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He’Brew Jewbelation 13

February 8th, 2010 beckel

Today I have an ale that has been sitting in my fridge for many months begging to be consumed, so I figure now is as good a time as any. As if their last iterations weren’t enough the fine folks at Shmaltz who produce the He’Brew line of brews have done it again with their 13th Anniversary Ale: Jewbelation 13 – Bar Mitzvah. For a moment lets pretend the 12 hops and 12 malts used in last years Jewbelation weren’t enough so this year they have continued the tradition with 13 hop varieties, 13 malt varieties and allowing this ale to clock in at 13% ABV. I have thoroughly enjoyed He’Brew’s past Anniversary Ales and I hope to feel the same way about this here lucky 13 ale I hold in my hands. Onto the good part. This ale pours with a lovely light creme brown colored head that easily creates over three fingers of tight bubbles that very slowly open fading after four or five minutes leaving a small ring of bubbles around the surface of the liquid. The brew is an incredibly dark amber hue that looks black even when brought to light, allowing no light through except at the very surface of the brew. Aroma consists of a solid dose of alcohol, enjoyable caramel & creme esters, additional gentle sweetness, soft dark pitted fruit notes and moderate bitterness. Flavor is massive and complex. A variety of contrasting flavors are present from sweet creme and chocolate to a myriad of bitter notes including coffee, bitter-sweet chocolate, many roasted malts and a good dose of alcohol. While malty notes are predominate for me in this ale as well as those in the series I have consumed thus far, this one allows the hops to shine through a bit more. A variety of gentle citrus, floral and other fruity hop esters are present throughout, but most notable towards the end of your sip and add a very enjoyable and needed contrast to the massive malt profile of this ale, though not quite as much as I would like. Alcohol is certainly present and notable but provides a nice bourbon accent to the ale and is no surprise considering its 13% ABV. Body is medium-heavy and the mouthfeel is full and quite carbonated. Over all this is one full flavored and incredibly malty bitter ale. I tend to drink my ales (including this one) at just below room temperature and would encourage you to do the same. The closer this ale gets to room temperature the more caramel and pitted fruit esters come out which is quite nice. While I enjoy and sincerely respect the task that He’Brew has set out to do with the last few ales in their Anniversary series this ale really makes me wonder how much longer they can continue with the current trend and manage to create a well balanced ale. Any homebrewer or knowledgeable beer connoisseur knows how difficult it is to manage such a variety of hops and malts and I am always an advocate of experimentation especially on such an intense level but with so many grains and herbs it is difficult to create distinct flavor profiles and I somewhat miss that in this ale. Definitely an incredibly flavorful ale, and one I have enjoyed drinking but unquestionably not an ale for everyone, or even most people. If you enjoy complex, inventive, malty and intensely bitter ales you should certainly allow this ale to tempt you. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

He'Brew Jewbelation 13 Bar Mitzvah

He’Brew Jewbelation 12

March 13th, 2009 beckel

Today I have an ale that I was lucky to find because I didn’t search for it until months after its release. Shmaltz the brewers of He’Brew “The Chosen Beer” out of Saratoga Springs, New York decided there was no better occasion than their 12th year of production to make one simply insane brew. Crafted with 12 varieties of hop, 12 varieties of malt and and an impressive 12% ABV. Boy golly I can’t wait to see what this ale has in store for me but if you want to see more iterations of the number 12 feel free to check out their website. I had the opportunity to sample a few “Freak Beers” from Shmaltz at the Autumn Brew Review but thanks to many samples prior I don’t recall much about them other than they tasted fine so lets get onto the important part. This ale pours a dark color that looks black until you bring it to light where you can see some ruby hues but just around the edges of the glass. The brew is incredibly opaque and produces about two fingers of creamy light brown head that lasts for a few minutes and leaves a bit of lacing around the glass and on the surface of the beer.  Aroma includes some dark pitted fruits, mostly date, raisin and a bit of cherry with some alcohol on the nose, but not very much considering the 12% ABV. Sweet malt comes across most in the aroma though there is certainly more going on it is difficult to separate the scents with the amount of pitted fruits I am getting. Well done. Upon my first sip of this brew it is amazingly more balanced than I feared particularly after watching the guys over at Beer Tap TV review it, though they certainly do it justice. Flavor is of strong sweet dates, slightly sour cherries and a decent amount of hoppy bitterness near the finish though you are left with a sweet flavor in your mouth. There are so many flavors in this brew it is wonderful, yet it doesn’t seem confused because of the amazing malt backbone. Mouthfeel is smooth and a bit creamy and the body is medium but relatively light for a beer with so much in it. The 12% ABV is undoubtedly there but only slightly noticeable in the taste. This is simply a marvelous ale though it is more malty than my staple brews I plan to return to a secret location and grab whatever stock they may have left (cross your fingers). Though of course if anyone here would like to sample some let me know, I’m always happy to share good brew. Those who enjoy big beers and dark pitted fruit flavors will most likely appreciate sampling this ale just be aware your not getting into something average. A great beer for connoisseurs who can handle their alcohol and enjoy expanding their palate. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

He'Brew Jewbelation Twelve