Saturday, August 16, 2008

Deschutes 19th Anniversary Golden Ale review

Deschutes 19th Anniversary Golden AleMy last beer run offered me many choices. I knew I wanted to try out an Oregon brewery and Deschutes Brewery of Bend Oregon was on my list. The primary beer that was on my list to try was their Black Butte XX, but when I went to select that bottle I also saw a bottle of Deschutes 19th Anniversary Golden Ale. This brew was apparently one of their 1st attempts at a Belgian Strong Ale and a hefty one at that coming in at 8.7% ABV.

The interesting part was, this beer was already a year old, circa 2007, and had a year behind it. I wondered how a beer who has sat in the store cooler would taste. I was curious enough to buy it. Sure beat cellaring it myself for a year.

I purposely selected one of the bottles near the back of the cooler as it would have had less direct contact with the florescent light at the front. This bottle was relatively inexpensive coming in at just $3.59 for a 22oz bomber. So whether this was to be good or bad, the price wouldn't be hard to swallow at least.

Today was a gloomy, cold 60 degree rainy day in Colorado. A rare cool August day. It's been a nice change of pace from the long string of 90 degree days of late. I had a free afternoon and decided it would be a great time to open up the 19th Anniversary Ale. I put this beer in the fridge the night before and it was decidedly cold upon opening.

This beer pours a nice golden color. The beer was so cold that it quickly formed a heavy condensation around my tulip glass. It was difficult to tell if this beer was clear or not. After wiping away the condensation around the glass I could see that this beer was brewed clear but it had a fair amount of sediment in the brew. The head was modest, not very tall and quickly dissolved into a thin white layer.

The aroma of this beer was hard to pick out at first due to it's cold temperature. It wasn't over the top like an IPA and while cold it was difficult to distinguish the aroma. I could initially pick up on a floral and grassy-like aroma. As it warmed up I detected a bit of lemony citrus in the smell.

The taste was not very bitter initially but rather mellow with a nice caramel malty taste. I was expecting a bit of funkiness in this brew but it was not there. It didn't taste like a typical Belgian but rather a bit more subdued. It has a nice malt / hop blend. As it warmed the flavors came out more and more. It still had a moderate amount of carbonation and the mouthfeel was very decent.

For being a higher alcohol beer I felt that a year in the bottle had mellowed it a bit. I didn't detect any noticeable alcohol bit despite being a high alcohol brew. Age had calmed it a bit, but in this case is probably a good thing. I suggest letting this beer breathe a bit before sampling. Cold is definitely not it's best temperature. Air it out for at least 20 minutes or so after chilling in the fridge.

The beer ranking sites were OK with this brew. Not outstanding but still worthy of consideration. I enjoyed the entire 22oz bottle. It didn't give me a big buzz like many high alchy brews do. While I've certainly had much better, it's still a worthy brew after a year in the bottle. I'll give this a thumbs up and a 3.4 out of 5 rating.

I look forward to sampling this year's anniversary brew later on - the Deschutes Black Butte XX. I'm going to age this beer a few months before opening however. Age, it seems, brings out the best in higher alcohol brews.

Related Articles:
- Gulden Draak Ale review.
- Avery Collaboration Not Litigation Ale review.
- Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic review.
- Deschutes The Abyss review.

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