From He'Brews website:
Anniversary Celebration Ale
Brewed with 16 Malts, 16 Hops, and Soaring to 16% Alc"
Specialty 2-row. Vienna. Munich. Wheat. Chocolate. Crystal Rye. Dark crystal. Rye. Roasted barley. Spelt. Flaked Qinoa. Roasted wheat. Flaked oats. Caramunich 40. Carapilsner. Kiln amber.
Fuggle. Wilamette. Golding. Palisade. Tettnang. Crystal. Ahtanum. Columbus. Zythos. Cascade. Centennial. Apollo. Siimcoe. Summit. Citra. Amarillo.
Wow...that is a ton of stuff!
I didn't know what to expect when I popped the bottle but I was hoping for something special so here it goes!
Pours a dark brown/black with a 3 finger head that went away by the time I was able to snap the picture. Lacing so far is non-existent except for small group of tight bubbles in the center of the glass. With such a high gravity beer I wasn't expecting much head so I am not surprised. Poured syrupy it looked like as well so I am doubly excited for this as I can already smell it.
Very reminiscent of Dark Lord on the smell. It smells very sweet with big raisin and fig and dark cherry notes. A touch of chocolate and some caramel as well. Boozy notes mixing in with all of that and making something special so far judging by the aroma. Not getting much on the nose as far as hop aroma goes but I am guessing it is getting masked by the big sweetness there is to the beer. Letting it warm in my hands and a few swirls of the glass I am getting a lot more caramel and it just peaks my excitement so I'm going to dig in!
That caramel I was getting on the nose shows up front and center and leads into those dark fruits. Finish is a really awesome roast that I didn't pick up on in the nose and then a lingering bitterness on the finish which feels like a mix between dark chocolate bitterness and a bitterness from the wide array of hops that are used. If there is any flavor here from the hop additions then I am missing it due to the huge malt presence. A subtle spiciness on the tip of the tongue as well that almost got lost with everything this beer has going on. Mid-palate I'm getting a tiny amount of milk chocolate and sweetness. For a beer that has just an 87 rating on Beer Advocate I have to say I am blown away by this beer. Is it a mess? I honestly don't think so. Flavors are mostly easy to pick up on even with the large malt bill and the beer itself is not overly sweet which is what I was expecting in the beginning.
Heavy/full in the mouth and a lingering non-dry finish. The finish lingers in the mouth for a while with that dark chocolate bitterness and makes you impatient for the next sip. At 16% you definitely taste the alcohol and feel it in the chest as it goes down but it is a welcome addition to everything else that is going on. Just another layer of flavor and complexity.
I wish I would have picked up a few more bottles of this early in the year because this beer is going to age wonderfully. It already drinks great now but with time those flavors are all going to meld together and form an entirely different yet delicious beer. I am impressed with the only beer I have had from these guys and I will certainly look out for the upcoming anniversary beers.
Cheers ladies and gentlemen!