Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Beer Diviner Ancestral Red Ale

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (854) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 16, 2013
I poured a 22oz bottle into a goblet. There was no freshness date but I assume it couldn’t be too old because I bought directly from the brewer himself for $5 ($0.23 per ounce).

Appearance: Dark blood red with a purple or mahogany hue. Forms a small, white, foamy head which never completely dissipates and leaves minor lacing.

Smell: Noticeable spice aroma plus perfume and flowers. Potpourri-like.

Taste: If you know me you know I’m not usually a fan of ginger or overly-spiced beers, yet "Ancestral Red Ale" could definitely be described as very gingery and spicy and I really enjoyed it. This is one of those brews that defies classification. It’s has the color of an amber ale, the yeasty character of a witbier, and the general palette of a Christmas beer. The synergy between the three definitely works in its favor.

A light ginger flavor is probably the first thing I notice about this beer. It gives way to a fruity, malty character similar to that of a British pub ale. Then the palette transitions to citrus and black pepper thanks to the addition of coriander and bitter orange peel. There’s a taste akin to Sangria here, but without any dryness or tartness. A slight alcohol presence actually seems to aid the taste delivery. This is quite an eccentric recipe and it fortunately it works out well.

Drinkability: While it’s true that "Ancestral Red Ale" is a robust, spicy beer, it’s not aggressive on the palate at all. The body is on the fuller side, but the mouthfeel is calm, smooth and soft. There’s a slightly bitter aftertaste, but it’s easily tolerable. At 7.7% ABV it’s on the heavier side with a hint of noticeable alcohol presence, but nothing "hot" or overtly boozy. I could see this beer pairing well with Japanese, Chinese or other Asian cuisine, or as a liquid dessert. 
Grade: 8/10