Review: He’Brew Jewbelation Fifteen
Commemorating fifteen years of brewing, Shmaltz and its He’Brew line of ‘Chosen Beers’ unleashes a Frankenstein-esque monster of a beer with the latest release of Jewbelation. Jewbelation follows the significance of this anniversary by incorporating 15 different malts, 15 types of hops – which are added at 15 scheduled times – and reaches an abv of 15%.
Given the cluster of ingredients in this, it’s hard to pinpoint specifics in the aroma as many different smells come into play at varying times. I am getting more of a malty profile rather than hoppy, with a strong focus on sweet, earthy notes in the form of molasses, brown sugar, leather, and coffee grounds before transitioning into a lighter, fruitier note on the back-end. There is a surprising amount of pine in here as well which seems to serve as a nice bridge between the grittier malts and citrus.
My first sip leaves me a bit torn as to which side this beer is pulling me towards. It is certainly full of rich, hearty malts, but right when I think it’s going to lead to a crescendo of sweetness, it pulls back suddenly into a rather bitter mid-palate where the espresso, chocolate, and flaked oats take over. This actually seems to be the strongest part of the taste, forsaking the noticeable dichotomy presented in the nose in favor of a taste that hits me all at once. The finish incorporates alcohol-soaked cherries, raisins, orange, pine, and some herbal qualities with a nice amount of booze present; not overbearingly so but enough to let you know that this packs a punch.
Coming into this beer, I was expecting the ‘15’ motif to essentially be a gimmick; a brewery wanting to commemorate its anniversary by going all out, but not in hopes of creating a drinkable beer. However, I was wrong in that regard, and it uses the ambitious recipe to deliver a beer that evolves and develops constantly. So while it’s hard to track how each ingredient impacts the beer, I can certainly appreciate that the overall profile undergoes multiple changes throughout drinking the bottle.
B+ / $6 per 22 oz. bottle / shmaltzbrewing.com