Brewery: Austin Beerworks
Style: American Strong Ale (22B)
Package: 12oz Can
Purchased: November, 2018
Packaged Date: Consumed Date: 12/16/2018
Details from the Brewer
The axe drops in fall. Battle Axe is a supercharged ESB. It’s very strong and very balanced. English malt provides a caramelized sweetness on the front end and the American hops provide a full citrus/fruit finish. As big and bold as it is, it’s very easy to drink – deceptively so. Cause this imperial logs in at 8% ABV, just have one and you are set. Immediately. Any more than that and be ready for battle.
Aroma – 10/12
and piney hop character are prominent as a medium-high level. Some caramel, bread crust, and sweet malt
aroma are also featured at a similar intensity.
A touch of alcohol peaks through as well. Clean fermentation character.
Appearance – 3/3
Pours a deep amber, with bits of copper color. Fine tan bubbles compose a thin layer of head, that sticks around with average retention. Decent lacing for a high abv beer. Great clarity, throughout the entire can.
Flavor – 15/20
Starts with a resinous, earthy, piney hop character, that is quickly joined with a caramel and grainy malt note. All of these flavors are prominent at a medium-high level. Secondary orange citrus and floral hop flavors appear in the mid-taste. Some deeper bready malt character as well at a low-medium intensity. The beer is sweet, but somewhere north of a moderate sweetness and not cloying. On the finish, a touch of pepper comes out as the malt fades. The finish is interestingly dry. Balance is equally favoring malt and hops. Subtle red apple-like fermentation esters.
Mouthfeel – 5/5
A medium carbonation hits the front of the mouth. Body is medium high with a slight oily texture. Some creaminess. Decent alcohol warmth in the throat on the finish.
Overall Impression – 7/10
This imperial red drinks a lot easier than it should, and packs some nice flavors. The hop character here is spot on for the style. I don’t mind the bitterness where it’s at, but I would like a bit more malt character to last the finish. As it warmed, I found the slight peppery character on the finish to be a bit distracting. I’m not sure if it’s coming from the hops, or fermentation.
Rating – 40/50
In the context of an “American Strong Ale” this really nails most of the marks to contend with arrogant bastard. That said, if Velvet Hammer from Peticolas was available, I think I’d reach for that first. This is more of an Imperial Red IPA, where I prefer the more lesser-hopped American barley wine versions of the style.