Mar 7, 2017

Deschutes 2015 Jubel

Deschutes originally released Jubel — an imperial, barrel-aged version of their annual winter release, Jubelale — as a once in a decade treat. Apparently, the brewery couldn’t wait the full ten years and released this bottle in 2015 with a “best after” date of Januage 25, 2016. Well, I definitely waited long enough, having peeled back the wax seal and cracked open my bottle this past December.

I had never encountered the company’s standard Winter warmer, but knowing what they have done with their stouts and other barrel-aged beers, I knew I was in for a treat with this 10.4% ABV brew. Jubel’s aroma is outstanding, filling the immediate vicinity with an array of raisin, fig, burnt caramel, spices, peppery hop notes and cocoa. I really didn’t want to stop smelling this one, but the point of a beer is to drink it. And the flavor of Jubel is pretty good, but not nearly as dynamic as the aroma.

The herbal hop notes are a nice touch and help measure a good bit of sweetness while caramel, raisin and cocoa all present themselves. There’s also a good amount of cardboard leaking in from the edges, maybe a bit too much for a beer that’s just two years old. Old vinous notes from the pinot barrel add a nice touch to the experience.

I really wanted Jubel to taste as layered as the nose, but it didn’t. It’s certainly not a bad beer by any means, but after having been teased by the array of scents wafting from my glass, I was left wanting a bit more once the big beer makes its way to its final destination. The hop profile has held up quite well, offering a nice tingle of bitterness and peppery flavor and I love the wine barrel influence here. I do believe, if this is releases again soon, that I’ll be picking up another bottle or two.