Jubel 2010 Lives Up to the Hype

As luck would have it, I did not have to pop the cap on my freshly acquired bottles of Jubel 2010 Once-A-Decade Ale in order to try it out.  After enjoying a warm evening trip to Missoula’s Red Bird Wine Bar for excellent crab cakes and a glass of Tempranillo, we headed down the alley for a quick stop at the Rhino wondering what might be new on tap. Bayern’s Killarney was there, not surprisingly, but so was a keg of Jubel 2010. I guess you don’t have to wait for March 17 for a little luck to fall on your side.

The “regular” Jubelale is a seasonally brewed winter warmer from Deschutes that provides a welcome signal of the approaching holidays and the time to dive into the strong winter brews. I always pick up a six pack at the start of the season as some sort of right of passage from fall into winter.  The hop bitterness is more than I like for most of my beer drinking, but I’ve always enjoyed a few of them mixed in with the dopplebocks, imperial stouts, and strong ales that dominate the season.

“Super Jubel” as it is called by Deschutes is a much more potent version available yearly in draft form in limited supply at their pubs.  2010 marks only the second time it has been bottled, the first coming in 2000 to mark the turn of the century.  Jubel 2010 Once-A-Decade Ale was aged for 13 months in Oregon pinot noir barrels. What did that do? It created a complex beer with a variety of flavors that are tough to discern, but really fun to explore.

The beer is a very dark ruby/brown and had a thin, off white head. The aroma is sweet, almost sugary. The taste? I’d call it a curious collision of flavors.  I can pick out the Jubelale undertones, but I’m not sure if that’s merely the power of suggestion. I tasted strong flavors of a Brach’s caramel candy at the start, but there’s a lot more in there that keeps popping up. We tasted toast. (Hey, remember, it is all subjective).  We tasted flavors we described as toasted chocolate (and hereby coin that term). The alcohol is warm, but not overpowering. Ultimately, there is an underlying sweetness that dominates the flavors with an ever-so-slight bitter finish. We agreed it was a very fun beer to sip and ponder. My guess is that it will improve with aging as the flavors blend more together.

Jubel 2010 has 10% abv and 55 IBUs which compares to 6.7% and 60 IBUs in the regular Jubelale. It is curious that Deschutes ramped up the malt to increase the Alcohol, but did not follow suit with the IBUs.  In fact, they lowered the IBUs. For me, Jubel 2010 doesn’t reach the epic greatness that is The Abyss, but it certainly lives up to the hype. Perfect, no, but who cares. My definition of a great beer is one that combines complexity with great taste and gives you something to explore and ponder. Jubel 2010 delivers on all fronts.

Name: Jubel 2010 Once-A-Decade Ale
Brewery: Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR.
Style: Festive winter ale on steroids.
Color: Dark ruby/brown with off white head.
Packaging: 22oz bottles; draft (both limited quantities).
Stats: 10% abv, 55 IBUs.
Bought: Worden’s Market, Missoula (bottles); Rhino, Missoula (draft).
Ruling: Four and a half out of Five Hops. A complex, fun beer that will improve with age.