Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011 | Shmaltz Brewing Company

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Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011
Very Good
198 Ratings
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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Ratings: 198 |  Reviews: 132
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 Docer
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: (4.0)
- Nice somewhat cloudy dark molasses colored ale with a big frothy beige head that has settled to a thin spotty thicket of foam. Lace all about the glass.

Smell: (3.5)
- Very light, but good grainy smell. Oats, woody grain and light cocoa. Lovely vanilla and floral aromas as well. All together it smells light, but very good. Little burn back in the sinuses too from the peppers.

Taste: (4.5)
- Smooth creamy vanilla over a bed of light bready grain. Light cocoa, and grassy bitter hops. Nice slightly tart finish and a subtle pepper burn. Will warm up nicely I am sure. Little roasty touch, and woody earthiness. Very well balanced and light.

Mouth Feel: (4.5)
- Medium bodied brew which is a bit chewy and dry. Overall very easy to drink, and is well carbonated with what seems to be a killer yeast. Very small bubbles, and a perfect match for the creamy body and flavor. Little chalky.

Overall: (4.5)
- This is an impressive beer. No flavor addition overrides the other in character. It is a very well brewed beer, and very balanced... and is for a great cause. This beer represents a true art form, and mastery in brewing. It is for me, a must have.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. 7.3% ABV (not 8.5%). Served in a tulip.

Pours very dark brown, a little bit of red light makes it through. A two finger beige head. A little bit of lacing.

Aroma of dry spices. Vanilla is strong. Dark bakers chocolate and some sweeter chocolate malt.

Taste delivers much the same. Things stay dry with vanilla and powdery baking chocolate. A touch of sweetness emerges in the middle, but it is pretty subtle. Chili heat is definitely felt in the finish. Not sure if the chili contributes to the flavor, but there is a little bit of bitter roastiness along with the heat. Much like spicy food, the tingle remains in your mouth long after the flavor.

Not any more than medium bodied with some lively medium carbonation. Feel is OK.

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Photo of JizackFH
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a real nice dark brown color and has some ruby highlights as well. There is a big 3-finger tan head resting on top. The head has good retention, and it leaves behind a nice sheet of lace on the glass.

S - The smell is of cocoa powder, vanilla, and some chills. There is some dark roasted malt aromas here as well. Also, I am getting some chocolate and molasses.

T - Taste starts off with some nice roasted malt. There is quite a bit of vanilla and chocolate. The chili comes in near the end and lends a nice flavor. Also, there is some caramel and toffee flavor present. The finish leaves some lingering roasted bitterness, vanilla, cocoa, and chili.

M - This has a medium body and good carbonation. It goes down easy and has a nice smooth velvety feel to it. There is some sweetness, as well as some roasted bitterness. Also, there is a little bit of heat from the chili peppers.

O - This has good drinkability. I has a really nice flavor, and I could easily have a few glasses of this. I really enjoyed this beer. It is a really interesting and flavorful beer. The vanilla, cocoa, and chili peppers all come through quite well. I recommend checking this one out. It is a really nice interesting beer, and I would buy more of it.

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Photo of DovaliHops
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

7.3%ABV on this bomber. Pours a dark brown that has a nice red hue when held up to the light. Medium, off-white head. Scent is very nutty with some cocoa aromas. A hint of vanilla with the slightest bit of chili pepper. Taste is initially the cocoa and typical nut brown flavors. Then a lot of complexity kicks in with the chili pepper and vanilla. The cocoa nibs mellow out the chili quite nicely, as this is a well-balanced beer. The chili really makes itself noticeable in the end. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but leaves a strange texture in the mouth. Drinkability is high. Overall, this is a very complex and well balanced beer that I really enjoyed. Gonna head to BevMo and buy more.

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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 IronDjinn
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 650 ml brown bottle, abv listed as 7.3%. Pours out a deep dense brown, some garnet cola highlights when held to light. Tight beige merengue-like head.

Sweet dark malt on the nose, purple grape, earthy cocoa, vanilla.

Roasty malt up front in the flavour, purple grapes and black currants, sweet cocoa, with a mild pepper heat rising from the middle and becoming prominent on the finish. Black cherry, sweet cocoa and pepper heat lingers in the aftertaste.

Full-bodied mouthfeel, although on the lighter end of that spectrum, velvety texture, moderate carbonation.

Reminds me a lot of Jewbilation 13 but with some heat. A tasty dark ale all the same, worth checking out.

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Photo of seand
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark cola color, dark brown with reddish highlights, and a large amount of dark tan head. A thin but solid blanket retains, and leaves nice walls of lacing.

S: Sticky brown sugar sweetness, with notes of dark chocolate and dried fruit.

T: Dense, tight sweetness, finishing with a big, dry hoppy note. There's a kick from the mid palate through the finish which I think is the chili peppers, though I probably wouldn't have picked it out if I hadn't known about the chilis before.

M: Medium to full body, sticky dry finish, prickly carbonation. There's also a noticeable capsaicin feel on the aftertaste, not spicy, but kind of like sandpaper on your tongue.

Overall this is decent, but not outstandingly amazing. It's different, and worth a try, but not really worth putting in a lot of effort to seek out. It's for a good cause though, so you can splurge in good conscience.

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Photo of Derek
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep amber-chestnut with a light tan head, good retention & lace.

S: Faint aroma of cocoa, roasted nut and bread with hints of vanilla.

T: The cocoa, vanilla and chilli are all there, but they're fairly subtle... just enough to tell what the are. Fairly bready, nutty, hints of caramel, balanced bitterness and alcohol is remarkably well-hidden.

M: Moderate body has a hint of residual sweetness with an off-dry finish.

D/O: Overall I thought this was really well-crafted and very drinkable (not something you often find in a unique brew that's outside the traditional style guidelines).

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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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Photo of theboozecruise
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber of this in Calandro's in Baton Rouge.

Poured into an imperial pint, it's a dark brown color that really glows red up to the light. The head is frothy and immense with great retention and lacing.

The smell is rich and malty with a mostly sweet feel and an underlying bitter cocoa note. The vanilla and chili doesn't cone through as strong on the nose.

The taste is mostly the same, still not much as far as vanilla and chili but the roasted cocoa is nice. The flavors are good I just don't get all the ones advertised,

Still though, a good beer that's easy to drink and absolutely on the list to add to the cellar.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Duvel tulip. Loved the Terrapin version, how will I like this?

A- pours a dark brown with a two finger tan head that fades kind of quickly and leaves no lacing. Would like to see some lacing

S- tons of chocolate coming out of this one...delicious smelling

T- starts of with sweet vanilla, with a little bit of the chiles and a little bit of the chocolate. The finish is bitter chocolate, and a little more heat from the chiles. Not bad

M- paper thin. Probably for the best considering the intense flavors coming out of this

O- solid, but I think I like the Terrapin version a little more...seemed to have a little more pronounced flavors

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

A-Dark opaque body. With great head retention.

S-Nice deep chocolate notes with a slight hint of spice.

T-Very smooth, creamy body. Great deep chocolate and vanilla blend. Not to intense just smooth and easy to drink.

M-sits heavy with medium carbonation.

O-Drinks more like a stout than a brown ale, which i like. This is a great beer for a great cause. Will look forward to this every year.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: onyx body, finger tan head, great lacing

S: big cocoa nibs + vanilla, toasted nuts

T: sweet dark chocolate, malt, roasted nuts, vanilla,
creamy nice chili spice finish

M: med/heavy, smooth + creamy mouth

O: WOW! What a fascinating beer and
for a great cause. This limited brew is
worth seeking out and the price is so
worth it. If I see this again, I will
grab another bottle.
Love the balance of sweet
with a subtle chili finish. Big Brown
ales this complex are rare.


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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
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 Bierguy5
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, 7.3% abv. Very deep brown, mahogany in color. Looks almost black. Good looking, creamy tan head. Excellent retention and lace.

Lots of toffee and caramel up front. Cocoa and vanilla come in and blend very well. Not picking up any pepper in the nose. Very nice so far.

Toffee flavor comes in first, followed by some cocoa powder, and a bit of vanilla. An interesting spice feel from the peppers, which adds a nice complexity. Spicy note lingers for a while.

Medium body, with a great creamy feel. Alcohol seems hidden pretty well. A very nice, complex, and interesting beer for a good cause.

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Photo of MaxSpang
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
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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Photo of russpowell
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an ebony tinged brown with 3 fingers of tan head. Great lacing & average head retention

S: Cocoa & woody note, some sarsaparilla as well

T: Follows the nose, leafy hops & vanilla notes, some sarsaparilla as well up front. A touch of cream soda flavor lurks in the background as this warms along with bitterness from the cocoa nibs, some heat from the chilies is evident as well, along with dryness. Fairly big powdery cocoa finish, some peppery heat & woody notes as well

MF: Medium bodied, somewhat over carbonated, love the malt backbone of this

Liked this, didn't love it. Nice big brown ale, my bottle indicates 7.3% abv

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Photo of emmasdad
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very solid beer for a very, very good cause. Poured a nice rich brown color, with a good taupe head that hangs around for awhile. Nice aromas of roasted nuts, good milk chocolate, a little chile and maybe a little lightly roasted malt. Somewhat dry on the palate, with some roasted malt, chiles, chocolate and a late bitterness. ™

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Photo of zeff80
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a dark brown color with a two-finger, light brown head of thick bubbly foam. It left sticky, thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled of chocolate and malty notes with a touch of vanilla.

T - It tasted of cocoa. Really strong chocolate flavors with subtle vanilla flavors. I could barely detect some heat from the peppers as the beer warmed up.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is a nice beer, but the chocolate was too dominant for a 22 oz beer.

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

22oz bomber.

This beer pours a clear dark brassy cola hue, with two fingers of thin foamy, puffy tan head, which settles evenly, leaving a twisted chain of lace around the glass. It smells rather lightly of vanilla, chocolate, caramel malt, and a slight edgy twinge. The taste is bittersweet caramel, a bit of toffee, baker’s chocolate, and a nice subtle, evolving singular spiciness, which has no real concurrent vegetable flavour to go with it. The carbonation is present, and restrained seeming, the body medium-light in weight, although a bit too sharp and zippy to be considered all that smooth. It finishes with a nice, gently rising spiciness, over a generally sturdy choco-vanil-toffee maltiness.

A nicely balanced chili and confection beer, enjoyable to drink, and for a worthy cause.

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Photo of Yagman3000
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 22 oz bomber into a fluted pint glass.

Appears a rich super dark brown with a maroon undertone. There's some creamy head that doesn't subside.

Smells of dark chocolate and roasted malts. A bit of medicinal smell comes through from the pepper addition.

Tastes like coffee much more than I got from the nose. Some cocoa is picked up as well as more of that pepper at the later points.

Mouthfeel has surprise creaminess and then makes its way nicely through its follow up. Finally, the pepper tone at the end is a really nice completion.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised. The pepper is done well.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very nice large foamy tan head. Brew is very thin black color. Some nice spotty lacing too.

S - Lots of killer vanilla and chocolate. I'm not picking up on many any Chilies...but, they're there, they just lie low.

T - SMOOTH. Drinks like a Milk Stout. Awesome for the collaboration. Very vanilla, almost too much.

M - Heavy carbonation. Thin bodied. Zero bitterness, slight sweetness. Pretty dry, eventful.

O - Awesome brew collab... I've heard good things about terrapin, good to finally try them... Worthy.

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Photo of nsmartell
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the bomber bottle to an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color with a little bit of light coming through the glass. There's a big, fluffy, cream-colored head that disappears quickly.

Smell: Sweet and malty, with hints of vanilla, cocoa and pepper. Interesting.

Taste: Very similar to the aroma. Chocolate malts with a hint of pepper and bitterness from the cocoa/chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy and dry.

Drinkability: Very drinkable ale, but hard to keep in the brown ale category for me. Although that is not how the label describes this beer. The abv is not overwhelming and was enjoyable to sip through the evening.

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Reunion: A Beer For Hope 2011 from Shmaltz Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 198 ratings