Review Date 10/7/2009
I could regale you
with an account of the "liner notes" printed on the side of my bottle of
Sweetwater's Big Ol' Belgian Blue Balls Ale, latest in the Dank
Tank series of one off specialty brews from this Atlanta, Georgia based
brewer. But based on the name alone, I'm sure you can guess why I won't.
Suffice it to say that the tale starts out with a female blueberry farmer
who tends her patch in the nude, and it all goes downhill from there. I'm
not sure why Sweetwater has such a tendency to name it's beers with sexual
connotations, but they do.
On the plus side, Sweetwater is committed to local causes like Save the Hooch (Hooch in this case referring to the Chattahoochee River, not booze, thank you very much). They're also committed to using local products in their brew, and in that spirit Big Ol' Belgian Blue Balls is brewed with locally produced, organically grown blueberries from Serenbe Farms in Palmetto, Georgia. I like that.
The Dank Tank series was inspired, no doubt, by upstart competitor to the north (north Georgia, that is) Terrapin. Each Dank Tank brew is a one-off specialty, designed to grab the attention of the fickle beer geek market just long enough until the next new brew can be released to do the same. Terrapin has been doing this with their Side project brews, and they do it more frequently, too.
Big Ol' Belgian Blue Balls is brewed with "malted wheat, malted barley, rye, water, hops, and organic blueberries" according to the label. Alcohol content is given as 8% by volume. It's only available once (or so they say), and runs about $6.99 for a 22-ounce bottle. Distribution is limited to Georgia and a few surrounding southern states, so if you see it, buy a bottle.
Sweetwater Big Ol' Belgian Blue Balls pours to more of a coppery reddish color than a blue one, but it's the blueberries here that inspire the name, not the color. Head formation is minimal, but the nose is enticing with soft but alluring aromas of spicy rye and juicy fruit. The palate is certainly Belgian enough with a decided funky, musty cotton candy Belgian yeast character. A hint of banana comes through, laced with subtle clove. Spicy rye notes liven things up just as the nose promised, and a subtle hint of blueberry adds a soft sweetness somewhere near the finish.
That sweetness is slightly attenuated in the finish by the warming alcohol and just a touch of grassy, aromatic hops. But overall this one leans towards the sweet side. I like it well enough, but would like a bit more of the blueberry the name implies. Still, I think this is a solid four star beer hedonistically, quite flavorful and a great beer for sipping on a cool fall evening.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.