It's been over two years since I reviewed something from the Lake Placid Brewing Company (which is contract-brewed by Saranac). I got a bottle of their "Ubu Ale" at a party a few weeks ago. Let's review it in the middle of the day when I'm stone sober to see how good it REALLY is.
2.7AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Appearance: Extremely dark ruby red, appears brown at face value. Two-finger, tan head, foamy/frothy - good retention and lacing.
Smell: Not much to detect here aside from general malty fragrance. Slight sour aroma, but mild.
Taste: I’m not sure what the brewers are going for with this beer. The palate is fairly mild during the first half with slight soda-like sweetness. Second half finishes with sour tang and alcohol bite. Very bitter flavor as soon as I swallow, followed by slightly tannic, astringent aftertaste that lingers momentarily. Palate has some wine-like dryness to it, but thankfully it doesn’t last.
Aside from the brief soda sweetness, there’s just not much to enjoy about this palate. No chocolate, caramel, or toffee - just a generic strong beer palate. Sourness is hard to get over and akin to spoiled milk. I’ve had this beer several times and each time I picked up this component - so this taste is intentional, but why?
Drinkability: For a relatively strong beer, Ubu Ale drinks like something smaller and cheaper. There’s a noticeable fizziness while it’s in the mouth. Feels thin and strong, and therefore distracting. Goes down mostly smooth and finishes fairly clean. I could see pairing this with red meat to take the edge off the beer and make it slightly refreshing.
Overall, a boring, sour beer. The real shame is, it’s brewed this way on purpose for some reason and I’ve no idea why.