Thursday, December 31, 2009

Delirium Noël



Delirium Noël

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Huyghe

Belgium

Belgian Strong Dark Ale
10.00% ABV








Background:
Wow, review #90 already.
This bier has been a Belgian Christmas Ale staple. Alright, staple is not quite the right word but I do enjoy drinking this bier and look forward to it arriving every winter. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this has been a nice dependable Belgian Christmas Ale over the last few years. This will be the first time I’ve had this bier since last year. I am not expecting any surprises but at the some time I’ve never put this bier through the paces of a full review. So let’s see how good the Delirium Noel really is.

Review:
The bier pours a dark brown with rich ruby hues with an off white head.

Sweet toasted malts on the nose. There is also a sweetness that I can’t quite put my finger on.

Well, after my first sip I realize with I that aromas on the nose was, it’s the alcohol in this bier. Sorry, let’s go back to the beginning of the sip.

It starts with sweet rich dark malts somewhat toasty but not quite roasted. There is a very interesting mid-sip shift in the taste; you start to pick up almost a barely wine type of taste as the alcohol starts to make its self known and thins out the heavier malt mouthfeel, plus a nice effervescence over your tongue is adding to the drying effect. The effervescence and alcohol really take over providing a much dryer finish then expected from such a malty brew. The final aftertaste and mouthfeel leaves a toasted malt creaminess in your mouth.

What a good bier!

As this beer warms, now around 60 degrees, it really opens up. It is also a little less carbonated now so the finish is not quite as dry as it was. The overall experience is much maltier and creamier at this temperature.

Now at 62 it is just amazing; smooth and creamy malty goodness.

I purposely warmed the last few sips caressing the chalice glass in the palm of my hand. Wow, 74 and amazing. This is warm and smooth and delightful; the malts take on an almost toffee flavor at this temperature. This is just exquisite.
 
This is a solid A for a Belgian Strong Dark. One outstanding brew; especially when you let it warm an open up a little.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Great Divide's St Bridget's Porter



Saint Bridget's Porter
 

Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company
Denver, Colorado

American Porter
5.90% ABV


 





Commercial Description:
St. Bridget, a legendary Irish saint, created a sensation by turning her bathwater into beer. What better way to celebrate her worthy miracle than with our zymurgistic tribute to her feat, St. Bridget's Porter. St. Bridget's is a smooth, elegant, and chocolaty brown porter. Brimming with coffee and chocolate characteristics from dark barley malts, St. Bridget's is carefully hopped to provide the perfect complement to its malty robustness.

Review:
The beer pours a clear dark brown with deep ruby hues. Held up to a light you can just barely see through it. It also produced fairly rich tan head.

What a wonderful nose; sweet roasted malts with notes of chocolate and coffee. I can’t wait to dive into this one.

Oh my, that is better then a lot of stouts that I’ve had. You start off those sweet roasted malts then in mid sip you start to pick up the more robust roasted flavors of the malt. By the time you get to the swallow you start to pick up a coffee flavor and a little malt bitterness. The back end of the swallow has some hop and malt bitterness. The finish of this beer has an almost espresso coffee taste to it. There are also some chocolate notes in the finish of this beer. The final aftertaste and mouthfeel is of a rich roasted malt coating all over your tongue and mouth.

This is one impressive porter. There is always a fine line on how stout a porter can be before it is considered a “Strout Porter” or otherwise just known as a “Stout”. One man’s porter is another man’s stout. This is probably the most I would want in a porter before I would consider it a stout.

The beer is now at 60 degrees and it’s smoother than ever. I thought the espresso taste at the end would kill this for me but even that bitterness mellowed as it warmed.

All and all this is a very good porter; a solid B for St. Bridget’s Porter.

Ridgeway Criminally Bad Elf


Criminally Bad Elf

Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing
United Kingdom (England)

English Barleywine
10.50% ABV


Commercial Description:
"It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, of course - wrong place at the wrong time...but Claus was soon back on the street with the polite apologies of the authorities - no questions asked. All's well that ends well, surely, but still, the reporters wanted to know...it takes its toll, doesnt't it? "Indeed" sighed Claus, "my elf is going crazy, and I fear I shall soon go crazy as well" And with that he hoisted a great flagon of his favorite barleywine-style ale, silently contemplating the future and straining to remember why he got into this particular line of work in the first place. (RateBeer.com)

Background:
This review is going to be a little aging experiment with two different bottles of the same beer. One was bought in 2008 and one was just bought a few weeks ago in 2009. The 2008 vintage was not properly cellared it was just sitting around the house for a year. But I thought it would be interesting to open it up and compare it to a new 2009 bottle.



Review:
Appearance:
Both beers pour a clear amber with reddish hues and an off white head. The 2008 vintage has a slightly darker head almost almond but not quite tan. The 2009 beer has much more carbonation with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.
The 2008 beer has noticeable less carbonation, it is not flat but less effervescence than the 2009.

Smell/Aroma:
The noses on these two beers are really different from each other.
The 2009 beer has caramel malts on the nose with a light hop presence and slight citrus aromas.

The 2008 has a much richer caramel almost toasted malty aroma with just the slight hint of a floral hop aroma.

Taste:
2009 has sweet caramel malts upfront then a good carbonation effervescence followed by a slightly hop and dry finish with that classic barelywine dry malt aftertaste. Very nice a classic barelywine style ale.

2008, Wow what a difference. The 2008 one is much maltier with less carbonation. It is also smoother and overall richer tasting. There is no noticeable hop bitterness at all not even in the finish. The finish is smoother with lingering almost toasted or toffee caramel aftertaste.

I am really surprised at this, what a cool experiment and quite arbitrary. We did not properly age or cellar the 2008 bottle. It was really just hanging around in my son’s bedroom since last Christmas. It was a stocking stuffer that he forgot about. What you don’t get beer in your Christmas stocking? I guess the Easter Bunny doesn’t leave you beer in your Easter Basket either? OK, back to the review.

So let’s take another sip of each.

2009
Very nice caramel malts up front then in mid sip you get some effervescence. I really like the classic barelywine characteristics of this beer.

2008
Amassing! It is hard to believe that this was the same beer. This is so much smoother and less dry? You do not get that classic dry barelywine finish and aftertaste. This is smoother, almost creamy, with a toasted to almost toffee lingering caramel finish.

This going back and forth is not settling well with me. It was an interesting start and comparison but I really need to drink one then the other now. Well, I decided that I like the 2008 better so I am going to finish drinking the 2009 until it is finished and then continue back with the 2008.

2009
The 2009 is now at 67 degrees. It is much smoother now and it is less carbonated. It is loosing some of the dry barelywine style finish. It is very smooth and much more malty maltier now.
72 degrees now and there is a slight harshness on the finish but all and all this is still an excellent barelywine.












2008
At 58 degrees this is smoother then the 2009 one was at 72. I just can’t get over this beer. I just hope I can obtain the discipline to purposely and properly age some of these beers in the future.
   
I purposely warmed this in the palm of my hand. This is now at 77 degrees. It’s just incredible; the malts are very pronounced now and they are developing a toffee flavor.

I am really impressed with this ageing thing. This is one smooth beer with the most wonderful rich caramel malt flavors.

I’m nursing the last few sips of this beer; I really don’t want this to end.

The last couple of sips were at 78 degrees and fantastic.

What a tremendous experiment. The fresh 2009 brew was an excellent classic barelywine ale. The aged 2008 was just phenomenal! I had no idea there would be such a difference in this beer just aged for one year. And the most incredible thing is that this was not properly cellared. This 2008 beer was just lying around the house and sitting on an open shelf in the kitchen for the last few months.

So for a letter grade it’s a B+ for the fresh 2009 Criminally Bad Elf barelywine. The 2008 vintage however is a solid A+. Just one fantastic brew but I would no longer call it a barelywine. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gouden Carolus Noël


Gouden Carolus Noël

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker

Belgium

Belgian Strong Dark Ale
10.50% ABV






Commercial Description:
For the Christmas and New Year festivities the Gouden Carolus range is now extended to include this seriously heavy strong brown ale. Het Anker are thus rekindling a long lost tradition from the days of yore when they marketed Cardinal Christmas and Anker Christmas.


Review:
The bier pours a very dark brown almost completely opaque with just a hint of amber hues at the bottom of the glass.

Wow, what an incredible first sip. Sweet roasted malts upfront then in mid taste you start to pick up more of a toffee flavor in the malt coating your moth then a nice finish has some of those classic Christmas spices and that classic Belgian yeasty bready background.

What a nice beer. My only regret it that I did not pick up a 750ml bottle. I just hope they got some 750 in, they were out of them and I had to by some 330ml 11.2oz bottles. The bottle conditioning of a 750 seems to be superior to conditioning in a 330. OK, back to the review.

The bier has warmed to 60 degrees and it is just getting better and better. It has really opened up now. I am detecting flavors that I did not notice before. 

Still predominantly sweet rich roasted malts but with the carbonation going down the mouthfeel is smoother then ever. The toffee flavors in the malts are even more predominant at this temperature.

I keep mentioning rich roasted malts. They are, very rich but these roasted malts are different from those roasted malts found in your typical stout. They may very well be from the same barley but these do not have that roasted bitterness that a stout would have. These malts are sweet and creamy without any bitterness. I would assume the Belgian yeast has a lot to do with this.

65 dreamy, is the only world that comes to mind and that’s not because it’s getting late either. This bier has reach such a creamy smoothness is it really is so smoothing at this temperature.

This is one amazing bier. I just can’t stop wondering what the 750 would taste like.

I purposely caressed the chalice in the palm of my hand to warm it up the last few sips. The bier is now at 70 degrees. This bier is simply amazing; smooth and delightful absolutely no harshness or unpleasantness whatsoever.

This is an outstanding Belgian Christmas beer. I am extremely impressed with this bier.

Lees
The lees are more funky, yeasty duh! Sorry
They are more chalky, yeasty obviously, but they also seem to muddle the other flavors of this beer. It’s like the volume was turned down on the flavors. That rich toffee malt flavor is there but not as crisp as it was. I really need to do a post just about lees.

Corsendonk Christmas Ale



Corsendonk Christmas Ale

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Corsendonk
 

Belgium

Belgian Strong Dark Ale
 

8.50% ABV





Commercial Description:
On the palate this silky smooth ale is predominantly malty, with smoky, spicy and citrusy notes, and a long, lingering finish that is lightly tart and malty.

Background:
I discovered this bier around three years ago, fairly early in my craft beer journey. At that time I thought it was the best beer I had ever had. It really opened my eyes and helped me see the complexities of the great world of Belgian Ales.  Since then I have had a multitude of Belgians in many different styles. Although I have had several Belgians that I liked better than this one it is still one of my favorite Belgian Christmas Ales. It will be interesting to see how it holds up to some of the others that I will be reviewing this Christmas Season. 

Review:
The bier pours a very dark amber almost brown with reddish hues and a rich off white almost tan head.

Rich roasted malts with a yeasty background on the nose, there is also some spice and slight citrus aromas.

 Oh, smooth rich and creamy.
The taste starts with sweet roasted malts then a nice effervescence. The back end has more sweet malts with a creamy mouthfeel. The finish is slightly spicy and dryer finish with slight citrus notes. The final finish leaves you with a smooth creamy mouthfeel and a wonderfully malty sweetness.

This bier really opens up as it warms. This is one smooth and rich Belgian dark. The wonderful Belgian complexities are really more pronounced at warmer temperatures. This is one of those Belgians that you start to pick up different notes as it warms.

It is much smoother now and the spices are a little more pronounced at warmer temperatures. I assume the smoothness has a lot to do with less carbonation and the increased maltiness at this warmer temperature.

Smooth rich and creamy with just a light touch of spices all in that classic bready yeasty Belgian backbone.

Malty Goodness just about sums this one up.

I must say that I am not as fond of this beer as I once was. Either this particular batch is not as good or I have just had better Belgian Christmas Ales lately. All and all this is still an excellent ale and I can’t find anything wrong with it. I just think that there are better more complex Belgians Christmas Ales out there.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Brasserie Des Rocs Triple Impériale



Brasserie Des Rocs Triple Impériale

Brewed by:
Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.

Belgium

Belgian Strong Dark Ale
10.00% ABV





Commercial Description:
Dark Triple with enormous scale of flavors. This excellent and very elegant appetizer feels like it is made exclusively for kings and emperors. (ratebeer.com)


Review:
It pours a cloudy dark brown, almost opaque with just a hint of deep ruby hues and a rich off white head.

This has a very unique nose for a Belgian; sweet and rich roasted malts on the nose with notes of chocolate and caramel, with an interesting spice and all with a very yeasty background.


Wow, I think this is the maltiest Belgian I’ve ever had. This is very rich, malty, smooth and creamy. The malts are like a stout but without the roasted malt bitterness, like a well crafted doppelbock but without the lager harshness. Man, I’m going to have to re-group here in order to attempt to explain this one.

The taste starts out with roasted malt sweetness, then a rich malt coating over your tongue and whole mouth with the most creamy mouthfeel. The back end is, you guessed it more malty goodness with a little bit of spice on the finish. I can’t quite put my finger on that spice nor the complexity of the malt. There are notes of chocolate and caramel, no maybe that’s more like a toffee, anyway it is just incredible.

The entire sip is just one long build up of malty goodness. It is somewhat surprising that with all this malt this beer is not syrupy at all. It stays creamy the whole way down.

As this wonderful brew warms the caramel/toffee notes become a little more pronounced. Even at a warmer temperature this bier does not get syrupy, it maintains that same sweet malty creaminess.

What a delightful brew. I had this at a tasting, just a few ounces in a tasting glass give you an idea but it doesn’t do this beer justice. You really can’t experience this on until you properly pour a whole glass.

This is an A+ for me. I just can’t tell you how delightful this was. I highly recommend this bier to anyone that like a creamy malty brew. I would suspect any sweet stout or doppelbock lover would like this beer, the malts are characteristically very close. But this one also has that Belgian complexity that you get from those wonderful yeast strains.

This is one remarkable bier.

Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux



Avec Les Bons Voeux

Brewed by:
Brasserie Dupont sprl

Belgium

Saison / Farmhouse Ale
9.50% ABV

 






Commercial Description:
"Les Bons Voeux" means best wishes, which is what Brasserie Dupont sends with this very special saison ale brewed only for the holidays. Redolently aromatic, rich and velvety, this is an ale to toast the season and welcome in the New Year! (ratebeer.com)

Background:
I only had this beer once before at a Christmas Beer tasting at State Line Liquors. I love the funkiness of the Belgian Farmhouse Ales and this one had some added Christmas spices and higher in alcohol at 9.5% ABV. I can’t wait to see how it holds up under a full review, so let’s get this show on the road.

Review:
It pours a cloudy pale copper almost a straw color with a bright white and fluffy head that seems like it will stick around a while. This ale is also highly carbonated; there are a tremendous amount of bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

The nose is very unique; Christmas spices of juniper and cinnamon along with sweet yeasty Belgian esters and volatiles escaping from the thick creamy head, with just a hint of that Belgian Funk.

Oh, what a taste. It’s like Dupont Saison meets Christmas Cheer. It really is the best of the earthy farmhouse ale kicked up a notch for Christmas.

The taste starts out with a malty sweetness and then you feel that high effervescence over the tongue, then the mouthfeel smoothes out with the creaminess of the head adding to the mouthfeel. Toward the backend of the taste you start to pick up the yeasty funkiness and earthiness of the saison. The finish is filled with Christmas spices and a fair amount of hops for a nice dry finish. There is no bitterness to the hop finish just a nice drying effect.

This particular ale is a very unique Belgian. I’ve never had such a variance of Christmas spices and saison earthy and yeasty flavors all in the same sip. This is a very intriguing ale.

The head has been reduced to a thick ¼ inch layer covering the top of the beer. This lingering head also adds to the creamy mouthfeel of the sip.

This unique farmhouse ale is not for everyone. Well, I guess you could say that about any beer but this style has a very unique taste and funkiness to it that is not widely liked by everyone.

The taste does not change as the beer warms. It is just a little less carbonated but other than that it really did not add or diminish any flavors.

This is a very impressive Saison. I love the unique aspects of this Farmhouse Ale. You do have the classic earthy and yeasty notes of a great saison plus the added spices of Christmas to make this a very unique and enjoyable ale.

I highly recommend this bier to anyone that likes the funkiness of a Farmhouse ale plus this has the added spice that makes it an outstanding Christmas Saison Ale.

A+ for this truly unique and enjoyable Christmas Saison.

Girardin Gueuze



Girardin Gueuze 1882 
Black Label (unfiltered)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Girardin
Belgium

Gueuze
 

5.00% ABV

 






Description:
A traditional Belgian blend of young and old Lambics, which are then bottle after blending, then aged for 2-3 years to produce a dryer, fruitier and more intense style of Lambic. There is no hop character, some are filtered and force carbonated if not pasteurized as well. Some say that this is the more harsh lambic as the sourness is pretty intense. Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-6.0% (beeradvocate.com)
   
Review:
It pours slightly cloudy copper color with a bright white head.

Sweet yeasty Belgian Funk on the nose. It is somewhat difficult to describe. It is sweet, sour, tart and bready.

Oh My, this is very unusual, you will either love it or hate it. It is such a unique taste I don’t see much leeway either way.

It starts out sweet but just for a split second then it is a continuing build up of sour, tart, and funk. This is mouth puckering. Really, like you just sucked on a sour lemon!

Upfront this is not for everyone. Actually I’m not sure why I like it. I tote a snobby well balanced beer etc. There is nothing balanced about this beer. It is really all funk. Let me try to explain this.

It is sweet as it touches the tip of you tongue. Then by the time it travels to the middle of your tongue it starts to turn sour. The sour builds to an extreme tartness by mid sip. At the top of the swallow you can feel the back of your jaw start to quiver. By the time you are ready to swallow you can barely keep your face from puckering. The back end of the swallow and finish is almost dry. All of these is with a very yeasty background.

After that you step back and wonder what just happened. If you never had this style of beer before you would think it must have went bad or something; wondering if it is really suppose to taste like that.

Well, there is not much I can say. Gueuze is the ultimate in Belgian Funk.

Some Belgians like the Fruit Lambics, Saisons, and the Flemish Reds have a sourness or tartness to them. That is nothing compared to the extreme sourness of this beer.

It is a very unusual beer that is worth trying. You never know you may also be a Belgian Funk Lover.

Weyerbacher Riserva



Riserva


Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Easton, Pennsylvania


American Wild Ale

11.40% ABV








Commercial Description:
Over a year in the making, this American Wild Ale is fermented with Brettanomyces yeast and aged with red-raspberry puree in Oak barrels for over 1 year, then bottle conditioned in champagne bottles. (ratebeer.com)

Background:
I had this beer at a Weyerbacher rep. tasting at State Line Liquors. I immediately picked up on the Belgian funky yeast and loved it. We had this with the dessert course in our Thanksgiving Bier Dinner. I lost almost everyone with this beer. I liked it and thought it went well with the fruit pies for dessert but it was a little too funky for most of the guest.

Review:

The beer pours a fairly clear cranberry color with a slightly pink white head. It is highly effervescent with a tremendous amount of bubbles rising up from the bottom of the class. It actually looks like a cranberry colored champagne. The head disappeared very quickly but tiny bubbles are still rising up from the bottom.

The nose is sweet raspberries with some funky tart or sour aromas also.

That is one sweet funky and sour beer. Man oh man, no wonder I lost everyone else when I served this as the dessert beer on our Thanksgiving Bier Dinner.

Sweet raspberries up front then that is quickly replaced with a highly carbonated funky sourness before the swallow. The finish is very tart and sweet with more of that funk that must be coming from the Belgian yeast. The finish is also fairly dry since this beer also is 11% ABV

This beer is for funk lovers only. And there is not just funk; this beer also is extremely tart. Actually I’m not sure why I like it, I guess because it’s just so unusual.  

Well I’m starting to feel the 11% ABV in this beer. And I’m sharing this 750 bottle.

There is very little change in the taste of this beer as it warms. It is pretty much the same funky sour tart brew at any temperature.

There is an extreme, well, at least a large amount of sediment in the bottom of this bottle. It’s not all lees (yeast sediment from bottle conditioning) I assume there is also a good amount of sediment from the puréed raspberries.

Well after we finished this beer we tasted the lees. It really was not as bad as I thought. The lees seemed to muddle the sharp tart flavors of this beer. It does had a chalky aspect. It usually adds same more yeasty characteristics to the beer but in this case the beer is so funky it really can’t add anything to the flavor.

All and all I really like this beer. As I said earlier you really have to love that funky taste to enjoy this beer. It’s not something I could drink everyday, it is really something I have to be in the mood for. I guess that’s probably why this has been sitting in the beer frig since Thanksgiving; waiting for me to be in a funky mood.

This is an extreme beer; extremely funky. If you like funky; tart and sour beers then you must try this one from Weyerbacher. But don't worry you are probably in the majority if you don't.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Boulder Beer, Never Summer Ale



Never Summer Ale

Brewed by:
Never Summer Ale
 

Brewed by:
Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Boulder, Colorado

Winter Warmer
5.94% ABV





Commercial Description:
Never Summer Ale is a bold new look at winter beers: gutsy, full-bodied and an aggressive fusion of secret spices. Like the first run of the day, this ale is deep and clean, crisp and drinkable, perfectly blended for a smooth ride...through the Looking Glass. Grains: British Dark Caramel Malt, U.S. 2-row Barley. Hops: Nugget, Willamette, Cascade and Top-Secret Brewmaster's Spice. (Ratebeer.com)

Review:
The beer pours a clear dark amber with reddish hues. There was an off white head that diminished fairly quickly. This beer is highly carbonated with lots of tiny bubbles raising up form the bottom of the glass.

Toasted malts and spices on the nose. There is also a noticeable hop presence on the nose as well.

The sweet caramel malt sweetness is quickly replaced in mid sip with bittering hops and high effervescence. The finish is spicy and hoppy with a different finishing hop than what I tasted in mid sip.

All and all this is a very spicy and hoppy brew. I’m not quite digging it. It’s not bad but It’s more of a spicy IPA then a winter warmer or Christmas Beer. For me it is a little too hoppy for a winter warmer. Typically winter warmers are a smoother maltier brew than his  one.

Sorry didn’t really care for this one. It’s a better IPA then a winter warmer and It’s a mediocre IPA at best. It does have a nice spicy flavor but that’s not enough to carry the beer. It’s a mediocre C- for me.

Noël Des Géants



Noël Des Géants

Brewed by:
Brasserie Des Géants

Belgium

Herbed / Spiced Beer
8.50% ABV


 




Commercial Description:
Unpasteurized, Unfiltered, Bottle-Refermented Belgian Ale. The Brasserie Des Légendes is housed in a medieval castle in the town of Irchonwelz, in the French-speaking south of Belgium. Its majestic gate stands high to allow the passage of the occasional visiting giant ... as the town is famous for its annual giants parade.

Review:
This beer pours slightly cloudy dark amber almost brown with an off white head.

Rich sweet caramel malts on the nose, along with very pleasant aromas of Christmas spices, all with that classic yeasty Belgian background. It’s one of those beers that you just can’t wait to dive into; well, if you’re a fan of Belgians like I am. I just hope it tastes as good as it smells.

That is a very nice tasting Christmas Bier. The taste starts out with sweet caramel malts upfront, then a rich effervescence but more of a creamy effect then a cleansing one. Next just before the swallow you get those rich Belgian spices and yeasty notes. The finish is sweet caramel malts with a lingering Christmas spices. You are left with a caramel malt coating in your mouth. Not quite as like the roasted malts of a stout but a lingering coating none the less.

This is fuller bodied beer then it looks.

As this brew warms a little you can really start to pick up the Belgian yeasty funk; sweet, yeasty and somewhat sour.

This was a very nice surprise; what a nice Christmas Beer.

I forgot to talk about the head. It did diminish to a pretty thick layer on top of the beer. It pretty much stuck around to the very end.

I really enjoyed this beer. I was just one of those impulse buy’s that come home to the house one night.

This is a very good Belgian Ale. I can only assume because of the spiciness that Beeradvocate classifies this as a Herbed / Spiced Beer. At 8.5% I would suggest a category of a Belgian Strong Dark. To me it’s a good Belgian first with some spices.

All and all this is a solid B for me. I recommend this beer to anyone that likes the Belgian styles of a Strong Dark or Abby Dubbel.

Samichlaus Bier


Samichlaus Bier
Bottled 2008
 

Brewed by:
Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg

Austria

Doppelbock
14.00% ABV






Commercial Description:
The once strongest beer in the world is back ! Brewed only once a year on December 6. Samichlaus is aged for 10 months before bottling. This beer is perhaps the rarest in the world. Samichlaus may be aged for many years to come. Older vintages become more complex with a creamy warming finish. Serve with hardy robust dishes and desserts, particulary with chocolates, or as an after dinner drink by itself.


Background:
This is an annual, Big Beer, favorite of mine. I have it often at parties or large dinners to serve in a snifter after we eat. I even had my “Pils Light” drinking brother enjoy a snifter of this while smoking a cigar. This year, on December 6th our home school group had a St. Nicholas Party. Well, there was a no doubt on what I was going to bring for the dads, it had to be Samichlaus. After we had eaten several of us dads sat down with small snifters of Samichlaus. It was a big hit and quite appropriate for a St. Nicolas party.


Review:

It pours a very rich dark amber with reddish hues. Don’t let the picture fool you I poured this very aggressively and got a very small soapy head. Normally this beer doesn’t produce any type of a head.

This has a very unique nose. There are sweet caramel malts, ok, that’s not unusual but there is a very sweet fruity aroma, like cherries or something. It must have something to do with the alcohol since I know there is no fruit added to this beer.

This is definitely a slow sipping beer. Sweet caramel malts upfront, smooth and almost creamy in the middle with a dry sweet finish.  The flavor of this bier reminds me of a barley wine. There is also a nice warming effect from the alcohol.

This beer is not a very smooth beer, well that’s not quite what I mean. It’s a dry beer; similar in characteristics to what you would describe “dry” as in a wine.
This beer is currently at 57 degrees. I am going to use snifter in the palm of my hand to warm this up a little. Let’s see what this bier is really made of.

60 degrees and it is getting smoother. Not that it was ever harsh but it seems, “less dry”? and smoother now.

75 degrees, oh how smooth and that sweet almost cherry flavor is becoming more pronounced now.

Cognac! That’s it! It just hit me that the sweet taste and barleywine flavors remind me of Cognac. The warm mouthfeel of this bier at 75 degrees triggered memories of sipping cognac in this same manner. That is why I have so many brandy snifters. I use to love warming up a snifter of Covousier VSOP cognac. It wasn’t until this bier reached 75 that it hit me. Sorry, we can now get back to the review.

As it warms in temperature it’s a whole new bier experience. This is just phenomenal. This bier is incredibly smooth and rich, much more so now at this warmer temperature.

82 degrees now and it’s just, Simply Phenomenal.

Luscious, is another word that comes to mind.

I don’t know why I have not done this before? The warmth brings out all the best qualities of this bier.

The tastiness of the caramel malts are really more pronounced now. The whole experience is a silky warmth that just makes you melt.

86 degrees, wow and it is still getting better.

87 degrees, I have two things; first of all I’m just astounded that any beer let alone a Dopplebock can taste this good at his temperature. Secondly I am really at a loss for words to describe this experience.

I’m sure it will reach equilibrium soon and the temperature should level off shortly.
Plus since I shared the bottle with my son John (BierVlog) I’m running out of bier in my snifter.

The bier is at 88 degrees now. I don’t think I can go any higher in temperature with only using the palm of my hand.

This bier has the most exquisite mouthfeel. Those toasted caramel malts are just coating my mouth with absolutely no unpleasantness whatsoever.

Well, the label states that this is "The Worlds Most Extraordinary Beverage". When at its best at 88 degrees I may have to agree with them. 

Wow, What an experience! This may be the most phenomenal beer experience I’ve ever had. Like a stated on the World Wide Stout review this needs a new category, a “Bier Liqueur”. At the warmer temperatures this was the most exquisitely tasting experience ever. Outstanding! I just don’t have the vocabulary to express how delightful this Samichlaus warming experience was. You really need to try this for yourself.

Merry Christmas
John

Related Blogposts

Doppelbock on FoodistaDoppelbock

Friday, December 25, 2009

Kona Pipeline Porter



Pipeline Porter

Brewed by:
Kona Brewing Company
 

Kona, Hawaii

American Porter
5.40% ABV







Commercial Description:
Pipeline Porter is smooth and dark with a distinctive roasty aroma and earthy complexity from its diverse blends of premium malted barley. This celebration of malt unites with freshly roasted 100% Kona coffee grown at Cornwell Estate on Hawaii’s Big Island, lending a unique roasted aroma and flavor. A delicate blend of hops rounds out this palate-pleasing brew.


Review:
The beer pours a dark brown almost completely opaque with a rich off white head. There is just a slight amber hue showing through the bottom on this tumbler.

Rich roasted malts, coffee and some hop bitterness on the nose.

Very different; sweet roasted malts up front then a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel in the middle. The back end and finish is almost all coffee with some caramel and chocolate notes. There is also a bitterness on the finish of this beer, it’s not a hop bitterness it is coming from the roasted malts and the coffee. The coffee notes on the finish has more of an espresso bite or bitterness to it.

All and all this is a excellent porter. It is very rich, almost stout worthy. But one man’s porter is another man’s stout. And since a stout is a “stout Porter” it’s only a matter of where you draw that line.

The coffee in this beer is very natural tasting not an artificial coffee taste like a lot of stouts and coffee flavored beers have. This almost has an organic quality to it.

I usually don’t care for coffee flavored beers but I really like this one. No I don’t mean the coffee notes that come out from a rich roasted malt, I mean a added coffee been or flavor in addition to the roasted malts.  

The beer has warmed to 62 degrees. It is still excellent, I really expected it to pick up some unpleasantness but it hasn’t at all. This is a very impressive, smooth and creamy coffee porter.
Kudos to Kona Brewing on this fine porter. I do recommend this beer to anyone that likes a rich coffee tasting beer. Like I said earlier this beer has a very natural almost organic coffee quality to it. Very nice a solid B+ for me and that’s saying something since I normally don’t like beer with coffee added.

La Botteresse Brune



La Botteresse Brune
 

Brewed by:
Brasserie la Botteresse de Sur-les-Bois
Belgium

Belgian Strong Dark Ale
9.50% ABV







Background:
I had this beer at a 12 Percent Imports Rep. Tasting at State Line in October and it just screamed, Thanksgiving. A unique Belgian brewed with Sage. This was the Entrée bier at this year’s Thanksgiving Bier Dinner.


Review:
The beer pours a cloudy dark brown with a very rich off white almost tan head. This beer is almost opaque; there is just a dark haze showing through the glass.

Sweet caramel malts and spices on the nose. The nose has the most interesting Belgian aromas. There are the typical Belgian yeasty notes and dark caramel malts but there are also the most unique spicy aromas on the nose, sage, coriander maybe and more.

Oh my, this is Thanksgiving dinner in a glass. Really, I’m not kidding, well kind of kidding but I do feel like that girl Violate from Willy Wonka eating that prototype dinner candy. I start out tasting turkey then stuffing and then sweet creamy gravy over everything. I can almost pick up the spiciness of the tomato juice and the sweet candy sugar on the sweet potatoes. Sorry no Blueberries.

The taste does start out with those sweet caramel malts then the high carbonation effervescence tingles over the tongue and the back end and finish are just packed with spices like sage. This is all with a very smooth and creamy final mouthfeel. It really is like your mouth was just coated with a liquefied Thanksgiving Dinner.

This is one of the most unusual beers I’ve ever had. It is an extremely complex Belgian. Every sip of this beer I pick up something new. The craftsmanship in the beer is just outstanding. 

As it warms a little I’m picking up an almost tart taste on the final finish. You can also pick up more of those malts as it warms up a little.

I just walked back into the kitchen and realized that I never did eat my dinner tonight. See I told you this was dinner in a class.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dogfish Head World Wide Stout



World Wide Stout

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton, Delaware

American Double / Imperial Stout

18.00% ABV






Commercial Description:
World Wide Stout is one of the world’s strongest dark beers. It is brewed using six different yeast strains over seven months and then aged for half a year. Dark, rich, roasty, and complex, World Wide Stout has more in common with a fine port than a can of cheap, mass-marketed beer (released in early winter with very limited availability).


Background:
I have had this beer several times in the past. Most recently it was our final snifter, digestive beer for this year’s Thanksgiving Bier Dinner. It is a fairly expensive, special occasion beer that comes in at a whopping 18% ABV. I picked up these for just under $9.00 for a 12 oz bottle. I have never given it a full review so lets see how it holds up.

Review:
Pours a completely opaque, stout black, actually dark brown, there is absolutely nothing showing through this beer, even when held up to the light, not even around the edges. This is truly completely opaque. There is also just a faint wisp of a head.

Not just dark roasted malts but sinisterly dark, roasted malts on the nose. There is also a sweet dark fruit aroma and you can definitely detect the alcohol on the nose of this one.

Wow! that is a slow sipping beer. Sinister is the only word that pops into my head. It’s the first thing I thought of on the nose and also on that first sip. You can not drink this beer. No I don’t mean it’s not drinkable but you have to slowly sip it. I think a basic human survival instinct will kick in and prevent you from attempting to take too large a drink of it. Hold on, I really need to regroup in order to attempt an explanation of what I’m tasting.

Like most stouts dark roasted malt sweetness up front, there is no real carbonation so you don’t get the middle of the sip cleansing. Instead you get a sweet creamy coating throughout your mouth. Then some bitterness, not sure if it’s really hop or roasted malt bitterness but it’s there in mid to backend of the taste. Then there is the back end; wow you can now start to taste the alcohol and that bitterness at the beginning of the swallow. Just at post swallow you can feel the warming effect in the alcohol of this beer as it warms your chest. You can feel it move from the back of your throat to the bottom of your chest. It is almost like taking a shot of Romulan Ale. OK, I lost you on the Romulan Ale, how about a shot of whiskey or rum? It really does have that much of a warming effect but without the alcohol burn or harshness. The final aftertaste is also very complex on the pallet. It’s sweet with caramel malts, chocolaty and alcoholic all at the some time. The alcohol seems to thin out the roasted malts that you would normally get in the aftertaste of a stout. This is a dryer caramel malt sweetness, it almost reminds me of those alcohol filled chocolate candies. Boy that was a lot of words to explain one sip of beer but you don’t realize how unique that sip of beer was.  

Don’t let all of that scare you. This is really an exquisite beer. It’s just one that you have to take your good ole time sipping. I have had this one sitting in the beer frig waiting or the right time to have it. Tonight is a cold night after a good snow fall so it seemed the most appropriate time to have this brew.


I don’t know if this is the most unique beer I’ve ever had but it is the most unique and the most alcohol I’ve ever had in a stout.

It’s tough to actually let a beer warm up this time of year. I usually like to warm a beer up to room temperature in order to test character development etc.
This beer is at 60 degrees now and it is smoother then it was earlier.

I am actually going to use the design of the snifter to warm up this beer much like I would a Courvoisier VSOP Cognac, sorry, lost you again. The round bottom of the snifter caresses against the palm of your hand heating up the contents.

Wow, I quickly got this to 72 degrees and it’s just amazing. It’s like sipping a whole different beer. Much maltier and creamier then it was when colder. This just makes you melt and savor each sip, which are getting fewer. I’m going to continue this little experiment.

76 degrees and no harshness, it just keeps getting smoother the warmer it gets.

78 degrees and still even smoother, Phenomenal!

The last sip of this experiment was at 81 degrees. Simply Unbelievable! It is amazing how much smoother and creamier the beer gets when it warms up and I mean warm at 81 degrees. The alcohol is a little more assertive at 81 but incredibly smooth and delightful.

I don’t know why I ever bothered to chill this beer. I will not in the future. The next time I have this it will be served at room temperature in a snifter. 

I shared my 12 oz bottle with my son John but I can start to feel the effects of the alcohol even after only having 6 oz.

This was a phenomenal experience. But at the same time It’s almost tough to call this a beer. It’s like we need a new title or category for this beverage, how about a “Beer Liqueur”.

Anchor Christmas Ale 2009



Our Special Ale 2009

(Anchor Christmas Ale)
 

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
San Francisco, California

Winter Warmer
5.50% ABV



Commercial Description:
This is our special ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid-January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons appears born anew.

Review:
This beer pours a very dark brown, almost stout dark, there is just a little bit of rich amber reddish hues peeping though the edges and bottom of the glass. This beer also produced a very rich and creamy tan head.

The nose is just packed with wonderful Christmas aroma of spices and sweet toasted malts.

Wow, Another Christmas in a Glass beer. Everything that is on the nose of this beer is in the taste and then some.

The taste starts out with sweet dark malts, then a nice carbonation over the tongue. Just before the swallow you start to pick up all of those Christmas spices then there is somewhat of a drying effect and the finish is of spice and a slight bitterness all with a creamy malty mouthfeel. This is just a wonderfully crafted beer.

The thick rich head has diminished to a nice creamy protective layer over the top of the beer with a thicker ring around the glass. The lacing is extremely impressive, coating the glass as you drink this wonderful brew down.

There is bitterness on the back end and finish of this beer. It seems more like a roasted malt bitterness rather than a hop bitterness. You can taste and smell some light hops but the bitterness still seems more from the roasted malts. I do not remember last year’s brew having this bitterness. I guess that’s why each year is a slightly different recipe.
As this beer warms and opens up a little it just gets better. Now at it’s at 60 degrees and still fantastic.

The last little but left is now at 63 degrees. The malty bitterness is a little more pronounced at this temperature but all and all it’s still a very smooth and delicious beer. Well all good things must come to and end and so must this beer. This is an excellent Christmas beer from Anchor. I think I liked yeast years version a little better than this years but nonetheless this is a very impressive Christmas ale, a solid A+ for me.

Affligem Noël



Affligem Noël

Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem
Belgium

Belgian Strong Dark Ale

9.00% ABV




This was kind of impromptu review. We ended up opening a bottle of Affligem Noel at dinner and I thought I would seize the opportunity to do another review. I snapped a few pictures at the table, much to the dismay of my better half. I did however wait until after I left the table to write some stuff down. I still have a good portion left in the glass to review.

It pours a nice dark amber almost brown, with reddish hues. It is bottle conditioned so it is a little cloudy. It also has a very rich off white head. 

The first thing on the nose is the Belgian yeasty aromas. There are also sweet almost roasted malts and those sweet fruity esters and volatiles escaping from the glass.

Sweet, smooth, rich and creamy, that about sums up the first sip. Sweet roasted malts upfront, then a nice carbonation but without the usually cleansing instead more malty sweetness and you start to pick up the complexity of fruity esters with a yeasty background. Just when you are ready to expect a hop dryness the finish is not hoppy at all. In the finish you experience some spicy flavors and the alcohol seems to supply the drying effect. The alcohol is very well masked in this beer. You really cannot detect it at all.

This beer is sweet malty goodness to the very end. I know there are hops in there but it’s just enough to dry the finish a little with no bitterness at all.

I forgot to talk about the head on this beer. It was just incredible; thick and rich up front and a nice protective coating stayed with the ale to the bottom of the glass.

Well the glass is empty now. I guess I’ll have to stop this here. I’m sure that I will have this again this season so I may update this post then.

This was the first time I ever had this bier. I was a little surprised; I really did not expect it to taste this good. It’s not up there with Corsendonk or St. Bernadus Christmas ales but it was pretty darn good. And for the price it is one I will definitely pick up again this season. A solid B+ for a Belgian Christmas Ale.

Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale



K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale

Brewed by:

Flying Dog Brewery
Frederick, Maryland

Winter Warmer

6.40% ABV







Pours clear dark amber with reddish hues, highly carbonated with a rich off white head.

Not a whole lot on the nose, some sweet caramel malts and light hops.

Not a bad winter warmer. The taste starts out with sweet caramel malts but it is quickly replaces with some hop bitterness, then effervescence from over the tongue. The back end has more caramel malts and a different hop bitterness on the finish. This is a pretty hoppy ale for a winter warmer. There is however some malt balance to it so it’s not one of those all hops IPAs. But the final aftertaste is a lingering hop bitterness.

All and all this is not a bad beer. It’s a little too hoppy for my linking but it’s not bad. It is a very crisp clean beer with a fairly strong hop bitterness.

The beer smoothes out a little more as it warms and opens up.

The hop bitterness in this beer diminishes the winter warmer quality of this beer. I guess this will round out to a C+ or B-. It’s a good beer but there are many other winter warmers that I like better then this one.

St. Bernardus Abt 12

 
St. Bernardus Abt 12
Brewed by St. Bernard Brouwerij
Watou, Belgium

 

Quadrupel
10% ABV










Background:
This is one of if not my Belgian Quad. It’s a very malty ale with rich flavors and complexity. I have purchased this beer on many occasions, in bottle and in 1/6 kegs or parties. This was also one of the featured beers at the Belgian Event. This will be the first time I’ve had this beer since starting the blog so I figured it was time for a real review.


Review:
This bier pours slightly cloudy dark brown with rich amber reddish hues and a rich off white almost tan head.

Oh those rich Belgian roasted malts are unmistakable on the nose, what a nice aroma. The unique Belgian yeast strains give these roasted malts a different character then say roasted malts from a stout. There is also some other sweetness and a slight dry hop or maybe some alcohol on the nose.


Wow, What a Bier! This is the type of beer that just makes me melt. So delightfully smooth and enjoyable. The experience starts out with sweet roasted malts upfront then just when you think it’s going to coat you mouth you feel this effervescence over your tongue. The back end of the taste gives you more of that sweet roasted malt and a surprisingly dry finish. I assume the dry finish is from the alcohol since you don’t really taste any pronounced hop flavors.

One of the most impressive things about his beer is that you don’t taste the alcohol. It is surprisingly masked very well in the complexity of this superb brew.

Another interesting thing about this brew is that every batch taste slightly different. This particular vintage has a lighter more refreshing aspect to it that I don’t remember from the last time I had it. This beer also seems a little more carbonated, maybe that explains the more refreshing characteristic

The complexity of this beer is amazing. You really pick up something different with every sip, even more so as it warms and opens up a little.

I am a little taken back by this particular vintage. I have had this beer several, actually many times before, bottled and draft but this is the most different one I’ve had. Like I said earlier each batch of these bottle condition beers are slightly different form each other. To me that is just the one characteristic of a craft beer. This particular batch is vey different. If I have not had this before I would assume it was a Belgian Dubbel or strong Dark not a Quadruple. From previous experiences with this beer you could not mistake it for anything but a Belgian Quad.

This beer also seems to be lighter in color. This is still a dark brown but you can see through it and it has more of a reddish hue. I remember this beer being almost completely opaque with just a little light coming from the edges of the glass.

Now don’t get me wrong this is still a fantastic beer, just a little different from what I’ve had in the past.

I can start to feel the warming effect in the alcohol of this beer. That’s hitting the spot tonight since we are being hit with an unexpected snow storm that may bring up to two feet of snow. That’s about two feet more snow then we had all of last year.

Add pic of porch snow,
And this was after the porch was shoved at least three times during the day.

This beer also pairs well with a sharp cheese. Toward the end of this review I starting eating some sharp cheddar cheese with this beer and it paired pretty well.

Even as different as this beer seems tonight it is still an A. But I will have to get another bottle later on and see who different that bottle is.

The Lees:
Before I end this review I want to talk about the lees. The lees is the yeasty sediment in the bottom of a bottle conditioned beer. Some people like the lees and some don’t. The most important thing about the lees is not to pour it in the beer unless you really want it. Lees is normally consumed pretty much by itself with just an once or two of the ale. The lees will change the taste and mouthfeel of the ale so you really only want to consume it unintentionally. I have seen so many reviewers on YouTube pour the lees in like they would the wheat sediment in a Hefeweizen. Then they wonder why the beer is not as good as they expected. I purposely tried a beer at a Belgian tasting with and without the lees and to me they were two completely different beers. So my general rule of thumb for these styles of Belgians is; pour un-hurriedly in a round bottom glass or goblet and leave a couple of ounces in the bottom of the bottle. Then after you have experienced the beer as intended by the brewer pour the lees in a glass and try it agian. 

The lees of this beer is very yeasty and almost chalky. There is also an almost sour characteristic to the lees. If I would have poured this lees into my full glass it would have completely change my beer experience. The lees definitely masked the other more subtle characteristics of this brew. There is also a more bitter taste to the lees.

Well, I guess that’s enough of the St Bernardus 12. I will have this again and will update this review or post a new review and reference back to this one. This is one fantastic beer, even if this particular patch wasn’t as good as I’ve had in the past.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nøgne Ø-Jolly Pumpkin-Stone, Special Holiday Ale


Special Holiday Ale 

-Nøgne Ø
-Jolly Pumpkin
-Stone

Brewed by:
Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S 

Norway

Winter Warmer |  8.5% ABV

 


Commercial Description:
This is the second release of Special Holiday Ale, which was first brewed in San Diego in 2008. Each brew is following the same recipe, including Michigan chestnuts, white sage from southern California and Norwegian juniper berries, but differences in brewing and aging practices produce different beers. Cheers to being different! Skål! (RateBeer.com)



Background:
This is a collaboration Christmas Ale between  Nøgne Ø, Norway - Jolly Pumpkin, Michigan - Stone, California. Apparently this is the second release. I did not see this last year when Stone produced it. This years brew is produced by the big  Ø, Nøgne Ø from the Norway. This was a surprise that my son John (BierVlog) brought over the house. 
I don't know why but on some of these Christmas Beers I thought I would add the Commercial Description from RateBeer.com


Review:
Pours a cloudy dark brown with a very rich off white almost tan head. The beer is almost completely opaque with just a little bit a dark amber hues on the bottom of the cervose class. The head looks very rich and creamy.

The initial aromas are just wonderful, full of Christmas spice. Wow, nice toasted almost roasted malts, Christmas spices like cinnamon clove and a nutty background. This is one of those beers that I just can’t wait to dive into.

Wow, Wow, Wow, That’s a Christmas Beer! I am almost speechless after that first sip. This is the most flavorful Christmas beer that I’ve had since last years Anchor Christmas Ale. Let me try to regroup and attempt to describe what I’m tasting in this brew. 

It starts out with a roasted malt sweetness then in mid sip you have a very creamy mouthfeel and start to get some of those spices. The backend of the sip is just backed with the most delightful Christmas spices of cinnamon and juniper. It give you the most delightful spicy pine flavors. The final finish is of that lingering Christmas spices.

This is just a fantastic Christmas beer. It’s more than just a winter warmer it is Christmas in a Glass! I like Christmas beers that taste like Christmas. I know that sounds corny but to me a Christmas beer should have those classic spicy flavors that remind you of Christmas. This beer has it all and at 8.5% it is also a nice winter warmer.

This is one of those special beers that I just want to keep nursing. It has warmed and opened up a little and just keeps getting better. The beer seems smoother if that’s possible and you now start to pick up some alcohol in the brew.

The final sip was at 64 degrees and still fantastic.

I certainly started off these Christmas beer reviews with a big winner. I highly recommend this beer to anyone that likes a spicy Christmas beer. Like I said earlier this is Christmas in a class.

Koch's Golden Anniversary Beer



Koch's Golden Anniversary Beer

Brewed by:
Genesee Brewing Co.
Rochester, New York
 

American Adjunct Lager
ABV ?





Updated 1-26-2010

Pricing:
$3.49 for a 6pack of 12oz cans


Background:
While shopping for more Christmas beers we stumbled across this beer.
We bought this as a joke, an impulse buy at 3.50 a six pack. But you never know what you will find.

Review:
Pours a very pale straw with a bright white head.  The head diminished quickly but it actually looks like it will leave some lacing.

The nose is very grainy with a little almost German skunk in the background. There is little to no hop aroma.

Wow, that was a whole lot of nothing, no I really mean it, this beer has no taste. Well, there is a little skunky dry hop finish on the very end. I was waiting the entire sip for some flavor and it never came. There was just a small hop bitterness and an almost skunky finish on the back end.

I’m drinking this beer colder than I normally would. It has warmed a little and it is still only at 47 degrees.

It is now at 51 and I don’t think I can let it warm up any more. It is definitely picking up some unpleasantness, and that’s being kind.

If you like the American Macro lagers then you will like this beer. Just keep it ice cold in order to swallow. That may be a little harsh. This is probably better then most Adjunct Lagers but it's been a long time since I had a Bud.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

SAD


SAD
Some people know this as the Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's some nonsense about being depressed in the winter. But for me, I can’t wait for SAD. In fact it's actual one of my favorite times of the year.

You see, SAD is my Seasonal Alcoholic Disorder: That fabulous time in the Christmas beer season when all those great Winter Warmers and Christmas beers are consumed.

Traditionally SAD usually starts with our Popcorn and Cranberry Stringing Party on December 23rd. In more recent years SAD started on my last day of work and always carries through until I have to return to work, usually after the New Year. This year SAD started last night December 18, 2009 when I got home from work. You see, I am fortunate enough to have vacation from now until January 4 when sadly SAD ends and I have to return to work. Probably with a few day's of detox.

I’ve been trying to be a good boy during Advent and not drinking as much beer and such. You know the little Lent that is the Advent Season. I know that I have almost a full week left of Advent but when it’s your last day of work until after New Years, well, you can’t help but be a little SAD.

SAD also has an added bonus, a real medicinal one, honest. You see, it’s tough for those germs to get hold of you if you maintain a sufficiently high blood alcohol level.

Now a popper SAD just doesn’t happen it takes considerable organization and restraint to pull off. You know, proper stocking of the beer cabinet and not starting SAD before you are ready. What? you don’t have a beer cabinet? You really should look into that.

My SAD preparation started in November this year. Although the Thanksgiving Bier Dinner was going to put a dent in my beer cabinet I quickly recovered when State Line had a sale of Belgians.

Just in case you were wondering, SAD is not just consuming beer. It is quite permissible to start the SAD day off with Jack Daniels in you coffee. Then any alcoholic beverage during the day, and of course some home made Eggnog for those special Christmas parties. 

Plus I always have a batch of my grandmother’s medicine on hand; equal parts of Lemon Honey and Whiskey, well I’m not so equal with the whiskey. It’s good for a cough and it makes a nice little tottie in the evening or anytime for that matter.



So here is what the beer cabinet looks like today. Well, last night since I already started my SAD.
 
Oh Yeah! It’s going to be a great SAD this year. I'm not sure if it's as full as it was last year but in addition to what’s in the cabinet I’m getting a 1/6 keg of Saint Bernardus Christmas Ale for the 23rd and Christmas Eve Parties.

Here is a better look at the top self.

I won’t bore you with descriptions of most of these beers but I do have to mention the Samichlaus Bier. This is unique Austrian Bier that is only brewed once of year of the feast day of St. Nicholas, Dec. 6. It is then aged for 10 months before bottling. It comes in a whopping 14%ABV, a SAD delight. We also have one that John Jr. has been aging, it was bottled in 2006.


Here is a better look at the middle shelf.
Most of the middle shelf are Belgians or at least 750ml bottles. Currently I have a Golden Draak, 2 Corsendonk Christmas Ales,  2 St Bernardus Christmas Ales, 2 Delirium Noels, a DuPont Christmas Saison and a few more odds and ends.


The bottom shelf has a few very special Belgians, imported by 12 Percent Imports; one of which was our Thanksgiving entrée bier, La Botteresse Brune; "Thanksgiving in a Glass".


I will try to review most of these beers as my SAD progresses. Plus I still have a few beers from Thanksgiving  in the Beer Frig, What? You don't have a Beer Frig either? And you never know what Santa may bring.


I know we still have a week of Advent left but I hope you all have a Very Merry and Blessed Christmas and A Happy New Year. And remember a little SAD never hurts.