Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fiddlehead "Frog Run" Sap Beer

Fiddlehead teamed up with the Vermont Folklore Center for a fundraising event on May 31st, featuring a sap beer that was brewed with maple sap from the last runnings of the sugaring season. My understanding is that the maple sap was used in place of the water in the brewing process, with malts and hops to follow. Although the tickets were a little too pricey for me, I was able to visit the brewery the next day to fill up a growler of this intriguing past time special brew. Sorry for the delay, I should have posted this shortly after sampling it.

Alcohol Content: 6.5%
IBU: ?
Malts: ?
Hops: ?

Price: $15/ New Growler ($3 Deposit)
Medium: Pilsner Glass

Aroma: Very similar to the Catamount Maple Wheat (see Harpoon) in its inherently warm alcohol and light maple-like sweetness. No malt aroma although I'm sure at least some degree of barley was used. Spicy and sweet but neither from malts nor hops. Instead I get a slightly unpleasant vodka grain alcohol harshness to the nose, especially with deeper inhalations.
Appearance: Copper to amber like a darker maple syrup. Head easily forms when poured directly down the center for agitation. I should note that I waited until day four after purchasing the growler before evaluating it. Head retention still remained for about a minute or so but I was conscious to pour in a way to let it better develop. Decent clarity. Lacing is wet.
Flavor: Mildly sweet maple flavors are duly noted with the first sip. Not far behind is an alcohol sharpness that immediately starts to warm the mount and tingle all around. Finish is also semi-harsh like a grainy alcohol. This is the same into the aftertaste. However, I believe this is more of an acquired taste and it probably accurately represents its one-of-a-kind style. A light addition of hops accurately describes its light bitterness intended for supporting the other attributes - they impart no aroma or flavor however. Maple sap flavors do become stronger in the finish and aftertaste along with the alcohol.
Mouthfeel: Moderately bodied with sort of a slick or oily character. Although the alcohol presence is very forward, I might add that there really isn't much to hide behind with such a delicate style. Not much viscosity due in part to its slickness and low carbonation. Slick character imparted no diacetyl flavors or other indications of such an off-flavor. No oxidation issues occurred with the growler pour.
Overall Impression: Because I had already opened it and also waited for four days to evaluate the beer, I can't say for sure this is an accurate representation compared to its fresher draught pour. Carbonation was relatively low as a result. It reminded me of Vermont Maple Soda with an added grain alcohol character. This is possibly from higher alcohols (fusel) but I'm unsure of this. I wonder about the use of bittering hops for this old style of Vermont beer - apparently the first to be commercially brewed in the state.

1 comment:

  1. I like the maple soda shout out... LOVE I should say. Yummy sap beer :)