Friday, November 11, 2011

Beer of the Week (Vol. CXXIII)

Another edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the sure shots at Glen Lake Wine and Spirits who can help you find the target when it comes to hunting for the right wine, whiskey, and beer.

Schell's Brewing Company is a well-known Minnesota brewery which has been producing beer on its grounds just outside of New Ulm for over one-hundred-and-fifty years. They recently rolled out a special collection of beers that they call The Stag Series:

Drawing upon our 150 years of brewing knowledge, we are combining our experience, creativity, and curiosity with these new brews. The Stag Series is collection of innovative and experimental, limited-edition beers to be released periodically throughout the year.

Somehow I missed the first three beers in The Stag Series. Number Four is our beer of the week The Burton Ale:

Before India Pale Ales were synonymous with Burton upon Trent, there was Burton Ale, a darker, sweeter beer. Burton Ales were so popular, in fact, that as recent as 1948, it was considered one of the four main types of British draught beer, sitting beside mild, pale ale, and stout.

More so than perhaps any other beer style in history, the demise of Burton Ales happened amazingly fast. Brewers, faced with the consumer preference for bitters and lagers saw sales of Burton and mild ales plummet. By the end of the 1960s Burton ales were virtually gone.

Schell’s Burton Ale is a nod to a forgotten style of beer. It has a soothing blend of bready malt and hop bitterness. A mild woodsy character is prevalent. A hint of dark pitted fruit and a trace of caramel give the beer a subtle sweetness. The pleasant hop bitterness at the end gives Schell’s Burton Ale a smooth, dry finish.

To begin crafting this brew, we used traditional floor malted Fawcett Maris Otter as a base. The malt bill also includes torrified wheat and two different British Crystal malts. As is traditional for British brewers, we added sugar in the kettle, in our case turbinado and some Dark Candi Syrup. Our Burton Ale is hopped with Nugget and Goldings, fermented with a British ale yeast, dry-hopped, and aged for 3 months prior to release.

Burton Ale? Never heard of it. This should be interesting.

12oz brown bottle. label features classic Schell's look with blue and grey colors.

STYLE: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by Volume: 8.0%

COLOR (0-2): Copper brown and clear. 2

AROMA (0-2): Bready and a little sour. 2

HEAD (0-2): Good volume, off-white color, with good retention. 2

TASTE (0-5): Mostly malty with flavors of toasted biscuit, caramel, nuts, and a touch of sugar. Hops are more muted, but come in nicely at the end. Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel that doesn't have much carbonation. Medium-bodied and although you can definitely pick up the alcohol, it's pretty drinkable. 3

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Nice bitter, slightly sour finish. 2

OVERALL (0-6): If you like that distinct flavor that many English ales have, you will enjoy this beer. And if even if you don't, you still might like The Burton Ale because it's got a taste that's all its own. The malt flavors are very complex and the creamy mouthfeel is sumptuous. The alcohol is not overpowering, but it does kind of sneak up on you in a good way. A great beer for late fall/early winter nights. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 15