Last night, Jay and I decided to get a little more creative with our beer review photos. He was looking around the room, thinking of what we could picture along with the beer we were trying first, and had a “eureka” moment – why not feature the brews on the old, gigantic atlas? I loved the idea, so here we have Avery Brewing Co. Samael’s Oak-Aged Ale sitting nicely on a map of Colorado, right by Boulder.
And so begins the Atlas Series of beer reviews, although I promise to try to remember to bring my camera in the future, instead of just a crappy flip phone.
Avery Samael’s weighs in at a hefty 14.9% ABV, and this particular batch was the third of April 2007. Already 3 years aged, I could hardly wait to give it a try. The quote listed on the bottle had me even more intrigued; “Samael is the prince of death, accuser and destroyer….Behold his venom and vengeance, both sweet and tempting, enticing you, his spellbound victim, within his wings.”
After reading that, I had certain expectations for this ale, and Samael’s did not disappoint. It poured a lovely ruby brown with piles of sediment pieces, large and small. Its two fingers of head was thick and offered great retention.
The aroma was of straight-up bitter, dark chocolate. I didn’t really notice much of the oak, nor did I find the scent of overbearing alcohol, which I had expected from the high ABV. Upon tasting, flavors of really bitter chocolate (in a good way), molasses and heat from the alcohol were very evident. The bitterness hit hard up front, on the tip of the tongue and smoothed out by mid-palate to the sweet molasses and chocolate.
The heat of the alcohol remained on the sides and the back of the tongue and throat even after finishing the sip. Jay described it as a beautiful anger, and I can vouch for that. Along with the heat, bitter and sweet components, this ale’s body is very heavy with a thick and lustrous mouthfeel. Really enjoyable.
This was my very first taste of Samael’s and I hope very much to try it again. It makes a great after-dinner sipper. I wholeheartedly recommend.
[techtags:AVERY,SAMAEL’S,BEER REVIEW,OAK-AGED ALE]