Thursday, April 30, 2015

He'Brew St. Lenny's

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1338) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 30, 2015
From what I can tell, St. Lenny’s is Shmaltz’s “Bittersweet Lenny RIPA” fermented with Belgian yeast. I don’t believe the base brew was changed, as it is as much the malt and rye bomb as the regular edition, though the hops seem much less pronounced here. It’s also possible that what I’m drinking is a rather older bottle since I’ve had it on tap and it’s seemed a little more complex and robust. The Belgian character really doesn’t come through, but this is still a very interesting brew when viewed as an American Double IPA.

I poured a 12oz bottle into the official Shmaltz snifter glass. There was no freshness date. It came in a mixed 4-pack for $10 ($2.50 per bottle or $0.21 per ounce).

Smell: Malty sweetness; some vanilla; lemon lollipop. No Belgian esters.

Taste: For a supposedly hop-centric brew, there’s a lot of sweetness to this beer. It’s remarkably vanilla and woody-tasting, almost as if it were barrel-aged. Sweet amber malt mostly, some lemon flavor akin to hard candy (which is usually an indication of oxidation). The bitterness is so dank it’s almost cloying. Some notes of sticky resin can be found. There’s a fairly sold rye spicy bite on the finish, though it’s not as strong and bready as I’ve encountered before. It’s a little disappointing that there isn’t much in the way of noticeable Belgian characteristics that are often associated with the yeast esters. Perhaps a touch of perfume-like flavor and aroma; I think they’re actually obscured by the rye. As an eccentric variation on the DIPA style, this works.

Drinkability: Shmaltz knows how to make big beers drinkable and St. Lenny’s is no exception. The mouthfeel is quite big with lower carbonation and a bit of sticky sensation to the texture. Belgian yeast tends to create for a very spastic mouthfeel, but this feels more like an English barleywine in its delivery. At 10% ABV the alcohol is there as far as warmth, but it’s in no way distraction or overtly “boozy.” It finished remarkably clean, too, which is quite nice. I’m glad this is now available in 12oz bottles as it’s an ideal serving size.

Score: 8/10

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