This was a collaboration beer (Smaltz and Terrapin) brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla, cinnamon and coffee. It is an American Brown Ale brewed to raise funds and awareness for the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Institute.
Beer pours dark, but when held up to the light it has tawny/red tint that was surprising. The carbonation was moderate and the head was off-white to brown in color, appropriate in size and hung around for a while. Ultimately, the head ended up dwindling slowly to a set of small bumpy bubbles that rested nicely on the top of the brew leading to quality lacing as I sipped.
The beer was generally clear and free of particles. All the scents noted in its description: cocoa nibs, vanilla, cinnamon and coffee, were present. They were all there but the coffee and cinnamon stuck out for me, with the cinnamon clearly out front.
As I sipped, the flavors blended nicely and there was a taste of tobacco and leather which I found to be pleasing. The body was medium a bit slick, and slightly acidic. Although this was a fairly tasty beer to sip, it’s probably best as a limited release.
I think it would be far less appealing if it were available year round. I’m glad they release it to benefit a good cause. I know the novelty of it, and its potential evolution will keep me trying it each year. Although this is an American Brown Ale, I think this could reach the far corner somewhere near where it could easily be confused with a porter (in my opinion).
On a Rate Beer scale: Appearance: 3/5 Aroma: 6/10 Palate: 4/5 Flavor: 6/10 Overall: 14/20
Available year round / 8.7 ABV / IBU (Not listed, but guessing right in the 65-75 Range) / 12 oz. Bottle
Poured easy into a 12 oz beer mug, ended up with about ¼” of white head that lasted about two minutes. The body was golden-yellow, bright, and clear. The beer looks like it has a fairly thin body, but I don’t think Victory aspired to achieve anything close to balance here…this beer is clearly about the hops. In fact, American hops crush your nose from the time you pop the crown. At first, there is some subtle underlying pine scent, but the big ones are grapefruit and citrus. Clearly, this is a moderate-heavily hopped beer, but is still less than that overwhelming dank bitterness you get in some DIPA’s. The citrus flavors help to keep this bitter beast palatable and the carbonation is medium, which compliments the medium bodied mouth feel, making this easy to drink. You are left with the pine and grapefruit after you drink, which subsides when you get the blast of citrus in your nose while moving towards your next taste. Overall, this is an enjoyable DIPA that I would drink again. I was expecting a bit more from it based on what I have heard from others. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this brew. It is a very, very good beer, just slightly more towards a “common” DIPA than I would have liked. On the Rate Beer scale: Appearance: 5/5 Aroma: 9/10 Palate: 4/5 Flavor: 7/10 Overall 18/20