Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beer Review: Devil Dancer (2011 and 2012, fresh and one year old)

Reviewing a fresh and year old bottle of Devil Dancer from Founders Brewing Company.
Fresh Score: 86
Year Old Score: 45

Bottled 06/17/11 and 06/01/12. Served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 07/13/12.

Appearance: Pours a murky blood orange-red color. The fresh 2012 vintage looks a little darker in color than the year old bottle. The fresh bottle pours a thin layer of creamy tan color that settles to a pencil thin ring around the glass with okay lacing and retention. The year old bottle pours less head with less lacing/retention. 3.5/5

Smell: The fresh (2012) bottle has heavy notes of floral hops ahead of a strong caramel malt backbone. Some earthiness, lemon, citrusy pine and onion. Light booziness. Very balanced for such aggressive flavors. The year old (2011) vintage is super malty with strong doses of garlic and a little fruitiness. The 2011 bottle is much less balanced and aggressive in the nose and reminisce of a boozed up caramel-forward barleywine. Not getting any hops off the 2011 vintage. 4/5 (2012), 3/5 (2011)

Taste: The 2012 vintage is not as balanced on the palate as the nose leads on. Lemon citrus and piney hops, sugary caramel malt and a little onion. Earthy hops too. Very hop forward. Lingering spiced caramel malt flavor. The 2011 vintage is incredibly vegetal, caramel-y and barleywine like. Heavily laden with garlic and onion flavor with a ton of undesirable linger. This is a true palate killer. A little lemon in the background too. Strong lingering garlic flavor. Incredibly unbalanced and still quite boozy. This made me cringe as I sipped it. 3.75 (2012), 1.5/5 (2011)

Mouthfeel: Same mouthfeel to both beers. Medium-plus bodied, low carbonation. Oily mouthfeel. Bitter, sweet malty mouthfeel. 3.5/5

Overall: The 2012 kills the 2011 vintage. For what it's worth, the 2011 batch was not very good fresh either. I remember this beer being much more delicious when I first got into craft beer in 2009, but I only really liked IPA back then and had not really explored the depths of the IPA genre yet. This a very caramel-forward and hoppy beer that does not try to hide the hot booziness.

Recommendation: Casual beer drinkers should avoid this brew. If you like earthy hops and caramel-forward IPA or English-style barleywines, give this one a whirl. If you do decide to buy a four pack, DO NOT AGE ANY! Drink this one fresh.

Pairings: Indian food.

Cost: $19.99 for a four pack.

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