Shmaltz Brewing Co.
Saratoga Springs, NY/San Francisco, CA
Funky Jewbelation American Strong Ale
I’ve had mixed results with Shamltz’s “bigger is better mentality.” Sometimes, it’s left me disappointed and wanting me. Other times, it’s left me staring at the bar top wondering how I was going to make it home that night. But most of the time, they fall into the “not good, but not bad” territory.
Regardless, I respect what they’re trying to do and the originality they bring to the brewing universe with beers such as Funky Jewbelation, a barrel-aged strong ale that comes in just shy of 10%. But it’s not just any barrel-aged beer; it’s one aimed at putting others to shame.
Six of Shmatlz’s different beers are aged in different barrels, with 73% ending up in whiskey barrels and 27% being put in bourbon barrels. Those beers are:
- Jewbelation Fifteen (aged for three months);
- Vintage Jewbelation (aged for nine months);
- Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A. (aged for one month);
- Origin (aged for 14 months);
- Reunion Ale ‘11 (aged for 7 months); and
- Messiah (aged for 14 months).
Damn. All right, let’s get to it.
The beer pours black as night. It’s a little lighter brown toward the top but really murky throughout. Topped with a finger of a blink-and-miss-it head. The lacing falls off fast but alcohol legs go for weeks.
It’s super boozy on the nose (duh). Like stick-your-face-in-a-bourbon-barrel boozy. Just incredibly strong and almost overpowering. There’s definitely a whiskey character as well, but the bourbon is the stronges. There’s dark chocolate and dark fruits as well, but the booze is what hits you the most.
But oh, the taste. There’s a surprisingly strong carbonation on the front and a medium body mouthfeel follows, but the flavors on the end are spectacular. That booziness from the nose is masked with big globs of caramel, plums, figs, tart cherries, nuts and dark chocolate. It’s like a bouquet of deliciousness. To boot, it’s got a decadently smooth finish, like velvet. The booze is there, but it’s all bourbon coated and incredibly smooth.
I unfortunately couldn’t make it through a whole bottle of Funky Jewbelation, but I’m OK with that. It’s definitely something I would recommend sharing with a few folks, if only to see what different flavors and notes they pick up on. The barrel aging is unmistakable on the beer, and the blending techniques and various ages really brings out an impressively complex beer. L’Chaim once again.
Note: I’ll have a ton of posts from my honeymoon in Belgium up next week, including some reviews of some truly amazing beers. In the meantime, I’ll continue to post the reviews I’ve got queued up. Even during a whole week without any post, I still managed to get a steady stream of visits, so thank you all once again for reading. Cheers.