Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ballast Point Dead Ringer

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (1466) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 1, 2015
Ballast 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.

RATING: 3/10

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