Friday, June 19, 2009

Long Trail Double Bag


4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - MAR 17, 2010
If you know me you know I prefer a hoppy beer to a malty one, but you should also know that I appreciate a tasty beer no matter which way it leans. Long Trail Double Bag is one of the maltiest beers I’ve ever encountered and yet I found it very delectable.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

The beer pours smoothly to a clear, dark amber color which is almost a shade of brown proper. The head is average-sized, off-white, and foamy. It dissolves rather quickly, but it does leave a little lacing on the glass. The scent is a strong mixture of malt, caramel and what I would call an autumn-like aroma of wet leaves and pumpkin [I’m quite sure it’s made with neither!]

TASTE

I hate it when it’s not clear what style a beer belongs to since it makes it a bit more difficult to prepare my frame of reference. Long Trail’s website describes Double Bag as a Strong Dark Ale but the label says it’s a “stickebier” which is basically a strong “altbier.” Whatever the case may be, the fact remains this beer does seem to have some very Germanic roots.

Upon taking my first taste the flavors of caramel, chocolate and toffee were immediately noticeable. I also noticed a light, but seeming varied palate of spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. Taking all these flavors into consideration, it’s no wonder this beer reminded me so much of an Oktoberfest brew even though it’s of a completely different style.

Regardless, the fact remains Double Bag is quite a tasty beer. It’s sweet and sticky not unlike the Long Trail Ale, only with a richer, smoother flavor. There is no bitterness or dryness to the flavor here, just a strong, non-threatening, array of sweetness and taste.

FINISH

The label says, “The secret is that this brew is so smooth, you’d never believe it has an alcohol content of 7.2!!!” [sic]. When I read that I scoffed at the notion, but after a few swigs I found a truthiness in it. The alcohol is masked very well and is only noticeable in the finish. Otherwise, Double Bag has a thick, but extremely gentle mouthfeel that coats the entire mouth in flavor. For such an otherwise strong ale it’s amazing how drinker-friendly this beer really is.

BODY

Following the note on the beer’s smoothness, the label also advises, “INDULGE IN MODERATION!!!!!!” [sic]. I could see why they would make such a disclaimer since the taste and drinkability are so good that the icing on the cake is the surprising absence of a heavy body. Although I only drank one bottle of this beer, I didn’t feel as if I had drunk anything at all. This is a session beer in disguise.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much from a beer with a picture of two cows on the label (what IS the deal with that, anyway?). Still, Long Trail Double Bag was one of the nicer surprises in my beer-drinking experience and I wish I had more to appreciate. This would make a great inclusion in one of their mix packs since it’s superior to their otherwise average line of brews.

Grade: 8/10