Samuel Adams introduced Infinium as a limited run for the 2010 holiday season.  Infinium was brewed in partnership with Weihenstephan which has been producing beer just shy of one thousand years.  Infinium was promoted as a beer in a whole new style.  It has been some time since a new style was created that was compliant with the Reinheitsgebot law.  A number of bloggers, retailers and to be honest, even myself became quite excited about this beer.  We expected a highly sought after excellent brew, and what we got was a highly sought after mediocre beer.  What happened?  I can not speak with authority on exactly what happened, but I do have some theories.  Here are my tasting notes followed by some conjecture:

Tasting Notes:
I finally obtained a bottle through my brother after a debacle at Binny’s.  Upon uncorking the bottle I noticed dried cork flakes around the rim.  This beer was not aged and I found it interesting that I saw the cork degrade and stick.  I had to use my finger to carefully knock the pieces away or I would of been drinking cork.  Poured into a champaign glass I saw a nice white head form upon a pale amber body.  A sweet nose with lots of fruit and spice to go with little bit of citrus and bitter flavor.  This beer came off very sweet almost too sweet.  Heavily carbonated which resulted in a tingly mouthfeel.  It could be described as a manly champaign.

What Went Wrong:
Theory #1:  It is beer, not champaign. Infinium seemed to be brewed to be champaign.  Beer drinkers look for a balance between sweet and bitter.  When I drink champaign I expect sweet, but not with beer.  To be honest though, why the bias against sweet?  Almost no one I know criticizes an over aggressively hopped beer.  Seems to be a game between brewers on who can destroy taste-buds with hop flavor.  As for theory #1 I think this one has some merit, but it is possible sweet could be the next wave in brewing and Infinium could be ahead of its time.

Theory #2: Collaboration kills. Collaboration is all the rage right now.  Infinium was co-brewed by two leaders in the brewing industry.  They had a thousand years of knowledge along with every scientific device needed and near unlimited resources.  Infinium was developed over a period of two years.  Two years of development probably led to a certain amount of group-think circa 1984.  It is possible the brew team got so caught up in the act that they convinced themselves this was the perfect beer.

Theory #3:  The PR people did them in. This beer was hyped.  This beer was very possibly over-hyped.  People more than likely expected too much and did not have realistic expectations.  This caused people to be overly disappointed.

I think it was likely a combination of the three theories.  Each played some role in why this beer was not the breakout hit it could have been.  I think if it was not as hyped people would not of been so disappointed and in the end we would all have had a greater appreciation for this beer.


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