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.
The wax seal gives way much easier than some packages I've come across recently. The beer pours a dark garnet-edged mahogany in color with a small, rocky cap of light brown foam falls to a full ring round the surface.