Deschutes Brewery Pinot Suave – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 11.8% ABV | 15 IBU

Deschutes Brewery Pinot Suave Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 11.8% ABV | 15 IBU (C$26.99 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, packaged on 25-Apr-2016, acquired 22-Aug-2017, reviewed 18-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear ruby-tinged deep amber with one finger of fizzy ivory head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: complex, tobacco & leather, grape must, caramel, stone fruit, oak, berries. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low tart, moderate-low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, lively carbonation, tart warming finish. (4/5)

Well, this is a heaping big mess of what the hell was that? And I don’t (necessarily) mean that in a negative way.  (Though, as beer-wine hybrids go, it’s not the best I’ve had – that distinction belongs to Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot.) Specifically, I’m not convinced that the selection of Pinot must was the right choice here, since I found Noble Rot’s botrytis-infected Viognier to exhibit much deeper and complex character. Pinot is, well, Pinot. (Come on, it’s a soccer mom grape.) On the up side, I’m getting a very pleasant leather and tobacco note right at the outset, which works well in the context of a red wine. (Which, let’s face it, based on ABV alone, this pretty much is – and a fairly pricey one at that, at least as far as a non-wine-drinker like me is concerned.) Though, to be honest, if I had tried this before Noble Rot, I might have considered it the cat’s pyjamas – not least of which because the ABV on this is nearly thirty percent greater than Noble Rot’s. Good stuff, and a true oenophile (as opposed to a bullshit artist like myself) might consider it great – but I wouldn’t know, because I’m said aforementioned bullshit artist and not a true oenophile. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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