Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jay Peak Tram Ale

The Jay Peak Tram Ale is not brewed by the popular Northern Vermont mountain resort as it appears; Instead, it is crafted by Long Trail. I believe this to be of a Northern German-style Altbier (like Long Trail Ale), although there are clearly differences between this new one and the original best-seller.

Alcohol Content: ?
Malts: ?
Hops: ?

Medium: 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass (A tall 'stange' glass is appropriate).
Price: $8.00 for a 6-pack @ City Market in downtown Burlington

Aroma: Malty, sweet caramel, and deep chocolate notes dominate the nose of this beer. The hop profile is very restrained, possibly masked by the deep bitter chocolate aroma. It is perhaps a bit toasted from the use of Munich malts but I'm unsure of this. A bit grainy nose to it as well.
Appearance: Pours for a dark mahogany/ deep copper hue with a rather small tan head. Much of the head dissipates slowly but there remains a ring around the glass throughout the entire session - small amount of lacing. Appears to be mildly carbonated and is quite clear, although dark for an altbier.
Flavor: A rich, toasted/ bitter chocolate character rolls over the tongue first, making it difficult to distinguish caramel flavors (they are present, but well hidden). There are some minor off-flavors that hit about mid-taste that I found hard to define - could be sulfury or yeasty. The finish is a lingering dryness and some astringency. Overall balanced.
Mouthfeel: A characteristically medium/light body that is surprisingly watery with lingering astringency that makes it just a tad bit unpleasant. Gives some sense of drinkability in its moderately thin quality. Moderately high carbonation.
Overall Impression: Not exactly impressed with this one when compared to competing styles such as the Otter Creek Copper Ale and the Long Trail Ale. I would have liked to see just a bit more on the hop profile and less on the astringent finish.

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