Saturday, July 7, 2012

033. Full Sail Session Black

I saw this one a few weeks ago at my local Spec's Liquor Store in NW Houston, and I must admit that it was the odd packaging that attracted me to Session Premium Black Lager. This has a decidedly old-school look with a simple cardboard box with very simple printing (two colors on white). Plus, you can tell something is different because the box was a bit shorter than usual.

The simple packaging at Spec's Liquor
caught my eye.
It turns out these are 11-ounce "stubby" bottles. Yup, 11 ounces.  A bit odd, but interesting. Also, they didn't have this in six-packs or singles, so I had to take another leap of faith and commit to an entire half-case. Since it was only $12.75 for the 12-pack, I decided a buck a beer wasn't too risky. I've only had a few beers so bad that I couldn't finish them eventually.

Short on size, but not on taste!
Fortunately, that was not the case with with this dark brew. I found that I rather enjoyed it.

The stubby bottles were a bit different, but I was going to a party that weekend and brought a few with me and I found that they fit in my small cooler more easily than do longnecks. Except for these being glass, this size would definitely be better for bringing to the beach or poolside.

This pours very dark and there are strong aromas of malt coming from the bottle. Head and lace are okay -- not remarkable, but not bad. The head was actually whiter than I expected, considering how dark it is. This is a very filling beer, not quite the "liquid bread" of a stout, but strong, nevertheless. I would definitely prefer this in the Autumn, rather than in the hotter-than-heck days of a South Texas Summer.

It has a hint of sweetness to it that was not unpleasant. The malt is definitely the star here, overpowering the hops when it was served ice cold. As my second (or was it third?) bottle warmed up, the hops were released and I found it to be more balanced than when served at glacial temperatures. Letting it reach room temperature did not yield any improvements.

All in all, this is a solid beer that I definitely enjoyed drinking as a nightcap while reading a Sax Rohmer novel (I've read all his Fu Manchu books, so now I'm hitting some other 90-year-old hardcovers that have been in my collection for about 20 years).

I will most certainly revisit this beer in the fall.

Thoughts from the bottom of the glass:

Type: Black Lager
Color: Dark
Aroma: Malty
Hops: Very understated, but present at warmer temperatures
Malt: Strong but not overpowering
Head: Strong and cream with hints of coffee color
Lace: Reasonable - last about what I expected
Carbonation: Light/Medium
Temprature Sweet Spot: 38-44 degrees
ABV: 5.4%
My Summer Rating: 6 out of 10
My Autumn Rating: I'll let you know when it cools off!

Other Reviews Worth a Sip:
The guys over at Beer Advocate seem to like it fairly well

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