poured a 22oz bottle into a goblet. There was no freshness date, though
I’d imagine it’s a fresh bottle since I bought it straight from the
brewer himself for $5 ($0.23 per ounce).
Appearance: Dark brown/mahogany hue. A tea-like appearance that’s
noticeably hazy. Forms a small, yellow, soapy head which evaporates
quickly and almost completely. No lacing.
Smell: A strange herbal potpourri and a slightly soured fruit aroma, like cider and Brettanomyces.
Taste: Here’s the thing about gruits and herbal beers - people tend to
either love them or hate them. I know that’s how the majority of
drinkers will likely react to The Beer Diviner Ancient Gruit Ale. It’s
an acquired taste for sure since these herbs aren’t your typical craft
beer adjuncts. Wormwood, honey, grains of paradise and some other
African-style herbal components create for a strange taste. It’s sweet,
but not too sweet. What’s odd is the honey and the spices combine to
form a slightly bile-like sensation. That’s not just my opinion, I know
several other people who have mentioned having a similar reaction to it.
To be fair, I found that particular flavor to be only noticeable for a
moment and then mostly on the finish.
As for the main palette itself it’s reminiscent of a strong, spicy, hot
cider you have for Thanksgiving or Halloween. It also has similar
characteristics of a higher-end sorghum-based gluten-free beer.
Additionally, I get some red apple flavor, a bit of smoky astringency
(likely due to the Maris Otter floor malted Scottish malt), an herbal
twang, and some peanut shell earthiness. These flavors are best
described as interesting rather than good or bad per se.
Drinkability: The true drinkability of this beer lies not in its
delivery, but in whether your palate is the kind that enjoys an herbal
beer like this. I would describe the drinking experience as being rather
intense, though the mouthfeel itself is on the thinner, flatter side.
In fact, I was a bit disappointed by how non-effervescent this beer was.
Though potent at 9% ABV, the alcohol is well masked with no boozy
character at all. If drank at fridge temp it’s actually quite
refreshing, but becomes a sipper as it warms. The Beer Diviner Ancient
Gruit Ale isn’t for everyone, but those that enjoy it will be able to
appreciate its originality.