I must admit, I’ve never had a beer produced by Avery Brewing Co. Adhering to the philosophy of “go big, or go home” I thought sampling one of their Demon series oak-aged ales seemed appropriate. These beers are big crafty devils that boast high ABVs and intense flavor components. From what I can gather the name suggest that I’m about to be smote by this beer as if it where the Angel of Death himself.
Reading up a bit on this brew I noticed that it is styled after a malty English Strong Ale. I’m a fan of malt centered English brews so my expectations were rather high for this beer. Over the last year or so I’ve also started getting into oak-aged beers because of their depth of flavor and character. Avery used a two-row pale and dark caramel malts for the base and then went with Columbus and Fuggels hops to provide some bitterness. It poured a deep cloudy red with a beige head that settled into the beer shortly there after.
The smell is powerful. Hints of raisins, prunes, dates, rich heavy malts, alcohol, vanilla, caramel, toffee, sugar, and maple syrup were present. The oak was evident and did a wonderful job of highlighting the malt character with mellow wood undertones and a wine-like aroma. I’d liken the overall nose similar to that of Sam Adams Utopias.
My first sip was done so gingerly, not sure what to expect. I didn’t really pick up on too much sweetness because the alcohol (a tingly 15.53%) pushed its way through, quickly followed by a dark dried fruit flavor. I noticed there was a nice roasted malt taste in the middle of my sip. It packs a punch! After a few drinks my taste buds became accustom to the fire and brimstone raging in my mouth. The sweetness did manifest itself on the palate in the form of a raisin-like aftertaste.
I would not recommend this beer to newbie drinkers or those venturing out into the oak-age scene. Start with oak-aged Stouts and IPAs…then sample some basic strong ales to develop your palate. In all honesty, I had a hard time drinking this beer. The smell is sinfully delicious; the taste however, is rather depraved.