Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ballast Point Calm Before The Storm

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1439) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 27, 2015
Coffee and vanilla are flavor additives you usually associated with a stout or porter. But with “Calm Before the Storm,” Ballast Point shows these ingredients can work just as well in a lighter brew. It’s interesting that they went with a cream ale to try this with, though it’s rather moot since the base brew really is overshadowed by the coffee and vanilla. You might consider this a novelty beer, but I consider it a good beer.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 7/13/15 and cost $3.85 ($0.32 per ounce).

Appearance: Surprisingly dark copper/amber hue (it’s golden on the brewery’s website); pours to a small, ivory, foamy head which doesn’t retain or lace all that well.

Smell: A sweet iced coffee scent; I can actually detect a bit of corn, too. They don’t clash, though.

Taste: This beer is intended to be a warmer weather alternative to an imperial stout brewed with the same flavors. It’s certainly an interesting choice and it does work pretty well. The coffee is evident immediately, but it’s not deeply roasted and extremely bitter; more of an iced coffee with sugar and cream. The vanilla gives it a bit of a chocolate candy flavor. I don’t detect the base brew until the finish when a bit of corn emerges. At first it’s an odd, slightly distracting flavor, but I get used to it quickly. Only a mild bitterness on the backend with a slight drying sensation. It doesn’t get any more complex than this, but these flavors are enjoyable enough to make for a good beer.

Drinkability: I was a bit surprised to see Ballast Point Calm Before The Storm was only 5.5% ABV. I was expecting this to be a stronger brew. The mouthfeel is a bit calm and a little thinner than I’d prefer. It’s crisp as it goes down and there’s only a mild iced coffee aftertaste which eventually fades completely. I would not consider it refreshing, nor would I consider it so richly sweet that it works as a dessert beer (at least not on its own).

RATING: 8/10

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