I Picked up a bottle of the 2009 Rejewvenator “Shmoppelbock” from Shmaltz Brewing/Hebrew. Hailed as the “second coming of Rejewvenator” on the Shmaltz website, this is a slightly different beer than last year. The base recipe seems to be the same, a doppelbock brewed with lager yeast, Belgian Trappist ale yeast, and Belgian abbey ale yeast. The kicker this year is dates. While last year’s Rejewvenator was brewed with loads of tasty fig juice, 2009 is “the year of the date”, introducing date concentrate into the mix. Here’s my notes:
Aroma: Initially the aroma was all about caramel malt with a pronounced sugary “Belgian” banana and spice yeast character. A good deal of dark fruit aroma was apparent, but nothing that I would describe as “date”. Like a blind date gone good, the date aroma revealed itself in my glass as the evening went on and the beer warmed in my glass.
Appearance: A lovely clear mahogany/amber with light red highlights. Creamy off white foam that lingered. Legs that went all the way up to the edge of the glass when swirled.
Flavor: Rich caramel malt with a sharper bitterness than expected. Spicy hop flavors accentuate the spicy character of the Belgian yeasts. While the dates may not come through immediately in the aroma, they certainly do in the flavor, giving the beer a sweet fruitiness. The flavor of the dates, however, doesn’t quite complement the flavors of the base beer the way that the fig did in last year’s version. Alcohol is apparent, perhaps more than it should be for 7.8% ABV. Finish is sharp and dry like a lager.
Mouthfeel: Lager-like crispness with balancing residual sugar creaminess. Higher than desired alcohol warmth. Medium carbonation.
Overall Impression: While I think that 2008′s fig juice was a better match overall with the base beer, the dates weren’t bad. A nice twist on an already solid beer. I found this beer a touch boozy for the level of alcohol. Otherwise, this was a full-bodied, rich, sweet, fruity beer with the kind of style-bending complexity that I expect from Shmaltz owner Jeremy Cowan. I definitely enjoyed it.