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…
And more like this:
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.