Posted by: Scott | March 1, 2010

Super Jubel Review

Twenty years ago, on a frigid winter’s eve in Bend, Oregon, a thief infiltrated Deschutes Brewery with visions of Jubelale, their year-end seasonal, dancing in his head. He might’ve succeeded, too, if it weren’t for that meddling brain of his (and its inability to function properly). You see, he wanted a keg. After lugging it out into the glacial cold, however, he realized that 15 gallons of liquid encased in metal is kind of heavy, especially when you’re about to freeze to death.

In the snow he left it. Gary Fish, owner of Deschutes, found it there the next morning but didn’t toss it — instead, he poured himself a glass and took a swig. Much of the liquid had frozen, leaving behind a concentrated, highly alcoholic version of Jubelale. They dubbed it Super Jubel and began recreating it every year to serve in their pubs. February 2010 marks the second time they’ve bottled it since their frost-bitten thief forgot his wheelbarrow. They also aged this one for 13 months in pinot noir barrels.

After scraping away all that black Reserve Series wax, the cap comes off without complaint. It pours dark brown, like caramelized mahogany covered in sticky foam. The smell of sharp, sweet cherries lures you in, and the first taste explodes with too many flavors to count. There’s plums, licorice, raisins, and dark cherries with some tannins and toasted wood on the finish. As it warms, hints of whiskey emerge. It’s a huge beer, a winter warmer times twenty, a burbling blend of bourbon and brandy.

Beers like this are the reason I write with such unbridled and sometimes embarrassing enthusiasm (see sentence above). I would buy another bottle of Super Jubel to put in storage for next Christmas, because this is a perfect fireside ale —  but I doubt any surplus would last a week, let alone 10 months.

Brewery: Deschutes
Style: Strong Ale
ABV: 10%
IBU: 55
Glassware: Snifter, Goblet
Serving Temp: 50° F
Price Range: $13-$15 per 12 oz. bottle

Thursday: A more interactive article than usual.



  1. mmmmm. sad to see black butte xxi go…

    • I know! Such is the way of seasonals … but it always makes me a little sad, too, especially when they’re a little different every year like Deschutes’ Reserve Series beers. You know you’ll probably never taste that exact beer again.

  2. i am a small fan of Deschutes’ reserve…im batting .500. I loved their Black Butte XXI, which i see that you and ben also enjoyed. however, there was another that was so horrible that none of us would drink it; the flanders-style. (i forget the name – something like Stone’s names like damnation or something 🙂 it had a raven on the bottle. i’ll have to try and find some more of the reserve series. however, this bottling-once-every-10-years-thing smells of gimmick to me.

    • I suppose it could be a gimmick. But I dunno … would their profits from bottling it once a decade really justify not doing it every year? Guess it’ll remain a mystery.

      Was the beer you tried called The Dissident? Flanders ales like that can be extremely challenging — I have yet to try one that’s completely won me over, even though I believe there’s something good in every style. I think it’s the funky sourness. But rest assured, that’s how it’s suppose to taste! Ha 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. update: WANT.

    on the other side, i just read a partial review for The Dissident, saying it’s one of the best Flanders ales the reviewer had ever had. I’ve never had a Flanders ale.

    • I’ve read that too, and I want to try it. But the region produces some seriously odd beers. I need to try more of them.

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