Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Corsendonk Abbey Pale Ale

Brewery: Brouwerij Corsendonk
Style: Tripel
ABV: 7.5%
Country: Belgium

Poured a bright golden yellow that was slightly hazy. Head was stark white and was massive and foamy taking a long time to die down. Aroma was mild and sweet. Vaguely smelled like apples. A hint of spiciness was noticeable as well. Taste was mostly dry and subtle with only a hint of fruity sweetness. Sweet malts are present but most of the flavors are coming from the hops and yeast. A clove spiciness was the most prominent which was followed by earthy and herbal flavors. The finish contained some bready malt flavors along with more yeasty notes. No real bitterness to speak of.. Body was bubbly and crisp giving the beer an champagne like feeling overall. I had to remind myself a few times while drinking this that this was 7.5% ABV. There where no overt alcohol flavors which was nice considering there where no dominant flavors to mask them. The only hint that this was alcoholic was a pleasing warmth in the end. This was a yummy beer for sure. A-

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dixie Blackened Voodo Lager

Brewery: Dixie Brewing Company
Style: Schwarzbier
ABV: 5.0%
Country: USA, Louisiana

Dark brown hints of ruby. Thin white head dissipated quickly. Rich aroma with dark fruits, clove spiciness. I was a little under the weather at the time and my nose was a bit stopped up so any real subtleties were lost on me. The aroma that came through I liked. Had almost a cola quality to it as well. Interesting mix of flavors. Cherry sweetness upfront with more cola and licorice. Some roasted flavors were present as well. Light bitterness rounded out the finish. This sort of reminded me of a root-beer of all things both in taste, appearance, and all around feel. Body was a bit light and the finish was rather weak. B-

Friday, April 1, 2011

Allagash White

Brewery: Allagash Brewing Company
Style: Witbier
ABV: 5.2
Country: USA, Maine

Bright straw yellow, hazy with visible yeast and sediments. Fluffy white head dissipated rather quickly but left some bubbly lacing. Lemongrass, dry wheat, yeast, and malt grains were the most prevalent flavors in the aroma. Dry and smooth moutfeel was the first thing noticed. Wheat flavor was most noticeable but didn't dominate the other sweet malt flavors. Lemon zest and earthy notes from the yeast are present throughout which led to a light bitterness in the finish. Carbonation is on the lighter side of things but still has a nice crispness to it. This was a fantastic beer and a perfect one to drink on a hot day. I'll be looking forward to having more of this. A

Monday, March 28, 2011

Scotch Silly

Brewery: Brasserie De Silly
Style: Scotch Ale
ABV: 8.0%
Country: Belgium

This is my second scotch ale, the first being the great Skull Splitter. Hazy copper color. Thin head that dissipated quickly leaving a thin lacing. Sweet and malty aroma. Hints of apples and raisin are both present. First sip was similar to aroma with sweet fruits present. Whiskey and alcohol flavors are both substantial but a little more subdued than the Skull Splitter. Body was thick, creamy and plenty smooth. A nice roasted flavor rounded out the finish with a mild bitterness. This was a great beer but not quite as good as Skull Splitter. Less complex and a bit more subdued flavor. Certainly a good pick. B+

Thursday, March 24, 2011

CSB Extra Special Bitter Ale

Brewery: Laughing Dog Brewery
Style: ESB
ABV: 5.50%
Country: USA, Idaho

The CSB in this case stands for "Crotch Sniffing Bastard." Pour was bright caramel brown and a bit hazy. Big off-white foam that was creamy and lingered a long time. Caramel sweet aroma with hints of honey and herbal hop notes. The first sip took me way off guard. The main flavor was tart and sour apples. This tasted more like a cider than a beer. Finish was dry with a lingering bitterness. This one was too much for me. I couldn't get into the flavor and there wasn't anything beyond the tartness. This one ended up going down the sink. :( F

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lion Stout

Brewery: Ceylon Brewery PLC
Style: Stout
ABV: 8.8%
Country: Sri Lanka

It had been awhile since I've had a stout so I picked up this interesting looking one from Sri Lanka. Color was a black color with hints of brown around the edges. The tan head was huge, thick, and bubbly. Nose was dominated by strong roasted notes. A sticky sweetness is apparent as well along with a wave of alcohol. Taste was surprisingly sweet. Toasted caramel along with molasses and dark fruits. Finish brought with it the strong roasted flavors that were present in the aroma. Espresso and a hint of chocolate are both present in the finish as well. Not much bitterness is present, but it is still noticeable. Body wasn't the thickest I've had but still had some heft to it. Mouthfeel also had a slickness to it. The alcohol was totally masked in the flavor which was surprised me. For an b% ABV beer, this went down nice and easy. B+

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Skull Splitter

Brewery: The Orkney Brewery
Style: Scotch Ale
ABV: 8.5%
Country: Scotland

From the bottle, "Skull Splitter takes its name from Thorfinn Hauskaluif - the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney." The description alone was enough to make my inner kilt tingle with excitement. With a namesake like that, this had better be a great beer. Pour showed the color to be a rich mahogany brown with a crystal clear body. Big off-white foam left plenty of lacing which lingered the entire way down the bottle. Aroma contained dark fruits, brown sugar, and cinnamon spices. A smooth and creamy body lead to a light sweetness from the malts along with noticeable solvent flavors from the alcohol that mingled with spicy notes. Taste was similar to that of a mild whiskey or scotch. Plenty of roasted flavors jump out during the finish along with a pleasing warming sensation and a slightly puckering bitterness. This would be a great sipping beer on a cold night. A-

Monday, March 21, 2011

Super Bock

Brewery: UNICER Uniao Cerverjeira S.A
Style: Lager
ABV: 5.2%
Country: Portugal

Pale yellow, bordering clear. Thin and white head dissipated quickly. Herbal and skunky aroma. Malts are carry a hint of sweetness and a bit of lemon, but that is about it. Crisp bite from the carbonation is the majority of the finish. No bitterness and vague herbal notes are also found in the finish. This doesn't pack enough to qualify as a bock and there is nothing super about this so the name is wrong on both counts. D+

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Trappistes Rochefort 10

Brewery: Brasserie de Rochefort
Style: Quadrupel
ABV: 11.30%
Counrty: Belgium

Finally got around to having the last of the Rochefort trappist ales. Number 10 is the big bad wolf of the trio clocking in at 11.30% ABV. I remembered the other Rocheforts were too carbonated for my liking so I made sure to do an aggressive pour in order to force a massive head and work some of the CO2 out of the beer. Most of the glass was head after the pour, but it dissipated rather quickly considering the amount. Color was dark, brown, and cloudy just like the others, couldn't see pieces of yeast floating in it like the others. The aroma was the most muted of the three. Some raisins were there along with grains. Alcohol was certainly present along with plenty of yeast. The first sip was revealed a thick and smooth body. Lots of bready malts with a hint of butter flavor. Plenty of subtle flavors were swimming around. Pepper and spice linger nicely. Malts are sweet, sticky, and creamy. Light bitterness and a lingering bread flavor round out the finish. For an 11% ABV beer, the alcohol is concealed nicely. It certainly imparts its strength through a nice warming This beer is a slow sipper and would pair nicely with a fine cigar and some strong cheeses. This one was by far my favorite of the Rocheforts, I'll be having this one again for sure. A

Friday, March 18, 2011

Orion Premium Draft Beer

Brewery: Orion Beer Company
Style: Rice Lager
ABV: 4.7%
Country: Japan

Went out for a sushi dinner, what better time for a Japanese beer? This came as a big 22oz bomber served in a chilled glass. Pale yellow color with a thick foamy head that was stark white. Mild aroma that was grains and rice. Taste was also mild, more grain and more rice. Nearly no bitterness to speak of. Finish was dry, sweet, and almost fruity and apple-like. Highly carbonated and crisp. A perfectly average beer, nothing to write home about and not worth seeking out, but quite drinkable. C

Monday, March 14, 2011

Homebrew Batch #2

Sunday was spent setting up a new batch of homebrew. Hopefully #2 will be done in time for more nice weather and the delayed inaugural deck party at the house. The recipe is for a Belgian Witbier and was my first attempt at an all grain batch. The main fermentable ingredients included 5 lbs 9 oz of 6-row barley, 2 lbs 60z of unmalted flaked wheat, and 7oz of honey. I cheated a little bit and added 1 lb of dried malt extract to the boil to compensate for a lack of mash efficiency since this was my first attempt and some of the mash conditions have to be spot on for a good yield of fermentable sugars. Also included in the recipe are orange peels, corriander, and cumin. I bittered with an oz of East Kent Golding hops. Two types of yeast were used, an American ale yeast and a Belgian ale yeast to add some fruity esters.

This time around wasn't nearly as dramatic as the first attempt. My gas did run out right as I was starting the main boil, so I'm glad I had a backup. Like I thought, my efficiency was a bit low. After the boil I had about 3 gallons of ~1.060 gravity wort. After adding water to bring the total wort up to 4 gallons, gravity was at 1.045 which was the target for a 5 gallon batch. I figured I'd rather have 4 gallons of more potent beer so I left the it at that. Monday morning the bucket was already fermenting like crazy so off to a good start. At the end of the week I'll rack this into a glass carboy for a secondary fermentation to improve clarity and to add some more spices. Should be ready to drink sometime mid April.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dogfish Head Aprihop

Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewing Company
Style: IPA
ABV: 7.0%
Country: USA, Delaware

Since the last Dogfish head turned out to be a massive disappointment, I had high hopes for this one to restore my opinion. This one poured a bright copper color with a big head and lingering lace. Aroma was similar to other Dogfish IPAs. Citrus was prevalent along with pine resins, apricot was present as well. The first sip was full of plenty of malt flavor. Apricot flavor was certainly noticeable and provided a nice sweetness that mixed with the hop flavors from the aroma. Finish was dry and crisp with the apricot living a linger taste. Bitterness wasn't as strong as I would have expected for an IPA, but it was certainly felt. The body was smooth and creamy making this an easy beer to sip down. It'll be easy to finish off the rest of the four-pack. B

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lukcy Basartd

Brewery: Stone Brewing Company
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 8.5%
Country: USA, California

Lukcy Basartd is Stone's ale to commemorate the brewer' s 13 years of existence. It is actually a blend of three of their beers, Arrogant Bastard Ale, Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale, and Double Bastard Ale. If you noticed something funny about the name of the beer, it is not a typo. Not only is the title spelled funny, but the entire description on the back of the bottle is spelled in a similar fashion. Since the first and lest letter of each word is in the proper location, my brain was reading the words correctly in my head. It took me a paragraph or two of reading before I noticed something was funny when I ran across a word that didn't get "fixed" in my head. I actually thought that the bottle read "Lucky Bastard" until I tried to go to and it didn't work as expected. Had I read this label after drinking the beer, I would have been in serious trouble.

Pour showed a dark copper color with ruby highlights. It had a thick tan head that sat on top for a good period of time and left plenty of lacing. Sharp citrus and pine with hints of roasted malts and oak. Tasted similar to the aroma with hops dominating the flavor. Malts are plenty hefty and provided a rich sweetness that was balanced with plenty of bitterness. Hiding behind the hops and bitterness, oak flavors are noticeable. Alcohol was certainly present in both the aroma and the taste. An astringency and a sharp warmth were both present because of the alcohol. While it was a good beer, it didn't knock me off my feet. It tasted too much like the Double Bastard so giving this its own rating is tricky. The oak was an interesting addition. I've had other oaked beers and am turned off by them if the oak flavor is over done. The oak in this beer was a bit more subtle so it worked out pretty well. B+

Friday, March 11, 2011

BBC American Pale Ale

Brewery: Bluegrass Brewing Company
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.79%
Country: USA, Kentucky

Orange brown with plenty of off-white foam that left plenty of sticky lace that ran up and down the glass. Sweet, sticky hops dominated the aroma. Tons of citrus and plenty of pine. The first sip showed less hop flavors than what I expected, this probably had ample dry-hopping going on. Malts were pretty thin, not much sweetness or heft. Body was mostly watery as well. finish was dry and bitter. Bitterness lingered awhile but there wasn't much else to be found here. Aroma and bitterness was more potent than I would have expected and the taste wasn't anywhere to be found. I wont be having this again. D

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Style: Barleywine
ABV: 9.6%
Country: USA, California

This is actually my first barleywine and I'm rather surprised it has taken me this long to pick one up to try. Typically, barleywines are among the most potent of the styles. ABVs start at 8% and only go up. These beers are usually dark, full of complex flavors, and bitter. Sierra Nevada is a brewer I've had enjoyed in the past, so I figured this would be a good barleywine to start with.

Pour showed a color that was rich and reddish brown. It had a small, off-white head that reduced quickly but left a thick layer of lacing that hung around until the very end. A flavorful aroma was dominated by pine and citrus. First thing I noticed when sipping was the thick body. It was nearly syrup like in its thickness but felt silky smooth and creamy. Hops certianly dominated the flavor with a sticky pine flavor along with grapefruit citrus. Behind the hops were some hints of the malts, a bit of sweetness and toasted flavors. A massive wave of bitterness popped and lingered for a long time after the sips were finished. Some alcohol was noticeable in the finish which lent a nice warming spiciness that hung around while holding hands with the bitterness.

Overall, this beer drank like a slightly less hoppy Imperial IPA with a beefed up body. In other words, this was tasty. This would also be a good beer to cellar for a year or two to see how the alcohol flavors change and mellow. I'll probably end up buying a few more to do just that. A-

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Point Amber Classic

Brewery: Stevens Point Brewery
Style: Amber Ale
ABV: 4.7%
Country: USA, Wisconsin

This beer comes all the way from the land of cheese and recent super bowl champions, Wisconsin. Body was dark and rich red-tinted amber color with a big foamy head that linger a long while. Sweet caramel aroma with some floral aromas. Rich malty flavor that ranged from caramel to grains. Bit of acidity was present as well that mixed well with the bite from the carbonation. Finished rather quickly and left a sweet stickiness in my mouth. Overall this was a mediocre beer and rather forgettable. C-

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale

Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewing Company
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5.0%
Country: USA, Delaware

Bright golden caramel color, clear and bubbly. Thin head dissipated quickly. Not much aroma, but what was there was malty and sweet. First sip revealed a rush of sweetness which was pretty good, unfortunately it was all downhill from there. A traffic jam of bad flavors followed the initial taste. The first bad taste was a buttery/soapy flavor. Second was a wheat flavor which typically isn't bad, but it was unexpected and caught me off guard. Finally, there was a burnt industrial solvent flavor that lingered a while with a slick and sticky sweet flavor that was awful. Not much bitterness and any hop flavors went unnoticed behind the unappealing flavors. I was really shocked that there was a Dogfish Head ale that I not only didn't care for, but actively disliked. My first thought was that I had gotten a bad bottle, but reading other reviews online gave me the impression that the flavors I didn't care for were not an abnormality. I don't usually pour out many beers and I never expected to pour out a Dogfish Head but that's what I did. :( F

Monday, March 7, 2011

La Rossa

Brewery: Birra Peroni Industriale
Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 7.2%
Country: Italy

Pour was a dark, reddish amber color with a big and fluffy head that lingered a long time. Lots of grains were present in the aroma along with some dark cherry sweetness. Grain malts were the first tastes that were encountered. The sweetness from the aroma is hard to pick out in the taste which is a shame. The malts have a toasted quality to them which was nice. Slight herbal hop flavors are noticeable but don't do much for the overall Astringency from the alcohol was certainly present which took away from the overall experience. Body was right around medium but didn't have the heft that other doppelbock's have had. This was a dud. Flavors were weak for the style and ultimately forgettable. D+

Friday, March 4, 2011

Samuel Adams Noble Pils

Brewery: Samuel Adams
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 4.9%
Country: USA, Massachusetts

Another malty beer here. Sam Adams released this as an early spring seasonal. The name Noble Pils is a reference to the five noble hops that this beer contains. What is a noble hop you say? Noble hops are a series of aromatic hops from central Europe: Hallertau, Hersbrucker, Saaz, Spalt, and Tettnang. This pour was a pale yellow with a crystal clear body. It had a big fluffy head with thick lacing. Pleasing aroma that had some sweet lemon citrus, peppery spice, and earthy hops. Plenty of flavors hit all at once. The lemon, pepper zest from the aroma is certainly present. Herbal and grassy flavors are also noticeable up front. Taste is clean enough that the minerals in the water appeared in the finish. Speaking of the finish, it had more bitterness than I was expecting and was puckeringly dry. Its leaps and bounds better than most light beers claiming to be pilsners *cough*Miller*coughcough* though that isn't a high bar to judge by. A better way to put it is that this has to be the best pilsner I've had. It was greatly refreshing and I would certainly enjoy this again. Would be perfect on a hot day. A-

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fying Dog Garde Dog

Brewery: Flying Dog Brewing Company
Style: Biere de Garde
ABV: 5.5%
Country: USA, Maryland

A new style here, the Bier De Garde is a farmhouse style ale traditionally brewed in the Northern regions of France. Color was a pale golden yellow with a big fluffy white head and a nice lace. Malty sweet aroma with grassy and herbal hop flavors. Taste was peppery up front with some bananas present with some other fruity yeast flavors. Flavor transitions over to the earthy flavors that were present in the aroma. Finish turns into plenty of biscuit and cracker malts that becomes plenty dry. Bitterness is more assertive than the other malty beers that have appeared recently. The medium body lent itself well and gave this a great mouthfeel. I'd certainly have this again. B+

Fermented Pear Cinnamon Cider

To anyone following the blog, I'm hopefully "back" at it for awhile. I may still be off gluten, but I have some cider homebrewing tales to tell.

While on a particular homebrewing forum, someone mentioned that Trader Joes had just released a new cider in the juice isle, and that it sounded like it could be something worth fermenting. It was called "Pear Cinnamon Cider". Often, fermented pear cider is called "Perry", and is fairly sweet with a strong taste of pears.

With that in mind, I took a 1 gallon jug of the stuff, put it into a glass fermenter, tossed some yeast in and called it a day. 4 weeks later, I took a small water/honey solution and "Backsweetened" it. Backsweetening is necessary in fermented ciders because unlike with the malt in beer, almost all of the sugars in juice are fermentable, so the resulting solution is almost always super-dry. I bottled this backsweetened concoction. and 3 days later gave it a taste.

Firstly, it has decent carbonation and a very mild aroma. It has a great color that cleared up from fermentation. My first impression of the taste was "Whoa, that is fairly tasteless". My wife mentioned that it was "Sort of like a Miller Lite of cider". I consider that to NOT be a compliment. She was right. It was light and flavorless. My bet would be that I would have to backsweeten the next batch with ACTUAL pear juice to make it more of a traditional Perry.

I give my own Perry a C+. It was drinkable, but very bland.

Meh, that's what experiments are for! Next up, my adventures with my kegerator.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pete's Wicked Ale

Brewery: Pete's Brewing Company
Style: English Brown Ale
ABV: 5.5%
Country: USA, Texas

I picked this up at Total Wine for a couple of reasons. One, this was from Texas and there hasn't been a beer from Texas on this blog yet. Second, this is a brown ale which is a bit different than most of the beers that I've had recently, mainly IPAs, stouts, and other strong brews. This one poured caramel brown in color with plenty of ruby highlights. Off-white head was big but dissipated quickly into a thin lace. Aroma was mostly grassy with a hint of malt sweetness hiding behind it. Bready malts abound in the first sip. Plenty of earthy and grassy were present along with a peppery spiciness. A light bitterness lingers awhile with the herbal hops. This is a good English style ale where most of the main flavors are subtle and balanced. This is sort of the opposite of what I was expecting for a Texas ale. Overall though it was a pleasing beer. In the coming days I think I'll try to have some more extreme beers. B

Photo courtesy of Doug:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Anchor Steam Beer

Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company
Style: Steam Beer
ABV: 4.9%
Country: USA, California

I didn't plan it this way, but this beer happens to be another beer that originated a style. In this case, Steam Beer. For those keeping score at home, the last three beers, including this one, originated a style. Steam beer is actually a trademark of Anchor Brewing Company so the style is also known as California Common. It is a unique American style that originated in San Francisco back in 1896. What makes this style unique is that it uses lager yeast that is made to ferment at warmer temperatures. Lager is usually fermented in cold temperatures, but since refrigeration was costly at the time, warmer temperatures were used.

Poured a dark caramel with a hint of ruby and incredibly clear. Good off-white head dissipated quickly. Aroma was mostly malty and sweet with a bit of grassyness. Plenty of sweetness throughout. Carbonation gave this a bit of a bite. Grains are definitely present at all stages and linger long after the finish. Only hop presence were some earthy flavors and a hint of some zestyness. Not too much bitterness was present, but it is noticeable in the finish. Like the ESB the other day, this was another really malty beer. Usually I'm a hop-head, but I have to say that these malty beers have been growing on me lately. B-

Monday, February 28, 2011

Fuller's ESB

Brewery: Fuller Smith & Turner
Style: Extra Special Bitter
ABV: 5.9%
Country: England

Like the Pilsner Urquell, Fuller's ESB is another beer that started a style. In this case it started the Extra Special/Strong Bitter which is a more potent version of the Bitter style. Seeing as this is an English style, "extra strong" doesn't make this a bitter beer. IBUs are typically in the 30s and are balanced with plenty of sweet malts.

Poured a bright caramel color that was crystal clear. Had a thin, wispy head that vanished rather quickly. Aroma had plenty of caramel sweetness to it with just a bit of herbal grassiness to it. An especially malty beer. For something with the name "bitter" in it, this is a rather sweet beer. Some herbalness was present throughout that lead to a crisp finish with some biscuit malts and, wait for it, a light bitterness that lingers a while. While it was a good beer, nothing really jumped out and grabbed me. It would be a good beer to have several of in a social gathering. One that doesn't need any focus but isn't off putting. Great for malty beer lovers out there. B

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pilsner Urquell

Brewery: Pilsner Urquell
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 4.4%
Country: Czech Republic

Pilsner Urquell comes from the Plzen region of the Czech Republic. Astute readers with futures as police detectives will notice that Pilsner is awfully similar to Plzen. The reason for this would be the fact that the Plzen region gave birth to the Pilsner style of beer. One of the main reasons for this was that the soft water present in the region gave the beer a unique character at the time. The style goes back to 1842 and Pilsner Urquell claims to be the standard bearer of the original. As most lagers produced and consumed are of the light pilsner style, this is a bit of a big deal in the beer family tree.

Pored a bright straw yellow and perfectly clear. Standard sized head was bright white and settled out rather quickly. Aroma was plenty grassy and earthy. The aroma is often described as "skunky" though for this beer, it is a desired characteristic. A "skunked" beer is on that has been damaged from UV rays. In this case, the "skunky" flavor comes from the yeast and hops. First flavors of the sip match the aroma perfectly with both grassy and earthy. The mouth feel was fantastic with a nice heft to it that was crisp and bubbly. Finish had a light bitterness along with some biscuity malts. Overall I really enjoyed this one. Clean and simple, this is easy to drink but still has enough malt and hop presence to not be dull. B

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Southern Tier Choklat Imperial Stout

Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing Company
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.0%
Country: USA, New York

This was another find from the State Line Liquor Store, the first beer on this blog from Southern Tier, and the second imperial stout that I've personally reviewed. This came in a big 22oz bomber that will leave me weak in the knees by the end of the night. Poured nearly pitch black with only a small hint of caramel near the edges. Nice thin and tan head that settled into a nice and lingering lace. Aroma is full of plenty of types of different types of chocolate. Cocoa powder is the most prevalent along with some dark chocolate. Absolutely fantastic aroma, one of the best. The first sip was nice and smooth with plenty of chocolate. Chocolate flavor was not as pronounced as the aroma but still quite noticeable and plenty rich. Plenty of sweetness along with dark and roasted malts are quite potent. Mouthfeel is smooth and a bit syrupy. Finish was more roasted malts and a nice a lingering bitterness that wasn't overpowering. The most surprising aspect of this brew is that the 11% ABV is completely hidden. There are no astringent flavors at any point. Wonderfully chocolaty and absolutely delicious, I'd have this again in a heartbeat. A

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Trappistes Rochefort 8

Brewery: Brasserie de Rochefort
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
ABV: 9.20%
Country: Belgium

Here is the second of the three Rochefort beers, Rochefort 8. The first one, Rochefort 6, was only okay by my standards. A bit too sweet and a bit too carbonated. This version comes out a bit stronger and should pack more of a punch.

The pour was similar, a murky brown with a darker head than 6. Big head that dissipated and left a nice lace. Plenty of yeast seen swimming around. Plenty of dark fruits. Cherries and plums both present. I smelled more yeast than 6 and the alcohol was certainly noticeable. The first sip had some sweetness and lots of bready malts. Quite similar to number 6 in flavor as well. The largest noticeable difference is that alcohol flavor is much more prevalent. This gave the beer a nice spiciness that helped to improve the taste. The high level of carbonation made it hard to enjoy this. B-

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dogfish Head Namaste

Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewing Co
Style: Witbier
ABV: 5.0%
Country: USA, Delaware

Its not quite summer yet but today felt nice enough that it may have well been. That being said, I felt a nice summer beer was in order, hence the Witbier. Pour was bright and sunny yellow color with a nice head that dissipated quickly but left a nice and lingering lace. Body was slightly cloudy with some yeast and sediment visible. Aroma was faint and floral with definite signs of wheat. Flavor was incredibly crisp and refreshing. Lemongrass and coriander were both present in good quantities along with a hint of orange. The spice flavors lingered while the finish had the distinct wheat taste although it was more subdued than other wheat beers that I've had. As stated before, this was incredibly crisp and refreshing; Perfect for a hot summer day. B+

Friday, February 18, 2011

Curator Dunkler Doppelbock

Brewery: Ettaler Klosterbrauerei
Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 9.0%
Country: Germany

Another fine looking German beer here. The bottle claims that the recipe dates back to 1609 and the monastery where it was brewed dates back to 1330, so a bit of history here. Poured a dark-brown color with a thin and tan head. Cola like in appearance. Aroma was dark and sweet with molasses, raisins, and cherries along with a spicy kick. Taste is quite complex. Raisins and cherries are both present upfront along with a molasses sweetness and a hint of caramel. Floral and earthy hop flavors are present as well throughout. The finish is dry with a hint of bitterness that lingers slightly. The mouth-feel is syrupy and has plenty of carbonation to give it a kick. Leaves behind some oily residues. A hint of alcohol reminds you that this is 9% ABV but the astringency is covered up for the most part. This went down remarkably easy and would be dangerous in large quantities, great to drink though and I thoroughly enjoyed this. A

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA

Brewery: Weyerbacher Brewing Company
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.0%
Country: USA, Pennsylvania

This was another beer that I found while at State Line Liquors. The "SIMCOE" in big bold letters on the bottle caught my eye immediately. The Simcoe hop is the main aroma hop of the wonderful Hopslam ale. Since my first attempt at finding a beer to tide me over until next year was a total failure, I was eager to have another go.

Poured a reddish coppery color with a nice and fluffy off-white head. Somewhat hazy with visible yeast. Big hoppy aroma is full of pine resin and citrus, this was what I remembered and loved from Hopslam. The first sip carried with it plenty of the hoppy flavors from the aroma. Sticky pine was the most prevalent with the citrus flavors playing second fiddle. Plenty of sweet, caramel malts managed to hold their own though and lent the body a thick and creamy mouthfeel that was quite pleasant. Speaking of the body, it coated the mouth well and left a lingering residue that was quite tasty. The finish crept up slowly with a pleasing bitterness that stuck around with the stickiness. This was quite a delicious and well balanced brew that I'll have to remember the next time I'm in the mood for some Hopslam and it isn't January. A

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lancaster Milk Stout

Brewery: Lancaster Brewing Company
Style: Milk Stout
ABV: 5.30%
Country: USA, Pennsylvania

Poured a pitch black with no trace of other color and a tan foam that was thick and bubbly, but dissipated rather quickly leaving a ring of foam. Big aroma, lots of roasted flavors dominate. Roasted coffee and dark chocolate are the two dominating flavors. There was a hint of sweetness present in the nose as well. The taste was quite different from the aroma which is unusual and caught me a bit off guard. The main flavor was milky and creamy with plenty of sweetness. This is because milk stouts are brewed with lactose which isn't ferment-able so it imparts its milky flavors to the beer. Most of the roasted flavors weren't as noticable which was a shame since they were so good. There wasn't much bitterness in this and the finish was dry and sweet. The body was much thinner than what I'm used to when it comes to stouts. While this was a good beer, I would have enjoyed more of the flavors in the nose to be present in the taste as well. B

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rogue Russian Imperial Stout Vintage 2009

Brewery: Rogue Brewing Company
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 11%
Country: USA, Oregon

I found this on my way back from Vermont at a store in Maryland called State Line Liquors which, as its name suggests, is located near the PA and DE border. This store had the best beer selection I've ever seen with an entire section dedicated solely to Belgium beers. I couldn't spend as much time here as I would have liked since we were near the end of a long drive and four buses of tourists were showing up to overwhelm the place.

According to the bottle, this beer is best after aging for at least a year. Luckily for me this was a vintage 2009 bottle, so no waiting for me to enjoy this. The aging allows for some of the harsher alcohol flavors to mellow out and make the drink more smooth overall.

Poured out thick and pitch black with no trace of any other color. Dark brown head lingers a long time. Strong roasted aroma with traces of coffee, chocolate, earthy flavors and a bit of alcohol. First sip showed an incredibly thick body that was almost syrupy. Massive amounts of roasted flavors all over the place. Both a roasted barley and a roasted coffee flavor dominate. Feels like sipping on an espresso in some ways. The hops imparted some herbal and earthy flavors that complemented the roasted flavors well. The malts had a small hint of sweetness near the end that transitioned into a bitter finish that was well complemented by lingering roasted flavors. Not a trace of alcohol was present at all in the taste. There was nearly no carbonation and the body was incredibly smooth. This was supremely drinkable and delicious. My only complaint with this was that it came in a 7oz bottle and I would have loved to have savored this much longer. A+

Monday, February 14, 2011

Homebrew Tasting Day

So there haven't been any posts the last couple of days because I've been skiing in Vermont and the last of my scheduled posts ran out. Bo is in cider land and Roy is a bum, so posts have been lacking. I had a couple of good beers in Vermont including a local ale and a black IPA. I didn't take any notes to do posts on them because I was tired from skiing all day and just wanted to relax with some beer and not be that guy at the bar writing notes down with each sip.

I got home after a long day of driving and what do you know? I was in the mood to relax with a nice beer. I had bottled my home brew over two weeks ago meaning that the sugar added at bottling had been fermented to provide carbonation and a bit more alcohol. I figured now would be a good time as any to try my very first batch so here we go.

Poured a hazy coppery brown that had a massive sticky head. Head was off-white and stuck around a long time. This is an unfiltered beer since I lack the equipment to do the sort of filtering that professionals do. If I do brew this again, I can use a glass carboy for a secondary fermentation to improve the clarity. The aroma had the distinct grapefruit aroma from the cascade hops. Some of the yeast was present in the aroma as well. The first sip carried with it the familiar hop flavor though it was a little more subdued than I thought it would be. Some sweet malts were present as well. Some roasted malts started into the transition the finish. Finish carries with it plenty of bitterness and was plenty dry. Overall it was quite good especially for a first attempt. I think if I were to try this recipe again, I'd increase some the malt base to increase the flavor. I'd probably do a dry hop phase as well to increase the overall hop flavor and aroma. Luckily I liked drinking this one since I have over a case of it in my basement. B-

Friday, February 11, 2011

Loose Cannon Hop^3 IPA

Brewery: Clipper City Brewing Company
Style: American IPA
AB: 7.5%
Country: USA, Maryland

Bright copper orange color. Cristal clear with a nice fluffy white head. Lots of lacing is left along the glass the entire way down. Big citrusy aroma that is spicy and creamy at the same time. Taste is similar to the aroma, lots of citrus hops and resin flavors. Hefty amount of bready malts round up the finish along with a pleasing bitterness. Creamy mouth feel and a spicy level of carbonation are both good features. The only real knock against this is there is a noticeable astringency from the alcohol that is present in both the aroma and the taste. Otherwise, this is a well done beer. B+

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale

Brewery: Bell's Brewing Company
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 8.5%
Country: USA, Michigan

Bell's has had several beers appear on this blog so far. The best by a mile, of course, was the incredible Hopslam. I found this at the Reston Wine Cellar. It was the last one left and seeing as it is an anniversary beer and wont be brewed again, I counted it as quite the find. Poured a reddish, caramel, brown color with a thin head that dissipated quickly. Mild sweet aroma with some apple notes. Plenty of sweet malts dominated the taste. Apples were prevalent as well as apricots and caramel. Some darker flavors were present as well with some raisins and some yeast notes. Finish was dry and bitter with some bready malts that show up near the end. The body was creamy with almost no carbonation. Overall this was a yummy beer. It was little bit too sweet for my preference but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was a good way to celebrate a fine brewery. B+

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Troegs Nugget Nectar

Brewery: Troegs Brewing Company
Style: American Amber Ale
ABV: 7.5%
Country: USA, Pennsylvania

Another big seasonal release that gets purchased rapidly as soon as it is released. Came in a giant 22oz bomber and given the alcohol content, makes this equal to nearly four regular beers. Poured a bright amber color with hints of red. Big and fluffy head left plenty of lace and lots of ringing going down the sides. Aroma had plenty of pine up front with some citrus and hints of sweetness. Sweet flavor up front with a huge taste of hops. Both pine and citrus flavors present. Flavor turned to bready malts and a bracingly dry and bitter finish. Nice medium body with plenty of spicy carbonation. Bitterness lingers a long time after drinking. This beer is in the same class as Hopslam but a bit scaled down. Essentially a Hopslam lite. Incredibly delicious and quite drinkable. This made its presence felt and was fabulous. I'll be picking this up again when it comes out again next year. A

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Purple Haze

Brewery: Abita Brewing Company
Style: Fruit Beer
ABV: 4.20%
Country: USA, Louisiana

Pours a cloudy and hazy orange with a small white head that dissipated quickly. Aroma is dominantly tart raspberry with a hint of wheat flavor to it. Given the amount of raspberry that can be smelled, I was surprised at the little amount of fruity flavor. The raspberry was present for sure, but just in mild amounts. Taste was quite dry with a slick and buttery mouth feel. Finished dry and left a big wheaty taste in my mouth. No bitterness whatsoever at any point. This beer isn't bad by any stretch but at the same time, there isn't anything terribly interesting either. The raspberry is nice but it isn't enough to carry the beer on its own. C

Monday, February 7, 2011

Long Hammer IPA

Brewery: Red Hook Brewing Company
Style: IPA (supposedly)
ABV: 6.50%
Country: USA, New Hampshire

Bright and pale golden and clear color with a thick and bubbly white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Some citrus and pine hop aroma. Some of the citrus flavors up front but the flavor dissipated rather quickly. Transitions to some bready malts and some spicy bitterness to round things out. This is really weak to be called an IPA. The biggest redeeming quality of this brew is that it has a good level of alcohol that is concealed. Other than that, this is a weak excuse for an IPA. This beer is forgettable and nothing special. D

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kona Pipeline Porter

Brewery: Kona Brewing Company
Style: Porter
ABV: 5.40%
Country: USA, Hawaii

Deep and dark brown, nearly black but not quite. Nice sized head that lingers a long time and leaves plenty of lace. Rich coffee aroma with a hint of sweetness behind it. Great smelling brew. Dark coffee flavor, almost espresso like. Has a little bit of grassiness to it. Flavor ends with a deep roasted flavor and a mild bitterness. Nice medium body with a little acidic feel to it. There was an odd flavor/feel to it that I couldn't quite figure out. Still good though. B-

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bass Pale Ale

Brewery: Bass Brewers Limited
Style: English Pale Ale
ABV: 5.00%
Country: England

Another English beer for the list and one that is quite recognizable to most people. According to the bottle, Bass was awarded the first trademark in England to prevent imitators from using the red triangle. Bright, amber caramel color with a good sized off-white head that lingered. Herbal and grassy aroma with a bit of hopiness to it. Plenty of the grassy flavor upfront with a bit of peppery. Finishes with a light bitterness and plenty of toasted bread malts. Very dry and crisp finish. This highlights the difference between English pale ales and American pale ales. English versions are typically more subtle and understated while American versions are more bitter and hopier. At first I wasn't a fan of this, but I have to say it grew on me more and more as I sipped on it. The finish is what grew on me, quite pleasing. B-

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Castle Brown Ale

Brewery: Scottish & Newcastle UK Ltd.
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 4.70%
Country: Scotland

Pours a bright brown color with a big and foamy off white head. Earthy and herbal aroma with a hint of alcohol. Grassy flavor up front with some sweet caramel malts. Almost no bitterness whatsoever. Tastes similar to a heavier Yuengling. Nice body with good carbonation. C+

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Style: IPA
ABV: 7.20%
Country: USA, California

Happened to be at my local grocery store and was in need of beer. There was a mix and match six-pack section so I bit. Not a wide variety of craft beer, but enough non Bud/Coors/Miller beers to make it worth while. Sierra Nevada is one of the original American craft brewers that started in the late 70s and early 80s. Their Pale Ale is their flagship brew that will have to make an appearance on these pages soon.

Poured a bright orange that was nice and clear leaving a thin white head. The aroma was of citrus and pine. Not a super powerful aroma like most IPAs, but still noticeable. Perhaps a lack of dry-hopping. Dry and bitter up front with plenty of malt backbone. Less overtly hoppy than most IPAs but still contains a good wave of bitterness. Ends dry, bitter, and a good bit of bready malts. Not a typical IPA for sure, but still tasty. Very refreshing and quite drinkable. No trace of alcohol, I'd be easy to have too many of these too quickly. A-

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Flying Fish Belgian Style Dubbel

Brewery: Flying Fish Brewing Company
Style: Dubbel
ABV: 7.30%
Country: USA, New Jersey

Pours a golden brown with some hints of ruby. A small head dissipated quickly. Smells like creamy bananas and vanilla with a hint of alcohol astringency. Plenty of sweet malts up front with some fruity apricot notes. Taste gives way to some roasted bready characters with a hint of spiciness. No bitterness whatsoever. Mouth-feel was smooth and creamy but not to thick. I thought the aroma was pleasing, but overall was rather lacking. There was a bit much too much astringency present throughout. Not bad, but nothing to write home about. C+

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rogue McRogue Scotch Ale

Brewery: Rogue
Style: Scotch Ale
ABV: 7%

To look at this bottle is worth a laugh as it only holds 7oz. While this does say best when aged a year, I couldn't help but to open it up.

Pour is thick and cloudy with a carmel brown color. Little to no head, and a very very thin lace.

Aroma is roasted/smokey malt, toffee, caramel and a hint of chocolate.

Taste follows the aroma, hints of toffee and chocolate at first. A sweet smokiness in the middle. Finish contains dark fruits, plum and some raisin.

I'm giving this a B+ very drinkable even at a decent ABV. Wish the bottles were bigger though.


Dogfish Head World Wide Stout

Brewer: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 18%
Country: USA, Delaware

"A very dark beer brewed with a ridiculous amount of barley" proclaims this bottle. At 18% ABV, this is by far the most potent beer I've ever had. At 10$ for a 12 oz bottle, I wont be having this too often either.

Poured a dark black with some hints of caramel around the edges. No foam whatsoever with only a few bubbles around the edge of the glass. Smell had some chocolate to it along with some sweetness and plenty of alcohol.

The first sip was a kick in the mouth. Some chocolate and coffee present but those are quickly overpowered by a wave of alcohol. The first few sips were similar, but as I went on, the alcohol flavors subsided and more of the drinks character came out. This drank more like a port or a brandy than a beer; Small sips over a long period of time. There is a syrupy slickness to the mouth-feel. Great warming feeling going down. More roasted flavors as it reached room temperature. Typical stouts are servers at around 50 - 55 degrees. This one was better as it became warmer than that. This sort of beer is the kind that can be cellared for a number of years to improve the flavor. As it ages, some of the harsh notes from the alcohol mellow out and the drink becomes more smooth. Overall, as is, I thought it was a great sipper. Quite relaxing and perfect for a cold and dreary day. Still, at 18% ABV, one of these is about the same as 4-5 American light beers and enough to leave me feeling half in the bag. A

Monday, January 31, 2011

Trappistes Rochefort 6

Brewery: Brasserie de Rochefort
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
ABV: 7.50%
Country: Belgium

Another trappist beer, this one hails from Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy and is the first of three in a series. The other two are the creatively named 8 and 10. Each one represents a step up in potency in both malts, flavors, and alcohol.

Murky brown with a fluffy off white head. Plenty of yeast visible floating around.

Sweet aroma. Dark fruits. Grapes, plums, and raisins. The aroma is fantastic, there is enough complexity to keep the sweetness from being overwhelming.

Yeasty flavor and tons of carbonation were present up front. The fruitiness from the aroma comes through a bit, but unfortunately a wave of carbonation comes through and washes a lot of the flavor away. Alcohol and sourness are both present and warming similar to what I've found in other Belgian dark ales. I wasn't too impressed with this and I hope the other two. Made me burp too much C-

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Stone IPA

Brewery: Stone Brewing Company
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.9%
Country: USA, California

Another beer from Stone and another IPA. Sounds like a match made in heaven.

Poured a bright golden orange. Thick white head that lingered a long time. Looked like a yummy textbook IPA. Aroma had plenty of the standard citrus aromas along with some piney hops present. Plenty of sweet malts upfront. Citrus and herbal from the aroma are both present. Transitions into a nice and dry bitter finish. Alcohol is hidden well. Body and carbonation are at a Overall another solid entry from the guys at Stone. B+

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale

Brewery: Brouwerij Van Steenberge
Style: Flander's Oud Bruin
ABV: 5.5%
Country: Belgium

Found this at Whole Foods and it sounded interesting so I grabbed it. This style is also known as a provision beer which is a style of beer originally brewed for soldiers back in the day. Pour was a reddish brown with a big foamy head, with a cream colored head that lingered around. Aroma was incredibly tart with cherries and some yeast notes. The taste was sweet up front that turned into plenty of sour tartness. Fruity cherry and lemon flavors were prevalent. Some bready malts present once the wave of tartness subsided a bit. Finish is more sourness. No bitterness whatsoever. Plenty of carbonation and a dry and crisp finish. Less overtly fruity than a fruit lambic but still unique. Quite refreshing but a bit to much to have on a regular basis. B

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mikkeller Simcoe Single Hop IPA

Brewery: Mikkeller
Style: American IPA
ABV: 6.90%
Country: Denmark

The simcoe hop is a more recent hop variety that is unique to America. The wonderful Hopslam uses a large amount of simcoe when dry-hopping to help give it its wonderful flavor. With no access to Hopslam throughout the year, I was eager to find something that might act as methadone to help me make it to next January. I saw this at Whole Foods, saw simcoe in the title, and I was sold.

Poured a dark and hazy caramel color. Huge and fluffy head stayed thick the entire time. Weak aroma, was mostly yeasty. Some odd notes that I hadn't smelled before. None of the yummy pine notes that were present in the Hopslam. Quite unpleasant. Taste was equally unpleasant, more yeast and other flavors that can best be described as stale and dank. Some bitterness but I felt like I had a gym sock stuffed in my mouth. I couldn't finish this and about half of the bottle found a new home in the kitchen sink drain. The search will continue. F

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Flying Dog Raging Bitch

Brewery: Flying Dog Brewing Company
Style: Belgian IPA
ABV: 8.30%
Country: USA, Maryland

Raging Bitch is the first beer from Flying Dog I've had since working my way through the variety pack. This is one of the more well known beers from Flying Dog and has been earning itself a good reputation since it was released in 2003.

Poured this into my tulip glass which has been getting plenty of use as of late. Left plenty of foamy head and a nice, lingering lace. Color was a bright and clear caramel.

Aroma had plenty of citrus hops. A Bit different from the standard grapefruit cascade hop variety. This has more of a lemon pepper aroma to it.

Sweet caramel hops with a bit of honey malt presence up front. Plenty of dark and fruity flavors throughout, raisins and apricots were the first two to come to mind. Left a nice lingering bitterness that wasn't overpowering. The body had a buttery and creamy feeling that tasted fantastic. Couldn't taste the alcohol, but it made its presence felt with a nice warming spiciness. This is a great sipper and worthy of its reputation. A-

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

St. Bernardus Abt 12

Brewer: St. Bernardus
Style: Quadrupel
ABV: 10.5%

This brew came on high recommendation from Chuck at Ashburn Wine Shop. I try not to set expectations on beer before trying them but Chuck built it up pretty big.

After giving the beer a good rolling and popping the cork the pour showed an opaque brown liquid as the bottle emptied into the glass. A thick light brown head formed and settled at an extremely slow rate.

Aroma is sweet with hints of dark fruit and almost a mustiness at the end.

Taste is complex and falls in line pretty well with the aroma. Hints of raisin and plums even some fig. Alcohol stays well hidden only noticeable on the extreme end of the drink.

Mouth feel is very smooth with a medium body.

Giving this one a B+


Dogfish Head Saison du Buff

Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewery
Style: Saison
ABV: 6.8%
Country: USA, Delaware

Saison du Buff is a collaborative brew among three brewers that have all been featured on this blog: Dogfish Head, Stone, and Victory. Each brewery has their own version of this beer that has their own unique twist to the concept. Saison is also known as a farmhouse ale which was originally brewed by farmers in Belgium to help them through the harvest season. This particular version, according to the bottle, is brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

The pour on this was fantastic. Huge amount of bright white bubbles came billowing out and hung around as a fluffy head the entire time. The color was a bright, pale gold that was hazy. Quite inviting. I had to do a lot of waiting for the head to settle before I could dive into this one. Smell was sweet and earthy, I managed to pick out the thyme and rosemary that the bottle proclaimed. Taste was quite sweet up front that quickly transitioned into an herbal and earthy flavor. This transitioned into a finish that was quite dry. No bitterness was really found, but the earthiness continued into the finish. I couldn't distinctly pick out the herbs mentioned on the bottle in the taste as I could in the aroma. Plenty of carbonation was present which isn't surprising given the massive head that was present. Overall, while I thought this was a good beer, I didn't think there was anything too special that would make me want to have this again. My guess is that this has to do more with the style of beer than the beer itself. C+

Photos courtesy of ShutterMug