Review Date 1/15/2015
It was close, my friends, but I’m now 23 for 24 on the Terrapin Side Project series. I’ve only missed one of these so far (and that one only because it flew off the shelves before I could snag it. I was afraid that was about to happen again with Terrapin Side Project 24 Turtleneck Gingerbread Winter Warmer. I never saw this in bottles so I was very glad to get a growler at Stout's Growlers here in Canton.
Like Terrapin Side Project 21: Pineapple Express Smoked Pineapple Helles, Turtleneck Gingerbread Winter Warmer is the brainchild of a Terrapin employee. Terrapin has an employee homebrew challenge annually and the winning entrant gets to be featured as a Side Project release. From the label:
Terrapin’s 2014 homebrew contest winners have created “Turtleneck” gingerbread winter warmer ale. Initially brewed in the backwoods of Athens, Georgia, or someone’s kitchen, this gingerbread cookie inspired beer was artfully crafted by a crack team of Terrapin employees. Since no gingerbread men or women were harmed in the making of this beer, we hope you will enjoy with a clear conscience.
Malt: 2-Row Pale, Malted Wheat, Crystal 85, Honey Malt, DH Carafa II
Hops: Warrior, Nugget
Other: Gingerbread spices including Ground Cinnamon, Chicory, Ginger, Allspice, Clove, Nutmeg
Terrapin Side Project 24 Turtleneck Gingerbread Winter Warmer has an alcohol content of 8.4% by volume and 35 IBUs. Once again, Terrapin runs high pricewise as this was $11.75 for 32 ounces, but still a better deal than the bomber bottles that run around $8.99. The bottle price is about average these days, while the growler price is a bit above average.
Terrapin Side Project 24 Turtleneck Gingerbread Winter Warmer smells like fresh baked gingerbread in the nose. Taking a sip, I get more of those dark gingerbread notes mixed with hints of raisin, plum pudding, chocolate, molasses, and in the finish, more fresh gingerbread notes with a very spicy finale of nutmeg and cinnamon. By spicy, I mean in the way that gingerbread and gingerbread cookies have that prickly spiciness that dances across your tongue in the way hot peppers do, but in a much friendlier way. This beer is a lot like that, and it really works to remind me of how gingerbread tastes.
So as much as I slammed Terrapin for the lack of French Toast in their French Toasted Wake n Bake, I have to say they really hit it on this one. It really is a lot like liquid gingerbread, with that wonderful peppery quality ginger has in baked goods. Not like fresh ginger, more like gingerbread you see. I am impressed, and if this returns next winter in some iteration, I will be sure to buy some.
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.