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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

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.

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Reviews: 169 | Ratings: 188
Photo of oberon
3.65/5  rDev +3.4%
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 NeroFiddled
3.97/5  rDev +12.5%
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 TheManiacalOne
3.18/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a hazy dark amber, with a foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The smell is weak, but I’m getting hints of caramel, spice & malt.

T: The taste is bready and mainly consists of caramelized malt. There’s some spice and a hint of hops. Overall the taste is just kind of ordinary.

M: Smooth but mostly due to its lack of flavor, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: This beer is drinkable only because it doesn’t overwhelm you with anything except maybe sweetness and breadiness.

I was all fired up to try the BPC from Sam Adams, not just for the historic novelty, but for the different flavors that I knew would be there. This beer doesn’t seem to fall into the different category, but I’ve never had this style before. I’m hoping that other beers of this style aren’t so plain.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange-dominant tawny on the coaster, lucent reddish orange when backlit with sunshine. The cap is large in size, whipped creamy in consistency and lightly toasted marshmallow in color. A better than average lace display is beginning to appear now that the head is finally beginning to relent. JMDWA looks at least as good as any beer of this style that I can recall.

The nose isn't quite as wonderful. Part of the reason why it isn't a standout is that there's very little smokiness. I know that BBC had no intention of brewing a rauchbier, but if they're going to claim that it's 'brewed with hand-smoked malted barley', the least they could do is give it some semblance of smokiness. The aroma is still pleasant in a mildly sweet, mildly toasted wheat sort of way.

After reading the general descriptions, I suspected that this beer, of the four in the Brewer Patriot Collection, would be my favorite. While it doesn't exactly wow me, I'd have to say that my prediction was correct (I doubt that 1790 Root Beer Brew will be my cup of tea, although I'd love to be proven wrong). Most of the reason, I'm sure, is that it's the least 'experimental' beer in the 4-pack.

Dark Wheat Ale tastes like a dark wheat ale ought to taste since it's dark and it's wheaty. I much prefer dunkel weizens because their clove-like yeast adds much more to the flavor profile than does the neutral yeast of this style. I can appreciate caramel, overripe apples and a barely toasted nuttiness to go along with the tanginess of the wheat. Still no smoke.

The body/mouthfeel is such that drinkability is enhanced at the expense of pleasure. That's not to say that the beer feels bad in the mouth, just that it isn't a standout. It's no bigger than light-medium while still managing a mild creaminess that pulls it comfortably above average.

As noted above, James Madison Dark Wheat Ale is almost certainly going to be my favorite beer of this collection. I wouldn't mind a bit if the brewery decided to make this one a regular, or at least a seasonal, release.

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Photo of russpowell
3.72/5  rDev +5.4%
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 Jason
3.86/5  rDev +9.3%
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 smcolw
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy, light brown; thin one-finger head, but very nice lace.

Dark malt aromas, very little wheat.

Surprisingly sweet flavor. Dark malts predominate, but the hop kicks in mid-taste providing decent balance. Fairly one dimensional, but flavorful. Nice body, light carbonation.

I consider this an okay dark beer. I can't really detect the wheat, but the head is indicative of some wheat. Not as unusual as the others in this "historical" series.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.85/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured with a big, thick, medium-tan head that reduced to a light film pretty quickly. The color was a deep amber/light brown and the nose was sugary and lightly smoky. The mouthfeel was thin and I got a number of flavors on the tongue, including caramel, chocolate, and a rye bite. The finish was dry, with a lingering rye bite, as well as a light smokiness. It seems interesting that this is the type of beer that would have been produced in colonial America. I would probably drink it again, but not as a session beer - I like more hops.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a cloudy dark amber with minimal head and good lacing. Malt slightly on the nose. Taste is thicker, but does not stick around long. You get tones of sweet malts, but they do not linger at all. Smooth on the mouth with a slightly bubbly edge to it. I am editing my scores now as I continue trying to drink this one. I think this one might get dumped too. Might be worth trying once, but not worth going back to.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

James Madison is a hazy mahogany color with a short, light brown head. Retention is weak. Aroma is of dark, sweet malt with smells of caramel and a surprising whiff of dark fruit. Flavor consists of a toasted malt/wheat with an edge of sugary sweetness. Earthy malt notes and a bit of chocolate pop up as well. Mild roast is noted towards the finish. Overall flavor is competent, yet a little on the thin side. Drinkability is very good and I must admit the concept of brewing historical brews for the 4th of July is an excellent idea.

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Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into weizen glass.
The color was browner where the glass widens and lighter - more orangish - where it was thinner. Rather than a head, it had a well-retained thick lacing.
The smell was subtle - hints of wheat, caramel and smoked wood.
The wheat, wood, caramel (and a touch of molassass?) blended with a smoky charater. A touch of alcohol became apparent at the finish. While the flavors were noticeable, they were a little too hidden under the smokiness, and didn't necessarily mesh as well as they could have.
The flavors - despite a bit of a syrupy feel at the start - thinned out a bit in the mouth, except for the smoky wood. Still in all, it was fairly refreshing.
It is the best of the four in the collection (though that doesn't say much for it). Unlike the others, I could see them changing the label, tweeking it a bit and selling it in its own six-pack as a regular, or even a seasonal/rotating release. I can't say it was a great beer or even something much above average in the end, but it wasn't bad - a good concept that works well enough in this case.

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Photo of Billolick
3.67/5  rDev +4%
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 GClarkage
3/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

07/09/06- Purcahsed as part of a SE Patriot 4-pk, purchased at Bevmo in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, best by date printed on box and the label. Poured into my Sebastopol Brewing pint glass.

Appearance- A dark amber pour, very clouded. 1/4 inch head with light spots of lace.

Smell- Very weakly scented. A bit like a wet dog. Actually has some porter scents rather than wheat. There is a bit of wheat, but it's pronounced with a light chocolate and toffee scent mixed in with some light malt scent as well.

Taste- Definite wheat flavoring. A bit cardboardy in flavor. Some spices tossed in, a bit of toffee-chocolate and maybe a touch of hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Pretty dry in the finish and aftertaste. Fairly brisk carbonation level.

Drinkability- Haven't had too many of this style. Not bad, but not really good either...just there basically. There are better ones out there.

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Photo of Gavage
3.41/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear amber in color with a fluffy one finger head that lasts a bit.

Smell: bits of wheat, grass, and a touch of sweetess rises from the glass.

Taste: caramel flavors are more upfront and the wheat tones are light at best. Very mild bitterness too. A touch of fruit sweetness lingers in the background. Definitely not a typical wheat beer I am accustomed to.

Mouthfeel: smooth and dry throughout. Medium bodied. Very brief aftertaste.

Drinkability: above average drinkability, even though this is a bit unique. I rank this second best in the 4 pack of historic brews.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.92/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Moving on to the third part of this, the Brewer Patriot Invitational, is James Madison Dark Wheat Ale. Served at room temperature like the other beers so far in this invite, and poured into a weizen glass, on to the beer:

The beer takes on a hazy caramel color, topped by a large head. Fruity undertones in the aroma, with touches of brown sugar sweetness. In the taste, the smokiness from the smoked grains is subtle, and help create a overall harmony of flavor. Candied apples, wood chips, and some caramel. As with other wheat beers, it's an easy drinker and doesn't get boring.

Here's a beer I would like to see on the SA production line again. It has a nice mellow flavor which you can toss back a few of. I'm sad to see my glass approaching empty as i type this. I guess I'll have to hope the Root Beer Brew, the final recipe of the Brewer Patriot Invite, is just as good. Oh, about that, it'll be a matinée tasting tomorrow.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best by date October 2006, Sampled July 2006
This beer pours quite a bit more viscously than I was expecting. It creates an initially two-finger thick, tightly beaded, light tan colored head, that disappears after a bit. The beer itself is a hazy, amber-tinged brown color. The first thing that strikes me about the aroma is the fruitiness; notes of sweet plums, raisins, and a berry-like grape note are most prominent. Underneath this is a toasted grain notes and perhaps a hint of smoke. The aroma seems a touch phenolic as well, which perhaps is from the smoke contribution as well.

Fairly light on the palate, with a pleasing carbonation that adds a bit of zip to the beer. The finish has that phenolic smoky note, though it is fairly subdued and quite subtle. Also in the finish is a toasted grain note that seems to dry the mouth out a bit. There is a touch of tartness here, perhaps from the wheat, and it plays up a tart plum and green apple note. This is quite an easy drinking beer. The predominant character in the taste is also fruitiness and I can't quite decide if this needs more smoke or is perfect as is. On the one hand the wood smoke seems to be a bit harsher than I would like, but it is so subtle that I really can't quite tell if this is the case. The subtle smoke does allow the soft fruit notes and wheat character to come through though. Anyway, this is definitely worth trying, as is this whole series so far.

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Photo of plaid75
3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky light brown hue with a two finger creamy off white head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a sweet caramel malt, a smoky wheat malt and a bit of spicy yeast.

The flavor consisted of a sweet caramel malt with hints of smoky grains, spicy rye and burnt wheat.

The mouthfeel was mildly chewy.

Overall an enjoyable dark wheat ale. Nice and sessionable. Certainly the best of the SA specialty pack.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.03/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a four finger light tan head that fades to a ring leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Light carbonation and light bodied. Wheat/malty nose. Flavor has sweetness from the malt and there is wheat and yeast coming through as well. $9.99 - 4-pak, 12oz bottle from Shaw's Supermarket Concord, NH.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.33/5  rDev -5.7%
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 akorsak
3.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is the final bottle in Sam Adams' underwhelming Brewer Patriot collection.

A: The ale is a deep red color, hazy enough that it borders on brown with a small head and no lace.

S: The ale has little aroma, only giving off hints of wheat from time to time. The smoky aroma that was advertised does not appear.

T: The wheat is fairly restrained, giving the ale a good taste. From time to time, hints of smokiness emerge, giving the beer a deeper element.

M: The wheat is refreshing and the smokiness is not too strong.

D: Very drinkable, by far the winner of the 4-pack, which is worth checking out only to get this beer.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle a hazy reddish brown with a huge head of foam that shrunk but stuck around from start to finish.

The smell is on the subtle side for me. I note a sweetish malty nose and that's about it.

The taste is quite sweet from the malt and there's some chocolate there too but a bit of a citrus bite in the background helps balance out the sweetness pretty well. Not a big beer taste wise but it is decent enough so I'd be tempted to try this one again if sold by itself.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA, as part of the 4 btl Brewer Patriot collection.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 1" beige head over the murky light brown brew. Frothy head fades way slowly (put the wife and kid to bed, still a head here), with heavy coating lacing. Aroma is dark grains and wheat, which hits their target description. Taste is less dark, with more plain old wheat flavor than anything else. Mouthfeel and drinkability are best of any of the Patriot Collection brews, by far. Might not quite be what I'm looking for in a dark wheat, but not much detracting either. I'd mark this one a try, but it still doesn't make the four-pack worth buying...

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.43/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass, the beer poured a cloudy dark copper color with an off-white head. It smells like grains and malt, with a definite sweetness to it. It tastes the same way too, but with a sharp initial taste and a sweeter aftertaste. The mouthfeel for this is thin, but it goes down easy. Overall this was an OK beer, I guess. This was the 2nd in the Brewer Patriot collection I've tried. It's better than the Ginger Honey Ale, but it's not a great beer at all.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.4/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hazy copper/dark brown in color with a low tan ringed head and nice active carbonation. Sweet malt, light roasted malt, and light wheat aromas. Sweet malt dominates in the mouth with some grainy wheat character; lightly roasty. Light-medium bodied with a lightly sweet and light roasted malt finish.

Not bad compared to the rest of the Series but nothing exceptional.

Per Label: "Authentic Recipe #3" & "Wheat Ale brewed with Hand-Smoked Malted Barley" & "Malted Rye"

Enjoy Before: Oct '06
Tasted: 04/11/07

($8.99 / 4-pack "Brewer Patriot Collection")

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.16/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a prety deep mix of garnet and brown gravy. Not unappealing to me though. Good wheaty head and carbonation. Love looking at wheat beers. A run of the mill aroma of dark wheats and malts with a hint of something slightly sweet that I can't put my finger on. You can taste the molases in this beer. Except non was added to the kettle as far as I know. But it tastes like wheta roasted malt and hints of sharp rye. This was me really digging my palate resources for flavors. These were pretty muted.

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Brewer Patriot Collection - James Madison Dark Wheat Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.53 out of 5 based on 188 ratings.
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