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2012 August Schell Snowstorm - New Ulm, MN

August Schell Snowstorm Ale 2012

Much like snowflakes, no two Snowstorm beers are alike. Once a year, our brewmasters lock themselves in the testing room with a secret selection of fine malts and hops, only emerging when they've hit upon something truly extraordinary. Some of our past Snowstorm recipes, like Firebrick, proved so popular, we started brewing them year-round. Look for a special new batch of Snowstorm every season, available in November, December, and January or while supplies last. 2012 Snowstorm Beer Style: Biére de Noél.  Alcohol by Volume: 7.5%
     August Schel lSnowstorm August Schel lBrewery
Flavor/Color Profile: A French style Christmas beer. Expect a light amber beer with red tints that is malt forward with noticeable yeast flavors of white pepper and citrus from an authentic French ale yeast. Slight herbal hop note in the background, with a spicy, citrusy, peppery aroma.
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Beer Review from Beer Advocate:
Brownish hue and very clear. Snow white head settles out in a faster course. Spiciness of the yeast is most forward in both the aroma and taste. Definite pepper quality with the other spiciness more intermingled. A definite sourness in the aroma too (I kinda' like that). Soft malt character is, unfortunately, more background. Too bad, as it is nice.

I've noticed with previous Snowstorms that temperature is very important and this one is not different. The warmer it is the malt flavors show more. Still not enough foreground, but better able to be appreciated. A soft light touch of alcohol. Hints of hopping at times. Some caramel laying on the tongue before a notable drying kicks into the finish. Little streams of the sourness show in the finish- I'm digging those.

Smooth body with ample carbonation that adds a prickliness to the yeast, but doesn't seem to limit the smoothness of the feel.

There is a lot going on here. A complex beer that requires quite a bit of attention to fully appreciate. As a "beer for keeping" I wonder first how much this was aged (just curious) and how this might develop over time. I'm certainly enjoying my second serving more than my first and I got a feeling Snowstorm 2012 will continue to grow on me.
Update: I'm now on my third bottle and it is almost like a completely different beer. None of the spiciness in the aroma, more of a straight malt character, not too sweet or heavy and the yeast character more blended and balanced into the overall experience. What an interesting beer this has been.
Snowstorms of the Past:
2011 Wee Heavy Traditional Scotch Ale
2010 Dunkel Doppel Weizenbock
2009 Baltic Porter
2008 Weihnachtsbier
2007 Belgian Dubbel
2006 English Stout (Schell's Stout)
2005 Dusseldorf Alt
2004 Dark Cream Ale
2003 Nut Brown Ale
2002 Scotch Ale
2001 Cherry Vanilla Porter
2000 Braggot
1999 Dunkleweizen
1998 Vienna Lager (Schell's Firebrick)
1997 Plum Black and Tan*
1996 Cherry Alt*
1995 Raspberry Amber Ale*
1992 Doppel Alt (Schell's Schmaltz's Alt)**




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