamon and nice hit of chili pepper at the end that lingers and brings a sweetness out. Did get a slight metallic taste on first sip, not repeated. Body was medium, thought the carbonation was OK. Overall liked the taste and it was enjoyable enough. The little peppery tingle lingers and I like that.

 568 characters

Photo of elgiacomo
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served at around 55F.

Pours clear dark brown to black with red highlights and a one finger light tan head that leaves some sheets of lacing and recedes to a light wispy cap.

Aroma is chocolate/cocoa, roasted malts, grain, hint of vanilla and chillies, some mild oxidation. Good strength.

Flavor starts with nice chocolate, cocoa powder, roasted malts, and coffee, the chilies move in with a touch of heat, some vanilla, moderate sweetness, mild bitterness, chilies come back on the finish with some warmth and spice, but not overly hot. As the beer warms the chili finish diminishes and is replaced by more chocolate instead. Flavor is much more robust than the aroma.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, somewhat creamy and sticky, light to moderate carbonation.

Took me longer than I anticipated to try this...had it stuck away in the cellar and forgot about it. Pretty good. Never tried the Terrapin version, but I heard this one was better anyway. The chocolate is the star here, with the chilies and vanilla playing just minor supporting roles.

 1,059 characters

Photo of socon67
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

 590 characters

Photo of davey101
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kind of weird that this started showing up in MA recently. 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Dark brown/red body with a two finger light mocha head. Pretty tame lacing,

S - Lightly charred malts, vanilla sweetness, and a touch of chocolate.

T - Sweet malts, vanilla, and milk chocolate. The finish has the slightest hint of warmth. Maybe its due to the age, but zero pepper flavor here. Mouth feel is light to medium and well carbonated.

O - An average brown ale for an excellent cause. Quite drinkable with a hint of greatness in the form of some chili heat, but it never really pans out to very much.

 610 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown with ruby hues at the edges. Two fingers of sandy-colored head settle into a thin crown shortly. Lacing is patchy and spotty.

S: Milk chocolate with a backing of chili pepper spice. Faint vanilla bean. Malt scents of bread, molasses, and a touch of caramel and toffee.

T: Bread crust and a touch of smoke up front. Rich flavors of molasses, caramel, and toffee on the mid-palate. Strong punch of black cocoa and then vanilla bean. Chili pepper heat is noticeable on the tongue, and the spiciness is felt on the swallow as well. Finishes with milk chocolate, cocoa powder, and spicy chili pepper.

M: Moderate thickness in the body. Chewy and a little viscous. Full and slightly mouth-coating. Moderate carbonation.

O: There's a lot of bold and distinct flavors going on in this beer. They're not really at odds with each other, but then they don't really seem to mesh either. The experience of drinking this beer is more a progression of shifting flavors. Almost like a flavor-changing jaw breaker or something. As a whole the beer is good, and rather tasty too. It just lacks some cohesiveness.

 1,162 characters

Photo of MeowTom
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Super dark Amber, I mean it would be on par with a porter or so. I mean it has to get a score of about 24 on the SRM chart. Has a very lovely head on it that stays around for a while.

S- Lovely chocolate, malts, and chili notes there. It's not crazy intense with power, but once you get your nose in there it is so intense with complexities and fullness that I'm glad I can't smell it 2 feet away.

T- Malty chocolate flavors with fruits coming through the longer I sip it. I mean there is a lot of things happening with this beer that it is an experience in itself. The one thing I notice is that classic Shmaltz brewing yeast they have that seems to come through in every beer they have in some little way or another.

M- Heavy medium body that makes it a sipping beer. There is still a heavy alcohol tinge that once you exhale your first sip it just lays there in the mouth. I have aged this bottle about 10 months I think maybe a little longer would done something for it. It's only 7.3% but still feels more.

O- Wonderful beer, I really like all that it has going on. It feels like a good break from a lot of DIPAs and APAs that I have been drinking lately with the complexities in malts not hops.

 1,209 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown color with a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted dark chocolate malts, some chilies, vanilla, and some dark fruits and coffee.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted dark chocolate malts with some vanilla and dark fruit sweetness and a bit of spicy chili. Through the middle, the heat from the chili comes through a bit more with a bit of roasted coffee, molasses, and black licorice. The finish is a mix of roasted dark chocolate malts with some dark fruit, vanilla, chili, and molasses.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a spicy, sweet, and roasty finish.

D - Very drinkable. Interesting mix of flavors with the chilis adding some nice complexity. Surprisingly well balanced.

 838 characters

Photo of Flounder57
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle was poured into a tumbler.

Appearance: The beer poured a tiny head that reduced pretty much to nothing. It is a dark brown color with some vision when at the bottom of the glass when put up to the light.

Smell: a lot of sweet maltiness here, some mocha, a little spiciness from the peppers, dark fruits, vanilla, and almost has the same scents as a dark ale. Interesting.

Taste: Very interesting here. Vanilla and spiciness from the peppers are the most noticeable up front. Mocha is there too

Mouthfeel: smooth, spicy, full bodied, some burn to it, medium carbonation, and a very special beer on the palate.

Overall: Not a shabby beer for a ABA. Chili peppers are a nice addition, but for some people it could be much. I enjooyed the spice and happy to have gotten this from volunteering the EBF in Boston back in February.

 844 characters

Photo of WastingFreetime
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from tasting notes.

Dark brown color, 1cm tan head with a few minute's worth of stability and minimal lacing on the glasses' surface.

Smells of a roasted malt, dark chocolate, and just a hint of licorice and vanilla.

Tastes of all the elements from the nose and also has a brief lift of spicy chile heat on the finish, some mineral hard water finish aspects, and some interesting root beer-like flavor moments. Overall, plays out like a mole sauce with not quite enough chile heat to counterbalance the chocolate.

Medium body and carbonation level, soft and smooth texture.

My obligatory complaint about this one is that the chile aspect is underwhelming. It needs some more spicy zest to really shine IMHO. As it is, is tastes and presents like a beer version of a slightly flawed mole sauce. If only it were a perfect mole sauce...

 847 characters

Photo of yamar68
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber to McDonald's happy meal mug, circa early 1990's:

Pours like a thick root beer - dark brown body with some hazy clarity, topped with a loose light brown finger of head.

Kind of takes the direction of a brown ale on the nose... milk chocolate malts, a bit of hard water character, some fresh cream. No chile presence which is disappointing for me, but it doesn't detract from the beer that it is.

Rather nice. Those peppers actual provide a bit of chipotle smoke that compliments the chocolatey brown ale profile. Super smooth. No bite at all.

Glad I tried this one. I wish more bombers of this quality were priced similarly.

 654 characters

Photo of DocJitsu
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with red highlights in the sun. A foamy, taupe colored head forms quickly and stubbornly lingers. Aromas of toffee, white chocolate, sorghum, and wood. The mouthfeel is viscous and smooth. Sweet flavors of chocolate and sorghum occur first. The bitterness of fresh chili pepper and coffee acidity compliment the hop finish. it's ok. Not super. I was excited to try it, so I was a little let down.

 420 characters

Photo of beer2day
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark earthy brown pour with 2 fingers of densely packed cream head. Not much retention, but very nice lace.

Nose is more about cocoa than Terrapin's version. Chiles come through, but behind the nibs.

Taste is sweeter and less abrasive than Terrapin, but not as rich and chocolate-filled. Light hops in the finish do make it through the chiles.

Medium bodied and actually rather light.

Overall, I'd give the edge to the Terrapin version - but not by much.

 461 characters

Photo of zeledonia
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up this bottle to compare it to the Terrapin version (which I really liked).

Pours very dark brown, but clear with mahogany tones when I hold it to the light. Massive, frothy, cascading, dense light tan head. Excellent retention and big clumps of foamy lacing. Even when my glass is almost empty, there's still a thick layer of foam on the surface. Doesn't get much better.

Smell is dominated by the chili pepper. Behind that, I can find some faint grassy hops, but the sweet malts that ought to be the showcase of a beer like this don't really come through.

Taste is lighter on the chili, but still isn't doing it for me. Once again, the malty flavors just aren't there to the degree I want them to. Bland, slightly nutty malts, followed by grassy mildly bitter hops, accented by a pinch of chili. Oh, and what about that cocoa and vanilla mentioned on the label? If I can taste it, it's only as a light rounding off of the flavor at the end.

Mouthfeel is quite pleasant. Medium-bodied, carbonation that kicks up and fades away exactly when I want it to, and a smooth fluffy finish. I like it.

A decent beer, but all those funny additives don't seem to come through. I liked the Terrapin version of this beer a lot better. Appearance and mouthfeel are top-notch, though.

 1,283 characters

Photo of cvm4
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours dark brown, leaves a finger tan head.

S - Right away, vanilla and chocolate hits your nose. Very pleasant sweet smell meshes well with some of the darker fruits.

T - The beer doesn't follow the nose with sweetness. Typical brown ale but sways when the cocoa and vanilla comes up. Slight warming effect from the chili peppers.

M - A bit light here. Good carbonation but a bit too watery.

O - A very interesting imperial brown ale. Could be better if the mouthfeel was bolder. But, all in all it was a pleasant drinking beer.

 540 characters

Photo of t420o
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Schmaltz/terrapin reunion 11

Dark imperial ale brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla, and chipotle peppers

A- pour produces a 1-1/2 finger mocha colored head that rests atop a medium brown body. Leaves ok lacing 3.5   

S- coacoa, dark chocoalte, vanilla, molasses, peppers, other spice, peaty smells very good I like the balance of sweet and heat 4 

T- wow this beer has a lot going on! First it's a vanilla/chocolate mixture, a wave of peppers hits in the middle and it finishes with a vanilla/chocolate/ caramel/pepper mixture in the end. Not spicy at all which i was kind of hoping for. Abv is hidden very well.  It is actually quite pleasant and enjoyable. 3.5

M- good mouthfeel but the carbonation is a bit much 3.5  

O- a very interesting and quite good veer that I enjoyed. Great effort on making a unique brew. 4

 830 characters

Photo of soulfly1492
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Mild overall. Sweet and roasty dark malt. Lots of molasses.Cocoa and spicy pepper.

Appearance: Pours pitch black. Huge light brown head. Lots of sticky lacing. Great retention.

Taste: Cocoa, coffee, some bitter roasted malts. Sharp citrus hops. Mild spicy pepper. The aftertaste is of semi-sweet chocolate. Mild vanilla. No alcohol can be detected.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body. Mild carbonation. Syrupy and oily, a slight drying sensation. Spicy.

Overall: Not to style (of course) but interesting. Not very bold. Could use more dark/roasty malts. Is a very pleasant brew nonetheless. The best part is the chocolate at the aftertaste.

 647 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a true pint, the beer is a dark, vibrant, ruby-highlighted brown color with a tall head on the pour that settles slowly into a thin, dense, small bubbled, tan head. Sparse lacing along the glass as you drink. Aromas are muddled, with a slightly watered down roasted nut sweetness, some bitter cocoa scents, and an earthy character. Flavors are rich and sweet, with a nutty and butterscotch backbone riding a smooth, light body. SOme roasty characteristics throughout give some complexity to the brew. The aftertaste continues with the complex malt profile, again with a touch of roast/smoke to enhance the butterscotch and toffee flavors. Surprisingly light finish with a moderate linger. Decent brew.

 727 characters

Photo of Mora2000
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Cavie for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown color with dark red highlights and a tan head. The aroma is full of roasted and chocolate malt, with not too much else coming through. The flavor is more complex. I get some milk chocolate and roasted malt, as well a a little bit of spice from the chili peppers. All three characteristics work well together and give the beer a unique flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 453 characters

Photo of dbossman
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with a reddish tint and a steady brown head and pretty nice lacing

S: Quite a lot going on here: chocolate and vanilla and peppers for sure plus some darker fruits and some slight vinous qualities but mostly this is a sweet chocolate and vanilla bomb

T: The sweetness from the aromas luckily isn't nearly as prevalent; a dry semi-sweet chocolate flavor is present up front with noticeable vanilla flavors on the back end; some roasted malt flavors; a touch of pepper and dark fruits--raisins especially (there is a slight port-like quality here that I like); sweetness does get a bit cloying in the end, however

F: A touch thin on back end but fairly creamy still

O: An interesting beer that I was glad to try--the chocolate definitely makes this beer but I wish the peppers were more dominant

 811 characters

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up on sale at Gary's in Wayne a week or two ago, intrigued by what was on the bottle. After having this last night, I can honestly say that I've never had anything like this, but at the same time, there was just a bit too much going on here to make this fully enjoyable. I'd have this again if offered this beer but I'd need some crackers and water to help wash the chili pepper taste down!

This poured dark with a pretty frothy head that lasted for quite a while. That was the best aspect of this beer as it was a bit thinner than I envisioned. Not a large aroma up front but the vanilla could be felt along with a roasted cocoa flavor that was stronger in the mouthfeel. This beer was quite creamy and almost reminded me of an Irish Dry Stout, because of how light it was. The spice wasn't that prevalent but there was a chili backbone to this that the chocolate faded into, although it was a bit awkward to have a beer finish on such a warm and mouth-watering kick.

The alcohol was spot-on for this beer and could only be felt when it came to the warming aspects in the aftertaste. I applaud the effort on the part of Shmaltz and Terrapin to push the boundaries with this but there's just a bit too much going on here. A few of the chili recipes that I have here call for cocoa powder but because the sweetness of vanilla is in this beer, it makes the transition to the aftertaste a bit awkward. A beer that starts sweet and ends spicy and mouth-watering is not the best transition for me, but as a one-time deal, this works and it is different from the norm. Maybe the opposite would have worked better but on its own, this is worth a try once since it's unlike anything else currently available.

 1,715 characters

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
2.7/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Bilco for sharing the bottle.

Appearance: Brown and decidedly so. Head is a dark tan and drops pretty quickly. Clear.

Smell: Hints of vanilla amidst an otherwise neutral malt profile. Some roasted notes coupled with a touch of caramel sweetness. Almost vegetal quality to the pepper addition. Definitely unique. Lingering cocoa notes come through the back, but have a hard time punching through.

Taste: More of what the nose gives you. Vanilla feels artificial and doesn't blend with the mild sweetness from the malts. A touch of biscuit, but just a touch. Cocoa makes a more assertive effort here, but ultimately falls short and comes across a little syrupy sweet. Chili peppers add a drop of heat, but if I didn't know to look for it, I'd probably miss it. Some roasted malts. Very mild overall.

Mouthfeel: Almost drinks like water, but a touch heavier. Carbonation is good though. Nice moderate carbonation.

Overall: I feel bad for this beer. It has a lot of potential, but falls short in the long run. The flavors could use a bit more aggression. Amp it up a couple notches and it would be worth it.

 1,118 characters

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I did not plan to drink this on Passover, it just worked out that way.

Brown, not black, body. Ruby highlights. Medium tan baseball size head. Minimal lacing.

Inviting but not assertive chocolate aroma. Hint of vanilla.

Taste is brown ale with Hershey's syrup. Vanilla hit at the swallow. Then after the liquid is safely settled in your belly, a warming wave from the chili pepper rises on the tongue.

Big smooth mouthfeel. Good richness.

An interesting beer, but I would like to try it with more vanilla and without the chili pepper.

 539 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011 from Shmaltz Brewing Company
3.8 out of 5 based on 197 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.