Sweetwater Donkey Punch | SweetWater Brewing Company

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Sweetwater Donkey PunchSweetwater Donkey Punch

Brewed by:
SweetWater Brewing Company
Georgia, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by RustyDiamond on 09-21-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 45 | Ratings: 57
Photo of Vancer
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big ol' gold foil capped, cork & caged 1 liter bottle of this jewel, courtesy of my 2007 Secret Santa cartdan. Thanks again - and how the hell did I sit on this for so long??

Let's just cut to the chase - the presentation, aroma and taste are all classic barleywine; haze amber, tan head and lace, malty orange liquor. Hints of caramel and toffee just add to the experience. Thick and rich, booze well settled after the years. Actually even stays sweet tasting through the finish.

This sips like a fine wine liquor, I was really saddened to see it's no longer brewed.

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Photo of illidurit
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

RBSG09 on the bus courtesy of some unnamed kind soul. Pours a deep golden amber with a wet off-white head. Aromas of sugar and caramel, cake icing, big citrus hops. Flavor is grainy with caramel and a lighter hoppiness. Dry finish with an oddly light body.

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Photo of CoolJosh
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I gotta tell you folks, I don't know what I did to deserve the friends I have. My great buddy Treyrab traded away his last El Rojo Diablo solely to obtain this beer and present it to me on my birthday. Cheers to you, my man for such generous act!

2005 Vintage - Poured from a 1 Liter swing-top bottle into a Lost Abbey Straight Edge Tulip.

The body appears to be a little bit thinner then I anticipated for a barleywine. It looks similar to apple cider in color, with a hazy light brown amber body. Nice foamy 1-finger off yellow head adds a beautiful cap to this intriguing look. Leaves a ton of sticky lacing, and lots of carbonation stream through the body.

The smell is out of this world. For a beer that was brewed so long ago, I can't comprehend this fresh hop smell. The smell is best described as a sweet floral scent that was just hopped. Boat loads of sweet caramel and toffee really tie this smell as a whole together. There is some sweet vanilla and a sprinkle of toasted caramel in there that really adds nicely to the complexity. Well played, Sweetwater.

The hops are really noticeable in the onset. Creamy caramel and burnt toffee, the caramel malts provide a crazy sweet oblivion. Some vanilla comes out as well. The old ultra bitter hops provide an astringent characteristic that can be easily overlooked. Nice lemon backsplash on the tail.

I was really surprised with the carbonation in this beer, it was brewed in 2005 mind you. Despite the moderate carb the beer maintained a nice creaminess but was a little bit on the thin side.

Very approachable. Please sir... can I have some more?

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Photo of RustyDiamond
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition called Sweetwater DP Barleywine Ale, which should be filed under a new entry. Awaiting approval, stay tuned

On tap @ the brewery yesterday. Bright copper appearance with some orange highlights. Head is super creamy & frothy, near white in color. Quite the tangy citrus aroma- tangerine, navel orange. First sip was surprisingly malty, sourdough bread followed by a big citric hop flavor. But not overwhelming at all...very big and very balanced. Good 10.2 vapor to remind you where you are. Noticeable punch of floral, bitterness in the back of the throat. Finishes very nice...some bitterness, some citrus yet not too dry.

This beer not only has a different name than the 2007 Donkey Punch, it has a different malt & hop bill:

DP = 3500# 2 row, 125# munich, 275# 70/80, 100# Victory 4000# total
Hops = 1st Summit 2nd Columbus 3rd Columbus & Centennial 4th Centennial & Cascade
Dhopped- Columbus Cascade & Centennial

Donkey Punch = 2800# 2 row, 100# Munich, 220# 70/80, 100# victory 3220 total
Hops = 1st Nugget & Chinook 2nd Nugget 3rd Nugget & Centennial 4th Centennial & Cascade
Dhopped- Nugget Cascade Centennial

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Photo of treyrab
4.54/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Mikesgroove for hooking me up with this. I gave it to jac5084 yesterday for his birthday and we cracked it to celebrate. Poured from the huge 1L bottle into a snifter...

A: Pours a very, very murky brown copper with a decent one finger head. After being in the cellar for a few years, I was really surprised at how well the carbonation had kept on this. One would never know this is vintage. The appearance reminded me of apple cider with the color and haze, but overall it was quite good.

S: This was hysterically robust. Starts with a blast of citrus hops. Not necessarily fresh citrus hops, but pretty damn close. Very nice caramel and sweet toffee in the scent as well. Some nice apricot and peach flavors creep into the smell as well. Overall: Fantastic.

T: The hops are the first thing that come to mind. For being aged for a few years, they are still a very big part of this beer. Incredibly smooth taste of bittersweet caramel and burnt toffee with a hint of roast on the end.

M/D: This was incredibly creamy, but by no means thick. For 10ABV, this beer went down faster than any Barleywine I've had.

Thanks again Mike, this was an incredible beer!

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Photo of bhalter8
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle in my cellar, but a good friend who randomly had held on to a few bottles brought one over for a dinner we had, and I had to rate it. I drank a fair amount of this fresh and enjoyed the hop bitterness in it at that time (albeit out of style, and more of a DIPA), so we'll see what I think of it now that it has been sitting for a couple of years. Pours a deep/dark amber color with a decent 1/2" head still appearing (Sweetwater's swing tops have presented issues in storage). I predominately pick up the sweet malt aroma that has grown from the age, and a fair departure from the original high IBU smell. I am really enjoying the taste; a nice mix of the sweet malt character from aging a big beer like this, combined with a fading bitterness that is not yet gone. Carbonization still exists, and makes it a sipper for sure. Still rests nicely in the mouth, and is easy enough to drink. I look forward to trying this again down the road to see what happens. I also hope Sweetwater decides to make this again.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an opaque, mahogany-hued body with a frothy, creamy, whitish head with plenty of staying power.

Smell: Sweetish, citrusy nose of grapefruit backed by an aroma of caramel and pale malts with a small whiff of good, clean alcohol.

Taste: Initially sweet, with tastes of pale and caramel malts. Light herbal hints quickly followed by a large dose of juicy Red Blush grapefruit and orange fruitiness complete with a touch of citric acidity. Sure, the hop bitterness certainly remains, but it's much, much more manageable now. Drying, bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium-high carbonation.

Drinkability: When initially released in August of 2007, this one was more akin to a Double IPA than a barleywine, but time has shifted the scales back towards barleywine. Personally, I feel it could stand a bit more time away in the cellar. Shame on Sweetwater for failing to re-brew this one since it's 2007 inception, instead opting to give us more Road Trip.

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Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am glad I cellared this 1 litre gift from Captain Couger. I think it mellowed, with a bit more balanced flavour from the hops - not in your face from 90 IBU. Initilly a bit sour, then the hops kicks in, a lot of citrus, lots of malt and barley. Very drinkable though not the most complex or impressive barleywine I have had.Big white head on cloudy golden yellow body.

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Photo of kkipple
3.3/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 edition. A massive liter swing-top bottle pops open to disgorge its contents... a real punch awaits, I'm sure.

A. Deep red, clear, 2 finger frothy head. Right purty.

S. Citrus hops, whiff of tropical fruit esters, peaches? Resiny... very sweet malt nose, sugary. Pumpkin spice, oddly. Weird but pretty alright.

T. Hmm. Taste is very sweet with loads of brown sugar. Pretty sure I'm tasting Simcoe hops and and there's definitely some booze to be had here. Grapefruit hops come in after a while but the whole experience is vague and messy... hop bill needs to be changed up on this one, IMO. A little sharp towards the finish. Hm.

M. Lowly carbonated, rather thin, strangely. Not great. Finish is bitter in a bad way and sugary.

D. A disappointment, given the hype and over-the-top name. I'd send Sweetwater back to the drawing board with this, as it is, it's simply a very average American barleywine that we sure don't need another of. The bottle was cool, though.

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Photo of Goliath
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy caramel color with a strong one inch yellowed head. Good retention and some nice lacing.

The aroma is decent. A dying hop presence unloads a big piney note with some sticky sweet caramel. Typical, and delicious.

The taste is weak. This is definitely on the decline. A strong hop presence would've gone a long way with this beer. Anyway, virtually no bitterness, but some of the flavor profiles of the hops still linger. A bright citrus note and sappy pine take the lead. Loads of sticky caramel round it out with a touch of cereal on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, slightly chewy, and oh so lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is moderate to high. The flavor is fine, but a little boring for an American Barleywine. The high alcohol is hidden very well, which is nice.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from mikesgroove, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 1-Liter swing-top bottle into a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a murky brown color, with a large off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of fruity citrus, floral hops and caramelized malts, very IPA-like.

T: The taste is very well-balanced with sweet flavors of citrus and caramel up front. There's a strong hops presence, but it's obvious that it has been toned-down somewhat after at least a year of aging since I received it. There's a hearty malt character and a very mild alcohol sting, but it's not quite as boozy as most ABW's. The after-taste is sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, pretty clean finish for a style that tends to be a little bit sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent bigger beer to drink for a long time. I certainly enjoyed it as it really hit the spot after a long, stressful day of working on my new house.

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Photo of ncvbc
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber with light rusty copper shades, almost crystal clear and glowing with a big frothy head that has excellent retention. A great looker all around. Very intriguing smell of pungent, citrusy hops and a touch of pine. Some big caramel and toffee. Also a very unique earthy, somewhat dirty hop scent...I'm guessing it's the hops. It's almost woodsy and I like it. Sip is juicy hops that aren't so over the top as when this was released, though it was never too much for me. They're more tamed and balanced very well by the malts. Orange, tangerine, light grapefruit and pine, honey, caramel. Mouthfeel isn't very thick, more on the medium to full side with solid carbonation. Very easy and somewhat silky going down. Not as difficult as it should be to handle this one. I split it with a couple friends but I could have easily drank another glass.

Big thanks to my buddy MMAJYK for helping me out with a bottle before it was too late!

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Photo of russpowell
4.51/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this one from ding, cheers! Been sitting on this one liter Beauty for 9 months!

Pours a slightly chill hazed ( cleared quick ) orange/caramel with 3 fingers of tan head. Superior head retention & lacing

S: Fruittyness: loads of apricot, pears & figs; breadyness & citrussy hops

T: Orange slices, dryness, pineyness up front. A touch of brown sugar dryness & breadyness & pine as this warms. Finishes fruitty with pineyness, dryness & more orange slices

MF: Chevy with low carbonation, & dang good balance

Drinks too easy for the style & ABV, glad I sat on this one for a while, damn fine American Barley Wine!

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Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Kegatron for this brew.

750ml Bottle
Gold Foil
Swing Top

Poured into my Corsendonk Christmas Ale glass a very nice murky light golden brown color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger plus creamy off-white head, which leaves some very nice small islands and sticky lacing. The nose is malty/hoppy, nice floral notes, slight spices. The taste is slightly sweet, malty/hoppy, with some spices. Medium body. Very drinkable, MAN! this is an awesome Barleywine, I like it, highly recommended.

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Photo of pwoods
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mikesgroove for hooking me up with this brew.

1L brown swing top bottle shared with some buddies awhile back, poured into a snifter. Bottled '07. Review from notes.

A: Pours a pretty orangish copper, crystal clear. A decent head forms and holds for a bit. Nice lacing.

S: Even after nearly a year old, the hop presence is still quite potent. Lots of citrus in grapefruit, orange, and a splash of lemon, with just a touch of oily resin. Malts are more than balancing but not quite as thick as I'd have expected.. which isn't a problem.

T/M: Bitterness level has subdued just a bit but still has a little kick left it in. Citrus still plays a large role in the taste, even more so than in the nose. Caramel and lightly toasted nuts in the malt balance things out but doesn't overstep it's bounds. Body is medium full but not chewy or thick with syrup, which is a huge plus. Finishes lightly dry with some lasting bitterness.

D: Pretty easy to drink for what it is. Mouthfeel really helps with this. If I had to drink the entire 1L myself, well... I could, but I could also be pretty drunk :)

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 release. Conflagration orange with brilliant tangerine highlights when backlit. What a gorgeous hue. The golden ecru colored crown is a tightly-packed collection of sticky bubbles that leave some of the best lace I've seen in quite some time. This is a beautiful barleywine, from top-to-bottom and from side-to-side.

Thanks to an aroma that is still citric hoppy almost one year after bottling, this big ale smells more like an American DIPA than a barleywine. Candied orange peel dominates, there's much more pale malt than caramel, and alcohol is barely detectable.

First impression: Donkey Punch is incredibly well-mannered for the style and for the ABV. It tastes like this bottle has been aged for much longer than 11-12 months. Kudos to the boys at Sweetwater for releasing a beer than must have been hugely drinkable right out of the gate. On the other hand, a high degree of drinkability coupled with a high ABV could spell trouble.

I'm still thinking American DIPA. Hop flavor is generous, although hop bitterness is pretty much neutralized by all the pale malt. Amarillo has to be one member of the hop bill since this is one of the most orange-like offerings in recent memory. Chunks of orange peel soaked in sugar syrup account for at least 97% of the flavor profile. Maybe 97.5%. Melted caramel mixed with pine sap makes up the rest.

In the end, sweetness and bitterness are both moderate and are fairly evenly balanced. It's amazing how effortless it is to drink quickly. Since I need to maintain some motor skills to finish this review, slowing down might be advisable. Appearance update: wide bands of crusty lace look fantastic.

The mouthfeel is the very definition of silky smooth. It isn't thick or overly chewy, and is only lightly sticky. Built for speed, baby. Just enough bubbles (and not one bubble more) is the key.

Donkey Punch does not taste like ass. Okay, that was a bad donkey joke. If you don't already know what the name means, you don't want to know. Trust me. This is a well-crafted effort from Sweetwater that deserves to be released more often and in more manageable bottles. Having said that, the one liter swing-top is pretty cool. Thanks cashew70.

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Photo of DIM
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a slightly hazy coppery peach color with golden edges. It poured with a thin, soapy, off-white head that quickly fades to lace.

s: Sweet, fruity aromas of simple syrup, honey, toffee, vanilla, and dark fruits. This still has fairly strong hop aromas of slightly citric pine.

t: The bottle says 90 IBUs, but they have clearly faded somewhat. Sweet, but not cloying, flavors of simple syrup, toffee, a little vanilla, and sugary tart cherries and apples. The finish still has a piny hop tingle that packs a bit of a punch. Very little alcohol to be found here.

m: Big, silky, velvety body with super long lasting creamy carbonation.

d: Gotta love barleywine by the liter. I've wanted one of these for quite a while, thanks to mikesgroove for this via the barleywine BIF. It was well worth the wait.

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Photo of rallison
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very malty aroma with lots of caramel and moderate piny hops. Slight bit of bready notes.

Good size rocky head, off-white with lots of lacing. Slightly hazy. Orange color body.

Strong caramel sweetness in the taste. Moderately hoppy (this beer is about a year old at this point). Very light oxidation. Relatively long finish.

Full bodied - slightly syrupy with medium to low carbonation. Moderately alcoholic on the finish.

Overall, well done. Grew on me - I'd like to try it fresh but have a feeling the beer would taste too green with a rough hop character. Good though.

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Photo of DrDogbeer
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks To Atlbeerdog for this big bottle! Poured out into a goblet. Pours a nice hazy orange color with an off white head. Clean looking barleywine. Smells are strong- caramel, sticky & sweet. Some hop smell as well. Tastes great! Good flavors of sweet malts, some alcohol and a good slightly bitter finish. Not my fave style, usually, but this one is good. Very drinkable for a barleywine. Slick mouthfeel- goes down almost too easy. Watch out for this one!

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to nflmvp for this bottle in a trade. Cheers. Pours with a one cm head that settles quick. Color is a bit light for a barleywine. Smells sweet but hoppy. Taste is very interesting with mostly citrus hops with a good bit of sweetness & on the border of a DIPA and a barleywine IMO. Mouthfeel is smooth but you can taste a bit of the booze. I think this beer reminds me of 3F Dreadnaught in a lot of ways. Highly recommended.


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Photo of ArrogantB
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1L flip-top courtesy of gford217. I got an immediate whiff of toffee and hops when I popped the top. The color is a very nice orange with a sudsy head that immediately laced my snifter. Citrus aromas, oranges and orange rinds along with a toffee and rum-cake smell. It smells like an American Barleywine to me, specifically West Coast. Super sweet flavor that really seems to walk the line between DIPA and barleywine. It is so sweet and fruity that it is borderline cloying. I expected a little bitterness given the 91 IBU's. This beer reminds me of Stone 10th Anniversary IPA, very sticky and sweet. This is a good beer but I should have shared the bottle, oh well.

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Photo of BigJTrucker
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Recieved this bottle as a prize in a LIF from BA 'cashew70'.

Poured into my snifter slightly chilled a slightly hazy orange/brown color, foamy light brown head settles fairly quickly. Aroma is absolutely huge, Lots of fruity hops and sweet apricot fruity notes. Taste is nice and malty with just the right amount of hops, a bit woodsy. Alcohol is just barely noticeable, but becomes even more so as it warms. Mouthfeel is very smooth, coats the mouth leaving just a slight remnant of aftertaste. Drinkability is quite good, but be careful with this big 1L bottle and enjoy it over an evening, or with friends: at 10% it's likely to sneak up you in a hurry.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous Barleywine.
Soft, cloudy orange amber in the glass with a small head that disappears rather quickly.

Aromas are full of fresh fruits...mostly tangerine and oranges with nice mellow, candied amber malt.

Taste is fresh fruit again...tangerines, oranges, candied amber malt, honey.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter citrus hops and sweet candied oranges.

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Photo of Monsone
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark amber color, hazy with a creamy head that left a nice sticky lace.

S - Smells nice with sweet, dark fruit notes and a good bit of citrus hops. Alcohol is present.

T - Up front is dark fruit and sweet caramel and toffee malt . The citrus hop flavor follows that up. Alcohol warms as you go. This is a bit more like other DIPAs I have had than barleywines. Still tastes great either way.

M - Medium bodied with a little carbo. Slick feeling.

D - This is a great tasting beer. The 1L bottle along with 10% means you better share this beer. Fairly drinkable regardless.

Overall a very enjoyable beer regardless of style. Definately has "Punch". Thanks to mikesgroove for this beer. Would definately get this again (to share of course!)

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Photo of ppoitras
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1L swing-top bottle obtained via trade with MMAJYK. Thanks for the opportunity... Gold foil.

Poured into a large glass chalice, formed a 1/4" beige head over the slightly cloudy orangey amber brew. Head fades gradually, with lacing that lasts like the glaciers. Aroma is heavy sweetness, piercing piney hops, and fruity alcohol. Taste mirrors the aroma to a tee, each step of the way. Mouthfeel is smooth, albeit with a touch of chalkiness on the close, and drinkability is excellent. Great experiemce with this one.

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Sweetwater Donkey Punch from SweetWater Brewing Company
4.12 out of 5 based on 57 ratings.
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