Friday, September 9, 2011

Avery Review #1 - Avery Thirteenth Anniversary Ale a.k.a. Thirteen

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau


Spet. 9, 2011


The first beer I reviewed for my last project here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights was a very special beer – Bell’s Hopslam.  The Hopslam was and is a favorite of mine.  It is a rare treat that helps to make the otherwise dismal Upper Midwest winter slightly more bearable. 

Just like that first review of the DIPA Project, the first review of the Avery Project will be just as special and even rarer…although I cannot claim that it is an old favorite of mine as the only time I ever had the privilege of drinking it was when I reviewed it at the brewery last week.

The beer?  Avery’s Thirteenth Anniversary Ale – a.k.a. the Weizen Dopplebock known more simply as Thirteen.  No, Avery is not celebrating unlucky #13 this year, they just had their 18th anniversary a few weeks ago.  However, last week, Avery also released the 2011 version of their Ocktoberfest beer, The Kaiser, and I happened to drop into the tasting room full of servers and bartenders dressed in lederhosen for the release party.

As a special treat for the release party, Avery pulled a few special bottles out of the cellar for a one-night only sale.  Seventeen, a black lager brewed for last year’s anniversary, was on the list, but more importantly, so was the German-style wiezenboch beer, Thirteen. 

When Emily and I decided to split the $20 bottle a few of our friends thought we were nuts, but as told them $20 is almost nothing considering that we got a 22oz. bottle and that in most restaurants a 5oz. pour of mediocre wine would have cost us $8 a piece.  Plus, this was a very rare, five year old beer. 

So what did that $20 get us?  Well, here are the specs first, and then we’ll get into the review:

Location: Avery Tasting Room, Boulder, Colorado – Available one-night only (for now)
Cost: $20 – 22oz. bottle
ABV: 9.5%
IBUs: ???
Brewery Location: Boulder, Colorado
Style: Weizenbock
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.03 - Excellent
My Beer Advocate Rating: A/4.5
Current Number of Reviews: 219
Brewery Description: Thirteen
Bottled On: 2006

APPEARANCE:  (3.5 out of 5) Poured into a white wine glass from a 22oz. bomber by Matt at Avery.  The beer is black except for a nice red glow near the rim and on the bottom of the glass when held up to the light.  The head is rather thin and vanishes quickly, but a small amount of film remains on top throughout about half of the beer.  Lacing was minimal, only a few wisps here and there.

SMELL:  (5 out of 5) The nose is ridiculously good - fruity as hell, with mostly dark fruit coming through; berries, passion fruit and a touch of orange.  There is a good dose of malt along with vanilla, smoke and some alcohol.  In fact, it smells a bit like a smoky bourbon, but with fruit.  The Thirteen’s nose is highly complex and very enjoyable. 

TASTE:  (4.5 out of 5) Sweet and delicious.  This thing is absolutely chock full of fruit with a subtle dose of anise.  A little note of coffee is also noticeable upon the first sip.  A second, third and forth sip begin to reveal more of the complexity of this beer.  Vanilla, a mellowed out toasty malt and some smokiness slowly enter the mix as the beer goes down.  It is also very boozy, even more than I would expect from a 9.5%er.  There is a lot going on in this beer and if you ever get the chance to try it, make sure you take a few moments to just let it sit on your palate before sending it down the hatch, a lot more develops with a little extra time.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4 out of 5) The Thirteen is very smooth, but at the same time quite refreshing for a beer that does not have an abundance of carbonation.  With the rich, intense and sweet flavors, there is not as much need for a highly carbonated, palate cleansing feel.  The flavor left after each sip is very welcome.

OVERALL:  (4.5 out of 5) My notes simply say “Sweet Jesus this is an outstanding beer.”  I stand by that assessment and I encourage any serious craft beer drinker to make an effort to get their hands on a bottle or two of this while it still exists.

EDIT:  Until this morning (June 5, 2012) I had completely forgotten that I managed to snag a decent shot of the Thirteen while I was drinking it.  So I just added it in the hopes you will all enjoy it.  Cheers!




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