Saturday, August 18, 2012

039. Adelbert's Naked Nun Ale

I won't lie -- I bought it because of the name. I mean, who could resist a simple little bottle bearing the name Nake Nun Ale brewed with spices? There's just something so indecently wicked about the name that I just had to give it a shot (or in this case, a wine glass, as my other glass needed to be washed and I was feeling lazy tonight).

If I recall correctly, I picked this single bottle up at the downtown Spec's Liquor here in Houston about a month ago. I think I paid about $3 for it, but it could have been as much as $4. But, considering how bad my memory is these days, it also could have been as low as $2. Not bad for a craft brewery just a few hundred miles up the road from me (they're in Texas state capital, Austin).

Taste free association
A spicy concoction brewed in Austin.
Spicy. Definitely pepper. Probably coriander. Yeasty. Citrus -- possibly lemon (but maybe the light color is influencing me) or maybe orange? Tart on the tongue. Hops or something else? Fourth deep sip gave me a "pucker" reaction -- but not in a bad way. Kinds of reminds me of a citrusy malt beverage "wine cooler," but with strong undercurrents of ale.

This is one of the cloudiest ales I've ever had. I honestly cannot see light through it -- just a hazy glow like a tequila sunrise gone wrong. Fortunately, the taste is crisper than the appearance, which actually took on the look of bathwater after bathing a muddy and adventurous 5-year-old -- kinda like Dennis the Menace after a day of ripping up Mr. Wilson's flowerbeds.

From the Label:
Named to mark the time in Colombia Del was robbed including his clothes and underwear while hiking down from the Cerro de Monserrate. After he alerted some local Nuns while hiding behind some sheep, they were kind enough to give him a blanket and bus fare to get home.
Refreshing, soft, and well balanced ale with hints of orange peel and coriander. Pair with light foods such as mussels, salmon, and chicken.

Although the label is very simple (as you can see from the photo), it has some additional info that would be nice to find on other craft beers: It has the brewed on date. In this case, it was bottled 03/02/12 Batch 001 Bottle #0693. I would love seeing this info on other bottles, particularly the date. It's just a little more info, but the sort of thing that means a lot when I'm paying about $3-$4 a bottle -- and a "stubby" bottle, at that. After last week's four-pack of 1 pint 9 oz. cans, this week's shorty of only 11 ounces seems a bit fey by comparison. Still, to be fair, this isn't the sort of beer you want to chug-a-lug. I suspect, as it says on the label, that this pairs well with lighter foods. On the other hand, I'd love to taste this next to a spicy taco and see what happens.

One final thought: This was an ale of subtle nuances. At colder temps (around 34 - 38) the yeast was stronger, but so were the spices. In the mid 40s I found it to be refreshing but it seemed not quite right. Once we got nearer 50 degrees, though, the spices, hops and other flavors seemed to come into their own and quit jostling for attention and fell into step and formed a nice cadence as it marched down my throat. HOWEVER (note the all caps), although I liked what the flavors did when it got warmer, there was a nice smoothness when I drank it colder. Although I preferred the slightly warmer fare, I strongly suggest you try it colder and then let it warm up so you can find your own sweet spot.

Thoughts from the bottom of the glass:

Type: Belgian Wit Ale
Color: Cloudy dishwater yellow/brown
Aroma: Strong-n-spicy
Hops: Medium strength with nice floral notes
Malt: Okay, but overpowered by the yeast
Head: Very thick and white
Lace: Almost none
Carbonation: Heavy
Temprature Sweet Spot: Above 48 degrees
ABV: 5.8%
My Summer Rating: 7 out of 10
My Normal Rating: 6 out of 10

Other Reviews Worth a Sip:

The Beer Advocate guys were very positive about this Texas brew, giving it generally solid marks all around:
BTW: I added a shorter review of this beer over at that site. Click on the link above for another, slightly different set of rating criteria.

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