Thursday, December 9, 2010

Beers of the Holidays: Jubelale

Labeled as A Festive Winter AleJubelale is the annual holiday release from Deschutes Brewery.  It was actually the first beer that they ever released in bottles and a different local Oregon artist has been selected each year for the past 16 years to create the label and package art.
Poster of all past labels.

A deep mahogany colour with a thick creamy head giving off sweet aromas of caramel, raisins and roasted malts. Sweet toasted malts flavours with hints of caramel, vanilla and dark fruits. There's also an underlying bitterness that runs through from start to finish that helps balance the sweetness. The flavours get even more complex as the beer warms. It all finishes up with a creamy smooth mouthfeel making this a very drinkable Winter Warmer.

Deschutes also produces another version of this beer every year called "Super Jubel". Although usually only available on draft, it was released in bottles earlier this year as Jubel 2010. The only other time this beer has been available in bottles was in 2000, giving it the nicname "Once-A-Decade Ale". Super Jubel is essentially a stronger and more concentrated version of the regular Jubelale with an interesting story on how it came into existence:

“Super Jubel” was discovered by accident two decades ago when a clumsy burglar didn’t realize the weight of his stolen keg of Jubelale. He dropped it outside to freeze in the season’s sub-zero temperatures - only to be discovered the next morning by Gary Fish, Deschutes Brewery's owner. More than half the liquid in the keg had frozen and the remaining beer was a very cold, highly concentrated “Jubelale on steroids.”  It was so good that the brewers set about recreating it (minus the freezing part) coming up with an annual “Super Jubel” that is aged in Oregon oak pinot barrels.

I wonder if that clumsy burglar ever knew what his botched robbery created. A limited number of bottles of the Jubel 2010 did make it's way down to Texas and I have a few of them resting in my beer cellar. It would be fun to do a side-by-side tasting with the regular Jubelale and see how much it really differs. I'll try and get around to that sometime this season.

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