Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Anchor Winter Wheat

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1252) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 31, 2014
When you think “wheat beer” you tend to think of lightly-colored brews with fluffy heads and banana notes. Anchor Winter Wheat is about 180 degrees removed from that image as it’s dark as a porter and opts more for roasted maltiness and hints of dark fruit. In fact, this probably is better judged as a porter than any kind of wheat beer, though I suppose “specialty grain” would be the appropriate style to view it as. It’s certainly an interesting beer and definitely has a unique recipe, and in that aspect it works pretty well.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a weizen glass. It was bottled on 9/26/14 and cost $2.75 ($0.23 per ounce).

Appearance: Deep black in color with red highlights. Pours to a large, brown, foamy head which mostly dissipates, but laces fairly well.

Smell: Mild nose with hints of dark malt, some fruity sweetness, and milky/dairy notes.

Taste: The first thing I notice about this beer is that it really doesn’t taste particularly wheaty, despite the brewery’s description of so many different varieties of wheat used in the brewing process. It’s closer to a standard porter as the dark malt is the most prominent flavor and it finishes – initially – with a dry bitterness and a dark chocolate sensation. Eventually, that confectionery note gives way to a general mélange of dark fruit and dark malt. The wheat is surprisingly muted, creating for just a slight tanginess on the finish. I did enjoy the almost lactose-like character, but I wanted so much more. Why not ferment with Bavarian yeast to give it a chocolate-covered banana taste? No that would’ve been memorable.

Drinkability: I was rather shocked to see the 7% ABV on the label, since Anchor Winter Wheat drinks more like a light-bodied summer wheat. The mouthfeel is soft and calm and goes down smooth like a hefeweizen. However, it doesn’t have the gusto or raw energy of a strong beer, which it should. I appreciate the easy drinkability, but I’ll penalize it for finishing entirely too clean. 
Grade: 6/10

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