Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Southern Tier 2XRye

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (969) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 18, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Southern Tier goblet. It was bottled on 8/31/13 and cost $3.15 ($0.25 per ounce).

Appearance: Beautiful copper hue, crystal clear body, plenty of visible carbonation. Forms an average sized, eggshell, foamy head which lace and retains well.

Smell: Dank hoppy aroma of pine and tropical fruit concentrate, plus strong rye bread character.

Taste: I’m not usually a huge fan of rye-centric beers, so I approached Southern Tier 2XRye with some reservation. However, just a sip in I knew this beer wasn’t nearly as rye-forward as its name suggested. It’s actually better described as a West Coast style IPA with significant rye malt added. Well balanced and plenty flavorful, but isn’t something I’d consider especially unique.

Much like the nose, the flavor begins with sweet tropical fruit notes. Not so much citrus as it is passion fruit, guava, mango, papaya, etc. A surge of dry bitterness at the apex of the swig followed by a significant bready flavor. Rye is of course the most predominant of the malty character - imparting some spiciness, but backed up by enough additional malt that it’s a little more complex and balanced than your average IPA. I think I even get a chocolaty note for a moment there. The finish is dry with mild spiciness, though the aftertaste is fairly clean. It’s a nice change of pace on the usual extra or strong IPA style. Not quite hoppy enough for me to consider it a double or imperial brew, though I find the name a bit misleading (and, quite frankly, played - c’mon guys, do we really need FIVE beers with "2X" in the name?).

Drinkability: I have mixed feelings on the delivery of Southern Tier 2XRye. On one hand it’s not a challenge to drink. The mouthfeel and body are medium to full with a crisp bite, smooth finish, and mostly clean aftertaste. On the other hand, the beer is a little overweight at 8.1% ABV, as it drinks more like a standard 6-ish percent IPA. I wasn’t overwhelmed by one bottle, but I could definitely feel it. It’s very tempting to have another, though. 
Grade: 8/10