Friday, December 31, 2010

Sierra Nevada Porter

Brewer: Sierra Nevada
Style: Porter
ABV: 5.6%

Not usually a big fan of Sierra Nevada's offerings I was limited in choices from the local convenience store. I went with this due to it being winter even though I was in Florida with temps in the 70s.

Upon initial pour and inspection all I could think was coca cola only it maintained a slight lace once some of the head receded.

The aroma was that of toffee and roasted malt.

Taste wasn't anything to write home about, I didn't get much of anything until about mid mouth. Thats when I could taste the toffee with a slight hint of licorice. Finished off with a short lived bitterness. Mouth feel showed a light carbonation but not the smoothest beer I have drank.

I'm giving this a C, overall average, nothing to special.


La Fin Du Monde

Brewer: Unibroue
Style: Tripel
ABV: 9%
Country: Canada

"La Fin du Monde" is French for "The End of the World." For New Years Eve, this seems like an appropriate choice. The tripel style originated in Belgium as a strong pale ale. The name is derived from the brewing process where up to three times the malt found in a standard Trappist ale is used. While not a traditional Trappist ale, La Fin du Monde is brewed in the fashion.

This beer can be found in a large 750mL bottle or a 12 oz foil wrapped bottle. Mine was poured from the latter. Pour was a bright gold straw color. A big white fluffy head hung around like a cloud. Another bottle conditioned beer so the body was hazy and contained lots of bubbles.

The smell has a lot going on. Sweet and flowery aroma up front with some honey and spiciness mixed in.

Plenty of spiciness found in the aroma leads the taste charge. Plenty of flowers, honey, and apples present as well. A warming hint of alcohol shows up at the end. The body has a syrupy mouth feel along with a champagne like effervescence. Nearly no bitterness. Finishes crisp and easy, incredibly delicious. A sneaky little bastard goes down without giving much indication that it packs a punch. I could drink a whole bunch of them in quick succession followed by an slurred, incoherent conversation with a tool shed. An outstanding beer, drink 'em if you've got 'em. A

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Unibroue Maudite

Brewery: Unibroue (Unibrew)
Style: Strong Ale
ABV: 8.0%

Maudite, a French word translating loosely to accursed or damned.

I had high hopes for this French Canadian brew as I have tasted both the Trois Pistoles and La Fin Du Monde, both of which I will review at a later date. Needless to say though those two left an impression and created high expectation for our brewers from Québec. Complexity is one thing they are well known for along with their bottle conditioning.

So as with their other recipes I found myself rolling this bottle trying to get the sediment mixed in. Once I felt a sufficient rolling was completed popped the cork and began the pour. The color of this beer was of dark caramel with a thin lacy head that turned to just a ring around the glass.

The aroma was very malty with a hint of roastiness, pretty sure thats not a real word outside the world of beer. The smell went will with the color of the liquid sitting in my glass.

The initial sips of this beer left nothing to be desired, an amazing flavor fills the mouth and hits every taste bud. While my palate isn't the worst it was difficult separating the different flavors. The brew was very malty with a slight sweetness that was well balanced by only a hint of bitterness. The finish was that of caramel which was expected based on the shade of brown in my glass. After a few sips I began to also pick up a hint of ginger. I am sure there are things I had missed with this and as my palate gets better I plan to try this one again to find them.

This gets a solid A+ from me as a beer I plan to enjoy more of. My mother, who doesn't care for beer, even said she enjoyed the taste that came with this one!


Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock

Brewer: Samuel Adams
Style: Bock
ABV: 5.8%
Country: USA, Massachusetts

Still working through the winter ales from Sam Adams. Seeing how its a good time to overindulge on anything chocolate related, I figured the chocolate bock would be a good choice to guzzle down. A bock is a style of strong German Lager. Usually they are malty and lightly hopped. At only 5.8% this is a bit lighter than typical bocks which clock in at the 6-7% range.

Poured a dark porter like color. Mostly black body that carried some caramel coloring around the edges when held up to a light.

The aroma contains plenty of chocolate all over the place. Absolutely delicious smelling. This is up there with Founder's Breakfast Stout when it comes to great aroma. This smells like dark chocolate with a hints of alcohol and coffee, similar to a mocha liqueur, beautiful.

Lots of sweet malts upfront containing plenty of chocolate flavor. A medium body and light carbonation make this an easy beer to savor. A light bitterness gave way to a nice silky finish. This was a very delicious desert beer for a chocolate lover. Yummy! B+

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout

Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery
Style: Stout
ABV: 10%
Country: USA, New York

This had been burning a whole in my fridge for a while now, so I decided to break this off. On a cold, snowy day, a stout is always a good choice. Broke out the ever useful pint glass for this one. I was greeted with a dark, black body that was thick and tar like. A coffee colored one finger thick head stuck around for awhile before settling into a nice lace. The aroma had a good amount of chocolate to it with some alcohol and a hint of toasted coffee.

The first sip revealed a thick body that had a good mix of the expected stout flavors, toasted malts, coffee, chocolate and plenty of bitterness. The light carbonation allowed me to easily swish it around and savor the flavors. There was also lots of alcohol at the end which isn't too surprising seeing how this beer is a staggering 10% ABV. I enjoyed this beer more when it was fresh out of the fridge while it was colder than how a stout is typically served. The cold temperature masked more of the alcohol taste while still allowing plenty of the malt flavors to shine through. Once it warmed to the standard stout temperature, the alcohol became too overpowering. Overall, keep this beer on the colder end of the stout spectrum and it is very good. B+

Cigar City Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

Brewer: Cigar City
Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 5.5%

This different brew is based off the same base recipe as the Espresso Maduro I previously reviewed only with a different twist. I really can't say that I knew what to expect with this one. I ordered based of recommendation of the bartender, Daneaux, at Abbey in Deland Florida.

After receiving this glass I couldn't help but notice the dark, only slightly translucent color which was close to that of the Espresso. The main difference was the amber color along the edges and this one let a bit more light through. The head was white which thinned out to a nice lace. The initial whiff was that of fresh baked cookies, which had me weary of it being to "flavored."

I was happily surprised upon drinking the brew before me. The initial taste was that of oatmeal alone with some light spices. This gave way to a nice bitterness which was a pleasant surprise. Once finished with the initial taste I waited until an amazing aftertaste of oatmeal raisin cookies hit my palate. It was just the right amount nothing too over powering. The beauty of it was that it kept you from downing this already fantastic beer because I always found myself waiting for the aftertaste before taking another drink. The carbonation didn't mute the flavors either with a tingly mouth feel that finished off very smooth.

I can happily give this beer an A- and only wish I could find it at home.


Food allergy = no beer?

A little back-story here: In the past 2 years, I have adopted the Paleo Diet as a way of life. I have learned a lot about the science of food, and frankly this diet makes me feel better. One of the main tenants of the diet is "No grains". I've always stuck to this, with the exception of beer.

On a seemingly unrelated note, I've had GI issues since I was about 17. I never really got a solid diagnosis, and was always prescribed Nexium or some other purple pill, and was just told to take that every day.

Fast forward to last week, and I had a follow-up with my GI doc. In October, he took a biopsy of my esophagus and came up with a conclusive diagnosis for the first time since I've had these issues: eosinophilic esophagitis

If you read that wiki, you'll see that ironically, this condition is primarily a food allergy issue. The most common food allergies associated with it are gluten (wheat) and dairy. So, I have an appointment with an allergist in February, and will be doing a 100% compliant Paleo diet starting on Jan. 1st to try to eliminate any possible allergens. This means no beer :(

I will attempt to get a few Hard Cider and mead posts on the blog, and will be attempting to "brew" my own hard cider in the coming weeks as well.

TL;DR: I may be allergic to ingredients in beer, I will have less posts in the next month or so.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Brewer: Samuel Adams
Style: Bock
ABV: 5.6%
Country: USA, Massachusetts

Being that we are still in the grips of winter, I've picked up the Samuel Adams Winter assortment. 12 bottles of six different beers, hopefully there will be some good brews in here. First up will be the classic Winter Lager. This is classified as a bock (by Beeradvocate) which is a type of strong lager though at 5.6%, this is at the milder end of the bock spectrum.

The beer poured a dark, ruby caramel. This is a beautiful color for this kind of beer. A nice white head settles into a wispy, lingering lace.

Aroma is mostly faint. What scents are there are sweet, a little bready and a hint of orange.

Medium-light body, nice carbonation. Sweet malts. Smooth slick mouth feel. Goes down easy with light bitterness. Toasted, buttery bread finish. I tried to find the spiciness that the bottle claimed, but couldn't find any. Best characteristic of this beer is the creamy mouth feel, quite a treat. Beyond the body, the beer is lacking otherwise. I'd had this several years ago and I seem to remember more spiciness so I wonder if the recipe has been changed since. More holiday spice presence would certainly be a plus. Overall though, this is still a nice beer that I would have again. B-

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cigar City Cuban Espresso Maduro

Brewery: Cigar City
Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 5.5%

So I spent the holidays in Orange City Florida with family. Upon leaving VA Alex told me to look for Cigar City beer as it was brewed in FL and we could not get it in VA. Oddly most places didn't carry this local brew in stores but I was able to locate a great specialty bar with an amazing selection of which included multiple Cigar City beers. The place was Abbey in Deland Florida. If you are ever in the area I recommend checking this place out, the owner and staff are all very knowledgeable when it comes to wine and beer.

So I bellied up to the bar and ordered an Espresso Brown Ale from Cigar City's offerings. This beer is based off of their all year round offering, Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale. The color was a deep brown which allowed little light to pass through. It resembled a thinned out coffee beverage. Very thin lacy head to begin with which dissipated to nothing rather quickly.

The aroma was amazing and that of fresh brewed espresso with a slight hint of spice. There also some notes of roasted malts which combined well with the coffee.

The taste was fantastic, primarily coffee yet not over powering of the fact that this was a beer. A very light bitterness shown through before an aftertaste that continued the coffee theme. The mouth feel displayed a decent amount of carbonation but not enough to overcome the smoothness of this beverage.

Overall a good coffee based brown ale and I would like to have some again, I give it a B-.


Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Brewer: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 9%
Country: USA, Delaware

Ah Dogfish Head, how I love thee! This had been in my fridge calling my name for so long, I could no longer resist. The 90 minutes in the name comes from the 90 minute long, hop boiling process. The longer hops are boiled, the more of the hop's alpha acids are isomerized. In layman's terms, more boil == more bitter. This beer is also dry-hopped which imparts less bitterness and more hop aroma.

Typically, this brew is meant to be enjoyed from a snifter or tulip, but seeing as I lack either (Christmas is coming), I turned to my pint glass. This poured a bright, golden amber color that was crystal clear. A big, white, foamy head lingered a long time before giving way to plenty of lace and lots of ringing going down the glass. Certainly a beautiful beer to behold.

The aroma is incredible. Plenty of hops are present and the smell runs the gamut from fruits to citrus. Plenty of peaches, nectarines, pineapple, and grapefruit are present. I'd be content with simply sniffing this all day long.

The big aroma leads to an even bigger taste. A sweet and smooth malt backbone carries a large load of hops with it. Plenty of the fruit I smelled makes an appearance in the initial tasting. Lots of citrus present. Mouth feel is great. The warm, medium body is creamy and smooth, not overpowered with excessive carbonation. The 9% ABV shows up as this began to go down. A warm spiciness imparted by the alcohol does a good job of balancing out the initial hop explosion. It then serves as a prelude to the smooth, bitter aftertaste that lingers, but not too long. The key to this beer is its amazing balance. The malts, hops, alcohol, and bitterness all complement each other perfectly with no single character overpowering the other. This is, simply put, my favorite beer. Amazing. A+

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sapporo Premium Beer

Brewer: Sapporo Premium Limited
Style: Lager
ABV: 5%
Country: Japan

The last of my first round of international beers brought to you by the land of the rising sun. Standard12oz bottle poured into my standard pint glass. Head was about a finger thick and white. Dissipated quickly leaving nearly no lace. Color was a pale straw yellow ans was crystal clear. Aroma faint and grainy. Taste was similar, plenty of grain and rice. Good mouth-feel, not as watery as I had expected, still plenty of carbonation. Finished quick and crisp. Overall, there isn't much to this beer. There is enough taste to get the job done, but not enough to be interesting. The best thing it has going for it is that it goes down easy. C+

Beer Related Gifts

Plenty of excellent beer related gifts were under the Christmas Tree this year.

  • 1 750mL bottle of Duvel Triple Hop Special Edition Ale
  • Microbrew assortment pack containing:
    • Victory Lager
    • Troegenator Doublebock Beer
    • Stone IPA
    • Lagunitas Brown Sugga' Ale
    • Duck-Rabbit Porter
    • Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
    • Starr Hill Pale Ale
    • Blue Point Toasted Lager
  • Ale Pail Homebrewing kit
Expect lots of yummy reviews in the days to come as well as some posts on the homebrew process as I begin (delicious) experementation. Thanks everyone!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Affligem Noel

Brewery: Brouwerij Affligem
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
ABV: 9%
Country: Belgium

Merry Christmas everyone! A Christmas ale for Christmas day. This here is a big 750mL making the long journey from Waarloos Belgium. A Belgian Strong Ale is always a god idea for a cold winter day and would make a perfect gift for any beer lover.

Poured a Dark, hazy caramel color. Another bottle conditioned and unfiltered beer so the haziness is a feature. A big thick head is left from the pout that melts into a nice lace that lingers throughout the entire drink.

Sticky sweet aroma, some grapes are present as well as some hints of caramel.

Plenty of sweet malts up front. There is a lot going on in the beer. Grapes and caramel are present initially along with a hint of vanilla. Not much bitterness, finishes nice and warm from the alcohol. Biscuits and grains show up in the finish along with the slightest hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. Initial sweetness is well balanced with the warming finish making a delicious combination. Body is smack dab in the middle of the pack, some good thickness without being either watery or chewy. Carbonation is nice and fizzy without being overbearing.

A very tasty beer, that goes down easy. The 9% ABV certainly sneaks up on you. From the classification as a Christmas ale, I was expecting a bit more spiciness. Otherwise, this is an excellent beer that I'd certainly drink again. A-

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fraoch Heather Ale

Brewery: Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Style: Scottish Gruit
ABV: 5%
Country: Scotland

The bottle for this one caught my eye. It had ancient looking Scottish runes and sigils all over the label. Looked like something William Wallace would drink. Claimed to be brewed since 2000 b.c. from an ancient recipe, I was sold.

Turns out that this style is called a Gruit. My good friend Jimmy Wales tells me that Gruit is a herb mixture used to flavor and bitter beer. The Fraoch variety of gruit uses heather flowers, sweet gale, and ginger. Gruit was used until the 11th century when hops started to be used as the main bitterer/flavorer/preserver of beer.

Poured a delicious looking bright amber color with a decent, white head. Aroma was light and sweet. Taste was similar to the smell, light and flowery. Malts were sweet and filled with a touch of herbs. Carbonation was also light which allowed for more of the buttery smooth body to show through. Finish had some grains making an appearance with a hint of spiciness. Nice and dry finish. No bitterness at all seeing as this style predated the use of hops. Unique and quite different than what I've been drinking recently. A good choice if you're looking for something new. This would be a good beer for a hot summer day. I was hoping for a bit more though. Still enjoyable, B

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Xingu Black Beer

Brewer: Cervejaria Sul Brasileira
Style: Schwarzbier
ABV: 4.7%
Country: Brazil

Pours nearly black like a porter or lager, thin head is whiter than I would have expected given the darkness of the body.

Great aroma, plenty of malt presence, some caramel and brown sugar too. Lots of caramel sweetness mixed with bready malts up front. Astringent, roasted middle. First Schwarzbier that I've had. Drinks like a mix between a porter and a lager. B+

My Brother-in-law "gets" me

Above is one of my Christmas gifts from my brother-in-law Chris. He has some good tastes.

Shown Above (left to right):
Chaucer's - Mead
Flying Fish - Exit 6
Rogue - Santa's Private Reserve
Dogfish Head / Sierra Nevada - Life & Limb - Apparently this is very rare. Might "cellar" this for a few years.
Dogfish Head - Bitches Brew
Dogfish Head - Wrath of Pecant
Sierra Nevada - 30th Anniversary Grand Cru
Sierra Nevada - 30th Anniversary Charle, Fred, & Ken's Bock

Deliciousness awaits me.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tusker Premium Lager

Brewery: Kenya Breweries
Style: Lager
ABV: 4.2%
Country: Kenya

Not much to say about this one. Pours pale yellow with a thin white head. Light aroma of sweet grains. Good mouth feel, and decent malt presence. Finishes quick and clean with not much else. Its drinkable, but nothing special. Completely average. C

Israeli Beer FAIL

So, a few weeks ago I was at a Hanukkah party and I came across "Malt Star". I quickly read the label, and saw that it was from Israel. Way to get into the spirit of the holidays right? Wrong.

I opened the bottle and took a whiff... and it smelled awful. I took the first swig, and it was literally pure malt. I sipped again... terrible. I then looked at the label and realized.... oh shit, it's a non-alcoholic malt "beverage".

It was so bad that I had to discreetly put the full bottle down somewhere and open a Corona. Major fail.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mikkeller Santa’s Little Helper 2010

Brewer: Mikkeller
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
ABV: 10.9% wooo!
Country: Denmark

It is very ironic that I chose to sip this beer out of a wine glass. When I opened it, it exploded and started foaming like a bottle of champagne. Did I shake it on accident? What the hell happened?

It's color is much like the belgian strong ales that I have sampled in the past. It also has strong "holiday" scents in the aroma. Where it is a departure with the other holiday beers I have sampled, is the carbonation. This beer was OVER-carbonated. It was so carbonated, that it seriously was hard to nail down the tastes in the beer. My wife agreed that it was hard to pinpoint taste notes because of the carbonation.

It actually had a decent aftertaste for being 10.9% beer, but it was somewhat of a letdown since you couldn't taste much in the middle of the sip.

I give this beer a C for some issues with carbonation that led to poor taste.


San Miguel Dark Lager

Brewer: San Miguel Corporation
Style: Dark Lager
ABV: 5%
Country: Philippines

Pours dark, not totally opaque like a stout or a porter. One finger off-white head, leaves a thin lace and nice rings. Aroma is nice, smells like toasted caramel and honey. taste is sweet and bubbly, body is medium. Finishes dry with molasses making an appearance. Slight bitterness in the finish. Sweetness is a bit much and could use more bitterness to make a more balanced brew. The molasses finish is close to how the Baltika should have finished; less overpowering but still tasty. If this had the initial taste of the Baltika with the San Miguel finish, it would make an excellent beer. As is, this is pretty good but it would be hard to have several in one sitting. B-

Monday, December 20, 2010

Coopers Sparkling Ale

Brewery: Coopers Brewery Limited
Style: English Pale Ale
ABV: 5.8%
Country: Australia

Hailing from the land down under, this was the first non-Fosters beer from the Aussies that caught my eye. Nothing against Fosters, but from what I've heard, their flagship lager isn't anything special. This poured a a orange-tan color that was quite bright. Not much head and not much lace. Plenty of particles and sediment were present; since this is a bottle conditioned beer, this is to be expected.

Aroma was sweet with some honey and a hint of lemon present. Taste wasn't as sweet as I expected initially. My first impression was the high amount of carbonation present, tonic-like and prickly. Sweetness followed the carbonation which was quickly followed by a bitter finish. The finish left the largest impression on me, crisp and bitter. Overall, this beer went down easy, but I would have preferred a bit more maltiness up front. I'd be willing to have this one again. B-

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Brewer: Cerveceria Boliviana Nacional S.A.
Style: Lager
ABV: 5.2%
Country: Bolivia

I had picked this one up at Total Wine when trying to find more beers outside of the US Microbrew/Belgium Ale circle that a large number of out beers a part of. Not that there is anything wrong with that circle, but a little diversity never hurt. That being said, it looks like a mad a mistake in picking this one.

Pour was a pale straw color, perfectly clear, and with a thin, wispy head that vanished quickly. This was the first red light, no color = no taste.

Second red light, this beer didn't pass the sniff test. The aroma almost non existent, some grain but not much else.

Final red light was the taste. Bland and watery taste with a poor finish. Some grain, barely any malt or bitterness. This is nothing more then cheap watery beer. Crisp carbonation makes it drinkable but this is not any more tasty than a glass of seltzer water. D-

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Baltika #4 Dark Lager

Brewer: Pivzavod Baltika
Style: European Dark Lager
ABV: 5.6%
Country: Russia

Found this at Total Wine in the imports section. Came in an oddly shaped brown bottle with seal. Label with Cyrillic lettering. Hadn't seen one quite like this before so I'd figure I'd give it a try.

Poured a dark, coppery-tan. Looked murky and cloudy. Thin white head receded quickly leaving no lace. Didn't appear very appetizing.

The aroma was odd, plenty of molasses and honey. Some grain and sour notes were present as well. Not the most pleasant smell in the world. So far off to a bad start.

The first sip incredibly sweet and syrupy. The molasses shines through with hints of honey throughout, given the initial look and smell, the first sip was better than I expected. No bitterness to speak of. The finish was sticky and full of more molasses. Tasted like I was drinking a bottle of sour syrup. This aftertaste was total overkill for me and I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Too bad because the initial taste I rather enjoyed. F+

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stiegl Goldbrau Lager

Brewer: Stieglbrauerei zu Salzburg
Style: Pale Lager
ABV: 4.9%
Country: Austria

According to the bottle, the Stiegl brewery dates back to 1492. "Brewed from malt, hops, yeast, mountain spring water according to the 'Purity Law of 1516'" This law limited the ingredients to only barley, water, and hops. Yeast, though a critical component of brewing beer, was not on this list simply because at the time its presence in the fermentation process was unknown. The yeasts that fermented beers would have been naturally occurring in the area. The other method for obtaining the unknown yeast would have been to use sediment from the previous batch of beer. The goal of the original purity laws was to keep cereal grains other than barley cheap for human consumption. The fear was that demand for wheat, rye, oats, etc in beer would drive up prices for people needing to eat said grain or bakers using the grain.

Poured a light, golden-brown. Clarity was very good, I could see straight through the glass. A thin white head dissipated leaving no lace.

The smell was sweet and grainy. Plenty of maltiness with a bit of honey in the mix.

Fruity sweet malts were present up front, taste of apples. Sweetness was not overpowering and very delicious. Body was light with plenty of carbonation. The finish was full with the taste of the grains and almost no bitterness. This was incredibly refreshing and well balanced, no single flavor or taste dominated over the others. It would be easy to drink a lot of these in a row. This would certainly make a good session beer. B+

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice

Brewer: Anderson Valley
Style: Winter Warmer
ABV: 6.9%

ANother craft pack beer, I picked this up from Wegmans having never heard of the brewer before. The bottle states it has won a gold medal and they are "Consistently judged one of the World's Finest Breweries." I would like to believe this but to me it appears more marketing than anything else. Its about as useful as Pabst's Blue Ribbon, lets hope it can live up to its label.

The color is dark amber that gets a little more orange around the edge of the glass. The head was an offwhite color that settle down into a light lace rather quickly. Now, I didn't get much out of the aroma of this beer, mild congestion and what seems to an overall lack of aroma. What I can pick up is a light vanilla and a little cinnamon.

The taste is much better than the smell, lots of spices come out in the very beginning finishing with a slight wintery spiciness. The mouth feel is very smooth almost creamy and goes along well with the vanilla, cinnamon flavor that leads the way. Oddly I almost think of apple pie a la mode when drinking this. I will say it stood up pretty well to the comments on its label and I am giving it a solid B+.


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Delirium Tremens

Brewery: Brouwerij Huyghe
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
ABV: 8.5%
Country: Belgium

Another beer from the Belgium brewery Huyghe, which according to the bottle, has been around since 1654. Bo had the first review with the Delirium Noel. This was a big 750mL bottle that I poured into my stein. It poured a light sunny yellow with a thick and foamy head that lingered a long time. The head eventually receded to a lace that stuck around for a while. It was slightly cloudy with plenty of particles from bottle conditioning.

The aroma was fruity, with some grapes present. This smelled similar to, of all things, a pinot grigio.

The first sip revealed a sweet and bubbly taste. Plenty of fruity flavors were present. Apricot, grapes, and apples all came through on this one. There was almost no bitterness to speak of with only a bit sneaking in at the end. Medium body with lots of carbonation. Finish was crisp and dry. Reminded me of a mix between a sparkling wine and a hard cider.

This beer does a great job of hiding it alcohol content. This also goes down incredibly easy. Between the easy drinkability and high ABV, this would be an easy beer to floor yourself with before you knew what hit you. I really enjoyed this one from start to finish, very refreshing. Forget about Miller High Life, this beer is a much more worthy bearer for the champagne of beer. I'd certainly have this one again. A

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Magic Hat Howl

Brewer: Magic Hat
Style: Schwarzbier
ABV: 4.6%

Magic Hat #9 is a good go to beer in bars that cater more to the "lite." I sadly have yet to visit the brewery even though I have family not too far from it. On to the beer!

Magic Hat's Howl which is their winter seasonal or as it says on the top band, Black As Night Winter Lager. As you can see from the pic that is a definite truth. The thin head disappeared quickly. This beer gave off a light aroma of toffee, licorice and was a bit roasty.

Mouth feel is very smooth, almost silky with only mild hints of carbonation.

The taste is fitting for a winter beer, roasted malts, some chocolate, and mild licorice. I find this to be a very drinkable beer, and I could see myself enjoying quite a few of these in a sitting as they go down easy. I wouldn't put this on a personal favorites list though I'm giving it a B


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Doggy Style Classic Pale Ale

Brewer: Flying Dog
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%
Country: USA, Maryland

In case you hadn't figured it out at this point, I've been working my way through the Flying Dog variety pack. If you like what you've seen from it, you can find it at your local grocery store in the beer section. My local Giant carried it, should be easy to find.

This particular dog poured a bright copper color that was very clear. The aroma contained plenty of citrus hops. The primary taste was of sweet hops and malts that give way quickly to bitterness. Not too much not to little. Balance is well done between the competing flavors. The finish was nice and crisp with plenty of dryness, very refreshing. This has to be the best of the Flying Dog ales and would also be a good transitional beer for those making the transition from the world of watery, American, lite beers to real beers with actual flavor. B+

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stone Vertical Epic 10-10-10

Brewer: Stone
Style: Belgian Golden Triple
ABV: 9.5%

As some of you reading this may know Stone is one of, if not, my favorite brewers. The beer I hold before me is a limited release, one time of year beer. The Vertical Epic line started in 2002 with the first batch being released on 02-02-02. The following releases coming 1 year, 1 month and 1 day after the previous. Each is based off Belgian style brews but then changed, almost in its entirety, by the outlandish geniuses at Stone.

This 9th rendition is no different, starting with a Belgian triple and then adding in 3 different wine juices, dried chamomile flowers, triticale (hybrid of wheat and rye) and Belgian Amber candi sugar.

The pour unleashes a beautiful amber/yellow liquid with a slight head that diminishes quickly. A good deep breath and the chamomile and wine make their first appearance. On to the best part!

The initial taste of the this is beer is primarily that of white wine, the mouth feel gives off the medium high carbonation of the beer with an unexpected smoothness. The finish is that of a chamomile tea, somewhat relaxing actually. This beer really is unlike anything else I have ever tasted and it is not a bad thing. I can't help but to give this a solid A+.


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Old Dominion Baltic Porter

Brewer: Old Dominion
Style: Porter
ABV: 7%
Country: USA, Delaware

Was out and about the other night at American Tap Room for drinks. Not a bad selection here, plenty of choices outside of the typical selection of lite beers. Decided to give this a try based on the recommendation of the bartender.

Standard pint glass was nearly black in color some faint hints of brown around the edges. Thin Head.

Pleasing aroma of light coffee mixed with some toffee sweetness.

I was expecting a thick stout like body, but this was surprisingly light and watery. First tastes were of mild coffee and not much else. The problem was that this was served WAY too cold initially which I suspected was hiding a lot of the flavor. Sighing, I decided to wait it out. After maybe 15 minutes of my hands providing heat to the glass, I ventured another attempt. Much better the second time around. Coffee flavor was much more pronounced than before. The toffee that I detected in the aroma also became noticeable. Notes of licorice also started to make an appearance. The biggest change was that the mouth feel took on a wonderful buttery and creamy character. Finish had a good bitterness to it with pleasing smoked wood taste.

This served as an important lesson on having your beer at the right temperature. A general rule of thumb is the darker the beer, the warmer the serving temperature should be. Had I done this rating based on the cold temperature, this would have been a C or even a D. Having it at the right temperature turned this into a great beer that I would certainly enjoy again. A-

Monday, December 13, 2010

Great Divide Hibernation Ale

Brewer: Great Divide Brewery
Style: English Style Old Ale
ABV: 8.7%

This not my first time with a Great Divide brew nor this one in particular. Yeti was recently reviewed by Bo. This beer was bought after recommendation from the guys at Ashburn Wine Shop.

The beer comes in a beautiful red/brown with a very red outline and an off-white/yellowish head that dissipates to a thin, stick lace not too long after pouring.

The aroma, although not strong is more of malt than hops even though it is a dry hopped beer. The taste on the other hand is much more powerful and complex. The initial taste revelas the hoppy characteristics of the beer which finishes with a slightly sweet maltiness. The final taste lingers just enough to make you want to take down more. After a few sips, ok maybe not sips its just too good, the brew reveals its warming characteristics making it a great winter beer.

I enjoyed this beer with some honey maple glazed chicken which is slightly over-powered.

I would happily recommend this to friends especially if you like a decent hoppy beer and will be picking up some more when my 6 pack runs out. Overall B+


Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

Another Christmas beer? What do you want from me... it's a seasonal! This beer was packed with flavor, and was interesting to me since I'm still working on appreciating hoppy beers.

This beer is a typical IPA and comes in at 6.8% ABV and is full of character. It has a very citrus-like aroma when poured, with a backdrop of hoppy scent. At first taste, you get smacked in the face with the hoppy notes, while noticing that they are more of the floral hop taste rather than the bitter kind. That sweetness stays with you between sips and is very nice indeed. There is a very slight hint of Christmas spices in this beer, which are overwhelmed by the hoppy nature of an IPA.

Though it is a higher ABV than a lot of "normal" American beers, this beer goes down easily and you could probably enjoy a few of these.

I give this beer a solid B+. I might be able to give it a higher rating if I were more appreciative of the hoppy nature of this IPA, but I am still developing a taste for these kind of beers. Hopefully we'll get Alex or Roy to chime in on this one, as it gets a lot of rave reviews in the online world of beer.


Road Dog Porter

Brewer: Flying Dog
Style: Porter
ABV: 6:0%
Country: USA, Maryland

Poured mostly dark and opaque, some caramel around the edges. Sort of like a darker Coke. A thin head recedes quickly to a ring of lace around the edges.

Has an aroma faintly suggesting coffee, caramel, and even a hint of chocolate.

Licorice, coffee, almonds and sweet caramel malts give way to a slightly spicy-bitter finish. All flavors are mild and fleeting. Less bold than a stout less sweet than other ales. Strikes a good balance between the two but leaves me wanting a bit more. C+

Gouden Carolus Noël

It seems as though I am turning into the Stout/Christmas Ale guy of this blog. That's all well and good for me :) The Gouden Carolus Noël is one of the Ale's I picked up not too long ago at the local Whole Foods in Vienna, VA.

This is a classic Belgian Strong Ale that comes in at 10.5% ABV. It pours a magnificent amber color and the aroma is fairly strong with seasonal spices and the smell of a strong ale (alcohol). I highly suggest drinking this at a slightly warmer temperature to enjoy all of the flavors. It has a great taste, but the aftertaste leaves something to be desired. During the aftertaste, it becomes very clear that you're drinking something akin to wine.

I didn't enjoy this as much as the Delirium Noël, but I would taste it again with some friends. I recommend drinking this in small glasses, and sipping on it fairly slowly.

I give this a solid B. Happy Holidays!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stone Imperial Russian Stout

Stone's Imperial Russian Stout came in at #1 beer in the world over at, so I decided that it was worth checking out. I was lucky enough to find this fairly rare beer at a Whole Foods in Vienna, VA.

This beer pours with absolutely no carbonation, and has an amazingly rich aroma. It has a very heavy body, and the taste of roasted malt is very abundant. The beer is however very strong, coming in at 10.5% ABV. It has a slightly alcoholic aftertaste, but the roasted flavor lingers as well.

It is definitely a beer that should be sipped in a small glass (I really need a snifter or a tulip glass). The picture above is of a small glass that I gave my wife, and my glass. My wife thought that this beer was terrible, but she just isn't used to high ABV beers, and also doesn't generally like roasty stouts.

This picture is also a reminder that I really need to stop using my cell phone to take these pictures. I promise that I'll get my digital camera out next time :)

Overall, I'd give this beer an A rating. I'd definitely drink it again, but I'd probably have it in smaller quantities, and I'd try to share with friends (that actually like stouts).


The Mad Elf Ale

Brewer: Troegs
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
ABV: 11%
Country: USA, Pennsylvania

Since it 'tis that time of year, I decided it would be a good time to review a holiday beer. Bo beat me to the punch with the Delirium Noel but there are plenty of holiday ales out there for all.

I gave my pint glass the night off and decided to go with a stein for this one. It poured a dark amber with a little bit of ruby, a rich and wonderful color. It was very clear, and had only a hint of a head which vanished without a trace of lace.

A big wave of sweetness was evident as soon as I stuck my nose in the glass. Plenty of honey and cherries dominated with hint of alcohol.

The taste was incredibly sweet, almost syrup like. The main flavor was cherries with a good bit of honey in the mix as well. The taste of alcohol is present in the background reminding you that this contains nearly as much alcohol as three lite American beers. The body is on the lighter end of medium with a good bit of carbonation. Not so much that it burns your mouth, but enough for a pleasant fizziness. Aftertaste had enough tartness in it to remind you that this wasn't a soda.

This is a great beer to have at your next holiday party. Plenty of good sweet flavors to spread the holiday cheer and enough alcohol for roasting chestnuts. I was surprised at how easily this went down and with the ABV punch it carries, it wouldn't take many before lampshades are on heads. One of my first thoughts was about how much sugar Troegs had to add initially in order to hit the alcohol content while leaving enough residual sugars to still be incredibly sweet. This could use a bit more bitterness to balance out the intense sweetness but it was still quite delicious. A-

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tire Bite Golden Ale

Brewer: Flying Dog
Style: Kolsch
ABV: 5.1%
Country: USA, Maryland

Poured a pale, straw yellow. Clear with a small head that quickly dissipated.

Smell is not pleasant, biggest trait is sour wheat. Taste is very mild and fleeting. More of the wheat aroma is present with a bit of grass. Mild bitterness vanishes quickly. Watery and over-carbonated, this beer is bland and forgettable. There isn't enough malt flavor and the 16.5 IBUs listed is gone before you know it. A step up from a domestic lite beer, but not by much. Certainly not worth having again. D+

Friday, December 10, 2010

Beers in Bo's lineup

I just got back from Whole Foods in Vienna, VA and am pretty excited as to what is currently in my fridge. Here is a quick peek at what will be reviewed in the following days:

Stone Russian Imperial Stout
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
Mikkeller Santa's Little Helper
Gouden Carolus Noel
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Fuller's London Porter

These are all highly rated beers, so maybe I'm stacking the deck a little bit here. I also have a penchant for Holiday Ales as you can see.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Double Bastard Ale

Brewer: Stone Brewing Company
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV 11.2%
Country: USA, California

"Ye Shall Know the Bastard, and the Bastard Shall Set You Free." Another proclamation from the bottle of another Stone beer. As I said in my review of the Ruination IPA, Stone beers are not for the faint of heart. This bottle even claims that it "is not to be wasted on the tentative and weak. Only the worthy are invited and only at your own risk." Between the warnings on the bottle and the 11% ABV, I knew this was going to be a powerhouse of a brew.

I poured the 220z bomber into my sturdy stein. It poured a dark, rich brown with a thick, fluffy, white head. The glass was cloudy and hazy giving off a foreboding vibe. Cautiously sticking my nose into the glass, I was greeted with a wave full of alcohol mixed with caramel and a bit of chocolate thrown in.

My hand was shaking as I took my first sip. I was greeted with a rush of flavor from every direction. The first flavor that hit me was a smooth caramel maltiness joined with a load of smooth bitterness. Partially subsiding, the bitterness gave way to a blast of fruity hops mixed with a wave of alcohol. Behind the alcohol were hints of spices such as cinnamon and cloves. This is quite a complex beer. The body was full and thick with the right amount of carbonation allowing me to savor the beer as long as I had the strength of will to tame this beast. A deep warming flowed from my toes to my ears as it went down.

Another strong showing from the fellas at Stone. This had many more flavors swirling around than the Ruination and was more balanced as well. Plenty of nuances to discover with each sip of this monster. This is an excellent beer for those that can tolerate the power. I welcome all that think they are worthy to partake in this liquid excellence. I'd drink this Bastard, SOB again in a heartbeat. A+

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bell's Winter White Ale

Brewer: Bell's
Style: White Ale
ABV: 4.5%

I recently picked this up from Wegman's along with 5 other "Winter" beers, got to love craft packs. This is actually the first Bell's beer I have ever had and have heard mixed reviews on their different beers.

While it looks like my bottle took a little beating it still had plenty of unfiltered sediment waiting at the bottom. A little bottle rolling to get that mixed in and I began the pour. A beautiful, hazy golden liquid poured from the bottle into my glass. There was very little head to go along with this golden beer, only a slight lace at the top.

The aroma was mild and primarily of cloves and really nothing else that I could pick up, nose is a little stuffed up thanks to the winter chill outside.

The first thing noticed upon drinking was the carbonation, very tingly on the tongue. It hid some of the flavor at first and didn't actually get a good taste until the finish. While clean it has very sweet honey notes.

Over all the beer is light and has a good finish and I could see myself putting a few of these down in the summer as thats when I prefer wheat beers. Over all I would give it a C+


Sweetwater Tavern Giddyup Stout

Brewer: Sweetwater Tavern
Style: Stout
ABV: 6.4%

Yup its a cellphone shot, didn't think bringing my DSLR into a restaurant would have been too appropriate. None the less you can see the dark, motor oil like color and sticky head that is so common to a stout.

Per its brief description in the menu, "roasted malts & real coffee make this stout well balanced & smooth...decaf not available!" I settled down expecting a standard stout with a hint of coffee and a malty finish. I took one deep inhale and captured little to no aroma other than some faint malt but no coffee. This left me perplexed.

So down the hatch it went and I immediately found the coffee, it was all hiding in the flavor. It was an overpowering taste to say the least. Once my first try was finished the after taste set in and the first thing I could think of was the over roasted burnt coffee you get from Starbucks. This beer left a lot to be desired. Although I did have a second in hopes that maybe someone had accidentally given me a cup of coffee with some foam on the top, I was still sadly disappointed.

On a scale of 1-10 I rate this beer a D. If I had wanted a cup of coffee I would have ordered one.


Also my amazing cell phone photography skills are available for weddings.

Snake Dog IPA

Brewer: Flying Dog
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 7.1%
Country: USA, Maryland

Beer 101: The India Pale Ale gets its name not because it was brewed in India, but because it was a pale ale that was brewed for British soldiers stationed in India during the 18th century. To survive the long sea voyage, the pale ale was loaded up with more hops (which are a natural preservative) and fermented to have a higher alcohol content (another wonderful, natural preservative). The result is a big, bold, brew with a long shelf life. An IPA will have lots of floral hop aromas and a big bitter finish (60+ IBUs). The next step in the food chain is the Imperial/Double IPA which has even more malt, more hops, and more alcohol than a standard IPA. Imperial IPAs will have IBUs over 70 and an ABVs well over 7%. This style has been recently popular among American microbreweries and is easy to find, a hophead's dream come true.

Poured a rich golden bronze. Had a thick, off-white head that left plenty of lingering lace.

The aroma was what you'd expect for an IPA. Plenty of sweet citrus notes with a bit of pine. It tasted just like it smelled which is a good thing. Big flavor with plenty of hops but no surprises. A nice bitter finish does a good job of evening out the sweet malts.

So far this is one of the better of the Flying Dog ales. This also serves as a good measuring stick to compare other IPAs to. Not boring but nothing unique. A solid B

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ruination IPA

Brewer: Stone Brewing Company
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 7.7%
Country: USA, California

Stone brewing company is known for their bold and powerful beers. Not for the faint of heart for sure. The Ruination IPA proudly proclaims itself to be "A liquid poem to the glory of the hop." In that sense this brew certainly does not disappoint. This beer is listed at 100+ I.B.U.s (International Bitterness Units, yes thats real) which puts it past the theoretical limit of the unit. If you don't like hops, prepare to be knocked on your ass.

It pours out a cloudy gold which leaves a thin head which vanishes rapidly. Looking in the glass, I could literally see tiny bits of bitterness floating around. A sweet aroma gave a hint of honey and grapefruit.

The first sip yielded a nice, medium body with a touch of sweet malts and grapefruit. This was nothing more but a tease before the beer bent my mouth over and had its way with me. A big wave of piny, bitter hops exploded and stuck around. The dry and bitter aftertaste lingers and lingers and lingers. Did I mention that this stuff was bitter.

My wife tried a sip and said that it was so bitter it made her dizzy. This is serious business. Don't plan on drinking any other beers after this one if you expect to taste something other than bitter hops.

This backs a punch and is a great beer: a solid A

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Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout

Great Divide is a brewery in Denver Colorado that has been putting out some amazing stouts. I don't like to check online ratings of a beer before I post my review, but I looked up Great Divide on and found them to have 3 different varieties of their imperial stout that all score the highest rating of 100.

This particular version comes in at 9.5% ABV and an amazing 75 IBU's (for a stout). It pours like motor oil, and instantly gives off a strong and delicious roasted coffee aroma when you start to pour. It has virtually no carbonation or head to speak of. Initially this beer tastes typical of a roasty stout, but has a toffee-like quality to it. It is a very heavy bodied stout. This beer shines in the aftertaste. After having this delicious nectar in your mouth for a few seconds and swallowing it, you get an amazingly complex taste in the aftertaste. I actually couldn't put my finger on it at first, until I read that this beer has 75 IBU (International Bittering Unit's), which is high for a stout. I also hadn't realized that it was 9.5% ABV until I was half way through with it and was wondering why my body was instinctively telling me to take it slow with this beer :)

I had this beer with a spicy chili... which probably wasn't the best pairing for such a heavy beer, but it was a great experience nonetheless. I'd give this a solid A rating.


NoVA Homebrew Club & Delirium Noël

In renewing my interest in homebrewing, I decided to look up any local homebrewing clubs to see if I could find someone who was doing an all-grain batch so that I could learn from them.

To anyone not familiar with homebrewing beer, there are a few "methods" generally used to make some delicious brew. One way is called "Extract Brewing" where people use a can of malt extract and pour it directly into the boil kettle in order to have yummy fermentable sugars for the yeast to gobble up during the fermentation process. Another way, which commercial brewers use, is called "All-grain" brewing. As the name implies, you get all your fermentable sugars by steeping a pile of cracked grains in hot water for an amount of time, before transferring that goodness to a boil kettle.

Anyways, I managed to contact the Nothern Virginia Homebrew Club and asked its members if anyone was doing an all-grain brew anytime soon, and if I could observe/help them. Turns out that one of the founders, Mitch, was doing a brew and invited me out. It was a great experience. He ended up using his new 3-tier brewing "sculpture" to brew. It ended up being a fairly long day because of a combination of his recipe requiring long periods of time and a few errors on our part :)

A tradition of homebrewing for most people is to drink a homebrew during the brewing process. Since I didn't have any homebrew, I offered up to Mitch a bottle of what is one of my favorite beers: Delirium Noël.

Delirium Noël is a seasonal beer and is only out for a few weeks close to the winter holidays, so I suggest that you go out and snag one ASAP. It is a strong belgium ale that sits at 10% ABV. My picture doesn't do it justice, but it pours an amber color with an orange glow to it. The aroma on this beer is excellent, and smells like a combination of citrus notes and holiday spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. It has a very slightly roasty flavor characteristic, but mostly the taste that comes through is the sweetness of the malt. It has a pleasant citrusy/ale aftertaste and the alcohol in this beer is sure to warm your belly on a cold winter night.

I give this beer an A+ and will certainly be grabbing another bottle or two before the end of the month. Cheers!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Shenandoah Brewing Company - Brew Your Own

Friday I got the chance to watch my friend and his Dad make their own beer at the Shenandoah Brewing Company in Alexandria, VA. It was a pretty cool experience.

When you first arrive, you sample a few different beer styles that they have on tap, to see if you'd like to brew any of those. They also have a large variety of recipes to choose from. My friends decided to brew a clone of Fat Tire IPA.

After choosing your recipe, and weighing all your ingredients, you head over to the beautiful copper-shrouded stainless steel kettles. They have about 8 of these on hand, and there were several groups of people in the space that were brewing along side us. After steeping a pile of grains for 15 minutes, we dumped in the liquid malt extracts and the first set of hops. After a schedule of dumping hops in for an hour, the delicious beer was pumped into a large plastic fermentation container, and we pitched some yeast in there.

Hopefully in 3-4 weeks we'll have some delicious brew.

During the whole process, I got to drink on of their beers on tap. Old Rag Mountain Ale is a dark scottish-style ale. It has a slightly malty aroma, very light body, and a slightly alcohol-like aftertaste that isn't necessarily pleasant. People at the pub were mentioning how it is their best beer on tap. I would probably drink more of this, being the only dark beer in the joint, but there certainly was not anything special about it.

I'd give it a C+.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

In Heat Wheat

Brewer: Flying Dog Brewery
Style: Hefeweizen
ABV: 4.7%
Country: USA, Maryland

I'm usually not a fan of wheat beers, but it had been a long time since I've had one I decided to give one a shot.

It poured a cloudy, bright-yellow with a good, finger-sized head and a lingering lace.

Wheat is dominant in the aroma with a hint of spiciness.

The wheat is also dominant in the taste with a little bit of sweet licorice in the mix. Nearly no bitterness to speak of in the clean finish. Body is on the lighter end of the spectrum with a good amount of carbonation.

This beer went down quickly, however, the taste fades quickly as well. Not much jumps out at me from this one making it pretty forgettable. C-

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Burton Baton

Brewer: Dogfish Head Brewery
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 10%
Country: USA, Delaware

Looks like this will be the first (of many) Dogfish Head beers consumed for blogging purposes. I'm a big fan of plenty of the brews they put out as well as their willingness to try different things. I hope their new show on Discovery Channel brings them some recognition and popularity.

The Burton Baton claims to be "a two-thread blend of young & wood-aged Imperial i.p.a" I'm a fan of big IPAs and Dogfish can pull off some incredible IPAs, my favorite being the 90 Minute IPA.

I poured this into my loyal pint glass. The color was a bright and coppery amber. Very clear. A one finger head finished with a thin lace. This essentially looked like a glass of whiskey with a head on it.

The aroma, starts big and hoppy with plenty of citrus, mostly oranges and pineapples. Alcohol is certainly powerful and finishes things out. As I worked my way down the glass the scent of alcohol increased and dominated.

It had a big hop taste with plenty of bitterness. Sweet honey malts and pineapple hops, though, are quickly overpowered by the bitterness and the strong taste of alcohol. Oak wood flavors show up along with the alcohol continuing to reminded me of a glass of Jack Daniels. The aftertaste is long and warm. The Burton doesn't make any attempts to hide the large amount of alcohol within.

The idea of an IPA whiskey hybrid is certainly interesting but overall the wood and alcohol flavors are too overpowering. I prefer my IPAs to do a better job of concealing the alcohol though and in the end this was a bit too much. I wanted to like this one but I can't see myself trying this again.

Grade: C+

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Victory Prima Pils

Brewer: Victory Brewing Company
Style: German Pilsner
ABV: 5.3%
Country: USA, Pennsylvania

I grabbed this bottle at the always amazing Total Wine. Seriously, I'm like a kid in a candy store there. It takes me for ever to make up my mind among the awesome choices.

Anyhow, I poured this one into my ever handy pint glass. It pours a bright, sunny yellow. Head was about a finger thick that settled into a nice, lingering lace.

The aroma was mild and grainy with a hint of citrus.

Flavor is sweet and malty with a medium body. This wasn't overly carbonated allowing it to be easily swirled around the mouth. There are more bitter than floral hops but the citrus scent shines through along with a hint of spice near the end. Aftertaste is crisp with a dry and bitter finish that is well balanced with the sweet malts and more grain flavor. Overall this is a good, drinkable beer even though I usually prefer something with more flavor. There is certainly more bitterness than is usually found in a pilsner. I could certainly put a few of these back in one sitting.

I'll give this one a nice and solid B+