Tonight we partake of the final gift of beer that my son gave me from when he visited Georgia a little while ago. Since the day he gave them to me, the two bombers sat in the beer fridge @~39°F out in the Manly Garage. Tonight would be the night that two bombers’ worth of beer will find their way to view my stomach lining. (No pictures, please.)
The beer of choice for this evening was brewed by Terrapin Brewing Co. out of Athens, Georgia. They call it Samurai Krunkles and they have (perpetrated) a legend about Krunkles, the hop fanatic, who traveled the world years ago searching for new ingredients to brew beer with. Samurai was brewed with ginger and green tea. Pfft!
But wait! The beer is classified as an IPA and weighs in at 70 IBUs. That would put it on spec for the American IPA in both alcohol range and IBU range. Had I known these facts, I’d have imbibed the beer sooner. My son described this beer as ”not bad.” I’d have to let my palate decide.
My son knows his beer and I respect his opinions about it. But when he says “not bad,” he means “meh.” I tend to do the same thing. Both he and I have had our share of over the top, blow-your-mind-and-your-palate-at-the-same-time beers. But regardless of presuppositions, I was going to drink this beer and offer my honest, seat of the pants opinion.
For some reason, each bottle of Samurai came with a gold foil wrapped around the cap and neck. I wondered if they were trying to put their beer in the same classy class as Unibroue and New Holland. Whereas the latter foils are hard pressed onto the bottle necks, this gold foil seemed to be hand formed to take the shape of the neck of the bottle. Off the bottle, they looked like candy wrappings.
The beer poured with the expected amber-orange color but with a minuscule head of about 1/4 inch. Carbonation was vigorous but what head remained, dwindled away to a slight film at the top. I wondered if it was my glass or the beer. The aroma was slight but had very minute hints of orange-type fruits deep within.
The first sip held a medium body, hardly any sweetness and a rather mild swallow. I wondered to myself “where are all the hops?” Maybe later in the glass, more tastes will manifest. The first few sips did not give me the impression that this beer was classified as an IPA. More like a pale ale. A mild one at that. The beer reminded me of my own Hoof Hearted Ale where the intent was to brew an IPA and after maturity in the bottle, tasted more like a pale ale. A nice one, though. IMHO.
Slight hints of tropical fruit perhaps, a little tinge of sweetness and a mild swallow had me mentally scratching my head. What an odd taste to be classified as an IPA. The beer was 100% drinkable, don’t get me wrong, but it was just that it didn’t conform in any respect to what I was expecting.
Where was the ginger? The green tea is a nonissue for me. The beer is rated at 7.1% alcohol and 70 IBUs. Apparently some of the bitterness units didn’t get the memo and decided to not show up. These initial tastings make me lean towards a mild pale ale lawnmower beer.
I don’t understand why the brewery mentioned on their website that jasmine rice was used in the recipe. What I know about rice in brewing is that the hulls are used in a thick mash tun to prevent a stuck mash. And that A-B also uses rice in Budweiser (but who cares?)
As the beer warmed up, the flavors became more apparent. A little more sweet, a tad more orange-type fruitiness, but still the lack of hop bitterness at the end. It was almost like a malt bitterness or tartness there at the end.
This beer has the wrong picture painted for it. It does not taste like what it says it should. No bold hop flavors, no big tropical fruits, no great sweetness and no perceptible ginger. Only the alcohol is left to do its dirty work. The ginger, jasmine rice and the hops are far in the background. What is left is quite drinkable summer pale ale, perfect for a patio party. he ladies may like it quite a bit. It tastes along the lines of a Fat Tire, Somersault, perhaps a Belgian witbier or dare I say Blue Moon.
If Terrapin ever decided to distribute their wares here in the midwest, I’d be interested in purchasing a bomber of their Reunion ’12 Ale just for old times’ sake. But the Samurai can sit on the shelf until the next blisteringly hot summer.
Taste: Not bad. What style of beer is this again?
Smoothness: Easy goin’, easy swallowin’.
Drinkability: Sure I’ll have another.
Bang for the buck: N/A, a gift.
Paid price: N/A
Get it again? If sold here… maybe.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sniff) Doesn’t seem real heavy smelly (Yes she actually said that.) A little peachy but it’s not real bitter, not as drying. It seems kind of common. It tastes like a lot of other beers. Nothing jumps out at you. (She nailed it again.)
The Legend of Krunkles (6:08)