Today, Henry Deltoid locks his salty chops around Heavy Sea’s “Holy Sheet” – a Belgian style abbey ale aged in brandy barrels – 9% ABV/38 IBU
Holy shit, HOLY SHEET! Heavy Seas out of the Baltimore Maryland area has created a damned fine beer here. I have to admit I didn’t expect it to be more than an above average brew, because I have had plenty of their beers and have always been let down by them. All of their efforts are admirable, creative, and I can always tell they’re trying to reach the top shelf. But they tend to fall short of the mark, sometimes by far. However, Holy Sheet hits the target for which they are aiming and it reminds me of the well placed result of coitus interruptus across a tramp stamp on the lower lumbar: although it’s not likely, it’s certainly possible, your hopes aren’t too high, but you aim for it anyway, and then… wait for it… wait for it… DISCO!
Holy Sheet is a part of Heavy Seas’ “Uncharted Waters” series, of which their best selections can be found, but unfortunately not found easily. These are rare gems in their collection and if you are going to select a Heavy Seas beer at your local liquor joint I would only recommend these, unless you want an average and unmemorable craft selection. Even their Big Dipa (which is a part of this series) isn’t something worth revisiting although its up-front flavor (unlike its weak follow-through flavors) was outstanding enough to be worth at least one purchase. I will also give Heavy Seas a pat on the back and due credit: their beer is always reasonably priced. Because of this they’re all well value engineered, but let’s be honest: this is beer, not wine or Scottish whisky. There, I said it. Blow me (down)! ß See what I did there?
The color of Holy Sheet is root beer brown with a slight glow of deep amber. Its head looks like caramel vanilla ice cream. The head isn’t very tall, but is soft, cottony, and has a decent retention and some large bubbles sprinkled throughout its lovely countenance. The sweet smell of caramel, brandy, and phenolic Belgian yeast and sweet bread greet your nose before you sip or guzzle Holy Sheet (it can be enjoyed both ways which is a nice quality most will probably not notice).
Up front the flavor is fairly strong with phenol, malt, caramel, brandy, wet oak, banana, brown sugar, and a touch of smoke, chocolate and booze. The carbonation is very tight and creamy; and the beer feels dry and drinkable in the mouth. The flavor profiles carry through nicely and leave an aftertaste that is dry, whiskey flavored with caramel sweetness, and contains a tad of bitterness and a bit of smoke. Heavy Seas did a fantastic job balancing the Belgian ale and the brandy barrel aging flavors. The lacing is quite gooey and thick; and leaves bubbly smears around the glass well after the drinking is done.
If I am to voice one complaint I must submit that the flavors, while excellent, could be a little stronger which would also carry a higher ABV making this a hard-hitting brew. At 9% ABV it’s a nice buzz-inducer but with just a little more balls this brew could be even better. But that’s a minor complaint.
I am fairly picky with American breweries making Belgian style ales; while I tend to like them they simply don’t compare to the real deal imports. Some of them would make Belgium proud, though, and Holy Sheet is among that list.
Arrr!!! Ahoy and avast, me mateys! Drop yer socks and Dock yer cocks! Drink ye a pint or two of this delicious brandy barrel aged elixir, yo ho! Open up the bungholes, chug the grog, stomp any lily livered lubbers that stand in yer way, and fornicate all buxom beauties and scalliwags within eyeshot, me hearties!