Mar 26, 2015

Alewerks Jubilee VIII

Williamsburg, VA’s Alewerks Brewing has been producing some truly outstanding beers the past couple of years. Their Bitter Valentine and Grand Illumination are both products that I look forward to hunting down each year. And now, I’ve got another brew to add to the list. Jubilee—number VIII, in this case—is the company’s yearly anniversary release.

Though this was the only time that I’ve crossed paths with this Belgian-style strong dark ale, I know it to be one that I will most certainly purchase each year going forward. This 12% ABV brew is a special treat having been aged in rum barrels prior to its release. The resulting beer is simply an amazing experience—rich, decadent and incredibly smooth.


Pouring a dark, cola brown Jubilee VIII sits with a light brown cap of foam that dropped to a thing surface cover.

Alewerks Jubilee VIII photo


Rum, dark fruits, burnt caramel, yeast, raisin, wood, vanilla and a hint of licorice all swirl around the surface of the glass. The beer smells pretty darn good.


Jubilee VIII is not only rich and decadent, it’s also a fun beer. Molasses, rum, licorice, raisin/fig notes, caramel, yeast, wood and vanilla all come together wonderfully throughout. The flavor profile is complex, but not complicated. The richness isn’t sweet or cloying, instead resting comfortably in the refined and lovely description range of my limited vocabulary. It tastes as though it’s already been aged a bit, but I have a feeling that’s the rum barrel influence.


It’s funny. I cannot stand drinking rum whether stand alone or within a mixed cocktail, but I’ll be damned if I don’t love it’s influence on several of the barrel-aged beers being releases as of late. Jubilee VIII is just another great beer in a run of excellent Virginia products that have been sourcing rum barrels for their aging purposes.

I was only able to grab the one bottle, but if this is any indication of what I can expect in the future, I’m going to be damned sure that I get a couple of more for cellaring. This is an outstanding beer.

Rating: 4.5/5

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