Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011 | Shmaltz Brewing Company

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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.

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Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 197
Photo of jsh420
2.09/5  rDev -45%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

pours dark dark brown almost black with a 1+ finger off white head that left no lacing

smell - not much to this one - all i can pick put is cereal grains

tastes of roasted grains and bitter chocolate - some smoke - i detect no vanilla or chili peppers

mouthfeel is light body that is over carbonated and a fizzy mess

overall - no nose, tastes bad, over carbonated soda water, and add in overpriced = never again

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Photo of JohnGalt1
2.63/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 picked up last night at Brewforia... shared tonight with Inflatablechair... Poured into my HotD goblet.... great 2 finger tan head initially, but it drops pretty quickly leaving a decent cap and drapes of splotchy lace... the brew is dark brown with nice clear garnet highlights.

Big brown sugar and vanilla.. light sorta artificial chocolate aroma and something that is fruity that I wasn't expecting and seems out of place..

Flavor.... I have to mention the finish first just because it is so off-putting... a lingering synthetic vanilla trails on forever.

Up front is a pretty flimsy malt profile... and the same weird chocolate flavors that I picked up in the aroma.. no where near enough "real beer" flavors to make this interesting (let along good) for me... almost no chili..

The body is a bit thin.. carbonation is fine, but the overall product is just okay at best.

I respect the "Beer For Hope" series for sure... and I am glad there are brewers out there that make a sacrifice for their passions.. but I honestly just don't care at all for this beer.


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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.

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Photo of jmarsh123
2.84/5  rDev -25.3%
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 SpeedwayJim
2.85/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle courtesy of EBF 2012. Poured into a Southampton oversize snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a off-white cream colored head with moderate retention. Beer is a clear, dark brown-purple. Lace is stringy with decent stick. Pretty good for the style.

Cocoa powder, chili, moderate nuttiness. Some caramel and brown sugar too. Decent.

Cocoa nib graininess. Chili peppers are tart and with a moderate kick. Sweet with a roasted malt balance. Finishes cocoa powder and chili sweet/fruitiness. Awkward.

Light bodied with moderate to high carbonation. Prickly, lively in the mouth and aggressive going down. Finishes messy with a lingering aftertaste. Pretty standard.

While this beer's not bad by any means, something with the flavor profile just doesn't sit well with me. The chili is prominent but so are the grainy cocoa nibs. Worth a try since its certainly interesting, but again, not for me.

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Photo of RocPorterFanatic
2.88/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours rich brown into a tulip with 3 full fingers of frothy head. When held to the light, almost takes on a cranberry red color.

S - Hints of Dutch Cocoa powder and dried chilies.

T - WOW!! Alot of chili there. I was thinking this was going to be a brown ale equivalent of Hunahpu, but damn am I wrong. The chili is overwhelming. Very dry finish, with just a hint of the cocoa nib. Vanilla is a fleeting essence right before the swallow. .

M - Very vigorously carbonated, but the creamy head mellows it out.

O - I'm not a chili head, but I do like some heat. This is over peppered. Almost to the point of being unappealing. The cocoa nibs and vanilla take second fiddle to the chili and that's a real disappointment.

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Photo of Philousa
2.92/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer is black with one finger tan head, no lacing. Chocolaty malt, hint of vanilla, and mild mint come through in the nose. A bit spicy. Sweet from vanilla to counter the bitter chocolate in taste with a bit of alcohol burn at the end. Medium viscosity for the style, and well carbonated.

This is an interesting beer, if underwhelming. There is a good deal of vanilla that could come off as sweet with any other beer, but the bitter malt profile balances it well. I just don't get much kick with this beer. It's a bit uninspired, despite the amount of ingredients they put into it. I don't get any hot spiciness from the peppers, which is a bit of disappointment. I've had chipotle beer, so I can attest to the spiciness that is capable in beer. It's okay; not worth seeking out.

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Photo of crusian
2.99/5  rDev -21.3%
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 emerge077
3.06/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black body with mahogany edges. Sticky tan foam, long lasting head that hangs around for the duration of the glass in some form or another.

Sweet vanilla aroma, slightly artificial like sarsaparilla or cream soda. Mild powdered cocoa.

Thin body, sweet cocoa and vanilla flavors. Slight astringency, vaguely chocolatey with a feeble bitterness on the back end. Seems like one of those vanilla mocha creamer flavorings you'd put into coffee. Where are the chiles? Not even a tingle. Kinda meh overall, but fairly drinkable. Needs more roast and bitterness to balance the sweet artificial flavors.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance -- Pours medium brown hue with hits of orange, slight haze, and a whispy beige head.

Smell -- Bland. Some roast malt, cocoa, and vanilla. Really no chile character to speak of. No off-flavors are detectable, but there's just not much going on.

Taste -- Medium roast malt, some cocoa sweetness. The vanilla and chile are both incredibly faint, and indeed there is really no chile heat. Well-made, but ho-hum for a chile-infused beer.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-light in body with moderate carbonation. It works.

Overall -- Snooze. Nothing distracting, certainly, but for something with so many flavorful additions (cocoa, vanilla, chiles), this is such a ho-hum beer. After having a locally-brewed chile-infused brown ale, I had high hopes for this beer being the one to change my opinion of both Smaltz and Terrapin, but this was not the case. Sometimes more really is more.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Never had a Shmaltz beer before, but I have had a couple Terrapin brews. Nevertheless, I’m expecting an interesting experience here – cocoa nibs, vanilla, and chili pepper. Thanks for the bottle, tripelhops.

A: This beer pours ruby red, gemlike; it resembles thick, dark cherry cola. The bubbling, beige head leaves a two-fingered impression and a string or two of lacing over the darkness; retention, though very thin, is an appetizing tan cream.

S: A rich, deliciously dark scent comes first, with moderate aromas of dark chocolate, vanilla, and toasty malts. The power of the spices is evident as the second-in-command, which is not surprising because of the inherent bite of chili peppers and cinnamon. Those two, plus a hint of black pepper, provide this beer with an enjoyable tingle in the nose. What’s more, there are notes of cream cheese, caramel, vanilla coke, and whole grain bread at the end, as well.

T: Surprisingly light for a beer brewed with cocoa and peppers. The flavors range at first from instant tea to graham cracker, then to a blend of chocolate malts, fig, lemon juice, and French toast. An array of flavors, yes, but without one that takes center stage as superbly pleasant. Contrary to the nose, the peppers are nothing but a mild spice in this facet of the brew (though they do produce a satisfying kick). The more I drink, the more I feel it, even as the aftertaste proceeds to its wheaty, toasted end.

M: Very similar to an English porter: light, thin, and a little crisp. That being said, it does lose some luster here – it goes down more forgettable than anything.

O: For such a strange combination of ingredients, this beer has only a few instances of uncommon experience. A decent offering from two very respectable breweries.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.16/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

(Served in a stemmed strange)

A- This beer pours a dense brown body with a light tan foam that is thick and last a good bit. There is a gentle tiny bubble carbonation that appears through the murky body.

S- The brown malt aroma has a nougat and vanilla extract note with some cardboard caramel notes. There is an odd vanilla cream note that grows in the finish with an earthy imitation quality to it.

T- The brown malt flavor is a little flat tasting with a nougat quality. There is a powdery characteristic in the finish with a Tootsie roll note to it. Then there is a bitter heat that hits the back of the throat without any other chili flavors for support.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a gentle fizz in the finish.

O- This beer has lots of odd flavors with the strange vanilla and the coco is more tootsie roll that chocolate and the chili is only heat. This is a bit of a mess but none of the flavors are really strong so it is not obnoxious.

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Photo of nassaubeercop
3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
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 jera1350
3.21/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A massive head of suds sits atop a body that is the darkest shade of brown. Some moderate lacing is left on the glass.

The nose is comprised of mostly a grain scent. Kind of a dusty grain or uncooked cereal grains. A touch of fruity hops in there maybe.

A very confusing a muddled mess of a taste. Starts off very, very bland with only the dusty grain coming through. As the taste goes on, some subtle hops and watered down vanilla extract comes out. The finish is a light pepper and dusty cocoa flavor. Overall, the flavor is pretty underwhelming.

The body is a bit thin and is extremely dry. Some heat is felt from the peppers.

This is not a bad beer, but it just doesn't live up to expectations. It was created based upon a dessert, but comes nothing close to a dessert. The flavors are just too subtle all around. The beer drinks easy, but it's just uninteresting. Kind of reminds me of a good extract homebrewer concoction I put together minus peppers. I would expect more from a collaboration beer between two established breweries.

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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.

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Photo of trixdout
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - looks like a porter that doesn't allow any light through. Through the edges of the beer a mahogany glow can be seen. A very light beige-tan head. The head recedes somewhat rapidly leaving some lacing behind. This is a very dark brown ale.

Smell - i get some roasted malts at first and then gradually some faint chocolate as some vanilla. I assume the chilis blend sooo well that it can be barely found. I get some sugar throughout the entire aroma.

Taste - Cocoa with a bit of bitterness is definitely on the finish, Creamy smooth vanilla at the beginning with a salty spice in between. Due tot he cocoa nibs, the brew almost reminds me of a porter. As the beer warms you chili peppers become very well defined. they spice up the entire mouth and can be felt in the back of your throat.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, little to none prick from the carbonation, a little oily, and dry in the end.

Overall - It is worth trying. Definitely pushes the boundaries between a porter and a dark brown ale. Good blend of ingredients except for the faint to none chilli presence. LET THE BEER SIT A LITTLE AND WARM UP. You will get a better pronunciation of the flavors.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown, near black. Light tan head of maybe a finger. Dissipates to a tan ring.

S- There's a bit of roast, and some cocoa powder. There is a touch of chili heat on the end.

T- Cocoa powder, the vanilla actually makes an appearance here where it didn't in the aroma. The chili's provide a mild spice in the back of the throat on the finish.

M- It has an average, lightly creamy, near medium body.

O- Not bad. It's a pretty decent, interesting brew.

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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.

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Photo of TheStove
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
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 pburland23
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into an Appalachian Brewing Co. mug.

Beer pours a dark, opaque brown. Less than a finger of tan head. Head disappeared almost instantly and the beer had very little lacing.

Aroma is almost exclusively chocolate malt. Very sweet smelling beer. Taste is also chocolate and sweet. It borders on cloying but doesn't ever get there. It tastes like a Tootsie Roll. Despite the label, I didn't pick up any vanilla notes. Nor is there any hint of chili peppers upfront. There is a touch of heat on the back end of the sip, but it's hard to discern whether that's the chili peppers or just some booziness.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and there's perhaps not quite enough carbonation for a brown ale.

Overall, a pretty middling brown ale. It's a little too sweet for the style and it doesn't deliver on the promise of vanilla and chili peppers. Too bad too because I think those would added some nice complexity to a brown ale.

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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

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Photo of KajII
3.44/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

[Best served in a Lager glass]

The pour was a murky dark brown with a slight mahogany hue and a thick frothy light brown head that dissipated slowly down to a layer of fluffy residue that puddled on top and lasted throughout, which created some really excellent sheeting of lace on the glass.

The aroma was upfront with a strong alcohol scent followed by a dark roasted malt and a sweaty doughy yeast with notes of chocolate, vanilla, roasted coffee, some dark fruit and a peppery spice (probably from the chili's).

The taste was mildly sweet and very malty with hints of chocolate and vanilla at first and then had a nice dose of coffee and dark fruit take hold with a pronounced peppery finish. The flavor lasted a short while after the swallow leaving behind a chili pepper bite to linger on well after everything else faded.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and a bit oily and quite creamy in texture with a soft carbonation.

Overall definitely a different twist on a brew, bold tasting with a surprising spicy finish.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 7 Oct 2011. Served in the 0.3 L Herren Pils snifter.

Small light brown head. Medium carbonation. Clear dark brown in color. Aroma of dark chocolate, some vanilla, faint whiff of chili. Tastes of cocoa, oats, and vanilla. Cocoa is dominant. A slight bit of chili is evident as heat in the back of the throat. Medium to light body. Moderate alcohol. Finish and aftertaste are dominated by chocolate with a hint of chili.

A says a slightly acrid aftertaste. But she liked it a bit more.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm all for charity, so I bought this guy. Looks interesting.

Dark brown (brown ale?) pour. Very big head, off-brown/tan. Foamed up about six miles. Slick lacing mostly, but with some crystalization going on too

Aroma is mostly subtle cocoa and chocolate. Some caramel and bourbon-esque stuff going on, too. Made with cocoa, vanilla and chili...I don't get the last one.

Nor in the taste. Vanilla dominates here. The cocoa/chocolate is wimpy in the mouth. It amazes me how dominate the vanilla is. From start to finish, although booze comes in at the end. For a brown ale, this misses completely. Caramel, nuts? Nerp. Vanilla and toffee bomb. Which is alright, just didn't expect it.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Reunion: A Beer for hope has a dark brown body with ruby highlights. The head is a huge tan tower, and the retention and lacing are both quite good.

The aroma has a little bit of smokey scent too it, but that's about all of the peppers contribute. The rest of the aroma is all chocolate and vanilla.

There are a lot of things going on in this one. A toasted malt flavor comes with a little bit of a nutty flavor mixed with toffee. After the malt comes a strong blast of cocoa, followed by a strong blast of vanilla. Both flavors are powerful, but neither blends well with the other, and neither is especially well-integrated. The finish has a small amount of heat and a good bit of smokey depth. The pepper is my favorite part of this one.

A full body with smooth carbonation and a bite at the finish.

On paper I thought I would like this one, but it doesn't seem to come together well in the glass (although it does hide the relatively high ABV pretty well). As I said before, I do like the flavor added by the pepper. This is one I could see other people really liking, so give it a try if you're curious.

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Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011 from Shmaltz Brewing Company
3.8 out of 5 based on 197 ratings.
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