10 Barrel Brewing has been making this beer for a long time and it is their take on a schwarzbier. Now many of you alert humans may have noticed that the name of this beer contains the word “ale” and the style of the beer is a lager. This is because 10 Barrel have used an ale yeast in S1nistor (Sinistor) instead of staying traditional in their ingredient list.
To begin, we want to make it clear that this is a review of a recent bottled release as we have been told that S1nist0r tastes so much better on tap that is might as well be a different beer.
S1nist0r pours brownish black as expected from the malt with a thin copper head and visually, a lot of carbonation. The aroma invites you to take a taste with promises of sweet malt, bread and fruit with a hint of cola. The first sip feels thin as a schwarzbier should, but there is a lot of carbonation that affects the mouthfeel. The flavor is subtle, a bit too subtle.
There are bread flavors with a mild nutty sweetness but the flavors are a little too mild. Schwarzbiers shouldn’t be heavy with flavor, but when you can taste hidden flavors trying to tickle your tastebuds, it is a little disappointing when they fade before they make their mark. The flavors in this beer act on your senses like a song that starts out sounding like one of your favorites and you feel the anticipation only to realize its a different song and there is that feeling of being let down.
That being said, this is an enjoyable beer that just could have been so much better. We think S1nist0r suffers from trying to pretend to be a lager while dressing up as a black ale. The two work, but don’t seem to compliment each other as perhaps the brewers intended. (Referring to our note above about tap vs bottle, it is possible this batch of bottles were too old or perhaps they came from a “less than perfect” batch… )
One other note, although it is being picky, is that the name of a beer should in some way describe its character. “Sinister” is not a word we would describe this mild mannered “Clark Kent” of a beer 😉
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