So here we are again. It's September, the thermometer is hovering around eighty, and Deschutes has released its winter seasonal. I don't get it. Or rather, I do get it: It's all about the mad race of getting the seasonal out there first. I get it, but I don't understand the need to do that. Jubelale is an excellent beer, technically speaking, but I'm not sure how much anyone really can enjoy it when it's warmer than it was when this year's summer seasonals debuted...
That's not to say people haven't tried: The always elusive Doxey suggested drinking it in a cooler, pretending it was winter. That was only slightly more extreme than Brad's idea of drinking the beer at 7am, when the temperature would be more agreeable.
But I digress. This is a very good beer; similar to last year, though different enough to still be interesting. The color is a deep, dark copper, with winter-like scents of spices and caramel emitting from the glass.
So, really, same as last year as far as look and smell go, but the flavor seems to have been slightly altered. The 2012 feels even maltier than previous years, which is pretty impressive if you're into the malty stuff. Flanking the familiar notes of spices -- cloves in particular -- and caramel is a somewhat odd aftertaste of banana. It's not unpleasant, but unexpected.
In that sense Jubelale is a more extreme version of its previous selves. It weighs in at 6.7% ABV with a medium body, and there's a lot of flavor here.
Really, it'll be a great drink come cooler times. Right now, though? I'm not so sure.