Monday, March 25, 2013

Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (835) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 25, 2013
I poured a 500ml bottle into a large mug. There was no freshness date. It cost $3.89 ($0.23 per ounce).

Appearance: Very dark amber to brown proper hue. Translucent with carbonation visible. Forms a small, off-white, soapy head that mostly evaporates and doesn’t lace the glass much.

Smell: Lightly sweet scent of confectionery flavors of toffee and caramel while still giving off a distinct lager aroma.

Taste: I have to admit I didn’t have high hopes for Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel. Most German beers are pretty old by the time they reach America and buying one at the beer store is a gamble since many sit there for months on end. Since this isn’t a generic pale lager I hoped the distinction would at least make it decent, if not good, but it wound up being very good. I can’t believe there’s this much flavor in this beer. It’s the palate most Oktoberfestbiers are supposed to have but don’t - a sweet, smooth flavor caramel and toffee that’s not cloying or off-balanced.

You might almost call this an English brown ale in lager form. Plenty of caramel, candied apple, milk chocolate and roasted nuts throughout the palate. A slight increase in bitterness at the peak of the swig, but it quickly reverts back to its sweet malty base. I may even detect some smokiness in here as well. One of the most pleasantly surprising beers I’ve had in a long time (thanks to whoever recommended I review it!).

Drinkability: I compared the taste to that of a brown ale, but Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel also drinks like an ale. The mouthfeel is a bit on the thinner, bubblier side, but nothing spastic. It has a comfortable mouthfeel and a super smooth finish. It’s quite refreshing while in the mouth and leaves an almost completely clean aftertaste. At only 5% ABV it’s extremely efficient for its size and also versatile since it could work in pretty much any scenario involving beer. 
Grade: 8/10