Head has been brewing limited-release brews in collaboration with
famous musicians in the last few years. “American Beauty” is a Grateful
Dead-sanctioned brew which is made, appropriately enough, with almond
honey granola. It claims to be an imperial pale ale, but is probably
better viewed as an American Strong Ale since it doesn’t follow style
convention (then again, what DFH beers do?). It’s definitely a unique
beer, and overall a good one – just not a great, memorable one.
I poured a 750ml bottle into the official Dogfish Head goblet. It was bottled on 11/14/14 and cost $13.99 ($0.55 per ounce).
Appearance: Beautiful shade of deep copper/orange color. Clear
complexion with consistent carbonation visible. Pours to a large,
off-white, foamy head which laces and retains pretty well.
Smell: Strong honey presence, as well as strong alcohol presence. Slightly medicinal.
Taste: An eccentric brew like this is difficult to describe since
there’s so little frame of reference. Comparable to a pale or amber ale
in both appearance and base malt character, though it’s presence of
almond honey granola that really drives this palette. Initially, there’s
a strong taste of raw honey with some minor grassy and zesty flavors
lingering. Through the middle I detect some light nutty character
(almonds especially), and minor spicy hop bitterness as well. On the
finish there’s a strong boozy character, akin to honey-flavored whiskey
or bourbon. There’s a lingering aftertaste of alcohol, slightly dry, but
easily tolerable. This recipe probably would’ve worked better on a
smaller scale, as it seems to be lacking subtlety. What’s here is good,
but not of the high quality I normally associate with Dogfish Head.
Drinkability: I’ve reach a point where 9% ABV on a beer label doesn’t
intimidate me, though once in a while I’ll encounter a brew that weighs
me down like American Beauty. The alcohol is present in all facets –
aroma, taste, and weight. There’s significant warmth on each swig and
the taste is closer to whiskey or vodka than any kind of sweet vanilla
usually found in high gravity craft brews like this. The mouthfeel is a
bit tepid, noticeably thick, and low in carbonation. There’s a residual,
slightly sticky aftertaste. I can overlook it, but I’d rather not have