Tasting Notes with Jim Beauregard: Sam's winter collection is a sure thingBy JIM BEAUREGARD January 16. 2018 6:25PM
There are certain things in life that are inevitable. No, not death and taxes and perhaps the next season of "Game of Thrones;" I refer here to the next seasonal group of beers from Sam Adams.
In this case, we have Sam’s winter selections. Let’s get right to them:
Sam Adams White Christmas (brewed with spices): 5.8% alcohol by volume, 8 International Bitterness Units. This is a pale-yellow beer under a fairly large and creamy white head. The nose is all hops. The palate is dry, and this is where the spices come through. The acidity is good and the alcohol is well-integrated. It is a fairly light bodied beer, medium texture flavors of hops lemon, some general spiciness. Bright and refreshing.
Sam Adams Winter Lager (brewed with orange peel, cinnamon and ginger): 5.6% ABV, 22 IBU. Amber beer under a slightly off-white to very light tan head, frothing at the top. The malt comes through on the palate right away. There are some hops in the background. It’s a dry beer, with good bitterness, medium acidity, and again, well-balanced and integrated alcohol. It is medium-bodied with a medium texture and medium flavor intensities, which bring malt in the realm of caramel for the most part, with some hints of orange from the orange peel. There is little bit of cinnamon as the beer moves toward the finish.
Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale (brewed with cinnamon, ginger and orange peel): 5.9% ABV, 25 IBU. A much darker amber, heading toward a reddish orange. A tan head. The spices begin to come through beginning on the nose. There is malt behind that as well. On the palate, the ginger comes through loud and clear while at the same time remaining balanced — no small feat. This too is a dry beer, with good bitterness, balanced alcohol and medium to medium-plus body. The texture is a medium toward silky, definitely a heavier beer. The flavor intensity is medium-plus and brings with it multiple flavors of caramel, just the slightest hint of chocolate and coffee, as well as the spices noted above. More substantial, and very flavorful.
Sam Adams Amber Bock: 6.0% ABV, 18 IBU. The label says malty caramel notes and crisp finish, so let’s see: This lightens things up a bit. The beer is amber gold with a huge head, creamy most of the way through with some bubbles on top. The nose is a nice mix of hops and malt; the longer you sniff the more you get multiple aromas. It is a dry beer as well, with good bitterness, good carbonation and well-integrated alcohol. The body is medium and the flavors definitely tend toward mulch, with caramel, some toasty notes, even a bit of cookie. Definitely a treat around the holidays.
Sam Adams Oatmeal Stout: 5.5% ABV, 25 IBU. And here we go from white to very definitely dark. This is a dark brown beer, one you can barely see through, with a rich tan head. I poured this one into a Sam Adams glass and the top third of the glass is foam. The oatmeal is right there on the nose, along with other rich malt flavors, cereal, chocolate, grain and molasses. The beer is off-dry, by which I do not mean that it has a sweetness, but rather the bold flavors provide a delightful richness on the palate. The alcohol is, as always, well integrated for a Sam Adams beer. Medium-plus body and a more silky/creamy type of texture, and intense flavors that mirror the nose with the oatmeal residing for a long time on the back of your tongue and in the back of your mouth. Strong and delicious.
Sam Adams Chocolate Bock (made with cocoa and natural flavor): 5.8% ABV, 11 IBU. Chocolate has been showing up in the others, let’s see what this one brings. It is a slightly lighter beer than the stout, though still a dark brown, with a much richer tan head and a clear chocolate/cocoa aroma on the nose. It too is off-dry, with rich cocoa flavor, also in the background are cookie, hints of molasses and even some espresso notes. The alcohol level is balanced, and it is of medium-plus body. The chocolate stays with you right through the finish. Ideal for pairing with desserts that have any kind of chocolate in them at all.
And there you have the Sam Adams winter selection. There’s something for everyone so no one is disappointed through the cold season. All to the good on a cold winter night — not that we’ve had any of those lately.
Contact wine and beer writer Jim Beauregard at firstname.lastname@example.org