AleSmith Brewing Co – Horny Devil

I’ve written numerous times about the unfair three tiered system for the distribution of beer in America.  Breweries can’t always distribute their beers all over the country, so it makes it difficult for consumers in other areas to get a hold of certain beers.  There is, however, sometimes when I walk into a store and get a big surprise despite the system.  At the start of the summer I did a little bottle shopping in NYC.  I wanted to find beers that weren’t available in my area.  For the most part I accomplished that; however, I walked into a local store the other day and found some AleSmith.  While in Brooklyn, I grabbed a bottle of Alesmith Speedway Stout thinking I would never see one again.  I still haven’t opened it out of a desire to save it for a special situation; however, I found three different bottles of AleSmith in a local store the other day.  I’m not sure if they are starting to come into the area, but after dragging that big bottle all around NYC, I’m kind of upset I didn’t need to lug it all over the five boroughs.

Walking into the store, I was quite surprised to look up on an upper shelf and see three different bottles of AleSmith looking back at me.  I had gone there to buy a change of pace beer for brewing this past Saturday.  It would seem I’ve amassed mostly stouts and IPAs in my supply right now; therefore, I really wanted something lighter and more Belgian to be a different change of pace amongst the beers we were consuming while brewing.  The three different Alesmith beers were Old Numbskull, Grand Cru, and their Horny Devil.  While interested in the other two, they were both kind of heavy for what I was looking for.  Don’t worry, I’ll head back to pick another one or two up at some point.  Ultimately I needed to get something a little more light and refreshing.  I suppose a Belgian Strong Ale isn’t really light and refreshing, but I thought it was a better change of pace since it was brewed with coriander.

AleSmith states this beer is a Belgian Strong Ale that has been brewed with Belgian candied sugar and a Belgian yeast from a Trappist monastery. They also let you know that this beer has won multiple awards, including Gold in its category at the California and Colorado State Fairs, Silver medal at the World Beer Championships, and People’s Choice at the San Diego Strong Ale Festival. Coming in at 11.0% ABV, I couldn’t help but think this is going to be a great beer, even if I don’t think it’s the beer that put AleSmith on the map.

This one poured out a bright yellow straw color with some orange tint here and there.  There is some moderate white head that develops on top of the beer with some fairly decent lacing and pretty substantial sticky residue.  The beer is super hazy for sure which adds to the fact that you can see basically no carbonation in the glass.  The appearance of the beer is slightly more surprising when you hear that the beer is up to 11% ABV.  It looks like a much lighter beer.

The big lemony citrus aroma dominates the smell of the beer.  There are some very pleasant pineapple notes that combine with the lemon scent to give the beer a little bit of a tropical smell as well.  There is a light scent of apples that gives the beer a slightly cider feel; however, you also get some light spiciness as well.  You do smell some of the sweet malts in here, but they aren’t too overpowering.  You certainly have no sign of the hops on the nose, so I was hoping they would show up a little more in the flavor profile.  Surprisingly, it’s a Belgian strong ale that somewhat smells like a hefeweizen.

The flavors start with some light sweet malts.  These mix with some tropical fruit flavors like pineapple and mango.  Interestingly, although they hype the Belgian Trappist yeast they use in the brew, I really don’t get the big significant yeast flavor I typically get out of most Belgian beers.  The yeast flavor is lightly there, but it just doesn’t steal the show like it normally does.  The coriander steals the show in the second half of the beer.  You have a transition from tropical to lemony flavors.  They of course compliment each other quite well.  There is some light tartness that comes in towards the end of the brew.  The tartness combines with the cider taste that came through on the nose; however, I still don’t really spot the hops in the flavor profile at all.  The beer ends with a little bit of a light sour apple taste and some very slight spiciness.

The mouthfeel features a medium body beer.  It doesn’t land too much on the syrupy side, but it does have some light syrup quality throughout.  The moderate syrup and medium carbonation level help keep a big alcohol beer tasting fairly light and not too heavy.  The beer also finishes a little drier as well.

This is basically the first experience I’ve had with AleSmith, and I’m a big fan.  I’m not sure this is the number one beer on their roster, but I do have a bottle of Speedway Stout sitting around which may be an even better example of their top notch brewing.  I’m really looking forward to picking up a few other bottles from them; however, I would certainly revisit this one sometime in the future if I had the chance.  I would recommend you do the same.

Teacher Grade: B

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