Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Beer Diviner Very! Brown Ale

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
Chad9976 (860) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 23, 2013
I poured a 22oz bottle into a goblet. There was no freshness date, though I’m assuming it’s fresh since I bought it directly from the brewer himself for $5 ($0.23 per ounce).

Appearance: Pours to a dark brown hue, but appears black in the glass. Forms a large, tan, frothy head which retains and laces extremely well.

Smell: Slight brown ale aroma of confectionery sweetness, but with a strange spice or chemical scent (though mild).

Taste: All the "Beer Diviner" beers seem to be brewed with eccentric recipes or use unexpected ingredients, which is what gives this brand its niche. And it works for four of the five in the line, but something about the "Very! Brown Ale" just does not. It starts out well enough with a familiar taste of American-style brown ale maltiness. A hint of chocolate, perhaps some toffee or caramel, and a subtle bitter bite.

It’s the second half of the swig that’s the problem. A surge of off-flavors shows up and ruin everything that had come before. I get a taste of bleach combined with some sorghum-like twang and a general sensation of stale spice (though I don’t believe this beer is brewed with any spices). There’s a strong presence of raw booze which imparts heat and general dryness like the aftertaste of rubbing alcohol. I originally had this on tap at Mahar’s about six months ago and found it almost undrinkable. Then I had it again two months ago and it wasn’t as bad or strange as the first time, but I still didn’t enjoy it. Now I’m drinking a fresh bottle from the latest batch and I find it tolerable, but overall I don’t think it’s a good beer.

Drinkability: Though I’m not a fan of the way The Beer Diviner Very! Brown Ale tastes, the actual drinking process isn’t too bad. The mouthfeel is comfortable, on the thicker side and calm. No oily texture and a fairly smooth finish. There is a dry, slightly annoying aftertaste though. I do not understand why this beer needs to be so big at 8.3% ABV. The alcohol is too prominent and distracts from the core palate. A smaller version at 5 or 6% ABV, or a highly hopped edition might make it work better. 
Grade: 3/10

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