I love the United States and I’m proud to be American, but one thing I’ll admit we suck at is making a decent wheat beer. I usually go into wheat beer reviews with relatively low expectations, but I still wound up feeling cheated while drinking Samuel Adams Dunkelweizen. From the appearance and aroma alone it could easily pass as an authentic German import, but after a few sips it’s par for the Samuel Adams "craft beer for the masses" course.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I poured a 12oz bottle into a hefeweizen glass. I was amazed the beer produced such a fluffy layer of frothy, thick head which evaporated, but not completely (with minor lacing). The body is dark amber to brown and fairly clear. There doesn’t seem to be any yeast in the bottle.
The aroma is similar to a German beer of the style with intense clove, noticeable cinnamon, and a banana bread-like sweetness. Without taking a taste, this seems to be a very authentic brew.
I often argue with fellow beer geeks that appearance and aroma are superficial aspects and don’t deserve quite as much attention as they receive, and to prove that point I’d offer up Samuel Adams Dunkelweizen as Exhibit A. Sure, it looks and smells great, but the taste fails to meet expectations.
Upon the first sip I get a fairly complex palate with the usual suspects of clove, cinnamon, and banana bread. It’s satisfying to be sure, and impressive considering this brewery isn’t good at making wheat beers. However, after only a few more sips, the intensity to the palate diminishes quickly and I start to notice a wateriness in the front and middle, and a strange, almost metallic tang in the finish. There’s a slight bitterness that helps to counter this flavor, but it wouldn’t be necessary if the REAL flavors had been much more robust.
Love them or hate them, wheat beers are known for their drinkability, and this brew at least succeeds in that respect. The mouthfeel is thin, and the mild body slides across the palate without a trace. This leads me to believe this is yet another overtly pedestrian brew from the Boston Beer Company, which I don’t think was necessary since even the most robust dunkelweizen is still a quaffable brew.
At 5.1% ABV, Samuel Adams Dunkelweizen is a light, easy-drinking beer that would make a good refresher on a hot day. What’s odd is that the beer is included as part of their autumn mix pack and not sold on its own during the summer as it should be. It could easily be sessioned, but you might grow bored with it quickly.
My experience with Samuel Adams over the last few years has been capricious. I honestly never know what to expect anymore. Will I get yuppie juice like Coastal or Cherry Wheat, or genuine craft beer like their imperial series? From the look, smell, and first few sips of Dunkelweizen it seemed to be the real thing, but only halfway through my glass I knew it was another average mainstream beer.