Sprecher Tasting Notes!

Astute readers may remember that I said I had lost the notes I took on the Sprecher Brewery tour. Well guess what? Cleaning out my disc golf bag I found them! That’s certainly a strange place to put them, but that’s where both of my “lost” pages were squirreled away.

First up, the Mai Bock. This blonde beer has a slight amber tint. There is barely any haze below some creamy white head. The aroma is bright with malty caramel and bready notes. The taste is dry and the body thin, so immediately this seems almost flavorless. Upon inspection you may note the hint of a dirty, earthy hop flavor that reminds me somewhat of the hops in PBR.

Next I tried the IPA², their double India pale ale. This one is a pale caramel amber color and is almost clear. The head is creamy and off white. There is a slightly sweet, delicate floral hop nose that comes through as lilacs and roses. The flavor is rich with earthy hops. On the sides of the tongue a somewhat one-dimensional bitterness disappears quickly, leaving a lingering malty sweetness.

I went on to have the Abbey Triple. This golden yellow beer has some turbidity and some white head. The aroma is exactly that of one of Elvis’s favorite sandwiches, peanut butter and banana. I would hardly believe it transcribing these notes now if I hadn’t written, “No foolin. An Elvis sandwich. Weird.” The flavor is strongly of bananas with a bit of clean malt and clove character coming through. This one has a lot of unfermented sugars remaining giving it an over the top sweetness that turns cloying. I’m not really sure why all these breweries think that you make a Belgian-style tripel with hefeweizen yeast, but this is yet another one. (Brewers: go with Wyeast 1762 or White Labs 500, please!)

Then, at the behest of the brewers, I tried Hop on Top, their new extra pale ale. They were soliciting comments, so presumably this was still in beta, and it showed. Brilliantly clear and the color of straw, this beer has only a hint of white head. The hop aroma is grassy, sharp, and green (the character of fresh, unkilned hops). The first thing I notice on the taste is that the body is pathetically thin and the beer entirely lacks malt flavor. There is a strong grassy hop taste, but this takes on the almost medicinal character of hop extract. Watery and thin, this beer is actually very unpleasant to drink.

To wash that taste out I had their Russian Imperial Stout. It is pitch black with a big pillow of tan head (that doesn’t quite last long enough). The nose is mild, earthy, and dry, with toast and a good amount of coffee. The roasty and robust flavor, strong with coffee (though not overpowering), is almost meaty. A light sweetness and plenty of carbonation activity keep this richly flavored beer from being oppressive. Sprightly, like Chris Farley.

+Sprecher Russian Imperial Stout

3.8 (4-7-8-4-15)

+Sprecher IPA²

3.3 (4-7-6-3-13)

+/-Sprecher Abbey Triple

2.8 (3-7-5-2-11)

+/-Sprecher Mai Bock

2.6 (3-7-4-2-10)

--Sprecher Hop on Top

1.5 (1-5-3-1-5)

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2 Responses to “Sprecher Tasting Notes!”

  1. Mr. Izzle says:

    I dislike how ratings are ordered. I wish they were right after the notes in the body of the post, but even if they were in chronological order at the end, it would eliminate much hunting & scrolling.

  2. couchand says:

    There are a number of reasons I have things the way they are.

    I put the figures at the end of the article because I want to deemphasize the numerical ratings. The rationale for this is best explained by John David Stone in his article “Scales“. The gist of it is that aggregating ratings (such as on a site like RateBeer) commits a statistical fallacy when not everyone’s scales are the same and not everyone weighs each criterion equally. I would add that even a given person’s scales change over time. Thus I want to discourage such oversimplification.

    This is why I introduced the thumbs up/thumbs down system. I feel this has significantly more use in giving a person an overall feel for the quality of the beer without attempting to represent it numerically. However, this is still quite inferior to the actual description of the beer. I suppose I hope that after reading my descriptions you would already have an idea of how I would place it on the thumb scale, and since those are color-coded, I figured you would be able to quickly find the relevant ratings.

    If you look around at other beer blogs you will note that it is very rare to include any sort of rating. I believe this is because there is a widespread belief in the primacy of a textual description over a numerical one. However, to follow the example of Michael Jackson (the Beer Hunter) we try to find something good to say about every beer, and I agree this sometimes does not give a good picture of which beers are decent and which are great. That is why I have committed to posting ratings as well.

    The reason I put them in rating order at the end is purely aesthetic. I decided I don’t like the jumbled up way it looks when the thumbs are out of order.

    So for now I won’t be changing it. Fortunately I rarely write about more than two beers in a single post so you shouldn’t be inconvenienced too frequently.

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