I put the title of any beer into one of five categories. The first is the simple, straightforward description of the contents within the bottle, such as Lagunitas “IPA” or Rogue “Chocolate Stout”. The second type of title is a crafty and amusing (sometimes hilarious) way of describing the liquid, such as Founders “Curmudgeon” old ale, or Deschutes “Obsidian” stout. The third is the type that makes no fornicating sense at all, such as Big Sky “Moose Drool”, Thirsty Dog “Old Leghumper”, Lagunitas “The Hairy Eyeball”, or BrewDog “Tactical Nuclear Penguin”. The fourth consists of beers with association gimmick titles to rope in drinkers like; Robinson’s “Iron Maiden Trooper”, Ommegang “Game of Thrones” series, or Black Sheep “Monty Python Holy Grail”. Seriously? Who would buy a beer that could potentially taste like cat vomit stirred in a bottle of monkey urine just because it’s named after their favorite TV show? HINT: I would! I have. And I will again. So blow yourself (and if you can do that, please teach me how). But back on track: the fifth category belongs to beers that use abstract names which, after research and analytical observation reveal some interesting and meaningful connection between the name and the liquid. A good example of that would be Lagunitas “Sucks” as well as Samuel Adams “Thirteenth Hour”, which I found to be quite a brilliant name after doing some serious detective work (a.k.a. “using google”).
Thirteenth Hour is quite the flavor conglomerate. It is advertised as a Belgian style stout with notes of spice, coffee, chocolate and oak. Overall it’s not that great, and is another disappointment from the craft beer industry fatherland, The Boston Beer Company. But it’s a damned fascinating concoction. It looks like Coca-Cola. It is black with a foamy, vanilla colored head. The beer is quite fizzy and the head is loose with fairly large bubbles. Its aroma consists of phenol, tart strawberries, black licorice, and milk chocolate. The flavor upfront is a warming mixture of tart berries, clove, cinnamon, and thyme. It moves to chocolate and cappuccino with a touch of phenol. It has the texture of champagne, which is a strike against it. The aftertaste was a nice combination of chocolate, oak and sweet cherries. Its flavor is a bit weak and watery, and the tartness tends to be the neighborhood bully from start to finish. Will some heroic flavor stand up to this red-headed tart ASSHOLE?
The chocolate has heard my plea! After about 30% completion I noticed the chocolate flavor starting to balance out the tart flavors. Also the carbonation began to taper off, as it was a distraction by being too loose, prickly, and gassy. Due to this transition, the second half of my beer session was much more enjoyable than the first. It left me with a nice buzz, although there was barely a trace of booze in it. The lacing reminded me of foam layers abandoned on a beach by a receding tide.
Overall this is a weird beer. More than anything it tasted like a Farmhouse ale in which someone accidentally spilled a stout. I didn’t taste much oak, and it didn’t seem aged at all with the watery texture and the weak body. It definitely had several layers of flavor profiles so it’s obvious quite a bit went into making it. But the tart flavor was too overpowering and didn’t give the ball to the malt flavors of a stout so they could make a play. This was a noble effort in brewing a beer, but I wouldn’t buy this product again.
“So, why is it called ‘Thirteenth Hour’?” you ask. From my research I found the phrase “thirteenth hour” used for thriller and spooky novels as well as a 70’s Japanese movie called “Rape! Thirteenth Hour”. Assuming this beer’s name isn’t a reference to any of those (especially the rape one) I concluded it must be a reference to a proverb about clocks that strike 13. Since it is an improper metric of our understanding and establishment of time, a clock that strikes 13 is not standardized, does not include a proper application of the rules, and therefore indicates that doubt must be raised regarding the accuracy and veracity of the preceding 12 hours. A-HA! Quite profound. It’s just too bad this beer doesn’t have as apocalyptic an impact to the art of brewing as the name suggests.
Beer Name: Samuel Adams “Thirteenth Hour”
Beer Type: Dark Belgian/Stout
IBU: 5 (my best guess)
Style: Not sure this is a style that should be made a lot, but 8/10 for the style