Friday, April 27, 2012

Southern Tier Gemini

If you know me you know I love Southern Tier Brewing Company - they're from New York state too (just 6 hours west of me, though). This is one of their most famous offerings, but it's only released once a year in the late winter/early spring. I've never been able to get a fresh bottle (until now) which is why it's taken me over 650 episodes to get around to this one. What's interesting is that it's a blend of their Unearthly imperial IPA and their now-retired "Hoppe" imperial pale ale. How can it be blended with something that isn't made anymore?! (head explodes)

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (655) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 25, 2012
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark shade of orange; very hazy but still translucent. Forms an average-sized, white, frothy head which dissipates rather quickly, but does leave nice lacing.

Smell: Strong aroma of tropical and citrus fruits, especially orange and orange-flavored sweets (orange sherbet, candy, cereal). Distinct pine needles as well.

Taste: What’s interesting about Southern Tier Gemini is that it’s actually a blend of their (now retired) "Hoppe" imperial pale ale and "Unearthly" - an imperial India Pale Ale that borders on a barleywine. With that in mind you have to approach this beer a little differently than the average double or imperial IPA (or however you wish to categorize it). It definitely has the juicy qualities you expect of a pale ale and in this case those components are great. The tropical fruit juice nectar tastes of passion fruit, mango, etc. really create for a delectable, almost refreshing palate. Through the middle is a tasty, lightly sweet, orange sherbet and Fruity Pebbles cereal flavor combination. Some beers of this size and style tend to be sickly sweet, but in this case the sweetness is in perfect harmony with the bitterness. Speaking of which..

Did I mention this beer is also a hop bomb? The bitterness hits your tongue with a thud and never really relents the entire time it’s in the mouth. And since it’s an east coast brew there’s significant pine and resin stickiness in the second half. A very earthy/herbal flavor component right on the finish. A tasty, satisfying, and delectable palate in many aspects that make for an excellent - but not quite world class - beer.

Drinkability: This is a beer that is only brewed once a year, so it’s meant to be a special brew in some capacity and you should definitely handle it as such. Weighing in at 9% ABV (at least in the 2012 batch, other years have been even bigger), Southern Tier Gemini definitely has a lot of energy and weight to it. The mouthfeel is thick, but soft and rather tepid with a slightly sticky texture, but a surprisingly clean aftertaste. It goes down smooth, so it’s easy to drink it quickly, but the potency makes itself known right away. It’s definitely worth buying a bottle when it’s released every spring.

Grade: 9/10

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