Brewer Patriot Collection - James Madison Dark Wheat Ale | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Brewer Patriot Collection - James Madison Dark Wheat AleBrewer Patriot Collection - James Madison Dark Wheat Ale
188 Ratings
Brewer Patriot Collection - James Madison Dark Wheat AleBrewer Patriot Collection - James Madison Dark Wheat Ale

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Dark Wheat Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with hand-smoked malt from red and white oak from a forest in Orange County, VA, on land once owned by James Madison.

Added by Todd on 06-03-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 188 |  Reviews: 169
Reviews by DESTRO:
Photo of DESTRO
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

dumps a dark amber, cloudy and with a decent head that dies to a small ring. light lacing. smells light with some dark malt. hints or earth and bread. taste wise its not bad, some mild dark malt is the main stage. simple and a bit medicinal with a nice tangy finishes. somewhat creamy in the mouth with some nice carbonation. overall its a bit non-eventful, safe and unoffensive. easy drinkin.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had been holding out on buying the Brewer Patriot Collection because of the asking price at $11.00 bucks for a four pack but today I relented and bought it.This offering poured a murky iced tea looking brown with a thinner but well formed slight off white head,aromas are somewhat mild but pleasant a little clovey with some molasses sweetness I didnt detect much smoke though the bottle says the malts were smoked over local Virginia wood.Again pleasant would be a good phrase for the flavors a little mild but I like the flavors some light molasses sweetness and toasty wheat malt,the smokiness shows itself a little in the finish but its light.Good medium strudy mouthfeel and I will say it goes down very easy,I like it and I could see myself on Virginia plantation large porch drinking this.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had to pick up this 4 pack when I saw it and try these for myself. The James Madison Dark Wheat Ale pours into my glass a quite cloudy dark brown with a half inch of off white head. Aromas begin with toasted wheat and grains. Hints of brown sugar, cocoa and an overall roasty aroma with a touch of spiciness. Laid back and enjoyable.

First sip brings a sweet roasted cream of wheat with some brown sugar and cocoa in the mix. A bit of fruitiness comes through as well. Touch of toasted oak on the way down with a subtle smokiness. Finishes with a slightly dry, sour graininess.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a bit of creaminess from the tightly bubbled carbonation that races across. An easy to drink brew and a tasty wheat ale. I can't say I'd actively seek this out but I'm glad to have tried it and could have a few in a sitting without a problem. Cheers to Sam Adams for recreating these four brews and giving beer lovers a little taste of the past!

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Photo of blitz134
3.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Going through this 4 bottle set has taken me a really long time. I only have one more to finish after this one. I am glad to see I'm not the only one still working on these though. I can't help but laugh when I read that the malt was smoked with oak from land once owned by James Madison; it probably made a huge difference in the flavor, haha.

Murky, dark caramel color with an off-white head. Small initially and then reduced to a skim layer. Limited lacing in large bands. This is a wheat beer, head retention would be a good thing but its not here.

I find the smell quite interesting. Overall its pretty sweet and has a lot of sweet, yeast roll malt aromas in it. Almost has a bit of an alcoholic edge to it too. The smoke is light, but you can still pick it out.

The wheat is more evident in the flavor, but there is still that sweet yeast roll that plays a major par. There is a bit of rye that comes in too. A little spiciness and oak offers up some supporting roles. Still I think it has more alcohol tones than normal. Pretty good flavor, and not something I've had all that often. I really like this more than I like most wheat beers.

Decent mouthfeel, medium or so in nature. A fair amount of carbonation that works well with the spiciness. Flavor lingers for a bit but then fades leaving the rye flavors to play for a little longer.

I actually like this more than most wheat beers as I mentioned above. It has its wheat characteristics, but there is a substantial malt presence as well. Easy to put down and pretty refreshing with the carbonation levels and medium body. Good stuff, my favorite so far.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.12/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Recipe #3 from the Patriot Collection, best before 10/06. I appreciate what SA is trying to do with this collection. Some hits, some misses. This beer was a cloudy medium brown color with a medium head. It had a roasted grain and toffee aroma. It tasted sweet, fairly tart, and a little smoky. A little too piquant for me. Still, a pretty good beer.

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Photo of Todd
3.62/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

James Madison Dark Wheat Ale. Authentic Recipe No 3. Best enjoyed before October 2006. Pours a hazy, slightly muddy brown with orange and copper hues around the edges. Beige head with some initial foam, but it quickly settles to a thin wisp.

A signature raw and wheaty aroma with a hint of smoked malts, and a faint suggestion of cocoa powder. Otherwise pretty clean in the nose.

Watery body and very light in the mouth. Thin caramel and toasty malt character, with a bread crust linger. Soft chocolaty edge. Carbonation livens the palate up with a tight hitting zest that pulls with it a slight citric bitterness and banana-like pithiness that sits amongst the wheat and rye flavors and its unique feel on the palate. A tangy rye with some spice and smoky malt character rounds off the brew, with a lingering, bittersweet, toasty bread finish in tote. Mouth is left dry and a bit sour.

Interesting. Wasn't working for me at first, but once the beer warmed the flavors began to emerge - so definitely try the beer from cool to room temperature to pick-up all of the nuances that it has to offer. Can't comment as to how close it is to tasting like an authentic James Madison period beer, but I can imagine that it's as close as one could probably get using modern day brewing equipment and methods.

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Photo of Jason
3.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 brown bottle with a freshness date on the label.

A- Murky brown with a very active and quick to foam carbonation. Great head retention.

S- Toasted grain, brown malt and fermented wheat twang in the aroma. Smokiness is very small.

T&M- Mildly crisp with a semi-viscous smoothness off of a creamy full body. Lots of malted wheat character, slight lemony twang. Toasted grain and a ghost-like smoke add a bit of complexity. Finishes on the sweeter side with a light spicy rye.

D- Not too bad at all, rather enjoyable. Reminds me of really good raw homebrew.

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Photo of merlin48
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky, dirty, tea colored, brownish body topped by a two centimeter ecru head. Good head retention and an attractive lacing effect that begins with sheets and settles into chains. Aroma is muted, with toasty wheat, a note of rye, and some minimaly smoky roasty notes. Mouthfeel is light medium bodied with a lively carbonation. Taste features wheat, cloves, a hint of chocolate, a hint of citrus, some molasses sweetness, and notes of smoked malts and earthy hops. Solid roasty notes enliven. Nicely complex, and far more pleasing than the Ginger Honey Ale and Root Beer brews. Very interesting, and certainly unique for this century.

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Photo of Billolick
3.67/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ouncer with "best enjoyed before" dating of october 2006 ( 2 months ago...) oh well, anyway it pour cloudy, caramel amber, with a long lasting thin creamy head, leaves moderate stringy lacing and the nose is of some lightly smoked malts. Notes of caramel, more light smoke and some biscuity malts. Smooth, easy drinking dark wheat. Nothing amazing, but a respectable ale. Love the style in general, this one is not bad, too bad I don't think they are gonna brew it again any time soon.

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

Thanks to fdrich29 for the bottle...
Pours a cloudy rust brown with less than 1/2 finger of white head...most is gone within seconds and no lacing is visible.
Sweet malt in the nose...mild cherry aroma, earthy.
The taste is enjoyable enough...a touch too sweet and not much of the smoked malt I read about on the bottle. Some honey, molasses, and the obvious wheat flavor is there too.
Mouthfeel is average for the style...the drinkability is decent as it finished very clean.
I would have this one again...a decent offering.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.42/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I don't know what to make of this one. Its not like any dunkel or wheat beer I've had. Pours dark brown with some haze and a rocky off-white head. Aroma is heavy with rye and roasted grain. Initial taste of wheat turns into toasted rye bread. The smoke shows up in the finish, but not in an overwhelming way. I enjoyed it, but I can see it is not for everyone.

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

Slurry-like brown color with orange highlights. Good creamy head of medium bubbles. Ample sporadic laces with overall coverage. Beery aroma, featuring a toffee-like malt. Mouthfeel is lightish, carbonation plenty adequate. Sharp edge to the flavor, orange rind giving way to caramel apple. Still, walks a line of an ambiguous sweet candy and an astringent and fluffy estery sensation closing things out. One of the collection that shows plenty of modern beer qualities to it, but a little too bright and acidic for me, even a slightly thicker mouthfeel would help me out with this one.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very cloudy rusty orangish brown with a thick, fluffy, tan head. The head fades slowly, leaving a decent lacing.

This beer has a malty sweet aroma. It has a slight smokey aroma. A slightly spicy aroma is also present. Some fruity hop notes are also present.

This beer tastes much like it smells. Sweet caramel malt upfront. It tastes smokey, with a mild spicy background. The hop flavor is low, but slightly noticable.

This beer is crisp and refreshing. It goes down smooth, leavinga slight spicy aftertaste. This beer is carbonated well.

This beer might make a decent session beer. It dosent seem to be too high in alcohol, and the flavor is quite mild.

Overall: I think this might be the best beer from the Patriot Collection. I would never buy the 4 pack for $10 just for this beer though.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a dimple mug)

A- This beer has a hazy brown body with a thin film of light off-white head that last a good bit. There is a tiny carbonation of small bubbles.

S- This beer has a faint sweet bready note with a faint tart hint. As it warms there is a slight note of caramel but for the most part the smell is pretty clean. No sign of hand smoked malt yet.

T- The light tart smooth wheat note has a faint hint of alder smoke with a hint of cooked corn in the malt. The finish is a carbonic bite with a note of bitterness from hops.

M- This beer has a full mouthfeel with a tight fizz finish in the texture.

D- This beer has some very soft flavors but they are not to bad. The finish was a bit too much like tonic water and the malt/wheat could have come out more.

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Photo of mcarroll10177
4.31/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

poured from a bottle into an imperial pint glass

A- dark brown like a english brown ale some head decent lacing of the glass

S- malted hops and a bit of smokeness, but just a hint not like a scotch ale

T- wonderful clean and crisp with a bit of that smokey malt flavor in the back end.

M- thin but balanced not much to say here

D- very drinkable i wish there was more than one a box.

James Madison was brilliant

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my second favorite offering from this historic and unique 4 pack.

Appears cloudy, cinnemon/brown color. Thin white 1/2" thick head turned into a small amount of lacing quickly.

Smells...of malted wheat, rye, barley all prevelant in the nose. Smokey and slightly sweet edge.

Dark smoked wheat flavor, all from above are evidant in the taste. Slight caramel sweetness too, a tart sourness at the finish.

MF: Light body, sweet and smoked effect on the palate, easy to drink.

I like James Madison's taste in beer. Not as good as 'ol GW's Porter, but not bad at all.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.18/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The 2nd Patriot Series Beer that I'm trying and I most say that this pours a beautiful dark cloudy orange with a large white foamy head. The "bisquity" yeast aroma is very strong and appealing. Like walking into a bakery. The taste has a creamy,chewy, malt flavor that's very nice. There is also a slight citrus and wood flavor to this beer. The m/f is medium and the flavors mix together very well. This is a very good beer that Sam's should consider selling year round. Keep in mind that it is a period beer and different than most of today's beer.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.02/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Chestnut brown and hazy with a small tan head that eventually becomes a thick collar and readily comes back with a swirl. Some nice lace is left on the glass.

S - Nutty (almond and chestnut) with some milk chocolate notes. No real hop aromas to speak of. A bit roasty and very English brown-esque.

T - Roasty, nutty, and mild with some big caramel flavors and some light chocolate notes. An orange citric wheat flavor is there too, and would almost seem out of place but it reminds me of those little orange-marshmallow stuffed chocolates that come in an assorted box.

M - Mild and sweet at first, with a very tart and citrusy acidity at the finish. A bit confusing, but unique.

D - Like the others that I've tried from this 4-pack, it's very interesting and unique, but a bit too bizarre to be highly drinkable. This one is the most drinkable of the pack so far (I haven't tried the porter yet, and something tells me I've probably saved the best for last).

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.44/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up the 4-pack at Riley's here in Madison.

Pour is a murky dark amber/mahogany with several fingers of creamy khaki head that sticks forever leaving nice, soapy lacing.

Nose is light in stature, with notes of smoked wheat, yeast and mild biscuit malt.

Taste starts off with light smoke, a bit of sour yeast,and husky, creamy vanilla malt. Finish is a bit watery but still leaves a nice smoked wheat aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, creamy and smooth with superfine carbonation.

Overall a very drinkable wheat, but a little to light in character. It leaves you waiting for something to assert itself but nothing quite steps up to the plate.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The James Madison Dark Wheat pours a murky chestnut body beneath an average head of creamy off-white froth that holds fairly well and leaves some nice lacing about the glass.

The nose displays wheat and sweet caramel.

In the mouth it's dextrinous medium-bodied and very-fine bubbled moderate carbonation leave it smooth and lightly creamy.

The flavor offers notes of grainy wheat, toasted malt, light caramel, the suggestion of baker's chocolate, spicy rye, and leafy hops. It finishes with a dollop of sweet, honey and caramelish malt that fades to reveal some spicy rye, a touch of brown malt, leafy hops, and then lemony acidity (a la rind).

It's interesting, well-balanced, and enjoyable year-round.

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Photo of cliff1066
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of andjusticeforale
4.18/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured mahogany with a a nice head on it; very nice appearance at first; then the first try; very nice; good carbonation. awesome dark wheat push with a great subtle smokiness that is not overpowering; you almost have to be told it is there and that is the way I like it. Perhaps it could be a little bigger and chewier, but still, fantastic considering the source.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy brownish amber with a thin tan head. The aroma has some caramel and cocoa notes upfront, along with some tart citrus, toasted bread and a slight smokiness. The flavor also has caramel and cocoa upfront, along with tangy wheat, toasted bread, some dark fruits and some smoke. The mouthfeel is light and crisp and drinkability is very good. A very solid historical brew, probably the best out of the patriot collection.

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Photo of russpowell
3.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a ruddy brown with a 2 fingers deep sand colored head with loads of effervescence. Good head retention very good lacing

Smell: Big time butterscoth smell& slight fruittyness

Taste: Yeast & bubble gum sweetness up front. Then fruittyness & slight smoke notes, plus bandaids. Finishes dry & tart

MF Medium, but spritzy

Drinks okay, these flavors are somewhat offputting for session drinking. Love the concept of this series of beers though

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Photo of bditty187
2.9/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Murky brown in hue with honey influences; the liquid is not attractive. Period. It looks like river water. Beige head, only a half finger of foam graced my presence. Head retention was poor, after a few seconds the bubbles faded to nothing but a thin, soapy collar. There wasn’t enough lacing to make note of it. Overall, the appearance is lackluster.

The nose lacks potency; I am struggling to detect anything beyond notes of chocolate and caramel, messy yeast aromas in the middle and spicy rye at the finish. If the smoked barley was louder this beer might rock! I love the rye finish but everything else is fairly boring. Maybe I should call it restrained? The nose is inviting but its nothing special either.

The palate is completely flat. I taste one thing from start to finish, there is little depth. It is worty malt with trace chocolate and caramel notes with a spicy rye underbelly. It gets out of the gate slow, never gains much speed, and peters out quickly at the finish. There is minimal aftertaste. To me, this beer seems unfinished or at best, underdeveloped. With that said, this beer doesn’t taste bad; it just feels broken or empty. Yawn.

Light in body, low carbonation creates an unfulfilling, poor mouthfeel (and I am not even going to compare it to other wheat beers).

Generally speaking, this is not a bad beer. The nose is kind of quite and the palate lacks depth and complexity but even with these warts I can’t really knock this beer. It is okay. Nothing more, nothing less… it isn’t anything I need to drink again. Still, I am so happy a brewery like BBC would create something like this. Thank you jwc215 for the bottle!

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Brewer Patriot Collection - James Madison Dark Wheat Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.54 out of 5 with 188 ratings