The Twelve Beers of Christmas
Posted: December 21, 2012
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Widmer Brothers' Old Embalmer '12 (10.2 percent a.b.v, $12.99 for a 22 oz. bottle)
A member of the Widmer Brothers Brewing Alchemy Project, which started in 2011, Old Embalmer is the third expression in the series and the first barley wine. Each of the beers has been brewed to be cellared, and all use the brewery's Alchemy hops, which is a blend of Horizon and Warrior made just for Widmer.
APPEARANCE: Pours a translucent, polished amber with sticky, off-white lacing.
NOSE: A thick pine scent is rounded out by delicate notes of grapefruit, lemon, biscuit and a hint of rose water.
PALATE: Bold spice up front leads this effervescent liquid with a silky mouthfeel to a toffee, vanilla, sweet caramel, and chewy finish.
CIGAR: L'Atelier LAT52 (92 points) The wood and leather notes play well with the vanilla in the beer while the nuts and salty taffy quality of the smoke balance the sweet caramel. A joyous pair.
Dogfish Head's Birra Etrusca (8.5 percent a.b.v, $14.99 for a 750 ml bottle)
The newest addition to Dogfish Head's Ancient Ales series, Birra Etrusca's recipe can be traced back 2,800 years. Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione visited the tombs with a molecular biologist, analyzed old drinking vessels and with the help of brewers from Italian breweries Birra del Borgo and Baladin, tracked down some of the specialty ingredients, which include Italian chestnut honey, gentian root and myrrh resin. The liquid was then fermented in bronze. There are also two other version of the liquid brewed by the partnering Italian breweries. Those liquids were aged in wood and terra cotta.
APPEARANCE: Semitransparent copper on the pour, much like an Amontillado sherry, with a green tinge on the surface. Lacing at first, but fades during the drink.
NOSE: Heavy honey note on the first whiff, with boozy raisins and an apple-like acidity added.
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