Saturday, February 23, 2013

February 23: Trevor and a glorious

As an avid homebrewer, I can appreciate the fact that the creation of great beer involve many variables.  Temperature, water/grain ratios, % alpha, type of sugar, etc...  Even the best of brewers sometimes make mistakes along the way, and as we all eventually find out, it can be better to just see what happens than it is to pour out the whole batch.  Today's beer is an example of a mistake that went gloriously right, and we return to my cellar to find it.

Aventinus, hailed as the most intense and complex wheat doppelbock in the world, has been produced by Germany's G. Schneider & Sohn (easily my favorite German brewery.  They produce Schneider Weisse, my "gateway" beer) for nigh on a century.  Legend holds that at some point in the 1930's, an especially cold winter transport resulted in partial freezing of a few casks of Aventinus.  Not knowing what to , and having a deadline to meet, the intrepid distributors simply scooped out the ice, and delivered what beer remained unfrozen.  The result was a highly concentrated version of the beer, as much of the water had been removed in the form of ice.  Those lucky enough to have a taste quickly spread the word, and thus, a legend was born.

Fast forward to present-day, where the master brewer at G. Schneider & Sohn, has recreated the legendary mistake to bring us Aventinus Weizen Eisbock, weighing in at a very respectable 12%, I'm anxious to see how 4 years of aging has treated us.

Almost as good a mistake as my son.  What?!

The beer pours a deep, reddish brown, with nary a trace of head, save for a fine lacing on the surface that doesn't ever disappear.  Aromas of yeast and prunes strike first, backing off to toffee and a touch of apricot.

Intense doesn't even begin to approach what's happening with the taste.  Buckets of dark, jammy fruit flavors are pushed forward by a torrent of molasses, caramel, and bready malt.  

The mouthfeel is gorgeous, at once thick and light, with a surprising tingly sensation on the tongue that lifts the heavy body.  It's only at the very end that a bit of the alcohol warmth reminds you that this is, in fact, a 12% beer.  The finish is likewise impressive.  Sweet on the lips, without being cloying, just begging for another sip.

What a wonderful mistake this was!

Rating: A-

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