Vault Trial And Error #149 – Wassail

Since Vault is 15 minutes from my house, we end up there quite often. It’s been really crowded lately, but they have a new app where you can get in line before you get there. If you plan on going, I highly suggest it. This beer is one that is only brewed once as a pilot batch, as they do every Tuesday.


ABV: 4.8%

Style: Dunkelweizen

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Come into Vault any Tuesday and you’ll find a new beer on tap as part of our experimental Trial & Error Series! The idea here is that we make a small amount (5-15 gal) of a special beer designed to test one or more specific ingredients. We typically do these types of experiments in the brewery, but once a week, we give you the chance to peek behind the curtain and give us your insight into the beer related decisions we make here every day. We’ll be experimenting with new styles, hops, yeast strains, adjuncts, etc. Try a glass for only $3 and fill out the attached card to let us know what you think.”

Random: Pardon the candle in the picture, but there wasn’t any way to ascertain the color without it.

The beer poured with less than a finger of pure white head. It dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body appeared to be a very cloudy, brownish red color with no visible carbonation, but as mentioned every time that I go there, the lighting isn’t great. The nose had the expected holiday spices with brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger. It also had some banana and wheat. The taste had a lot of apple skins and juice, then I picked up some brown sugar, molasses, wheat and a maraschino cherry character. The spice was muted in the taste, but I still picked up cinnamon. It had a thick body with low carbonation. The finish was a moderate length and sweet from all of the fruit. I enjoyed the beer, but I could see it becoming cloying if I had more than one.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Hofbrau Hefe Weisse Dunkel

One of the things that I’m not a huge fan of at beer halls is getting beers in liters. They get warm too quickly and the glasses are insanely heavy. While we were at the beer hall, they only had sizes of half and full liters. Needless to say, I ordered half liters. Let’s see how this was.


ABV: 5.1%

Style: Dunkelweizen

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Combining refreshing notes of wheat beer and the richness of dark beer, Hefe Weizen Dunkel creates a wonderful and unique flavour. This one-of-a-kind beer is fermented similarly to light beer and stored in kegs for about one week, but in a way as unique as its flavour: upside down! Just before tapping time the yeast redistributes by turning the keg upright. This brew, offering 5.1% alcohol by volume, is characterised by a variety of special malts and a pleasing taste of coffee and cocoa.”

Random: I am not a fan of communal seating either.

This beer poured with a one finger, white head that dissipated quickly. It left very little lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy brown with no visible carbonation due to the haziness. The nose had light coffee and banana and yeast. The taste had light banana, spice, and then quickly went into cocoa powder and coffee. It had a medium body with high carbonation. The finish was swift with the same coffee and cocoa powder. This was a nice beer and one that I wouldn’t refuse if handed to me. It just wasn’t the best of the style I’ve ever had.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Flying Dog Earl Grey Black Wheat (Brewhouse Rarities)

I love tea. It’s one of the things that we always have in the house (at least in the iced version). Whenever I see a beer that uses tea, I’m all over it. When the other half made a surprise beer run for me, she got this one for me and I was super stoked to try it.


ABV: 6.3%

Style: Dunkelweizen

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Give this bad boy a whirl with a traditional English cream tea (scones, whipped cream and jam). Afternoon delight indeed.”

Random: I could definitely go for a scone right now.

This beer poured with a one and a half finger, light brown head. It dissipated slowly, but left no lacing on the glass. A crown was left on top of the body. The body itself was dark brown in color with no light getting through. As a result, there was no carbonation visible. The nose had a roasted quality to it with some chocolate and brown sugar. There was also a lemon zest note that came out after a few sniffs. I didn’t pick up much in regards to wheat or tea. The taste also started with the same roasted quality that was in the notes and then (finally) some black tea came out. A chocolate note was there too and then light wheat at the end. The citrus I picked up in the nose wasn’t in the taste at all. It had a medium thick body with light carbonation. The finish was quick with black tea. This beer was $2.00 for the bottle, which came to $.17 per ounce, which is the normal price for Flying Dog singles. This was a beer that I was really excited to drink, but just didn’t deliver.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Vault Dunkelweizen

There were only a few beers on their list that I thought the other half had a shot of liking. This happened to be one of them. After a few sips, she didn’t really like it. But, she let me take a few sips of it for review purposes. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 4.6%

Style: Dunkelweizen

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Vault Brewing Company is like no brewery or brewpub you’ve ever experienced. We are located in the quaint town of Yardley in Bucks County, Pennsylvania but provide an atmosphere more akin to the speakeasies of Philadelphia. We do not consider ourselves a bar, a pub, or even a traditional brewery. Our goal is to re-envision the concept of a brewpub and create an experience that is truly unique.”

Random: The other half ordered the pork belly bahn mi that she wasn’t a huge fan of.

This beer poured with a thick, one finger tan head that was slow to dissipate. It left some lacing on the weizen glass. The body was a cloudy, dark brown color. I couldn’t see any carbonation in the beer since the brewery was so dark. I assume there was some there. The nose was very…different for the style. I picked up dark fruit and cherries and light banana. The taste was equally peculiar. There was an odd tartness at first, then raisin. Yeast came through, but I got almost no banana and no spice. It had an overly thin body with light carbonation. The finish was long with dark fruit. This wasn’t an enjoyable beer for me at all and I wouldn’t have it again.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Josephs Brau Dunkelweizen

I’ve fallen off the wagon with reviews. It has been a crazy week at work, probably one of the worst weeks since I started there 7 years ago. I’ve basically been hitting the gym and coming straight home. Yesterday, I was at the gym, totally tearing it up, when the owner comes over and tells me he put me in the annual strongman competition (ladies division). Now, for my size, I’m pretty strong, but I’m only 5’2″, so I’m not completely sure I’m going to do it. It’s also on Saturday, so it’s not like I had time to train for it. But, my buddy took me out yesterday after my two-hour workout to go flip tires and it went decently well, so we’ll see. Anyways, this is the other brew that I bought from Trader Joe’s.

ABV:  5.2%

Style: Dunkelweizen

Trivia: And this would be another Trader Joe’s offering that is contract brewed by Gordon Biersch.

Random: The tire that my buddy will be flipping is taller than me.

This brew poured with a two finger white head that dissipated and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy chestnut-brown with moderate visible carbonation. On the nose, I got banana and a bit of clove and nutmeg. I also got a bit of lemon. The taste was less pleasant than the nose. I definitely got the banana flavor and a bit of spice. The lemon came through on the end. But, the carbonation definitely was a bit lacking. After a few sips of this, the banana definitely hit me as the overwhelming flavor and lasted onto the finish. Not a bad dunkelweizen, but definitely not even close to the best one I ever had. I wouldn’t rush back to have this again.

Untappd Rating: 2.0/5.0

Samuel Adams Dunkelweizen

So, I’ve decided that I have to drink all of the beer that I have before moving on. This means I’m going to have a few leftovers from the Sam Adams Fall variety pack. I’m also going away for the weekend and plan to hit a brewery and a brewpub (I obviously have my priorities straight). So, I will probably have a decent amount of reviews when I return, and hopefully some pictures. The brew of the night, the dunkelweizen, is a style that I really haven’t explored. I’ve had one or two before and liked them, although one that I had was considered one of the best of its style.

ABV: 5.1%

Style: Dunkelweizen

Trivia: According to the Sam Adams website, “Samuel Adams Dunkelweizen is brewed with authentic Bavarian wheat beer yeast, which imparts a wide spectrum of flavors and aromas from spicy clove and nutmeg to tropical fruit and banana. This traditional yeast is rarely used by American brewers so the flavors it creates are often unfamiliar, even to craft beer drinkers.  The yeast character is complemented by the taste of the malted wheat that adds a cereal note.The result is a beer that, although quite complex and flavorful, is medium in body, with a crisp finish.”

Random: I think I like dunkelweizens overall, but I still think of them as a summer beer. I just need something more substantial in the colder weather. And yes, after I poured the beer, I realized I had a weizen glass. It was a long day at work.

This beer poured with a two finger pure white head, that dissipated within a few minutes and left no lacing. The body itself is cloudy, due to being unfiltered, and is a brown color. On the nose, there is definitely banana and lemon. This style always throws me off because although I know it should resemble a hefeweizen, the dark color makes me think of other things. There is also a hint of spice on the nose, but very muted. The first sip, I get hit with significant carbonation, which I couldn’t see due to the color. The flavor has a lot of banana and not a lot of spice. The Weihenstephaner Dunkel that I had was much more flavorful. The carbonation that comes through is almost a little too much. But, it’s not bad by any means. It goes down easy and would be a good beer to use as an introduction to the style, and then follow up with the more flavorful ones. This brew is also easily sessionable, but there are better offerings out there.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel

Last night, I headed out to Stuff Yer Face with some friends to take some notes on my first article for I said that I wasn’t going to do a beer review, but after trying this brew, I had to review it. It was also on my list of brews that I wanted to try and last time I was at Stuff Yer Face, they just kicked the keg of it.

ABV: 5.3%

Style: Dunkelweizen

Trivia: According to the German Beer Institute: “Dunkel means dark in German (as opposed to weiss, which means white) and Weizen means wheat. Like a Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen is made from a mixed mash of wheat and barley malts, but unlike a Weissbier, it also contains a large array of lightly to thoroughly caramelized or roasted malts that give it both its color and its complexity.”

Random: I like Hefeweizen, and I like roasted malts, so this should work.

This beer was poured into a half liter glass. The color was a dark nut-brown color, not unlike Newcastle Brown. But, this brew was cloudy with a one finger white head and no visible carbonation due to the cloudiness. The head left minimal lacing. On the nose, there was a lot of banana, wheat and spice, which was to be expected. On the taste, there was still a lot of banana, but not as much carbonation as I expected. I also got some spice, mostly clove, and some wheat. The finish was quick and unremarkable, like a hefe. I thought this was really good. It was a bit heartier than a normal hefe, but not overbearing. I thought it was almost a bit nutty. I would definitely have this again. Awesome brew. You could almost get away drinking this in the fall.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0