Beer Review: Terrapin Samurai Krunkles – Holy Mother of Paula Deen

This review isn’t going to make me a lot of friends, but every so often a beer becomes a victim of me feeling I have fawned over too many beers in a row. This time, that beer is Terrapin’s Samurai Krunkles (Side Project Vol. 17):

Samurai Krunkles is number 17 in Terrapin’s Side Project Series. It includes an impressive line-up of hops: Columbus, Nugget, Falconers Flight, Zythos, Sorachi Ace. It also includes green tea, jasmine rice, and ginger. I thought the subtle flavors of jasmine rice and green tea along with the not so subtle flavor of mucho hops would be an interesting challenge to parse. But…

It ended up tasting less like this:

And more like this:

Butter!

Ding, with whom I usually agree about 0.05% of the time (although I respect his palate), had mentioned on Twitter that it tasted like pure butter. I decided to try mine a couple of days later. At first it was fine…

It poured a hazy orange, with a respectable head that dissipated at a medium pace to a ring. I could huff the hops, which seemed citrusy and resiny. And I could also pick up some zippy ginger. After my first taste, I thought it tasted nice. The ginger remained recognizable, the balance was good, and resiney and cistrusy hops had a good flavor and nice bite. I was about tweet Ding that he was nuts (as I usually do).

First things first, though. It was after work, and I was hungry and making dinner. So, I threw a handfull of Cheez-Its in my pie hole and took another sip. After that, it all went pear-shaped, and the beer started tasting like butter with a bitter, hoppy finish. It even gave me the empty feeling in the pit of my stomach that I get when I am about to eat a hunk of fat or stick of butter (don’t judge, I needed the money).

I finished it. The strength of the butter taste came and went, but sadly never completely went.

So, what can we take away from this? I am not willing to proclaim diacetyl. Terrapin is a really good brewery. Also, many people have given this beer a positive review. And I haven’t found anyone else reporting this flavor (and according to Ding’s Twitter feed, his second bottle was apparently not as bad). So, I would say give it a try and see what you find. It’s always good practice picking out flavors (and maybe even off-flavors) in beer.

Perhaps it was a personal palate thing with the combination of flavors (strong Jasmine does give me a similar feeling in the pit of my stomach). In any case, don’t eat Cheez-Its with this beer. It only makes it angry.

Editor’s notes: You can check out Ding’s review here. And in the comments, Mark, of Kaedrin Beer Blog, points out that he has heard that green tea can impart a buttery flavor.

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18 thoughts on “Beer Review: Terrapin Samurai Krunkles – Holy Mother of Paula Deen

  1. I’m not an expert either, but I’ve had buttery beers before and sometimes I get the impression that it’s a flaw (diacetyl) and sometimes that it’s more intentional. That sort of savory flavor can work in a beer, but I get the impression that there’s a pretty narrow target to hit and that it’s easy to overdo… (I’ve heard stuff brewed with Green Tea can have a buttery flavor too, so maybe that’s the culprit in this case)

    • I made myself a green tea after I read your comment. The Haybag started giving me the third degree on whether I was sick (the only time I usually drink tea). I didn’t taste anything reminiscent of butter per se, but I can see that it has that potential. I wish I’d had that Stone Green Tea as a point of reference. I will reference your wisdom with an editor’s note in the post. Thanks!

      And I have suspected that Southern Tier Pumking is kickin’ a little diacetyl for some pie crust effect. It seems from what I have read, though, that dancing with diacetyl is dangerous (as you say, it’s easy to overdo).

  2. Diacetyl is actually fairly easy to control as long as you’re not rushing the brewing process. If you give your beer enough time to condition, the yeast will eat all that diacetyl back up. You often see this problem crop up with breweries that are out growing their facilities. They shave time off the process to rush beer out the door and then they get all buttery. Ninkasi in Eugene is still having this problem.

    • And like many compounds, some people can’t pick up diacetyl at all. They’re genetically “blind” to the compound while others are hyper sensitive. So people who are blind to it may like the beer because they don’t taste that element at all.

      • I think you’re both correct, though, right? My understanding is that it is easy to not have any in the beer at all; but if you try to include some in the flavor profile, you can’t control how much flavor makes it in the drinker’s glass, as it will increase over time in the bottle. But I am a lowly poli sci major and a tax attorney, so I could be wrong. Maybe I should leave the technical stuff to you two whiz kids, and just stick to dookie jokes?

      • That was kind of my point. Once in the bottle, you may never know where it’s going to go. But a brewery should have no problem keeping it out, unless like IThinkAboutBeer said, they’re rushing their product.

        The technical stuff is fun. But I do to much of that at work. Maybe I’ll just join you in the dookie jokes.

  3. Wow, that was amazing! I never learned so much about beer in my whole life. When I sober up I’m going to read it again (the professor) but I much preferred your distilled review. I would think that butter is always better than cat pee, but of course diminishing returns always factor in.

  4. Pingback: Beer Review: Terrapin Beer Co., Samurai Krunkles (Side Project 17) | dingsbeerblog

  5. Pingback: Terrapin Brewing Co – Samurai Krunkles « lyricslibationsandlife

  6. Pingback: Beer Storage: Surviving the apocalypse and my trunk | beerbecue

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