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Brew Review: Widmer Brothers Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout ’12

Widmer Brothers Raspberry Imperial Stout '12I stopped in at D’Vines in Columbia Heights the other day looking for something new to try.  I was hoping for something dark and strong to celebrate the cooler temperatures and found this beer.  I’m a fan of the Widmer Brothers Heffeweizen and figured that a Russian Imperial Stout would do the trick.

The beer pours black with almost no head.  There is some light fruity sweetness on the nose from the raspberry that is mellowed out by a bitter chocolate aroma at the end.  The flavor is mostly dark, bitter chocolate as expected from an imperial stout.  There is some fruit sweetness at the end whcih helps balance the lingering bitterness.  There is less  fruit taste than I expected from the aroma but that keeps the beer from being too sweet.  It has a surprisingly thin mouthfeel for a boozy stout, which I appreciated.

Overall, I enjoyed drinking this beer.  It is very drinkable for an imperial stout and wasn’t too sweet despite the raspberry.  The lingering bitterness keeps it from being a sessionable beer for me though.  Plus, at 9.3% ABV in a big bottle it could make for a short session.

-DK


Brew Review: Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Maple Wheat

Editors note: with several moves from the area and departures from the JStreet Team, we’ve added some new help.  DK will be joining the team as our newest reviewer.  Everyone say “Hi DK!”

Recently, I saw this beer on tap at RFD and decided to give it a try.  I’d had a few Harpoons and found them generally enjoyable but knew nothing about this beer.  The idea of maple in a beer seemed like an interesting twist on all of the summer wheat beers that are now available.  The name conjured images of frozen trees being tapped for syrup and snow being melted for beer which, in the middle of summer in DC, was a very tempting thought.  I was hoping for a mild beer with a sweet finish.  Sadly, the beer delivered none of these things.

The beer pours a caramel color with a medium head.  There is very little aroma at all.  The beer tastes like…actually, it’s hard to say.  It doesn’t have the mild flavor that I expect in a wheat beer.  It doesn’t have much maple flavor or any other sweet taste.  There is a mildly bitter aftertaste that could be burnt sugar, probably from the syrup, but not something that improved the flavor.

Aside from the slight aftertaste it’s a drinkable beer but not at all what comes to mind when one thinks maple wheat.  I guess I’ll just stick to summer wheats.

-DK


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