Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quick Sips: He'Brew Funky Jewbelation blended barrel-aged sour ale

The He'Brew line by Shmaltz Brewing tend to be big and interesting, but few have been as interesting as this blend of six big fat ales aged in bourbon and rye whiskey barrels. A bunch of beers from their line (many limited) were aged anywhere from 3 months to over a year in these barrels, and then were blended together to make this beer.

Oh yeah, and for good measure, it's a sour beer, too.

When your blended beer outlines a bunch of brews that look like barrel-aged monsters stuffed into bourbon and rye-whiskey casks, the last thing you expect is for it to smell SOUR. Yet it does. Turns out the "funky" part of the name means it's a wild ale. Totally unexpected when I bought this! Maybe I should have read up on it first ... ?

Nah. Buying blind is half the fun of trying new beers.

Anyway, the aroma is like a boozy malt vinegar, but in a pleasant way (if you can imagine it). The taste follows suit. There is good sourness upfront with booze that quickly slices through. There is a lot happening behind this -- this beer is a blend of some tasty and imposing ales, after all -- but the taste finishes on rye whiskey that is, again, sour. Those two elements dominate everything else. The backbone of this beer wants to be a nice brown ale, but there is so much pure FUNK happening that all the brown is funked right out of it.

Throw in the whiskey and bourbon and it threatens to be a mess. At times it is, and at times it's a mess of joy. Hard to decide which, but I lean towards the former. This is an interesting, complex beer, but there might be a little too much going on for its own good. Hard to wrap my head around it with just one bottle.

If you like challenging beers and the idea of a barrel-aged dark sour sounds good to you, worth picking up if you can still find it. IF. I drank this (and wrote most of this) about a year ago.


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