Last night I was at one of my favorite restaurants and having a few beers. My first draft selection was a fantastic Belgian Pale Ale and my second was an excellent Bière de Garde so the night was moving along perfectly. For my third and final for the evening I selected a coffee RIS which was listed on the menu at 7.5%ABV. This was a not a new beer to me, but having it draft was the experience I was after.
So I receive the snifter and the aroma does have a good bit of roast and chocolate as expected with a strong coffee presence, but also something unexpected, a strong presence of alcohol. So I took a sip and yowza the beer had an alcohol punch like you would not believe. After a few sips more I realized the alcohol was very strong, surely in excess of 10%. A few minutes later it dawned on me what was wrong, the beer was fusel and had a strong presence of acetaldehyde.
Now normally a little alcohol would not scare me away, but fusel alcohol consumption can lead to a nasty headache. As far as the acetaldehyde I’d suspect a bacterial issue is the culprit. Now it may be something as simple as cleaning and then transportation of the kegs since this beer came from overseas, but a commercial brewery should not have those issues. I seriously doubt most people would notice since they probably have not had that beer before and once upon a time the beer was highly hyped on the beer rating sites. I did check to see a few mixed reviews of the draft version so at least I am not alone.
In the end I did not send it back and I did not finish it. I just left it on the table to save myself the headache this morning, paid the bill and left. Moral of the story, if you don’t like the beer or find something off in the beer it is perfectly fine to push back from the table and just say no!