Brew Review

Beer Review – Uncommon Brewers Siamese Twin Ale


Uncommon Brewers Siamese Twin Ale

It was a crisp, clear Saturday afternoon. The wife was away at a conference in San Francisco, the kids were playing in the back yard, and I was attempting to read Stephen King’s 11/22/63 on my Nexus 7 tablet as I sat on my patio. I was about two pages into a new chapter when I heard someone whistling off to my left. When I turned my head, I was greeted by a grinning Wookie that was poking his head out of his sliding patio door and waving a bottle of Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye in my general direction. He asked if I wanted one, but since it was only 2PM, I summoned up some willpower and resisted his generous offer.

About 30 or 40 minutes later, Limpd steps out his back door and starts walking across his lawn with three bottles of Lithuanian swill beer and two bottles of the fantastic Great Lakes Alchemy Hour Double IPA in his hands. As Limpd was making his way to my patio, The Wookie let out a wicked laugh and immediately walked back to his house to get some tasting glasses. It was at this point that I knew my willpower had been shattered (truth be told, I never had much willpower to begin with).

During this mini tasting session, I pretty much avoided the Lithuanian swill (just a wee sip of each) and limited myself to a couple small pours of the Alchemy Hour Double IPA (I was on duty afterall!). Once the first bottle of Alchemy Hour was finished, I decided to take advantage of the situation, i.e. a relatively quiet Saturday afternoon with no more errands to run, and ran into my kitchen to grab the can of Uncommon Brewers Siamese Twin Ale that you see in the above photo. We then proceeded to give this beer a try.

I have seen this beer on the shelf at WineWorks in Marlton, NJ on several occasions, but never bothered to pick up a can until two weeks ago. I purchased this beer because I was intrigued by the exotic ingredients and because I liked the look of the art work on the shiny silver can.

Before we get to the review, here is what Uncommon Brewers has to say about their Siamese Twin Ale:

There’s a long tradition in Belgian brewing of using exotic spices to enhance a beer’s flavor. Although many have been tried, coriander is undoubtedly the king. In tribute to this heritage we present to you our Siamese Twin Ale.

It is a traditional Belgian-style Double seasoned with coriander and entirely uncommon Thai spices. At first surprising, the floral notes of lemongrass and sharper bite of kaffir lime blend with the deep malt of this double to produce a dangerously drinkable beer.

Served alongside a fiery curry or enjoyed on its own, the Twin brings a taste of the tropics to every occasion. And who doesn’t need a taste of the tropics every now and then?

Let’s find out if this beer is any good…

  • Appearance: Murky, burnished copper color. Zero head or lacing.
  • Aroma: Caramel flavored malt with perhaps a hint of lime off in the distance. Given that this beer is brewed with kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and coriander, I was expecting so much more from the nose.
  • Taste: Very lightly carbonated. Though it tasted better than I expected given what little I got from the nose, it was far from great. Lots of caramel malt and a touch of lime. Also quite boozy! And I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I did get a bit of an Indian Curry note in the aftertaste. Or maybe I didn’t taste that at all and it was simply the power of suggestion after reading what was written on the side of the can. I’m not really sure.
  • ABV: 8.5%

When I read all of the exotic ingredients that were used in the brewing of this beer, my first thought was Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra, which is a beer that I really enjoyed. There is nothing subtle about that Ballast Point beer! The flavors are huge, and you can pick out each and every ingredient that went into the making of that beer.

Unfortunately, the Siamese Twin Ale is no match for the Indra Kunindra. While this beer was far from dreadful (that’s how The Wookie described it), it wasn’t anything special either. Basically, it was just ok, which is a pity given all of the interesting stuff that went into the making of this beer.

13 replies »

  1. I just inherited all four of their offerings, which includes the (in)famous(?) bacon ale. I am very curious to see what I find from them, as I was also perplexed by the array of ingredients listed.

    I hope the beers are better than just a novel attempt to cram a ton of flavors and additives/adjuncts into a brew.

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  2. Prepare to crumple to the ground in a fit of seizure-infused shock as I respond with uncommon brevity (like what I did there?):

    That beer (and its bacon-addled brother) is horrible. I was equally intrigued when I first saw it but found the flavors to be exceptionally muted. Despite tat, what flavors were present tasted as though they were thrown together in an amateur version of “Ready, Set…Brew”. Much like you, I agree that those flavors, when used in correct proportions, with high quality ingredients, and in established world-class craft brewing hands can produce a special, if not for everyone beer. Indra Kunindra is fantastic. I used to call Uncommon Siamese Twin “Indra Kunindra Light” but that does Ballast Point a disservice.

    Cheers!

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    • What he said. I can’t believe I am agreeing with the Monger but this beer gets my typical “DREADFUL” lowest of the low rating. Fortunately I had plenty of the Ruthless to rinse with.

      For this “mini” session the beverages are rated as follows:

      1 – Great Lakes Alchemy Hour Double IPA
      2 – Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye
      3 – The Margarita I made for Limp Ds better half
      4 – The watermelon juice from the bottom of the kids fruit snack bowl
      5 – Siamese Twin Ale

      Yes it made the top five but that’s only because there weren’t 6 things to drink.

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    • I do like what you did there. That’s some excellent wordsmithery! And as far as “Indra Kunindra Light”, that is a very appropriate description, though perhaps even that is being too kind to this beer. It wishes it were worthy of that monicker!

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  3. +1 for the Nexus 7, I love that thing. I actually have a bottle of Indra Kunindra waiting, looks like I’ll be sticking with that for my Indian beer experience. Cheers!

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    • I too am liking the Nexus 7! While it lacks some of the killer apps that are available for the iPad and iPad mini, given its price tag, it does what I need it to do, plus, the size is perfect for use during my commute.

      Indra Kunindra is one seriously weird and wonderful beer. Not something I would drink all the time, but definitely memorable and worth revisiting.

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  4. Where to begin… to call the Lithuanian beer swill after tasting the Siamese Twin Ale is insulting to Svyturys (the brewer), me (your uninvited guest) and beer (in general). I found the Siamese Twin Ale to be too muted in the nose (for all the ingredients on the can) and just awful on the palate. Sadly, I can’t rip on you too much for the purchase, as the shiny can would have dragged me down as well.

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    • My apologies for any insults to you personally. And while I have no gripes with the lovely people of Lithuania (how could anyone insult the home of the Vilnius Schoolmaster, i.e. Marco Ramius?), their beer leaves much to be desired. Next time, bring over some Kugelis instead.

      And speaking of The Hunt for Red October, I have our next cocktail project: The Crazy Ivan!

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