Let’s face it, my Redhook allegiance might not entirely be a result of the quality of their brew as of habit, particularly when looking at the winter seasonals. Deschutes, meanwhile, kind of has me excited every year. The brewery might not always hit home runs, but then again, none of their beers have ever been close to tasting like urine either. And that’s, at least to me, a good thing. (You can roll how you like.)
Their Jubelale is definitely their seasonal highlight, and last year’s edition might just have been their best in some time. And while the ‘09/10 edition is similar to the previous year, I can’t help but feel it’s just a bit more dull this time around. Just a wee bit.
Not that it doesn’t look and smell great—it does. The color is a deep, dark red with a lightly sweet smell of chocolate and raisins. Hitting the tongue, the first impression carries over: The Jubelale is fairly thick, though not insanely so, and there is a light sweet flavor to it paired with a mild hoppiness.
If this all sounds like a well balanced ale, then yes, that is exactly what it is. In fact, it might be just a little bit too well balanced? Last year’s edition had a heavier hop kick to it which, to me, made it a whole lot more interesting to drink. It’s not that the ‘09/10 edition is dull, it’s just a bit duller.
I don’t want to sound too negative, as I really do enjoy the Jubelale. Maybe I’ve just been too spoiled by Mirror Mirror? Either way, Jubelale is good, just not quite like it was last year.