A #beer for everyone’s late night last night…Sam Adams 13th Hour Stout…

Happy New Year!  Everyone has now had a day to rest, pop some Advil like you are eating M&Ms, and officially put off those New Year’s resolutions for one day, because really, it’s just one day.  I mean, who can honestly give 100% to changing their life when they are completely hungover?

Instead, let’s chat about a brew that is definitely worth checking out in the 2012.  The Boston Beer Company has produced quite a selection of different beers over the years, and the brews have ranged anywhere from middle of the road to very eccentric and experimental.  Over the last year or so, Sam Adams began the Barrel Room Collection (http://www.samueladams.com/enjoy-our-beer/barrel-room.aspx) to display beers that are strongly influenced from the world of Belgian beer crafting.  During this time, they have released four different beers of quite unique styles, all showing their Belgian roots to the processes of preparation and barrel aging.  Today, specifically, I want to talk about the most recent release, the 13th Hour Stout.

Despite the name, the beer has been classified as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale instead of a Stout, and our friends at BeerAdvocate.com define this style as “on the same path as the Belgian Dark Ale, but obviously higher in alcohol, with more of an all around character.  The alcohol character can be deceivingly hidden, or can be very bold and in your face.  Look for lots of complexity within a delicate palate.  Hop and malt character can vary, most are fruity, and may have mild, dark malt flavors.  Phenols will range from minimal to high, and most will be light on the hops.  All in all, most are spicy and alcoholic.”  To break it down into a nutshell definition, these beers are strong, bold, and have the potential to knock you on your ass.  Big beers present a challenge to the palate, and a good challenge is always fun.  Now, as always, on to the beer itself.

Poured into a goblet, the beer is a dark ruby-brown, almost to the point of black, with some auburn highlights around the edges, and a thin ring of beige-tan head.  There is a pretty steady flow of carbonation throughout, also, which does help to keep the brew a little on the lighter side, despite the increased ABV and robust flavors.  The beer’s nose is funky, with a slight boozey character, and some heavy earthy tones.  The flavors are strong and complex, with a dark cocoa nib bittersweet backbone, some lighter old world fruit sweetness, including dates and fig, and an oaky, boozey tone.  There are some coffee characteristics deep in the beer, and some sour highlights, as well.  The aftertaste is a tart and sweet dark fruit blend more than anything else, with a linger of cocoa.  The finish is slick, with a slight linger.  Light bodied for the power of all the flavors, but a very interesting blend of flavors overall.  It’s a good beer, and it will give you a little different feel and flavor profile from the standard Stouts most people are accustomed to.  As I said before, the Stout title is misleading.  Or, if a malty, strong flavored, alcohol-packed punch in the taste buds sounds like a good time, then this beer is for you.  As I said before, this is a style a lot of people are unfamiliar with, but the bottom line is that it is a very well crafted, well-balanced beer.  Here’s hoping that I may have been able to turn some of you on to a new, different brew to try in the future.  Get frisky and brave in the new year, and your taste buds will thank you!  Drink educated, my friends!


One Response to “A #beer for everyone’s late night last night…Sam Adams 13th Hour Stout…”

  1. FMartinez Says:

    I picked this up as an impulse buy….was standing there, had my phone in hand, did a quick search while the cashier was checking on a price of another beer and came to your review. Your review combined with the unique bottle and my history of liking most of the Sam Adams brews compelled me to buy it.
    All I can say now is ….
    Thank you.
    Your review helped sell it…Don’t know if I would have committed to it otherwise, and I would have missed out on an outstanding brew. I’m going back for more.
    Just as an FYI, one of my favorite beers are Gulden Draak and this is right there with it in its “taste profile” IMHO.
    Thanks again.

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