November 28, 2014

Ratchet Biere de Mars Tasting Notes

This is a review I thought I would never write. This strange biere de mars recipe, converting a dunkelweizen into a biere de mars, came out in early pours as a just awful cloying mess. All the munich, crystal and wheat malt just came together to make a sweet beer and then when I used the Hacker-Pschorr lager yeast with it's terrible attenuation it pushed out a beer that was like drinking carbonated caramel syrup. I pushed aside the bottles for almost a year in hopes that something salvageable would emerge. Thankfully, it has.

Appearance: Very dunkelweizen-like with a dark caramel color and heavy haze. Thick cream-colored head hangs around before slowly retracting back into the beer. A wisp of foam follows the beer down to the bottom of the glass.

Aroma: Peach, pear, cherry, caramel, toffee, wheat bread, banana, white grape, slight hay and funk notes.

Flavor: Caramel and apricot notes dominate followed by white grape and wheat bread. Hints of melon, banana, cherry, berry jam and port. Curious leather note. Grain character is mild and the hops are nonexistent in the flavor (or aroma). Sweet alcohol notes are present in the background. Very sweet taste, almost cloying but tolerably sweet, especially on a cold night.

Mouthfeel: Predictably heavy. The wheat and residual sugar leaves behind a beer with a very chewy mouthfeel. The beer comes on almost undrinkably heavy at first but the beer lightens up on the tongue. There is a dryness after the beer is swallowed that seems out of place but helps balance the beer.

Overall: I wouldn't say this beer is among my favorite but it is a nice beer to have in rotation as a cold winter night sipper. It has aged well into something I can safely move off the dump list to the hold-and-age list. There has definitely been some oxidative effects in the bottle that have transformed the cloying sweetness into a port-like beer. It reminds me a little of Bruery's Sucre but like a poor clone attempt. Still, not a bad comparison to be able to make.

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