Monday, December 16, 2013

New Holland Cabin Fever (7/10)

This brown ale comes from New Holland Brewing of Holland, Michigan.  Cabin Fever is available from November through February.  New Holland describes it as a “roasty brown ale and a hearty, comforting companion for long, mind-bending winters”.  It features 2 row, rye, Munich, crystal, and black malts with Brewer’s Gold and Nugget hops as well as Michigan beet sugar.

The beer pours a pitch black color with a finger-thick beige head that doesn’t last long.

The aroma is chocolate and coffee in equal measure.

The flavor is in line with the aroma.  There is an intense dark malt presence, with moderate coffee and chocolate flavors, and a mild hops presence as a backdrop.  There’s a creaminess to it as well.  It’s something like having a rich Starbuck’s coffee with a hint of whipped cream and chocolate syrup in it.  Despite all the malt and the beet sugar, it’s a very well-balanced, perhaps even slightly dry flavor.  The bitterness is well balanced here by the malt sweetness.

Beer Advocate calls this a “good” beer, giving it an 83 with over 500 ratings.  At Rate Beer, with nearly 300 ratings, it gets a 75 overall.  Viewing it as a winter warmer, a Christmas Ale, or a similar beer, I’d have to give it a 6/10.  But it’s not really positioned as that.  The label refers to it as a brown ale, so I’m going to rate it as one. As such, it earns a very respectable 7/10.

Flavor Profile:

Sweet, Malty, Dry, or Bitter:  Dry and Malty
Spice Level:  None
Hops Level: Low
Dominant Flavors:  Coffee, Chocolate

ABV: 6%
IBU:  23
My Rating: 7/10

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