Tasting: June 29, 2012
Avery Samael 2012
I’ve mentioned in quite a few of my previous posts that information on labels can tell you a great deal about the beer in the container. One that I really like and have seen quite more of these days is OG (original gravity). Some will state the OG in degrees Plato. Water has a gravity of 1.000 and a beer with a gravity that is higher than 1.070 (17.5 Plato) would be considered a “high-density” beer. I’ll also say that anything over 1.100 ( 25 degrees Plato) is in the “sick thick” category.
High-Density beers are typically rich with fermentable sugars from the grains and the resulting beer should have a high ABV (alcohol by volume). This high ABV and the remaining unfermented matter should give the beer a full-bodied feel. Why? Alcohol is thicker than water and gives a more viscous mouth feel. Of course, I do worry when an ABV is too high as it might present a burn or astringent flavor interference.
So, let’s look at the label for Avery Samael. It says 31.25 degrees plato. That translates to 1.260. Easily the highest OG I’ve ever seen. Sucaba from Firestone Walker was 27 degrees plato or 1.108. The resulting ABV is 15.47% more than even most wine. This one is a barley wine (made with barley – ABV rivals wine), so not really surprised. More label notes – aged with oak chips. This is batch # 9 released in April of 2012 and is a single 12 ounce bottle ($8) from a lot of 736 cases. Pours a dark rusty orange, nose is amazingly sweet. Really no surprises here very sweet, caramel, molasses, raisin, oak with some subtle vanilla sneaking in on the back end. Has some whisky-like quality. On the negative side – very boozy burn. But hey I knew what I was getting by reading the label. My advice sip don’t swig. Overall — pretty good at 88 points.