I scan beer sites from time to time and I usually run across a Top Ten list or a top 100 list, or a top beers of the season list or whatever. In those lists for beers of Christmas, one beer keeps popping up and I thought it would be an excellent choice for a Saturday review. The beer in question was Deschutes Jubelale.
I decided to once again truck out to Joliet because I knew they had some on the shelves. I had seen it there last week.
They had 2 rows of sixpacks on the middle shelf. I made a mental note of the location and scanned the rest of beer product. Nothing caught my eye. I walked all the way back, picked up a carton of Jubelale and went straight to the checkout. I was pleased with the price. Change back from a sawbuck.
During the trip back, I was afforded the opportunity to think about this beer. What style was it? Any big spices in the recipe? How hoppy would it taste? Where did they come up with the name?
Research confirmed the style but not the spiciness or IBUs. The name… was it a bastardization of “jubilee?” Kind of.
The word “jubel” is a word of German origin and means “cheers” or “jubilance.” It was the perfect use of multiplicity. A great name for a beer of the season. (Hmm. If the word origin is German, then it should be pronounced “yu’-bel.”) But here in ‘Merica…
Jubelale was first bottled in 1988 and has been a yearly visitor every year since then. Each year the artwork, designed by local artists, changes to reflect some winter variety.
The time came to drink a winter beer with a German name of an English style in an English pint glass in an American home. But any beer from anywhere could be drunk anywhere from anything available.
Let’s get started.
The beer poured brown from the bottle and it was a beautiful brown with reddish overtones in the glass. The liquid was crystal clear. Carbonation was all micro-bubbles. It brought up a nice foamy beige head in the extra roomy glass. The aroma was slight but did carry with it some sweet malt smells.
The first sip was odd, but surprisingly good. It almost like a porter but not quite. The mouthfeel was medium and there were a whole myriad of flavors in the body. Some wisps of chocolate came and went and the whole taste experience is dominated my the slightly sweet malts. I may have tasted a bit of caramel one time and a slight twinge of coffee another time. Each sip pushed me to think the beer was a relative of a porter with some slightly roasted character. That roastiness was very subdued. It was neither stout nor porter.
I lifted this screenshot from Deschutes’ website:
Hop flavors were present at the swallow but I’d say the IBUs of this beer are low, perhaps 20 – 25. With 6 varieties of hops in this beer as listed on Deschutes’ website, they would probably have been used in moderation. An excellent in-depth review can be found here. He and I differ on our opinions of the IBUs.
The malts carry the show. All the darkness is there but with enough sweet to keep one’s interest. That made for a delightful drinking experience for this guy. The 6.7% alcohol is perhaps the perfect heft for this beer. Enough to mellow a person out after 3 or 4 but not enough to render a state of goofiness.
The beer is well-balanced in all the ingredients from front to back. There was no spiciness as with many other winter beers. Nicely dark, slightly roasty to keep in its own category without going overboard.
If you haven’t had some Jubelale, I urge you to pick up a sixer. If you’ve already had this beer over the holiday, I commend your wisdom of choice. Jubelale is a winner.
Style: English Strong Ale
Taste: Delightful and delicious. Perfect for this time of year.
Smoothness: Easy going with hardly a bite or odd flavors.
Drinkability: They really go quickly. One more please.
Bang for the buck: Outstanding bargain for the taste delivered.
Amount paid: $8.99 for six 12-ounce bottles.
Get it again? Hell yeah. Absolutely.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Sniff) Fruity… sweet fruits. (sip) Little spicy nutmeggy kinda. (sip) Like Christmas pastry. I don’t particularly care for it. (Her taste buds are tuned to a different frequency than mine.)
Deschutes Brewery [4:22]