Okay, so these beers aren't really "sweet", per se, but each of these has a richness in aroma and flavor that definitely appeals to the sensibilities of our personified sweet tooth. Read on and you will quickly understand...
2009 Founders Nemesis, 12% ABV: Boy they aren't kidding about the title on this one. Drink more than one of these, and the beer won't be your only nemesis in the morning. According to Ratebeer, “The 2009 release of Nemesis is best described as a Maple Bourbon barrel aged wheat wine holding 12% abv and 70 ibu’s..." Apparently they used barrels for aging Maple syrup. Yum!! Notes of vanilla, bourbon, maple, caramel, toffee, and yes, alcohol, come careening out of the glass at your nose. As it sits, the alcohol burns off somewhat. Not for the faint of heart beer drinker, but definitely thought provoking and interesting for conversation. My recommendation? Sip like a Cognac and discuss. When was the last time you had a Wheatwine?
Great Divide Old Ruffian (aged in Stranahan Bourbon Barrels), 12.7% ABV: Whoa, a monster of a barley wine. The alcohol almost took my head off, so I let it sit. And as the intensity burned off, huge wafts of caramel, vanilla, toffee, spice, and toasted nuts. Warming palate with a caramel stickiness and alcohol burn that made it difficult to drink very much. But let's be honest, a 750 ml at this alcohol content, you should be sharing with your fellow beer geeks anyway.
He'brew Funky Jewbelation, 9.8% ABV: Two words for you. Maple syrup. Make that three: Funky Maple Syrup. I swear if you reduced this, you could put it on pancakes. Better yet, you don't even have to reduce it. Just drink up with your maple bacon doughnut or that creme caramel for dessert. A blend of 6, yes 6 ales and aged in 73% rye whiskey barrels and 27% in bourbon barrels. Dying to know the 6 ales? 3-month Jewbelation 15, 9-month Vintage Jewbelation, 1-month Bittersweet Lenny’s RIPA, 14-month Origin, 7-month Reunion Ale ’11, and 14-month Messiah. Wowza.
Like I said, maple syrup. Add to that vanilla, toasted oak, dried fruit (figs and dates), dark toffee, and nuts. It's basically a big ole' dessert (or breakfast) in a bottle. I would recommend sharing this one.
Odd Sides barrel aged Dubbel (aged 6-8 months in Cabernet barrels): An interesting small batch brew (only 2 cases made!) from a nano-brewery in Michigan. I love including smaller producers in this challenge. (So you home brewers and nano's get ready for my 100 German & German-style beer challenge in September! I want to see what you've got!)
A brighter nose than I expected, which is a good thing. A lovely presence of caramel, light brown sugar, cherry and cherry skins, and toasted malt, with restrained vinous and barrel notes making a cameo. A nice mild bitterness and drying on the finish. There is a certain elegance to this Dubbel, which I would like to commend Odd Sides in achieving. The absence of any cloying, heavy residual sugars make this quite a drinkable Dubbel. Thank you Stephen for sending this my way.
Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche Doppelbock, 8% ABV: Consider this one the cigar after dessert. Delicious Dopplebocks normally seduce with malty sweetness on the nose, often combined with brown sugar, caramel, and a lovely nuttiness I go gaga over. While these elements linger somewhere on stage left, the curtain of smokiness is so thick on this beer, it's a veritable iron curtain over the aroma and flavor profile. Which is such the shame. Because I am a big Schlenkerla fan and I love, love their other beers, but this one was my least favorite of their lineup. My wish? More Dopplebock, a little less smoke.
As always, Drink Craft Beer.