Pastrami On Rye
Pipeworks Brewing Company

Pastrami On RyePastrami On Rye
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Herb and Spice Beer
Ranked #195
Ranked #42,962
3.54 | pDev: 17.8%
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States
Pastrami On RyePastrami On Rye
Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 112 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.79/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Deep brown body with a touch of red, light tan dense head. Nose has smoke, spices, bread. Taste expands, rotating between spicy pepper/mustard, brine, bread, chocolate (yes, chocolate), smoke, and other spices (carraway, fennel). Full body, light carbonation. This actually is smooth, they weren't lying.
I'm baffled by PW's source of inspiration, and even more baffled by their ability to realize it so well. I'm surprised I liked this so much, and I gotta respect the many layers that went into this beer and many elements to explore and enjoy. Possibly too bizarre for some to enjoy, but if one is open-minded this holds some rewarding surprises.

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Photo of pmangold
3.79/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

good look and feel - nothing crazy. the nose was hard to pin down and the taste is where it shined for me. I definitely got the pastrami in the taste. Not my favorite combo but they hit it on the nose.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.43/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Batch #543.

Deep walnut brown to black body, with a tan simple and very uniform three finger head on creation. Cascades nicely, but with small growth, and settles evenly in a solid layer. Minimal pill like lacing, with a good presence.

Well this nose doesn’t lie as per advertised. Salt. Huge clove and mustard seed going on, with some spicy quality. Yup giving the pastrami spices as advertised. A nice bit of mild roast and sweetness manages to sneak out giving some beer angles and some sense of bringing everything back to earth. This is well controlled so far, this has the potential for disaster though. Very impressive and still in control though.

Palate is a lot fun. Full bodied. Rich creamed mouthfeel, hints of milk and vanilla richness and just a touch of chocolate. Spice angle works beautifully, with a mid palate of pepper and brown spiced action, and balanced sweetness. Rye spiced angle is very toned down, but manages a bit of pepper kick, and even a tinge of sourness that comes from spice as opposed to yeast. Tangy, rich, vibrant, and creamy to boot.

This is a really excellent creation, and how recipe and taste and balance can be melded into good character. It may not be for everyone though.

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Photo of XicanoBeerRun
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, cola color with milked-coffee brown bubbles clinging to side of glass. Smells like a typical smoked beer, sweet and smoky. Mouthfeel is nothing special, but works with the style.

The smoke quality is not as intense on the palate as in some traditional German smoked beers, but is still omnipresent and in your face. The weird thing is that when the smoke fades, the flavor profile changes to that of a Christmas beer with clove, nutmeg, and other spices. I get a faint amount of heat from the pepper flakes, which was unexpected. The taste is complex but not sure if it is something I would drink often.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle, with a handwritten Batch #55 on the label. Label is copyright 2012, and I know this bottle has been chilling on the shelf at the store for over a year, so this was a pre-cellared bottle. Finally excited to have it.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - The pour is beautiful, a dark creamy caramel color but opaque in the glass. Three big fat fluffy fingers of mocha head. Very nice head retention. Looks very nice.

S - The smell is kind of strange, but nice. Some yeast must, cream, chocolate, cola, & dark spices. Cracked peppercorns are pretty apparent, but most of the other spicing isn't very distinct. Smells smooth; some time in the bottle seems to have mellowed this beer. Faint alcohol astringency.

T - Taste follows the nose - chocolate malts, mild smokiness, cola, cherrywood, indistinct herbal spicing, and some mild heat from the peppercorns on the finish.

M - Feel is mostly clean with a fair amount of peppery heat on the finish. Medium-full bodied with some heavy thickness to it.

Overall, a strange, but interesting beer from Pipeworks. To me, it most closely resembles some type of heavily spiced winter warmer. Probably not something I would have again though, unless I could pair with an actual pastrami on rye sandwich.

Pipeworks Pastrami On Rye ---3.5/5

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Photo of Rifugium
2.49/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Hmm. Odd. Medium brown pour with a thin ring of bubbles on top, no real lacing, but some streaky legs were left behind on the glass. Smell was briny, with something that vaguely resembled wet rye bread, light peppery spice. Tasted like, well, a pickle beer. Pickles, pickles, and more pickles. Briny and peppery, more pickles, maybe a hint of honey ham, clovey spice. Pickle beer. Light-medium body, thin mouthfeel, conservative carbonation. I don't know, I like beer, I like pickles, I like pickles soaked in beer (try whiskey dills sometime), and beer with a side dish of pickles, but I can't quite bring myself to drink a glass of full-blown pickle beer. I don't know how they made this beer, nor do I really want to know, but it really tasted like they dumped a cup of pickle brine into a cup of bready brown ale, bottled it up, and called it a day. A novelty at best, and not a very good one. Now I think I'll take a break from saying "pickles" for a while.


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Photo of jlindros
2.24/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Batch 61, shared with rudzud, thanks to oN3xM for thsi one.

No head, light legs, no light coming through weird brown color.

Nose is weird, like embalming spices, pickled ass, pickling spices, peppercorns, weird brown malt that gets slightly sour, brine.

Taste is bleh, a sour malt that was supposed to be smoky but instead is fake smoke and sourness, little peppercorn, also picking spices and clove, some brown malts and sweet honey ham glaze, hint brown sugar. Plenty of warming tingly booze too, warming and meh. Finish is meh, sticky syrupy and slimy, boozy, lingering weird spices, but then finally a mild actual smoked pastrami taste.

Mouth is a bit thin and boozy, decent but lighter carb.

Overall bleh, drain pour, just not good, maybe this varies batch to batch or bottle to bottle, but this was not very good.

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Photo of rudzud
2.16/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks to JLindros for sharing.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice brown hue with a thin halo.

S - Aromas of peppercorns, malts, and brine.

T - Taste is worse than the smell, peppercorns, weird spice notes, brown ale like tendencies, lingering meaty pastrami finish though that's nice, but yeah, awful.

M - Mouthfeel is crisp but lightly carbonated, lots of alcohol.

O - Overall this beer was downright awful. This was just a mess, drainpour.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.99/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

bomber into a stemmed chalice. Batch #203

Pours a dark brown with a mild half inch beige head. Smell is reminiscent of a winter get those roasty malts and spices in the aroma. The taste is definitely spicier than the nose implies. Good amount of smoked malts up front and lots of peppercorns on the back end with a great flavor. Very spiced beer (not hot spicy) and very complex. Higher side of medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall a very spiced up beer that might not be for everyone. Peppercorns are definitely dominate. I enjoyed it quite a bit!

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Rather flat appearance, murky reddish brown. The head is nothing more than some surface bubbles with no longevity.

Smells of cola then heavy on the spices. Corriander, allspice, and caraway. I would have never picked out the caraway but for knowing from the description, but having known that it was obvious.

I'm really disappointed by the lack of smoked malt presence, as I think a heftier dose would have played well with the spices. The spices dominate and finish with an earthy tobacco spice. It has a nice little heat in the finish, like a spicy beef jerky.

Mouthfeel is light considering the higher abv. Carbonation is low.

I was expecting something with more of a smoke flavor. It's an ok beer but some smoke flavor would have been a nice contrast to the spicy finish.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.1/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours dark dark brown, almost black with a thin half finger fizzy head that dissipates rather quickly.

Roasted dark malt and lots of spices are forward in the taste. The combination of everything gives it a cola like smell. Some rye can be detected along with lots of allspice and carraway notes

Lots of smokey dark malt, rye, and caraway flavors are forward some allspice comes through midway through the swallow. Roasted smokey malt is the dominate flavor that sustains through the swallow.

Mouthfeel is good, not super thick and carbonation is low so it keeps it very drinkable through a meal.

Overall all the combination in this brew does give it a brisket sandwich like feel that paired perfectly with the pulled pork I ate with it. It may be a little overwhelming if not drank with a meal.

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Photo of KFBR392
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Batch #203

Appearance: Pours with a medium to dark brown color. Sits a very dark brown in the glass. A thin layer of head on the pour and was not present while drinking. No carbonation in the glass while drinking. No lacing. Looks like a heavy brew.

Smell: A lot of cinnamon and sugary bright molasses sweetness burst out of the glass. A very cola sweetness going on here. Some earthy, heavy herbs, and leafy green tones pop up. Slight synthetic cough syrup texture going on as well. Flat, low on carbonation.

Taste: The front is filled with spices and earthy herbs. Cinnamon and some bitter tones come through on the body. Rye with a meaty body round out the back end of this brew. The finish is heavy sugars with more spices lingering on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Interesting transitions of sweet to a really heavy spiced feeling.

Overall: I remember an early spiced beer I had from Pipeworks and this is certainly a step up from that. This brewery continues to make tweeks and adjustments to their beers as needed. This is an interesting brew but certainly a bottle share.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.08/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Brown body. Not much of a head. Thin khaki collar.

Smell - Lots of cola. Tons of spice. Deep caramel.

Taste - Sweet caramel. Spice kicks in quickly. Cola. Spicy as hell, but it doesn't scream pastrami. Medicinal sweetness in the finish. Very sweet.

Mouthfeel - Sweet, but not too heavy. Sluggish drinking though.

Overall - The spices don't work. It's not quite gross, but it's too sweet and spicy.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.39/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

a deep brown almost black pour with a finger of head which quickly dissipated. smells of wood barrels, mustard seed is very dominant, getting some ginger too.. odd smelling beer, not quite the pastrami scent i was expecting. the flavor is a slightly charred, but sweet, malt profile with a rye bread type flavor.. definitely getting the mustard seed again, but not as dominant as it was on the nose.. not really getting any peppercorn or coriander, but i can taste the allspice.. almost a nutmeg flavor in there. medium body, low carbonation.

well, this was an interesting one. probably filled my quota with this style. not really what i was expecting honestly i was hoping to get mostly a peppercorn flavor, since that's my favorite part of pastrami. definitely worth trying once though, but i'd put it right up there with pumpkin beers, where it's more of a novelty thing than something you'll want to drink more than one of.

if you're like me, and was hoping for a slightly spicy peppery feel, go for their saison with peppercorn, now THAT is what i was expecting from this one.

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Photo of GuzzLah
3.23/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Brewer's description - A strong dark ale brewed with the 11 herbs and spices traditionally used in curing pastrami: Mustard Seed, Bay Leaf, Red Pepper, Coriander, Ginger, Allspice, Clove, Caraway Seed, Tellicherry Black Peppercorn, Cinnamon & Nutmeg + Rye, Dark Candi Sugar & some Smoked Malt.

Well, this didn't remind me of a pastrami on rye sammich. It mostly had the aroma and flavor of a winter warmer. It was sweet and had a big allspice/clove note with a semi-spicy finish. A little mustard was present in the aroma. That was fun. If it was drier, smokier and had more rye, less allspice and a bit of salt, then it *might* taste closer to what the label claims. Regardless, I can't say I enjoyed this beer even if it was called Ninja's Winter Warmer.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.89/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Batch # 61.

Pours a murky brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with solid aromas and flavors.

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Photo of liamt07
4.2/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from buzze40, 650ml into a tulip. Batch 55.

Deep brown with burgundy hues, brown head with light retention and no lacing. Nose of rye bread, caramel, molasses and pastrami spices. Taste is bready, sweet malts, toffee, pastrami spices, mustard seed (thanks label!) and peppercorns are present, although minimal. Medium feel, great balancing malt sweetness. Love the spicing and hella tasty. Thanks Brian!

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Handwritten: Batch# 55

Brown and garnet color mix. Makes me think of the crust on some dark rye bread with some pastrami or corned beef in between the slices. Very quick tan head, only a rinf of foam for the whole 22 oz. bottle. Can't mke out any bubbling from the dark, rusty and muddy color.

Smokey and spicey aroma from start to finish. I think I can almost smell the pastrami. Black pepper, carraway, dark rye bread. I must admit that I love pickles, but I'm glad I don't smell that final addition to and awesome beer sandwich.

Syrupy palate from start to finish. The middle to finish is heavy on the carraway and mustard seed. The peppercorn maintains continuity throughout the palate. The rye is a little bit much. Especially mixed with your pastrami herbs. Smokey, even meaty, but I love that part of the flavor profile. This beer makes me think of a liquid, alcoholic, pastrami sandwich of sorts. I like it. I recommend that all BA's try this beer if they can get their hands on it.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.87/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, the beer was a dark brown color with reddish hues. A very slight mocha colored head was present which faded quickly to tiny bubbles. The aroma smelled a little like the inside of a good deli. The smokey smell was faint, but the beer did smell strangely like cold cuts. In the initial taste, one detects the caramelly rye, coriander, caraway, and caramelized meat. I was a little disappointed by the lack of smokiness in the taste. The texture of the beer was thick enough of allow the taste to linger. The aftertaste was caramelly with the familiar spices making an appearance. Pipeworks produced an interesting beer here, but I would not say they hit it out of the park with their interpretation of pastrami on rye. Elements of the sandwich just are not present, but this did not prevent me from enjoying the beer.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this was a must try for me as i have a weakness in my soul for a pastrami sandwhich. bottle picked up in chi-town a week or two ago. enjoyed from my pipeworks snifter.

a - pours brown with maroon highlights when held to the light. thin greyish cream colored head that was gone quick leaving an oil slick of bubbles and a ring of head around the surface.

s - wow. very unique. lots of spicing on a seemingly fruity base. all spice, corriander, candied sugar, rye. pleasing but not like the pastrami sandwich off the grill though.

t - yowza. i thought the nose had a lot going on, well i was mistaken, the flavor is nutty. it is like a sweet brown ale with some fruit, rye, all spice and other pot pouri spicing and a dash of smoke. it is a tad reminiscent of a pastrami sandwich, but i doubt i'd make that jump if it wasn't called what it is called.

m - zesty. medium bodied with a ton going on. seems too much is going on in this one.

o - overall, extremely interesting and different. reminds me somewhat of burly gourd with all that zip and zest. i like this, but i can see many people not digging this one. if nothing else, this was one of the more crucial ticks for me considering my obsession with pastrami sandwiches. cheers to pipeworks for doing something really out there.

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Photo of Chaney
3.87/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I picked this up at a Binny's in Chicago.

Batch #55

Served in a Delirium Tremens glass.

A: Much, much darker than I was expecting. Dark, dark brown, fairly consistent in its color distribution, with a cool mocha head on top.

S: Not as potent as I was thinking it would be. I got brown sugar and some roast. So far, it's not the rye bread, meat sandwich I thought it would be.

T: Tasted like a brown ale with a twist. Nice flavor, actually. I definitely identified the caraway and corriander. As far as reminding me of a pastrami sandwich, it definitely did not do that.

M: Thick, much thicker than I was expecting actually. Sticky, sticky, with a nice bitter fennel quality. The lacing was a nice screen of goo.

O: This totally didn't scream pastrami sandwich to mean, but it was still pretty good.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.13/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a tulip)
Batch 50
A- This beer has a dense walnut brown body with a thin tan head that fades to a ring of tiny bubbles.

S- The cloth band aid aroma fills the nose and some dry slightly fruity spices grow after that. There is all spice and others are well blended and take on an old men’s cologne quality.

T- The nougat flavor has some mellow brewer’s licorice and caraway seed flavor. There is some deep toasted malt flavors that are buried underneath and as the beer opens there is a milk stout flavor that comes to the top. There are also some candy ester flavors that stay dry but lead to a cloth band aid finish that grow in the finish. There is a lingering herbal hop spice flavor.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a slippery texture and no alcohol heat noticed.

O- I’m not going to lie, I pulled this beer out of the DBF a few times only to put it back for fear of the train wreck that might be inside? It was a very interesting and odd beer but I’m glad I tried it and it was very interesting to see how all the flavors came together. The smoke was ok and with the Belgian yeast esters and spices flavors it was a lot of things all going on at once.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at Julie's place for Christmas Day dinner. Served in a wine glass.

A - White foam settles to a thin collar, a few wisps, and a few specks of lace. Dark brown body with some lighter chestnut highlights at the edges of the glass.

S - Interesting mix of spices and rye. A hefty dose of coriander and caraway, as well as a hint of allspice. Perhaps a touch of alcohol in there; I didn't realize how high the ABV was when I popped this, but it's definitely an 'Imperial' pastrami beer.

T - The taste is a mix of caramel, chocolate, and rye, with more of the malt character coming out. The spices show up in the finish, but don't dominate like they do in the aroma. Evocative of rye bread I suppose, although I don't eat enough pastrami to know how successful this beer was in that regard.

M - Chewy texture that finishes a bit dry from the rye malt. Medium body, with moderate-to-low carbonation. Alcohol is better concealed here, as this goes down pretty smooth even with the higher ABV.

D - Not really my thing. It largely achieves what it sets out to do; I'm just not convinced I needed a beer of this ilk in my life. I could have stood for a touch more smoked malt personally, and I'd rather have 3 Floyds' Ham on Rye went it comes to sandwich-themed beers. If you dig pastrami, give this a shot but otherwise tread carefully.

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Photo of emerge077
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2013: Batch #61. Re-visiting this after telling the brewer I would. Objectively it's a nice beer, if it was handed to me with no false pastrami expectations on my part, i'd have nothing to say. It's an enjoyable spiced beer (think WInter Warmer) that hits the right notes in cold weather, post-holidays. Toasty malt and dry herbs in the aftertaste, unsweetened dark chocolate and juniper. If you like spiced beers, this is your huckleberry.

Gave this beer a week per the brewer's personal recommendation, in order for the spices to settle out. Served in a large mug, it has a fingers width of tan foam on the surface. Dark brown body. Initial aroma of bubblegum... huh. Later some chocolate sweetness emerges, and a hint of spice, though not especially well defined. Ideally should be served above 50º, per the brewer.

First sips bring malty sweetness, chocolate, some black pepper and mustard seed tingling bitterness, ghostly ancho impression and a wisp of smoke in the end. It has a substantial feel, as if a BSDA and Rauchbier collided on some faraway planet. Dark chocolate bitterness in the aftertaste, a slight notion of coffee. Chewy, smooth feel with lower carbonation. Touch of alcohol surfaces as it warms. A little more caraway and smoked malt would've gone a long way here. It's a bit sweeter and less savory than expected, though the spicing does lend a mild savory element.

Objectively it's a good beer, I enjoyed drinking it and will pick it up again. If it wasn't billed as a tribute to a pastrami sandwich, I wouldn't have to say it failed at doing so. But since it is, as a pastrami lover i'd have to say it's not exactly an approximation of pastrami in liquid form... the tribute seems to be a very loose one. Oh well, maybe that's for the better. Recommended for fans of spiced Belgians and BSDAs.

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Photo of kevanb
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a Half Acre 12oz glass.

This particular beer is an ode to the famous Pastrami on Rye sandwich found at many deli's across the country, which is a personal favorite of mine, so suffice it to say I was very excited to try this, but still somewhat skeptical of what the final result may end up being. The beer pours a deep burgundy color, hues of bright garnet and ruby red when struck by the light, quite opaque but a bit of light does pierce through. A tan colored head rises atop the beer, about a finger high, recedes quickly leaving behind a touch of film atop the glass and no lacing. The aroma is very spice laden as to be expected, the mustard seed and peppercorn really shine here with a touch of carraway and rich smoked malt but unfortunately there is a dominant alcohol presence that detracts a bit from the experience. The flavors are a bit more complex and intriguing, lots of mustard seed and peppercorn up front, rich smokey malt, almost like a porter, faint carraway with just enough smooth sweeter dark grain flavors to counter the zestier and spice heavy flavors, really does a great job of keeping them in check. Alcohol is faintly present, but not nearly as potent as in the nose. The body is good, carbonation is on the lower end of the medium spectrum and has a nice smoothness to it on the tongue, however, the finish is a bit weak and thin.

Verdict: Certainly a bizarre concept and an intriguing final product but one that is well executed. The flavors are really well balanced and the spices are kept in check by a nice smokiness and sweet grain profile. While certainly not your every day beer, this was a fun one to try.

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Pastrami On Rye from Pipeworks Brewing Company
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 112 ratings