He’Brew Jewbelation 13February 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.