I rarely splurge to get the latest rare, fancy beer. It is not that I don’t appreciate them, nor am I too cheap to cough up the dough. I just find I prefer to pick up a six-pack or a couple of bottles of something designed for daily consumption. However, from time to time fancy overtakes me and I pick up a bottle of something expensive and rare.
Recently that resulted in my purchasing a bottle of Infinium the collaboration beer between Samuel Adams and Weihenstephaner. Now, many of you will have long since tried this beer and moved on. It has been around for a while. I just never got around to buying it (see opening paragraph). Actually I bought the bottle a couple of months ago, and it took a while to find an opportunity to open the 750-ml bottle of 10.3% alcohol beer.
And (spoiler alert!) was I ever disappointed. Which is actually, well, disappointing, because I have great respect for both breweries and happily enjoy many of their beer. Let me describe what I found.
It is a slightly hazy, pale orange beer with a loos, bubbly, active white head that build fast, like champagne, and then died done. High carbonation levels. It has a sweet, fruity aroma reminding me of white wine. Honey, apricot, sweet malt character. Some earthiness hits my nose as well.
The sip starts with a tart fruity sweetness, like a tangy apple. I also pick up some light biscuit and crystal malt. In the middle this fruitiness gives way to an odd tartness, like eating a not-quite-right piece of fruit. I get some sour mash and rotten apple as well. The honey hangs around, however. The finish is sweet but with a strong twinge of sour and not the good kind. This sourness feels rabid and messy rather than clean and straight. The linger offers warm, almost hot, alcohol. It also offers a touch of generic hop bitterness.
I am not sure what is happening here, but it doesn’t seem right. That rotten fruit sourness clearly feels like it doesn’t belong. I know that Bruts can be on the funky side, offering some unusual tastes, but this doesn’t seem like that. I don’t want to be presumptuous and guess at what exactly that flavour is. If it wasn’t such a pricey buy, I would get a second bottle just to see if it is possibly a bottle issue. But I won’t. I have a hard time believing it is quality control – as both breweries are meticulous with that kind of thing. So I am left a little perplexed.
And, frankly, a bit disappointed.