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
Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 197
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.

 1,775 characters

Photo of mcallister
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burgundy color with a large tan head. Fluffy with long retention. Sticky lace overtakes the glass.

Bready malt aromas, hints of milk chocolate, a light cayenne pepper quality, red currant and other fruity accents, but an odd almost metal aroma hurts things.

Ahh metallic aroma is gone in the mouth. Big chocolate, hints of smoke, light coffee on the finish with fruity pepper flavors on the finish. The chocolate flavor is reminiscent of a candy almost like a tootsie roll. A bit cloying actually on the finish. Mouth is slightly thin but fits alright.

 554 characters

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

Rich near-black beer with a brown edge. Very fine lacing and foam. The malt is well-roasted and rather dry for the fullness of barleyness. I wonder what kind of peppers? They start out faint but the warmth is fanned a little as you sip. They do add a little depth as well as a hint to the nose. Fortunately the advertised cocoa and vanilla are even more subtle. Fine highly drinkable stuff. Less pretension, more filling. After a glass I love the warm peppery aftertaste with the whiff of curry.

Call it an American Strong Ale. Interesting that the Shmaltz news release from September called it a "Dark Imperial Brown Ale" while the actual label just says "Dark Imperial Ale."

 677 characters

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.

 1,085 characters

Photo of TheSarge
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I always enjoy trying new He'Brew beers. Every single one is different an usually tips the ABV up a bit, and typically makes each beer complex and not boring at all.

This is labled a brown ale, but needs to be reviewed in a style all its own. Poured this one into a standard pint glass, and the brew makes three fingers of dark tan head, and the body is nearly opaque except for black tea like hues, which are only visible on the outside edges of the glass.

In the aroma the cocoa and chili are evident, but there are dark dried fruit notes here too. Somewhat like raisons or something like that.

Drinking this brew is like taking a handfull of bridge mix, and shoving it into one's mouth and chew it altogether. Very chocolaty, nutty, fruity... What more can I say except for the burn of chili in the end.

Feels full in body, good carbonation, leaves the palate dry and slightly burning from the chili.

 907 characters

Photo of rebel1771
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark reddish brown color with a frothy tan head.

S: Strong aroma of chocolate with hints of vanilla.

T: Roasted coffee flavor up front with nutty flavors coming through as well. Finishes with a slight burn from the chilies coating your throat.

O: Very unique brew. Although I liked it, most of the other people I shared it with did not.

 350 characters

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.

 954 characters

Photo of bnes09
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light bronze with two finger head. Plenty of frothy lacing.

Interesting aroma, I can smell some piney hops and chili pepper.

Flavor starts with a caramel malt backbone with a sweet character overall. I get hints of chocolate and toffee mid-drink. Then the chili peppers come to life and provide a pleasant heat that compliments the alcohol warmth. Hops lie in the background with a pine-like bitterness. So different and interesting. Its really hard to describe this one.

Medium bodied, a little lighter than expected but not a bad thing. Descent carbonation. Crisp finish.

This is such a unique beer. A lot of unusual flavors going on and they come in waves. Still exceptional balance and easy to drink. Well done.

 727 characters

Photo of dubinsky
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A – The beer pours dark brown with a huge off-white billowy head. The head eventually falls after a really long time leaving behind some great lacing and settles to the edges of the glass with some spots of head that look like islands.

S – Nice sweet cacao and vanilla up front with a dark roasted malt. I’m not really picking up any real evidence of chilies present in the aroma.

T – A cold beer first delivers what appears to be a nice chili heat that’s followed by dark chocolate and vanilla. While on the middle of the tongue its fairly sweet, that chili heat comes back and provides a little, and I do mean little heat on the finish. As the beer warms up the initial bite disappears and makes it way smoother on the intake. The spicy finish of the beer lingers for a while on the tongue.

M – Medium bodied with fairly high carbonation that initially masked itself as the heat from the chilies. As mentioned previously a decent heat present afterwards.

O – Very interesting and decent beer. I think it was entertaining for a while but eventually got a bit old as I had to keep drinking by myself. I would split this with 2 or 3 people. Worth a try for sure.

 1,217 characters

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.

 1,043 characters

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.

 1,178 characters

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.

 746 characters

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.

 1,254 characters

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.

 689 characters

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.


 1,084 characters

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.

 679 characters

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.

 890 characters

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).

 594 characters

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.

 1,111 characters

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.

 636 characters

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

 670 characters

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.

 785 characters

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.

 398 characters

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.


 508 characters

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.

 715 characters

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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.