He’Brew Jewbelation Twelve: Better With Age

I found a 22-ounce bottle of He’Brew Jewbelation Twelve, the 2008 anniversary beer from Schmaltz Brewing Company. Jewbelation Twelve continues the brewery’s proud tradition of incorporating numerology into their marketing. (The brewery also has another theme, but I can’t quite figure out what it is.)Schmaltz He'Brew Jewbelation Twelve

I got the beer on the advice of my old friend Bruce, who found it priced nicely. He told me that it was strong, but that I would like it. I was slightly trepidatious when Brucie told me that it “sorta” reminded him of Sam Adams Triple Bock, a beer that faithful readers will remember was most unwelcome on my palate.

I found a copy at Beers of the World in Rochester and snapped one up. And like the titular monster in the late Spalding Gray’s box, it sat in my fridge for a couple weeks, waiting … nay, daring me to drink it. I finally decided to take the plunge. I picked a night that I didn’t have to go anywhere, since this son of a gun is twelve percent alcohol… by volume!

My first pour of Jewbelation Twelve was a dark red-black, and the oily consistency of red wine. When you hold it up to the light, there is some red at the edges. The aroma on this first go-round was black licorice, along with dark grape skins. There is also an element of heavy cherry cordials … or maybe cherry cough syrup. Also, an unusual gritty barley aroma comes out.

The taste is overwhelmingly cherry, and more of the cough syrup variety. It’s a good thing I didn’t buy more than one bottle of this, I whimsically thought to myself, because I’d probably be put on some kind of federal methlab watchlist. There are some other flavors, like some sugary sweet malts; somewhere between a sweet winter ale and a brown sugary brown ale. A hint of sweet molasses, but a little too cloying at the swallow.

I didn’t fall in love, but I appreciated it for what it was, which is a slooow sipper, in need of a bitter balance. I sent a text to Bruce and told him my thoughts, and he told me to cork the remainder of the bottle, throw it back in the fridge and give it a few extra days. He said that it mellows nicely. And since Bruce and I have had the discussion as to whether a beer actually gets better once it’s been opened, I trusted him on this one.

So I brought an armful of brews over to my friend Doug’s to watch the Academy Awards. (No, he’s married and I’m straight, so no, before you even ask.) As they were putting their kids to bed, I waited in the living room and decided to finish off the 12th.

I poured a small amount (maybe 8 oz) into a small tumbler.

The beer this time was completely different. Gone was the saccharine cherry sweetness, and in came cocoa and a pleasant chocolate flavor that resembled something along the lines of Kahlua. Now, I don’t drink Kahlua on a regular basis, and wouldn’t normally prefer it to any beer, but in this case the transformation of this beer was kind of astounding. It was a mitzvah!

So I say buy it, open it, put a stopper in it, and then try it again 48 hours later. Worked for me. L’Chaim, indeed!

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~ by William H on February 24, 2009.

2 Responses to “He’Brew Jewbelation Twelve: Better With Age”

  1. Hey Herb. This is Zak from Shmaltz Brewing Company. Thanks so much for the Jewbelation 12 review. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It does age wonderfully. It’s definitely worth buying a bottle and putting it somewhere safe (and not too warm) for a year or so (if you can wait that long). These beers can age for a while and really round out a lot. L’Chaim!!

  2. Thank you Zak, we here are huge fans of your brewery. (My personal faves are Lenny’s Bittersweet RIPA and Genesis ale.) Some of the Schmaltz beers are a little harder to get here in Syracuse than I would like, but I’m snapping up all the new ones I see. Thanks for the comment!

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