Birra Balladin

Beer Review – Birra Baladin Isaac Spiced Wheat Ale

If you are one of our loyal readers, then you are well aware that we rarely miss an opportunity to give Limpd a hard time about his fondness for beers and whiskies that come wrapped in pretty packaging. But let’s be honest here, most people are attracted to pretty, shiny things. If we weren’t attracted to such things, companies like DeBeers would cease to exist, and everything we buy would be wrapped in a plain brown wrapper. Pretty packaging is not a guarantee of quality, but it definitely gets your attention.

Attractive packaging and several articles about the rise of the Italian Craft Beer movement (click here for the NYT article and here for the Saveur article) are what prompted me to buy a 12 ounce bottle of the Baladin Isaac. The fact that I absolutely loved the Baladin Nora also influenced my decision to purchase the Isaac. We’ll refer to my very positive experience with the Baladin Nora, “The Halo Effect“.

Here is what Baladin has to say about their Isaac Spiced Wheat Ale:

The creamy head, the cloudy, apricot color and the scent of yeast and citrus, which releases spicy harmonies of coriander and peeled oranges, call you from the glass. ISAAC is ideal as an aperitif or drank with fresh food and summery dishes. Refreshing to the palate, it has a light body and is very easy to drink.

And here is my take on this beer…

  • Appearance: Cloudy, pale orange color. Rapidly rising and dissipating head. A good bit of spices floating throughout.
  • Aroma: Hints of clove and lemon/orange zest. Banana puree.
  • Taste: Very thin and watery mouthfeel. For a super loud and fizzy pour (think club soda or seltzer when you first open the bottle), this beer is surprisingly light on carbonation. The wheat flavor really comes through. Lots of yeast and spiced citrus, but not overpowering at all. This is a very mild beer.
  • ABV: 5%

If the Baladin Isaac were priced at around $2 per bottle, then I would rate this as a slightly above average wheat beer. But at around $7 for a 12 ounce bottle, I found this beer to be dull and overpriced. I think what disappoints me most about the Baladin Isaac is that I absolutely loved the Baladin Nora. Nora was bold, flavorful, and really interesting. Isaac is just plain dull.

So as not to be completely negative about this beer, it’s mild and watery character would probably make this a great “lawnmower beer”, but given it’s price point, I recommend picking up a six pack of the 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat. At $8 to $10 per six pack, you’ll get a seriously refreshing and flavorful beer, and you’ll even get to share a can or two with your friends.

11 replies »

    • I was hoping to love it too. There’s a part of me that hopes I picked up a dud bottle, but based upon how hyperactive the carbonation was, I don’t think freshness was an issue. Could also be an expectations thing.

      Though I didn’t like this beer very much, I am not turned off to Baladin. I went back and forth with our buddy Ryan at “In Search of Beer…” via Twitter last week and he had high praise for their Xyuayu and Al-iksir beers. Ryan has yet to steer me wrong, so I shall seek these out!


  1. So, pretty and yet still a disappointment. The packaging would have dragged me down, too. We’ll have to look for the Xyuayu and Al-iksir beers.


  2. Like a Ferrari with a golf cart motor under the hood, eh? Pretty to look at but not the trilling ride you were looking for.

    This is where my love of all things cheap and practical overrides the “pretty thing” attraction and I walk away before I buy it. 7 bucks is a bit outrageous but I would assume that “your people” have various proprietors of small craft beer and olive oil import businesses that require their payments so the cost, while high, is understandable. Is there a separate bottle disposal fee from your brethren in the waste management business?


      • If that were the case, then yes.

        Have you guys reviewed any of the other 21st Amendment beer? I’ve only ever tried the Watermelon Wheat and Back in Black.


      • We’ve reviewed the Back in Black, the Hell or High Watermelon, and the Fireside Chat. I personally have had the Brew Free or Die IPA and the Allies Win The War. I have liked all of their beers with the exception of the Allies Win The War. Overall, I am a definite fan of this brewery.


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