Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sam Adams Harvest Collection

I was out taking a tour of the city’s liquor stores the other day and noticed one store already had the Sam Adams Winter collection out.  That means the Harvest Collections’ days are numbered, so I better hurry up and let you guys know if it’s any good or not.  Here goes nothing.

Irish Red

The brew pours with a persistent off white creamy head giving off aromas of bread and munich malt.  The mouthfeel was a nice creamy mouthfeel but was not too thick for the style.  The flavor starts with malty caramel sweetness and leads into some minor bread character.  The finish is an earthy bitterness which borders on an almost vegetable character in the after taste.  Bitterness is minor but prevents the brew from being too sweet overall.    This is a good all around brew that provides good malt/caramel character and good drinkability.

Bonfire Rauchbier

This is yet another style that Sam Adams is responsible for introducing me to.  Rauchbier is a smoked beer with a malt profile comparable to a Marzen/Oktoberfest.  To accomplish the smoked character some of the malt is beechwood smoked and then added to the mash.  In case you haven’t read this before, this is one of the reasons I love Sam Adams.  They are not content with having a static line-up and instead they’re constantly introducing new styles you usually won’t find from any other breweries.  Oh and then they distribute it nationally. 

With the pleasantries out of the way let’s jump into the rauchbier.  The brew pours with a very faint head that receded almost immediately.  There was a very nice smoky nose that was prominent but not overbearing.  The nose had what seemed to be a slight chocolate aroma although I doubt any chocolate/roast malt was used.  The mouthfeel was fairly thick and seemed to get thicker as you continued drinking.  The taste echoes the nose with an ever present smoke character.  The brew has a good malt character supporting the smoke with dark sugars resembling molasses.  The smoke is the prominent character in the brew but is very well in check so as not to overpower the palate.  The brew is very complex but is very filling.  I wouldn’t want to tackle more than one of these monsters in a sitting.  I don’t really have any other examples to compare this to but I can say that I would recommend any craft beer geeks to give it a try.  This is one of the few times I can say that drinking this brew is definitely an experience. 

Black Lager

The Black Lager poured with an off-white head.  The nose was subdued with only a small amount of roast aroma and not much else.  The mouthfeel was medium thick with a very smooth character.  Although the mouthfeel seems fairly thick, it is definitely not as thick as a stout.   The brew has some good roast character with notes of coffee and bittersweet chocolate.  There is some roast malt bitterness that lingers into the finish.  Hop character and bitterness are non existent.  This is another complex brew that layers malt/roast character beautifully.  The black lager has all the flavor profile of a good stout but has better drinkability with the thinner mouthfeel.  This is a superb brew and I would recommend this to anyone.  Awesome! 

Oktoberfest - Is also included and is a good brew.  It's a little thin for my taste but is nonetheless a quality Oktoberfest.  This brew will be in our Oktoberfest Shootout whenever we get around to it.

Harvest Pumpkin Spice - Is good and you can see what I think about that in the Pumpkin Beer Throwdown.

Overall this is a very good sampler with a great variety.  Some may argue that their are better Oktoberfests or Pumpkin beers, of which I actually agree, but the Sam Adams brews are still solid offerings and will not dissappoint you.  Plus you get a stellar black lager and the unique Bonfire Rauchbier.

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