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Monday, July 27, 2009

Massive Beer Showdown - 2006 Avery The Beast vs. 2005 Dogfish Head Raison D'Extra

I was happy to have enjoyed this back to back battle of the titans with my father-in-law during our Sunday video golf & beer ritual. The '06 Avery's The Beast boasts a hefty 14.6% abv, while the '05 DFH Raison D'Extra is a whopping 18% abv. Both true heavyweights in the beer realm.

2 Beers Enter - 1 Beer Leaves!!!
(ala Thunderdome style)

Joe was ready to pronounce a winner after his first few sips of D'Extra, claiming that it was, "even better than The Beast." After pouring The Beast though, he quickly rethought the comments and declared them equals. They both share many similar qualities, especially the hearty abv% and the abundance of raisins & fermentable sugar, which makes each one drink like a port, or brandy.

In the end though, if I could only choose 1 to drink, the nod would go to The Beast. Mild edge of complexities, IMO.

Avery's The Beast
A+ / 4.8
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | drink: 4

2006 vintage...
Appears a dark mahogany toned amber with a small, off white cap that retains nicely considering the abv of 14.6%. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is hugely complex mimicking a fine cognac, or port wine. Lots of malty brown sugar, molasses, raisins, prunes, dates, honey, doughy bread, tropical fruit. I could smell this stuff all night long.
Taste is of the enticing aromas. Great mix of raisins, dark sugar, molasses, honey, and date sugar. I mean...there's nothing I could say that's bad about it. It's just one to be savored and enjoyed as a digestif.
Mouthfeel is sugary, doughy, chewy, boozy, and warming. Despite the high abv, it's actually quite delightful and enjoyable. I could see how some would be turned off due to the amount of residual sweetness but I'm perfectly fine with it. To me, it's not cloying. It's just a sipper that's been smoothed out with a countering of hops and age. Lay it down for 3+ years and you'll be glad you did.

DFH's Raison D'Extra
A+ / 4.65
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4
Vintage, 2005 bottle that's been hiding in my cellar since the day I purchased it.

Appears a slight haze of dark amber with a small tan head that quickly fizzles out into a tiny cap and collar. The lacing is minimal and tends to droop back down into the outer rims.
Smell is of huge amounts of rum soaked raisins that have had all of their nectar squeezed out as a fermentable sugar. Lots of brown sugar, a hint of cocoa, and notes of brandy and port. Very slight trace of oxidation showing, which is welcomed in this massively complex beer.
Flavors of caramel, raisins, prunes, dates, figs, and tobacco jump out along the tongue.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, chewy, mildly carbonated, sweet, and boozy. A true sipper.

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