Thursday, February 26, 2015

Shiner Birthday Beer

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (1290) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 26, 2015
It kills me when breweries can’t make a killer dessert beer. A chocolate stout should be fairly idiot-proof (I know, I’ve homebrewed a bunch of them – they’re easy). So why is Shiner Birthday Beer only okay? Probably because it’s made by a macro brewery and they’re targeting a macro audience. This is quite mild even for a flavored stout and those just starting out with craft beer will probably find it robust, but veteran drinkers like me will find it only okay.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date and it cost $2.50 ($0.21 per ounce).

Appearance: Brownish/black color with some red highlights. Initially pours to a large, tan, foamy head but it almost completely dissipates and leaves little to no lacing.

Smell: Almost identical to German chocolate cake with hints of cherry puree and coconut.

Taste: Judging by the smell, I was assuming (and hoping) this beer would be liquid chocolate cake. It’s closer to a generic pub-style stout with some faux chocolate flavoring and a cherry/raspberry character. The brewery’s website indicates it’s made with chocolate malt and real cocoa, but I’m sure there’s plenty of natural and/or artificial flavors that went into this. It has a slightly oily character, perhaps that’s cocoa butter or maybe diacetyl or it’s just from the ingredients used. It’s akin to generic candy made from milk chocolate, but nowhere near as rich and tasty as an actual slice of German chocolate cake. I do enjoy the cherry/raspberry flavor lurking in the backend, though. Whether that’s from real fruit or an added flavoring or just from the malts I do not know. Overall, it’s a fine tasting beer but not as good as I could be.

Drinkability: Another reason this beer is a little disappointing is due to the surprisingly thin and virtually flat mouthfeel. It’s only 5% ABV so it shouldn’t be a beefy, full-bodied brew. Still, it should feel like old soda in the mouth and there should be a bit more of an aftertaste than this. On the other hand, it’s easily drinkable – almost ridiculously so. Another advantage for newbies. 
Grade: 6/10

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