Thursday, January 17, 2013

Grimm Brothers Sooty Brother Grätzer Ale review

Grimm Brothers Sooty BrotherSometimes an old world beer recipe is better than a new recipe. In this case, a old Polish style beer that was adopted by the Germans called a Grodziskie, or Grätzer, was turned into a recent offering at Grimm Brothers Brewhouse called Grimm Brothers Brewhouse Sooty Brother Grätzer Ale and put into bottles. A Grätzer is a wheat beer made with smoked malts and wheat and is typically a lower gravity beer and can be aggressively hopped. Grimm Brothers recently brought it back for another run at the brewery after being on hiatus for most of the last year.

While the actual ABV and IBU rating is not given on the bottle or on their website, Sooty Brother is most likely a beer that weighs in around 4-5% ABV, judging on their other similar creations. They offer this beer on draft and by the bomber bottle. This review is from a bomber bottle obtained directly at the brewery.

Grimm Brothers has a way with taking traditional German beer recipes and making it their own. I'm anticipating a slight twist to this smoked wheat brew and having just come from the Smoked Beers seminar at the Big Beers Festival in Vail, I was looking forward to taking another smoked beer.

Appearance: Sooty Brother poured looking like your typical wheat beer, somewhat pale yellow, slightly cloudy, and with a big white frothy head. There was plenty of carbonation in this brew also. The head stuck around for a while and there was plenty of lacing along the side of the glass.

Aroma: This brew was fairly cold, but initially I could definitely pick up a modest smokey aroma that reminded me of the smoked malts I've found in darker, heavier beers. Only this one had a slightly sweet aroma with a hint of clove as well as if someone had mixed in some light fruits and poured it over a campfire. The smoke reminded me of some sausages I've had in the past, but in a pleasant way. While there's no meat in this beer, it tended to evoke memories of it. I can't be sure, but I believed this to be beechwood smoke I picked up in this beer. On the second pour from the bottle when the foam was still thick, there was a much heavier fruity aroma and not banana, but more pear-like.

Taste: Once the beer warmed a bit, I tasted a classic wheat beer taste up front followed immediately of a modest smokey flavor. I could taste the wheat, it reminded me a bit of banana, slightly sweet, yet with a roasted smoke flavor in the background with a hint of spice that seemed to coat my tongue and throat on the way down. I was expecting a bit more smoke in this beer based on rumors I had heard, but I've learned that depending on what you've just eaten or tasted, your taste buds can be masked from some of the smoke flavor. The smoke flavor wasn't intense at all and seemed to be added in small amounts to give this beer a different twist from the norm. The beer had a medium-light body and the texture was somewhat creamy and slightly dry.

Overall: The more of the 22oz bomber I drank, the fruitier it got and the less smoky it seemed to become. I've learned from the recent smoked beer seminar that the smoke begins to hide itself as your session continues. The smoke was still there, but the smoke tended to get sent to the background at times. After the sips were over, I could taste the smoke left behind on my tongue moments afterward.

Grimm Brothers' Sooty Brother was a very easy drinking smoked wheat beer. Wheat beer lovers are going to enjoy this beer and it's extra added twist. I'm becoming more and more of a smoked beer fan. It tasted good even in the midst of winter.

Final word of warning. There was a fair amount of yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle and the last pour out of the bottle made the brew extremely cloudy and murky - so beware. Don't worry, the extra material can be tasty and add a bit of extra zing.

Disclosure: This bottle was given to me as a complimentary bottle from the brewer directly. Grimm Brothers is not a sponsor, nor are they paying me for this review.

Related articles:
- Grimm Brothers The Farmer's Wild Daughter review. (2013)
- Grimm Brothers The Fearless Youth review.
- Grimm Brothers Little Red Cap review.
- Elevation Prostator Smoked Doppelbock review.

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