This beer was brewed almost one year ago and I’ve been sitting on the beer since. As the strongest beer I’ve made, clocking in at 11.5% ABV, the beer needed time to condition.
Appearance: Pours a crystal clear amber in color with reddish highlights. Coarse carbonation yields a small head that quickly dies to thin wisp. Swirling the glass demonstrates a high degree of viscosity and legs.
Smell: Honey and malts with mashed raisins. Absolutely no hop character to speak of. The malt profile completely dominates the nose with a thick aroma of sticky sweetness.
Taste: Malt bomb. Unfortunately, bitterness is restrained and does not cut into the thick and chewy malt character. Complex malt profile of caramelized figs, cocoa covered raisins, and sharp stone fruit (maybe form yeast?). Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick, and velvety. Coats the tongue. The alcohol, while not completely masked, gives the beer a noticeable warming.
Overall: Given the underattenuation (1.120 to 1.035), I’m a bit disappointed in the beer. Although not bad it misses the mark for me. It’s just too sweet, thick, and overly malty. Next time I will need to pitch more healthy yeast to get better attenuation, or start with a lower original gravity. While I like the approach of malt layering in this beer, it needs to be backed up with higher attenuation. The bitterness also needs to be at least 20 IBUs higher to cut through all the malt.