In this episode I’ll delve into a beer that I just had to pick up. Why you ask? Because the bottle was wicked cool, and I’ve heard some decent talk about Shmaltz Brewing. Shmaltz put out a series of Coney beers. There’s Coney Island Lager, Albino Python. Sword Swallower, Freaktoberfest, and (the one I’ll review today) the Human Blockhead. (click that to pop bigger photo)
Shmaltz calls their Human Blockhead a “Tough as Nails Lager”, and on that note I would have to agree. But in this case I’m not sure that it’s a good thing. The beer pours a rusty red-brown color with a nice, relatively thin tan head that almost disappeared instantly. The smell on this was all alcohol. I suppose that since it’s a 10% ABV beer, this isn’t horribly shocking, but it too away from the pleasantness of malt or hops. This had me concerned from the word go.
I swirled it a bit and the head, once again, disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared. The alcohol still shown through and than I took a big sip. The first note, right out of the gate, was the alcohol. There was no two ways about it, the taste and the warmth of the alcohol came on strong. Sadly, in my humble opinion, it reminded me of college. More specifically it reminded me of drinking Steel Reserve High Gravity in college. Honestly, I almost couldn’t get past just how much it reminded of Steel, and I think it tainted my opinion from there on out.
After holding it in my mouth for a bit swallowing it confused the hell out of me. It left a hot note from the alcohol, but then there was a distinct note that I can only describe as, and think it might be, molasses. Molasses… and bread? The malt peaked it’s head in a bit, but there was that haunting molasses note, and a bitter hoppy finishing note. This, again, isn’t surprising to me as they use Warrior, Horizon, Tettnang, Palisade, Crystal, and Hallertau Hops in the beer. It actually left me a bit depressed that so many Hops gave their all for mediocrity.
Bottom line on this bad boy, I was far less than impressed. I thought that the beer had a shock value, for lack of a better term, going for it. An overly big, all over the place taste, mess. It’s left me anxious to try a couple more, non Coney Island, Shmaltz beers just for comparison in hopes of being pleasantly surprised. This, however, I’d give a two on a five scale, that’s right a “D”. I’m not willing to say it’s a total failure, I’m sure someone could appreciate how big, hot, and all over it is. I’m just not that guy.
4 months ago