Beer of the Month - Amnesia Sleighjerker [November 2007]
Alright, back to Amnesia Brewing for November's Beer of the Month. October was pretty a mild month for us out here, but November has finally brought Winter with days hovering in the mid 40's and a cold biting wind. So, we fight back the only way we know how--with stronger beers!
Weighing in around 8% ABV, Sleighjerker has the ability to take the edge off of a cold night (but honestly, I'd drink this one in any weather!). 8% ABV is also a range that can be tricky for beers. If the beer is too thin, that alcohol can poke out like a sharp stick. Of course, in the winter, you do want a bit of a bite, but you also still want to recognize the contents of the pint as a beer. Since we're not in Barleywine territory with this ale, the beer needs to balance out the alcohol and hop bitterness with a nice maltly base.
Too much of anything will knock a beer out of whack, but with a Winter Ale we can expect a dark brew balanced on the sweeter side. This residual sweetness comes not only from the higher quantities of malt used to raise the alcohol level, but also the different malts that are used. Darker beers make use of more heavily roasted malts for color and flavor. These malts can impart a smoky, roasty, or even chocolaty flavor. Because there are usually more sugars left behind in these beers after fermentation, the higher final gravity gives the beer a thicker body and mouthfeel, often classifying the beer as "chewy". While it doesn't quite eat like a steak, there is a noticeable difference when comparing these beers to browns and even some porters and stouts.
So, how does Sleighjerker measure up to these criteria? Great dark color, complex chewy malts, mild hop bitterness, and a great warming alcohol content make this a great beer to seek out and enjoy this Winter!
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