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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
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
Photo of bigman147
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours dark nutty brown with a light brown on the edges where light can pass. Head is thick and heavy.Carbonation easily Lots of lacing.

Aroma: Slight coffee and dark smoke malt aromas. Maybe toffee or slight buttery aroma. Some spice and sharper hop notes are perceivable.

Taste: Less wheat tasting than I expected. Good roasted malt character. The presence of Rye only adds a slight acidic/sour finish.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Good and creamy with a lot of body from the malt and wheat. Carbonation seems to disappear quickly (like it all left when I poured it). It still had a good smooth mouthfeel and didn't appear flat. It was very drinkable even on a hot summer day although I wouldn't recommend it for that.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured out smoky brown, with persistent head that stayed up for a long while. The gentle aroma of spicy toffee, wheat bread, chocolate, and peaches was barely there at first, but got stronger over time. The taste was sweet and nutty brown sugar with a helping of anise, ginger, and allspice. The smoky character mentioned on the neck label was faint at best, but this was a pretty deep beer nonetheless. Easy to drink and with a controlled complexity, this beer is different enough than a traditional Dunkelweizen to warrant a look.

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Photo of bjohnson
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky brown color with a slightly frothy white head. Dissipates slowly but has some retention. Slight lace.
S: Smoky notes with a wheaty malt background.
T/M: Toasty malt with a slight addition of caramel. Toasty malts reminds me of special k. Also a bit sweet after it initally goes down. Slick mouthfeel with a slight twang at the back. Coating at the back of the throat then a slight bitterness. Good levels of carbonation. Slightly watery, but not bad.
D: Suprisingly drinkable. The most drinkable out of the four pack. Not a bad offering.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.08/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Muddy brown color, hazy, with a creamy tan head. Leaves good lacing.

Smell: Grain and cocoa, slightly sweet with caramel. A little smoke, maybe?

Taste: Tart and smooth, cocoa and toffee are big parts of the flavor, not bad, an interesting wheat ale.

Drinkability: Good, one of the better ones in the sampler. I wonder if they really brewed this style back then.

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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 Gusler
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours an obfuscated brown with a towering creamy light tan head, as it ever so slowly erodes; the resultant lace forms a thick and sticky covering upon the glass. Nose as a sweet earthy aroma, hints of caramel, honey, with some slight tones of over ripe bananas, quite appealing, start is cotton candy sweet, the grain profile pleasant and the top feels moderate to my palate. Finish is modest in its acidity, with slight hop bitterness, quite dry and sweet after taste lingers long on the taste buds, a pleasant drink on this 111 degree day in sunny Arizona.

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Photo of Wildman
3.03/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured a very murky brown color and formed a nice foamy white head, that disappeared quickly and left little lace. An aroma of toffee, malt and some spices. The flavor was of toffee, slight hint of cocoa. The body was light and the finish was a touch spirte. Another novelty beer that is alright, but not something that I would rush out to have.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the glass hazy and cloudy brown with an off-white frothy small bubbled head which rose moderately and lasted well to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity with a light estery (banana) aspect and a moderate wheat aromatic.The aroma contained a light chocolate and low caramel character as well.

The flavor was nicely accomplished with a very light accent of chocolate and caramel with a wheat character and a well done sweetness from caramel in the mix. The flavor was lightly fruity and while not overly spicy had just a hint of that component. The label mentioned smoke, and while not strong, some complexity existed that must have emerged from the smoking/toasting of grains.

The finish was dry with a lasting wheat and caramel impression. The body was medium with a nice creamy mouthfeel due to the carbonation. The best in the series IMO.

12 ounce bottle, No.3 in the series.

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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 GClarkage
3/5  rDev -15.3%
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 Bitterbill
3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
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 kbnooshay
4.23/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Woah. This poured a crazy brown orange color with lots of gross muddy swirls floating around. Hazy as fuck. It had a really nice foamy tan head and lots of lacing. The aroma is kind of like Their cherry wheat, but slightly darker tasting. Nice and wheaty with some caramel flavoring. The taste is prefectly balanced between the sweet toasty malts and the light hoppiness. Yeast flavor also perks interest. The mouthfeel is quite creamy,slick and super smooth. Very drinkable, although the sweetness would really get to me after 2. I was set up to be dissapointed from the previous reviews but this rocks. It tastes like sam adams cherry wheat on crack. Incredible toasted malt flavors here. Please put this is 6 packs.

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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 hunteraw
3.79/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What better time than the Fourth of July to review this third beer in the Brewer Patriot collection?

Appearance: Moderate-sized, off-white head over a dark caramel body that's hazy to the point of being opaque. Not the most appealing-looking beer of the collection. Some nice lacing down the side of my glass.

Aroma: Interesting aromas here. It has the fruity yeast characteristics that you associate with a wheat beer, but there's an added dimension underneath. The label suggests "cocoa and toffee" - I think I could buy that.

Taste: Flavor is lighter than I'd anticipated/hoped. I'm trying to pick out the rye and the smoke, but not succeeding. A little alcohol present at the tail end. Cocoa shows up when you swallow. A little acidic. I think the cocoa flavor contributes most to making this beer not boring, but I was really expecting more from the rye and the smoked malts.

Mouthfeel: Much lighter than I was expecting from the beer's appearance alone. Carbonation seems just right. Finishes clean.

Drinkability: This is my favorite of the collection so far (only the root beer left to go, and since I dislike licorice, I don't have high expectations for that one). The clean finish helps drinkability, but I wish they'd thrown in a little more of the ingredients they talk about so much on the label to make it a bit more interesting - I'd gladly buy it.

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Photo of ypsifly
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz from the four pack collection, label sez best by October 2006. Purchased at Merchant's in Dearborn and poured into a pint glass.

Dark, hazy mohogany under two fingers of light tan that shows strong retention and lots of ringed lace.

Dark malted wheats, a pinch of caramel, a suggestion of clove and some grass in the background. A bit muted overall, but a good nose for a SA beer.

Nice balance of malted wheat, caramel and banana yeast flavors. Crisp, hoppy finish with some lingering wheat and yeast. I'm impressed!

Moderate mouth upfront that turns thin towards the finish. I would buy this again in the Fall if they sold it in sixers or even fours. My expectations have been exceeded.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
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 Gueuzedude
3.72/5  rDev +5.1%
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 palliko
2.95/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance is a dark brown with a hint of copper, topped with a creamy head. Aroma is sweet malt. Initial taste has some fruit (apple and citrus), malt and not much hops. Not much carbonation, a thin middle, marked by a hint of roasted grain, some esters, and a harsh, bitter aftertaste at the finish.

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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 smcolw
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
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 shbobdb
1.4/5  rDev -60.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

The beer poured a rich amber with a HUGE off-white head that lingered and lingered and then poofed into nothingness all too suddenly. It looked pretty good.

Then I smell it. American Maco lager? What? I was expecting . . . something, but instead I get a very faint whiff of adjuncts. That mixes with caramel and a light smokiness.

The taste . . . if this is what our founding fathers had to drink, may God have mercy on their souls. Man. I have nothing constructive to say.

Mouthfeel: Thin. A wheat ought be thick in the way this one isn't.

Drinkability: Why would anyone drink this? Man, if I had to choose between this and Grog (Rum+Water), I'd choose the grog. Man. Dis-gusting.

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Photo of theo871
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It looks like grog! Very brown and murky appearance. The smell is sweet with some spices, maybe vanilla. Taste is slightly sweet but very mild, watery. The mouthfeel is very light and watery as well. While this collection is a neat time capsule of sorts, I don't think I would search this beer out again.

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Photo of Domingo
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After the infamous hard root beer, it was good to move on to a "real" beer in the Patriot pack
Pours a VERY hazy color. I've had dark what brews of all kinds, but I think this is the murkiest of the bunch. Not as dark as some others (it's a brownish red), but it's the thickest. A small head forms at the top, but the overall beer is thick enough to be a giant head.
Smell is actually rather weak. No bavarian hefe smells. Generally smells grainy and malty. If you were to drink this with a meal, I doubt you'd pick up any smell at all.
Flavor is of chocolate malt. VERY strong, but also very good. Even though it's a wheat beer, it reminds me a lot of a potent dunkel lager. Not a lot of other flavors really come out to mingle with it...just a lot of cocoa sweetness.
Drinkability would actually be rather high...however with only one, I doubt you have more on hand.
This beer is straight forward and has minimal complexity, however it's still really tasty and perhaps (along with the decent ginger and pretty good porter) reason enough to pick up this pack.
If you're a fan of a strong chocolate malty flavor - this beer has it in spades.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tumbler. Like its brethren in the Patriot Collection this beer looked really good, especially the thick and creamy head. Unlike the others I've tried so far this one had a decent smell too, not too smoky.

The flavors were like a diminished wheat ale, kind of like Goose Island 312 with a little extra something added. Not as wiezenbocky as I'd hoped, but I guess that's not the style they were after.

The best of the collection so far, but I wouldn't be disappointed to never try it again.

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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
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