Friday, August 20, 2010

Beer of the Week (Vol. LXVII)

Another edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the sugary folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can you help you satisfy your drinking sweet tooth.

The fourth beer in Summit Brewing's "Unchained" series is Summit Belgian Style Golden Ale:

What's in a name?

This beer could have been called just about a million different things. The famous beer and whiskey writer, Michael Jackson, refers to the style as "Strong Golden Ale". Others reverse the order and say, "Golden Strong Ale". It's even entered at the Great American Beer Festival under the category "Belgian-Style Strong Pale Ale".

Why all the different names? Well, it seems that Belgian brewers aren't all too interested in adhering to any strict style guidelines and would rather name these beers after the Devil or other seedy characters. We kept it simple and called it Unchained Series Batch 04: Belgian Style Golden Ale... not that I didn't come up with a bunch of other stuff first!

Water, malt, hops, yeast and... Belgian Candi sugar.

Those first four ingredients may sound familiar. Belgian Candi sugar, however, may be something you've never heard of. It's what gives Strong Golden Ales their strength. Basically, by adding a bunch of 100% fermentable sugar, the yeast is able to create a lot more alcohol, without adding body to the beer.

More alcohol, less body? Sounds like Atomizer's fitness regimen.

Standard brown Summit bottle. Label follows the pattern of the Unchained Series with an industrial look and brewer's signature.

Alcohol by Volume: 8.6%

COLOR (0-2): Gold, mostly clear. 2

AROMA (0-2): Malty, fruity, and bready with hints of honey. 2

HEAD (0-2): White and full. Good lacing. 2

TASTE (0-5): Complex. Mostly sweet bready malt at the beginning before the heat (8.6% ABV) comes on and the flavor becomes more bitter and citrusy with a sharp finish. Noticeable change in the palate as it settles in. Medium to heavy bodied. Somewhat drinkable, but probably better suited for sipping. 3

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Smooth yet strong as the alcohol definitely lingers. 2

OVERALL (0-6): This may not be a home run for everyone, but Summit is definitely swinging for the fences here and you have to give them credit for a most interesting beer. I was impressed with way the flavors evolve as you consume the beer. With the high alcohol content, it's right on the edge of being too hot, but Belgian Style Golden Ale manages to walk that fine line. Summit continues its Unchained Series run with another quality offering. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 15