Blind Review 0003: A Review of a Beer Camouflaged by a Paper Bag

It’s time for another Blind Review of a beer unbeknownst to myself. Again, the ground rules here are that I have no idea what is in the bag above — I didn’t buy the beer, I didn’t pour the beer, I didn’t put the beer in the bag. I will taste the beer and rate it like I do every other beer, try to guess its style, and then reveal what it is.

This beer was presented to me with a small, quickly diminishing head, spread atop a copper brown liquid that took on sweet tea highlights in the light. The body of the beer was clear, free of particles or sediment, and there were just a few bits of lacing left behind as I sampled.

The aromatics were very malty; right away, there’s a wave of caramel and general roastiness, rounded out by some nutty aromas and a faint hint of coffee. There’s a nice little floral/fruity note, but you have to search for it. On the back end of the sniff, I found a hint of some dark fruits. The entire nose gave off a very sweet aroma.

To the tastebuds, initial flavors are a bready caramel. The overall beer is slightly watery, and the flavors don’t change much — the finish hits with more of the caramel, which fades into toasty bread. The mouthfeel is thin and carbonation is soft, and given how sweet this beer is, it’s actually quite refreshing.

My style guess: My initial thoughts were a Brown Ale, but after tasting it, I decided to go with an Amber Ale because it didn’t feature any of the more classic Brown Ale flavors, like chocolate or some sweetened coffee.

So what beer is this?

Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale, 83 points. Price: $1.79 US for one twelve ounce bottle. Alcohol by volume: 4.5%

Final thoughts: Damn! I should have stayed with my initial guess. The bottle says “a flavorful brown ale brewed with a touch of pure maple syrup.” I didn’t detect any hints of maple in the aromatics or flavor, but that certainly explains the sweetness. This isn’t a bad beer, but for a Brown Ale, I thought it was too watery and it left me wanting more flavor. This would be a good session beer for a craft brew beginner, or if you just want something really sweet.


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