Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wells Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1220) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 19, 2014
I like it when a beer states its mission right in the name, and with a name like “Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale,” you definitely have some expectations going into it. I’m not sure this beer lives up to its name perfectly, but it does a good job in trying to do so. Yes there’s a sweet toffee taste to it, but there’s also a slightly generic palette lingering underneath as well. It’s good but not great.

I poured an 11.2oz bottle into a mason jar. It had an expiration date of 4/28/15 and cost $3.99 ($0.36 per ounce).

Appearance: Dark chestnut/maroon hue, but still transparent. Pours to a small, white, foamy head which laces and retains well.

Smell: Candy-like toffee aroma, though it seems a bit faux. A standard pub ale scent is noticeable in the background.

Taste: As soon as the beer hit my tongue I immediately started looking for the toffee pudding flavor, but it didn’t emerge until the back of the swig. The beginning is a rather familiar British pub-style ESB brew. Darker malts such as Maris Otter and some specialty malt character, but just a mild dessert-like flavor. I even get some bitterness at the apex; it’s mild but it’s noticeable (I’m actually impressed a novelty beer like this would even bother with hops). On the backend the confectionery sweetness of toffee and caramel suddenly emerges and it’s quite tasty… at first. My palate grew accustomed to the flavor rather quickly, so instead of sip after sip of liquid dessert it become an ESB with toffee flavoring implied. I also noticed a bit of a tangy astringency which is something usually found in old bottles, but this seems to be relatively fresh. While not off-putting in any way, it has a ways to go to be as delicious as the label makes it look.

Drinkability: I usually describe a beer as being “sticky” when it’s a high-gravity brew (from all the natural sugars). In the case of Wells Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale it’s actually quite light in body since it’s only 5% ABV. The mouthfeel is crisp, maybe even a little too thin. It finishes mostly clean with just a slightly dry and tangy sensation in the aftertaste. It works as a liquid dessert, but might be better if paired with a rich, heavy dessert. 
Grade: 7/10

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