Point is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries. Up until
recently, they’ve seemed incapable of error. But with “Dead Ringer,”
their entry into the Oktoberfest/Marzen style, they finally dropped the
ball. When my friends and I reviewed this in a blind taste test last
month it was awful. This particular bottle is much better than that one,
though it’s still not that good. It’s possible something may have
happened to this beer in transit to my area, but whatever the case may
be, it’s just a disappointing experience.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a shaker glass. It was bottled on 8/4/15 and cost $3.05 ($0.25 per ounce).
Appearance: Pretty copper/mahogany hue; fairly clear with some
carbonation visible. Pours to a small, off-white, soapy head which
nearly completely dissipates and leaves no lacing.
Smell: Fairly typical dark lager aroma, but a strong presence of
something off. A bit of a cranberry scented candle (and I don’t mean
that as a compliment). More mild than bad, but far from good.
Taste: Going into this beer, I prepared for the worst and hoped for the
best. It’s strange when you review a beer you had a bad experience with.
I was hoping it was just the bottle last time, but it doesn’t appear to
have been an isolated incident. There’s definitely a familiar Marzen
character here with the presence of slightly sweet darker malt and just a
hint of fruity flavor (maybe some toffee, too). Unfortunately, it’s
completely obscured by a sour tanginess to the palette. Much like the
nose, there’s a presence akin to cranberry in here: tart and a little
astringent. No hop character that I can detect. The flavor seems to
worsen as it warms. I don’t know what the deal is with this beer, but I
do not like it.
Drinkability: It always surprises me when a bad beer is nominally high
in alcohol. Ballast Point Dead Ringer is 6% ABV, which isn’t unusual for
the style. That being said, it does not deliver what I expect in a beer
with that potency. The mouthfeel is tepid, a bit oily, and a little
warming. It finishes clean, but it is not refreshing at all. There’s no
challenge to drink this, but there’s no enjoyment, either.