Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Surly SeVIIn Review: Reloaded (A look back)

Name: Surly SeVIIn
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
ABV: 12.5%

It's hard to believe it's been almost a year and a half since I last looked at Surly SeVIIn when my blog was still in its infancy. I remember it being an extremely awesome beer and kicked myself for not holding onto a couple more for aging as temptation got the better of me.

Well last week as I was driving home from Applebee's with my wife, I noticed that a local liquor store was going out of business and all craft beer was on sale. So I pulled into the parking lot and headed inside while my wife waited in the car. As I was scanning the shelves for some good deals when I noticed that there were some bottles of Surly SeVIIn sitting in the cooler and without a second thought, I grabbed a few of them; Talk about luck!

With the release of Surly Eight around the corner, I've decided to visit this old favorite of mine. Needless to say, I'm excited to take another look at Surly SeVIIn after it was allowed to age in the right conditions for a year in a half. I will be comparing my original notes (in italics) from July 2013 to now.

SeVIIn pours a mildy hazy dark brown & red color with a brown head that extends to about a finger in width. There's also a moderate amount of carbonated activity going on inside the glass.

Well, not much has changed here. The color and appearance are still pretty much the same. The carbonation is still fairly active even after a year and a half of being bottled up.

The nose can be summed up into one word: Bananas. Okay that's not 100% true but the strongest aspect of the aroma is bananas which are followed by cloves, caramelized malts, and a slight citrus hoppiness; Reminds me almost of a strong hefeweizen.

That banana scent has become more secondary to the strong caramel maltiness that is apparent upfront. You can still pick up on the banana, cloves and even some rye spiciness but it's more blended together with the candied caramel malts.

Flavor-wise it's much more balanced out. Upfront you have cloves, bananas and caramel; which are followed by rye, oak, and wheat. There is a very slight boozy feel to the flavor but it pretty much blends in with the flavor so it's pretty easy to miss.

The first thing I noticed is that the rye aspect is much more aggressive, particularly on the front of the palate. Aside from that, the caramelized malts, cloves, banana-sweetness, oats, and wheat aspects are still loud and clear. The Belgian yeasts are also a bit more prominent and the booziness is actually not as strong as it was before.

The body is fairly light as well as the carbonation so it's pretty easy to drink and it allows you to enjoy the flavors in which the beer has to offer.

The palate, again, hasn't changed much if even at all. However, with the rise of the rye characteristic, it does take on a bit of a stingy quality but not enough to interfere with the overall drinking experience.

I have to say that age has been kind to Surly SeVIIn and I'm glad that I've gotten the chance to drink this again. I will definitely be hanging onto a bottle for aging purposes. With that in mind, I'm eagerly awaiting the release of Surly Eight, along with the opening of Surly's brand new destination brewery!

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