Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Avery Review #12 - Ellie's Brown Ale

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

Aug. 14, 2012

After a string of rare Avery beers, it is time to get back to some more of the mainline stuff in The Avery Project.  So, Avery’s Ellie’s Brown Ale is up next as Beer #12.  If you happen to live in one of the states Avery distributes to, and you drink brown ales, you have probably tried this beer before.  It is arguably the second most popular beer in their lineup behind the IPA. 

Named for Adam Avery’s late Chocolate Lab, Ellie, the Brown Ale has been in production since 2002.  It is a year-round beer available in cans and bottles.

Location: Boulder Liquor Mart
Cost: About $1.89/12oz. bottle
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 28
Brewery Location: Boulder, Colorado
Style: American Brown Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: B+/3.9
My Beer Advocate Rating: B+/4
Current Number of Reviews on Beer Advocate: 580
Glassware: Ska Brewing Pint Glass
Bottled On: NA

APPEARANCE:  (5 out of 5) This is one of the more impressive heads I have seen on a beer.  It is foamy, creamy and about an inch thick.  In fact, the 12oz. bottle ended up pouring perfectly flush to the brim of the 16oz. Ska pint glass.  I have a clock running on this foam now and after 10 minutes it is still hanging on strong with about a third of it left. 

This impressive mass of foam all sits on top of a deep brown, but still faintly transparent beer.  Red hues slip through when held up to the light and the lacing is spectacular.  For a brown ale, this could not look any better.

SMELL:  (4.5 out of 5) A nice, intense and rich smoky aroma greats the nose while some nuttiness and spicy chocolate smells round it out.  The nice thing about this beer is that with the fantastic head, the aroma sticks around with a fair amount of intensity throughout most of beer.

TASTE:  (4 out of 5) Up front, Ellie’s is dry and a relatively hoppy in an earthy sort of way – not at all what I expected after the sticking my nose in the glass.  The smoky and chocolaty flavors build throughout the sip, however, and by the time the finish rolls around the chocolate malt is very apparent.  Some nutty flavors also expose themselves as the beer warms along with an increasingly stronger vanilla backbone.

MOUTHFEEL:  (2.5 out of 5) The body is disappointingly thin, particularly up front.  If the malt were more apparent at the beginning of each sip this could be a truly exceptional beer.  Additionally, the carbonation is not very strong which only adds to the thin feel. 

OVERALL:  (4 out of 5) This is an excellent example of a beer that needs to be served at its appropriate temperature.  When cold and fresh out of the glass a lot of the sweeter flavors are masked (although the aroma from the Bullion hops is very strong), but it becomes significantly more enjoyable as it approaches 50 – 55 degrees.  The Brown Ale is not my favorite style, but every once in a while, when I’m in the mood, Ellie’s is a solid choice. 

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