Blind Review 0002: A Review of a Beer Disguised by a Paper Bag

Here we go forth with another blind review. Again, I have no idea what this beer is; I didn’t buy it nor did I pour it. I reviewed it in this state, with the bottle concealed in a brown paper bag that can’t be seen through. I should also note that I forgot to take pictures right after the pour like I normally do (probably because I broke from routine by not pouring this beer myself) so a bit of it made it to my stomach before the above photo was snapped…

The pour made for a very small and compact head that faded quickly. The liquid itself was an amber/orange color, clouded with large pieces of sediment. Little lacing was left behind.

At first sniff, right off you notice that this is a high alcohol beer. I detected some nice aromas of orange and caramel, with some darker fruits mixed in. But the standout was the alcohol, and there was so much of it that the aroma bordered on hairspray. I sniffed a little deeper and got some oak and a nice note of roasted coffee, along with a trace of bubble gum. What was here was complex, but almost ruined by the overwhelming alcohol.

The taste reveals a heavily malted beer, with a huge caramel blast that leads into a little bit of the orange found in the aromatics. Then in the middle of the taste, the alcohol takes hold, and it’s just overwhelming. The finish is reminiscent of very sweet coffee, with a touch of cinnamon.

As this beer warmed, a sweet woody note came out. It really stood out and was unique.

The flavors that are here are good, but they’re almost ruined by the heavy alcohol. Without knowing what the ABV (alcohol by volume) on this is, I would guess it is at least 10% or higher. The initial flavors almost remind me of a standard Pale Ale, being so malt forward, but I know it can’t be with this high of an ABV and the woody taste when warmed.

I think a couple of years of aging would do this beer some good.

My style guess: I’m going to have to guess a Pale Ale, as I can’t think of anything else this reminds me of. I know that will be wrong.

So what beer is this?

Founders Curmudgeon, an Old Ale, 79 points. Price: $3.99 US for one twelve ounce bottle. Alcohol by volume: 9.8%.

Aha! Now that I know what it is, a point to make: Maybe I’m just not a fan of the Old Ale style. I recently rated another Old Ale brew, North Coast’s Old Stock Ale 2011, and it only got 78 points. I noted much the same with it; the alcohol was high and a medicinal taste overwhelmed the good flavors.

Not sure how fresh this bottle of Curmudgeon is (no date on the bottle) but I would love to see how this beer (and the Old Stock Ale, for that matter) ages and compare it a few months from now. Hey, maybe we’ll do that, since we now have Redux Reviews…

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