Food, Beer, and Travel

a dump from the mind of Jon Piper

Decadence 2007

Posted by jwpiper on January 10, 2009

This is my first post about anything Alesmith. Where to begin? Alesmith was the first of my American brewery obsessions. The first brewery in America to make me go several hours out of my way to visit it. The first American brewery to force me to fly cases of their beer back to my home. Indeed, even since discovering some distant stars including Russian River or Deschutes, and even with delicious breweries so nearby and available, I would call Alesmith my favorite American brewery. They truly are craftsmen.

I consider myself blessed to have opportunity to partake of their special offerings, including the Barrel-Aged releases and the yearly Decadence offering. I recall when they announced that Decadence would be an Imperial Porter. My anticipation was palpable. Fresh, this beer was incredible. I enjoyed several at the time and bought a case for the cellar.

Now I revisit it after nearly a year to ruminate, and I am not disappointed in the return on my investment. The 750ml bottle at cellar temperature was split into 3 snifters.

Pours black (very, very dark brown) with a large khaki head which turns to a thin lacey layer.
The smell immediately introduces itself and quickly dominates the room. It is concentrated with smells of very sweet fruits, particularly dates. There is also chocolate and tootsie roll.
The flavor borrows from the aroma. It is very sweet at this point, but with excellent balancing bitterness. The booziness of the offering is still there, but more subdued than last year. There is plenty here to carry this one further into the future.
This beer is thick and full-bodied. It is smooth and the carbonation lends a light airiness to it at cellar temperature.
This beer is very much an introspective sipper, but there are very inviting smells and flavors through the session. Very drinkable for 10% ABV.
Fresh, this was a special beer. I wanted this one to develop a bit, and I should have tried it at 6 months because it seems to have evolved pretty quickly. At this point, though, it is better than fresh, in my opinion. It has taken on some additional barley wine characteristics, and it is an excellent beer which will continue to mature in the cellar.
$10/750ml, if I recall. A good value on an excellent beer. Of course, finding this for sale would be difficult at this point since it was a one time release almost a year ago.

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