We're still in September with temperatures in the nineties, yet here we have our first winter seasonal, Deschutes Jubelale. It makes little sense. First day of fall literally just hit; we should not see this beer for at least another month. At least. I have no clue why they released it this early, and I frankly find it ridiculous.
Yet here it is, and my instinct is to rip the beer apart -- you just don't release a winter seasonal this early -- and I would have, had it not been for this being the best Jubelale in years.
Oh, it's unseasonal, don't get me wrong. For most this will be a better fit about a month from now, but there's no denying this is a rather brilliant ale.
It pours a very deep amber-ish ruby -- or, indeed, ruby-ish amber -- color with a foamy head. Retention and lacing is very decent.
Smell -- it's like Santa came jumping out and smacked your face with Christmas, which is especially disturbing in September. There are spices and malts galore here, backed up by a gentle sweetness.
The flavor is round, almost hearty. Again, this literally screams winter (oh, I heard something). The malts cover every inch of the mouth in tandem with the subtle hops, and the tongue is gently massaged by spices. Hints of caramel are there to let you know everything will be OK.
This is a damn good beer, there's absolutely no doubt about that. The balance is nigh perfect and the flavors are captured in a wonderful vaguely creamy consistency.
Either way, I find it completely ridiculous that Deschutes released it this early. It makes no sense.
Buy it a month from now, by all means, there is no reason not to. Right now, though, I'd look toward the short-running autumn ales instead. No need to celebrate winter too early; it'll be all around us soon enough.