Today I’m going to be looking at a heavy weight in the DFH line up, the 1997 release Immort Ale. This was the first hint we got from DFH that there were big things on the horizon (as well as the first glimpse of all the maple syrup to come) as the beer clocks in at a substantial 11%ABV and is packed with all kinds of flavors. I don’t really have much of a lead in for this one, so let’s just taste.
THEM: Immort is classified as an American Strong Ale. It is brewed with maple syrup, peat-smoked barley, juniper berries and vanilla. It is then fermented to 11%ABV with a combination of English and Belgian yeasts and then aged in oak tanks. It finishes out at 50IBUs with a non-specified hop.
ME: Wow. This beer pours dark, but if you hold it up to the light it’s sporting a nice, deep, ruby red color. The carbonation and lacing are nice, considering the head fades pretty rapidly to just an island of bubbles on the top. The nose (oh, the nose) is an amazing combination of dark sweetness that comes across as maple, caramel malt and perhaps a touch of brown sugar thrown into the mix. There’s also a hint of wood/smoke to be had, as well as a subtle fruitiness that for lack of a better word I’ll describe as raisony. The flavor is really where the smoke shins through. The other aromas translate over to the flavor, but they’re in a supporting roll here as it’s the smoke that’s the main player. There’s a sweetness to this beer as you’d expect from all that dark, sugary stuff but it’s not cloying. In fact there’s a little smack of it after the finish (which doesn’t have any a strong hop bitterness) but not so much that it’s overwhelming by the end of the glass. Speaking of end of the glass, towards the end I found the Juniper berries peaking through. Not too aggressively, which is good because they’re not one of my favorite flavors. If you take the time to climb into this glass to see what it’s all about, I think you’ll really appreciate the complexity that’s going on. But if you were just drinking it to drink it, you might be a tad overwhelmed if you’re not a fan of smoke. Then again, if you love smoke, there probably isn’t enough. But then it would really drowned out the rest of what’s going on in the beer.
This is a beer all about seasons. On a hot summers day, don’t open it. But if it’s a chilly autumn night or a cold winter’s afternoon, Immort is definitely your glass of beer. Which is pretty funny as Immort tends to be brewed in the spring, to coincide with the harvest season for maple syrup. I’m giving this a SIX-PACK. It’s big and it’s deep, and definitely deserves a place in your fridge. But it’s not a beer that you need a ton of (especially if you consider the $$). And although I’m not normally one for aging beers, this is one that might be fun to save a bottle until next years first snow. You never know what you might have.
Time for another beer.