Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale Review

Brewery: Boston Brewing Co. | Beer: Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale
Style: Winter Warmer | ABV: 5.9%
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig AleOld Fezziwig is named after the character in Dicken's Scrooge, the main character's jolly employer from the "Christmas Past" flashback. Sam Adams call this beer a Stong Brown Ale, but I think it's more appropriately listed as a Winter Warmer. This was a Winter seasonal from 1995, when it was first brewed, until 2000, when it was discontinued. People were disappointed, and although there apparently wasn't enough demand to justify bringing it back as a solo offering, it's now included in Sam Adam's Winter twelve-pack.

The malt body is composed of what the brewery calls Two-Row Pale, Munich 10, Chocolate Malt, and Caramel 60 varieties. While hops come in the form of Tettnang Tettnanger and Hallertau-Mittlefruh Noble varieties. The brewery also adds orange peel, cinnamon and ginger in the way of spices, to "impart a rich spice complexity that balances against the deep malt character." The brewer describes Old Fezziwig as the "Christmas cookie of beer," and I can see why.

Appearance: Clear dark reddish brown body. One finger of off-white head. Leaves above-average lacing. A handsome beer that really looks the part for a Winter evening.

Aroma: Roasty sour malt with lots of spice and some hints of booze. Not much in the way of hops.

Taste: Lots of sour roasted malt that's chocolaty and nutty. The hops ramp up a little in the finish, but still but never really come all the way to the forefront. Alcohol comes through every now and then, but the malt body conceals it well. Everything is nice and balanced for the style, but unfortunately a little thin. The aftertaste, conversely, is rather full very malty.

Mouthfeel: A little creamy, but much more lighter-bodied than you'd expect. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: It goes back easily enough with it's thinnish body and moderate alcohol. Certainly one of the quicker Winter Warmers I have tried yet.

Verdict: As you'd expect from a Sam Adams offering, this is a solid beer, but nothing that special. I'd heard great things about this beer, but it just seems kind of average to me. Certainly not worth buying the mixed Winter twelve-pack just to get two bottles of this beer, but not necessarily the weak spot in the pack either.

Grade: B-

No comments: