Style: Rauchbier with 100% Vermont Maple Syrup added
From: Framingham, MA and Warren, VT
Brewer’s Note: “This beer was brewed as a collaboration between Jack’s Abby and Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Valley Malt malted all the 2-row malt in addition to the specially smoked malt with hand-sourced wood from VT. Brewed with one gallon of maple syrup per barrel of beer. An addition of lactose sugar and brown malt rounds out a beer that tastes great from breakfast till dessert. Enjoy!”
The beer’s label is a classic Jack’s Abby label. It is weird how the bottle provides no information about IBU’s or OG (both mainstays on the Jack’s Abby labels) but odder still is the lack of an ABV. I suppose they get away with it by calling the beer a “malt beverage brewed with maple syrup,” but I still thought they had to list it somewhere. The label can be scrapbooked, but is probably not worth shelving.
The beer pours a dark candied red, with brown highlights that hint at the maple syrup within the beer. The beer pours with a nice head of medium sized and creamy bubbles the color of whip cream mixed with maple syrup. The head leaves a minimum amount of lacing on the glass. In body the beer is lager-clear with some tiny particles floating about the glass and a light haze presumably also from the maple syrup. On the nose, the beer smells of sweet bacon and maple syrup glazed ham. The smoked malts smell very similar to Jack’s Abby’s Fire in the Ham rauchbier, just with a sweeter and syrupy twist. There is a definite briny salt character mixed in with the bacon smells and that is also quite inviting. On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet and salty with a very light touch of acid and bitter grassy hops. In flavor, the beer begins as sweet apple juice flavors, quickly building into smoked malt flavors and then blossoming into maple glazed bacon with salty ham on the side. The finish brings a kiss of sweet and syrupy maple and light smoked bread flavor from the malt, and the aftertaste is clean and light featuring a kiss of maple syrup and some slight briny ham flavors. In the mouth the beer feels light, maybe just a touch below the light side of medium, except for a little congealing that happens on the back of the tongue. The carbonation is smooth with just a light prickle to help keep the sweetness caramelly and not cloying. The mouth is left lightly damp with some smoky dryness on the cheeks. Overall, this is a beautiful beer with terrific maple characters and some great smoked malt character, and a very great amount of drinkability. It would pair beautifully with breakfast foods, and is definitely worthy of cooking with. It is an all-around enjoyable smoked lager with some beautiful fresh maple flavors. Try this beer.