Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Yuengling Bock

Yuengling Bock

Brewed by:
Yuengling Brewery
Pottsville, Pennsylvania


5.10% ABV

Commercial Description:
In honor of our 180th Anniversary, America’s Oldest Brewery proudly offers this celebratory Yuengling Bock Beer. This seasonal release resurrects an old brewery tradition of producing a Bock in the late winter and early spring. Dark brown in color, this unique brew offers an exceptional flavor to be enjoyed by all. We invite you to taste 180 years of family brewing tradition in this limited release as we celebrate our milestone.

General Pricing:12oz bottles: ~$5-6.00 6 pack, ~$21-22.00 case.
¼ keg ~$55.00, ½ keg ~$95.00

Background:Well this is Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent so I thought it would be a good time to post this review on Yuengling Bock. Bock beers are a traditional Lenten beer. They were first brewed by German Monks to hold them over during the Lenten Fast. They were so rich compared to the typical German lager that it was referred to “liquid bread”.

I had this beer last year at the Mount Hope Brew Fest. The Yuengling rep stated that this beer was discontinued in 1972 and just re-released in 2009. I accidently found it once again at a Champs restaurant and did an Impromptu Review. I was excited to see it bottled this year as a seasonal release. I can’t wait to see if this years bottling is as good as last year’s draft.

Review:The beer pours a dark amber almost brown with ruby hues and a slightly off white head.

Sweet dark toasted malts on the nose along with a slight flowering hop aroma.

Wow, Yuengling has really outdone them selves with this release. This is every bit as good if not even better than what I had on draft last year. So let’s try a blow by blow on the taste.

It starts out with toasted malt sweetness upfront, then a nice effervescence and a very clean almost creamy mouthfeel in the middle of the sip. The back-end and finish has a slight malt and hop bitterness but still very easy drinking. There is a little bit of a bite on the finish that seems to be part hops and part malt bitterness with overall good bock malt flavors.

Locally we complain that Yuengling has a tinge on the finish, an almost metallic taste. I do not get that in this beer. This is a very easy drinking beer with a good hearty bock backbone. There is an uncharacteristic bite or bitterness on the finish but it may be attributed to a American hop not usually used in a German Bock beer. Or it could just be a slight malt bitterness.

The beer is now at 62 degrees and it really does warm nicely. It is every bit as good as it was when cold.

All and all this is a very good Bock a solid B. For Yuengling this is an A+. I don’t mean that to sound condescending; in my humble opinion this is the best beer Yuengling has on the market.

Just as a post script, I have bought this beer several times from the time I drafted this review and the time I actually posted it. This is an excellent budget beer. For $22.00 a case you can’t beat it. Thanks to Dick and the rest of the Yuengling crew for an excellent beer.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Allagash Black

Allagash Black

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
Portland, Maine

Belgian Strong Dark Ale

7.50% ABV

Commercial Description:
Allagash Black, our new Belgian style stout, is brewed with German 2 row barley, Torrified wheat and oats, balanced by a large addition of Belgian dark candi to give the Black a full and silky mouthfeel. Roasted malts give this stout its classic chocolate, toast and malty taste, and contribute to chocolate notes and a hint of roasted coffee in the aroma. The Black is fermented with a Belgian yeast strain and refermented in the bottle with the methode champenoise to make this beer truly unique. Availability: 750 ml bottles, 5.17 gal kegs ABV: 7.5% Original Gravity: 1.072 Recommended Serving Temperature: 55°F Recommended Cellaring Temperature: 55°F

General Pricing:
750ml bottle  ~ $10.00

This review is a bit of a two parter. I have a bottle of this beer (batch 10) in my beer cabinet that I am aging. I bought a new bottle, this one (batch 13) to review so I can have a before and after aging tasting. The second part, the aged beer will probably not be until Christmas 2010.

So for a mini style discussion a Belgian Stout is a bit of a misnomer. A Stout, is actually a Stout-Porter, which is based on the original English Porter. There are basic fundamental differences between Belgian ales and Porters; mainly the type of yeast. So technically it is not possible to have a Belgian Stout as we commonly know a Stout. The Belgian Stout is actually a heavily malted Belgian Dark Ale or Strong Dark, also known as a Belgian Black or Noire. The Belgian yeast will give these dark roasted malts a much different character development producing dark fruity esters that will not be present in any standard stout. 


This beer pours a dark brown almost completely opaque with just a hint of rich amber hues at the bottom of the chalice.

Rich dark roasted malts on the nose along with some very nice dark fruit esters. There is also that classic Belgian yeasty aroma.

Wow that’s probably as close to a stout as you can get a Belgian. This is an extremely unique bier. There are those classic stout flavors of coffee and chocolate but also the unmistakable Belgian yeast and dark fruit esters.

Let me try to dissect his a little. It starts out with sweet dark malts up front then a nice somewhat creamy middle, the back end is a nice more robust roasted malt flavor with a classic Belgian yeast flavor.

This is a great beer but it doesn’t fit any typical standard. Boy, is that good.

This beer is just getting better as it warms. The malts are so rich and smooth with nothing unpleasant whatsoever.

Another winner for Allagash; these guys know how to do Belgians.

This is such a unique beer I’m going to have a hard time rating it. It is hands down an overall B+ but I really not sure how it fits into this Belgian Black style. I will have to have several more of this style to rate it against. So I’m leaving it at a B+. It will be interesting to see what happens when this is cellared for a year.

Friday, February 12, 2010

St. Feuillien Cuvée De Noël

St. Feuillien
Cuvée De Noël

Brewed by:
Brasserie St. Feuillien

Belgian Strong Dark Ale

9.00% ABV

Commercial Description:This beer has a generous head - compact and firm. Its slightly brown colour is the result of the roasted barley. It has a dark ruby brown colour and a very intense aroma. The aromatic herbs and spices used greatly enhance its delicious smell. This beer is full-bodied with a smoothness that is the result of the synergy of caramelized malts, carefully controlled fermentation and long cold storage. St Feuillien Cuvée de Noël has a very subtle bitterness that is the dominant flavour in this harmonious ale that strikes a perfect balance between all the different ingredients.

General Pricing:750ml bottle  ~ $11.00

Review:The bier pours a cloudy dark amber almost brown with an off white head. The head initially looked fairly rich but gradually grew larger soapier bubbles and then just about disappeared.

The nose has dark caramel malts with that classic Belgian yeasty aroma plus some nice spicy notes.

This bier has a very light and effervescent mouthfeel. My first thought is that this bier is still a little young. This is the second or third Belgian that I have had this year that should be cellared for a few more months before distribution.

It starts with sweet dark malts up front then a high effervescence, maybe too much for this style of a Belgian. Again this may be an aging thing. The back-end is very sweet with a very strong yeasty flavor. The finish is a little disappointing. It still has that great Belgian yeasty flavor and some spice but I can’t help but think it should be so much more.  There is also a slight hoppiness to the finish of this bier.

This is actually a good bier and I am enjoying it, really I am.

The alcohol is masked very well; you would never suspect that this was a 9% ABV brew.

As this bier warms it is maltier.

I guess I’m going to settle for a B- on this one. That may not be fair to the bier but that’s pretty much how it is right now. I may pick up another bottle of this and cellar it for next Christmas. I bet it well be a lot better then.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chico, California

American Pale Ale (APA)

5.60% ABV


Commercial Description:
Available in bottles. Special draft of this beer is available only at the brewery!
Draft SNPA at all other locations is a different recipe and is listed separately.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a delightful example of the classic pale ale style. It has a deep amber color and a exceptionally full-bodied, complex character. The fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor are the results of the generous use of the best Cascade hops.
IBUs: 37
Bittering Hops: Magnum & Perle
Finishing Hops: Cascade
Malts: Two-row Pale & Caramel

General Pricing:

12oz Bottles, ~$6.50-$8.00 6pk, 12.00-$15.00 12pk 24.00-28 case

This beer pours a nice copper color with a fairly rich bright white head. This beer is also shows some nice carbonation with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

Nice light caramel malts on the nose along with some pleasant hop aromas.

It starts out with sweet light malts upfront then a nice effervescence over the tongue followed by a very clean and refreshing back-end and finish. The back-end has a very nice hop flavor that comes out just at the top of the swallow. The finish has just enough finishing hops to give you a dry finish without a lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. It is also interesting that the backend and finish are two different hop flavors.

This is really a nice beer. I don’t know why I have avoided it for so long. I guess I thought it would be over hopped like I have found some of Sierra Nevada’s other offerings.  

The head has diminished to a nice protective layer over the top of the beer. It is also has a decent ring around the glass and it is leaving some very impressive lacing.
As this beer warms the malts are getting richer and it is still a very refreshing beer.
All and all this is a very good beer. It is a great summer beer very clean and refreshing with a good light malty flavor and just enough hops.

This is an excellent APA. So far only Dale’s Pale Ale is a better APA. This is an A- for me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Laughing Dog, The Dogfather

The Dogfather

Brewed by:
Laughing Dog Brewing
Ponderay, Idaho,

American Double / Imperial Stout

11.00% ABV

Commercial Description:
I got a brew you can’t refuse. The Dogfather is one of the biggest brew we have ever made, weighing in a 10.85% alcohol. 7 malts and 4 hops give it a complex flavor profile. Over 11 month in the making some of the DogFather has been barrel aged. This is a very limited release with only 40 keg equivalents in draft and only 300 case made. (

General Pricing:
22 oz bottle  ~ $9.00 

The beer pours a dark brown completely opaque with a very rich tan almost chocolate milk color head.

Rich dark roasted malt sweetness on the nose along with a very rich chocolate aroma.

Sweet roasted malts up front then a nice creamy mouthfeel in the middle of the sip. The back-end and finish are like a bitter-sweet chocolate, malt sweetness and some coffee notes. This is really an exceptionally good tasting stout.

The head has diminished to nice thin layer over the top of the beer and the lacing could be the most I have ever seen in an imperial stout, especially one of 11% ABV.

This is really a good imperial stout. This was a “sleeper” at the tasting a few weeks ago; a come from behind underdog that took a major bite out of the big boys.

The beer even gets better as it warms.

The beer is now at 66 degrees. It is picking up a little harshness but all and all still a very good imperial stout.

I must say that head held in there to the end. The final sip still had a good amount of foam.

My overall impression and rating for this stout is a B, a very good imperial stout.

Brooklyn Monster Ale

Brooklyn Monster Ale

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn, New York

English Barleywine

10.10% ABV


Commercial Description:Brooklyn Monster Ale is a classic barley wine, a style of ale originally brewed by the butlers to the English and American aristocracy. It is brewed from three mashes of heirloom British malt and spiced with aromatic American Willamette, Cascade and Fuggle hops.

After four months of aging, it has a magnificent burnished copper color, an aroma redolent of sherry, citrusy hops and fruit, a soft, warming, complex palate, a spiritous finish, and a strength of 10.8%.

It is vivacious when young, but will age gracefully for many years, becoming more complex over time.

Food Matches
Brooklyn Monster Ale is a fine accompaniment to cheeses, ice cream, flourless cakes, crème brulee and good cigars

General Pricing:12 oz bottle  ~ $8.00 4 pack, ~$44.00 case

The beer pours a dark copper color with amber hues and an off white head.

Rich caramel malts on the nose along with some bitterness. The aromas are mainly sweet but there is some hop aromas as well.

This beer seems lighter than I’ve had it in past years but this is still a good beer. The taste starts out with sweet caramel malts up front. Not much going on in mid-sip other than a nice effervescence over the tongue. The back end and finish is fairy sweet and dry. This beer seems to be missing that classic barleywine finish.

This beer is very good. 

As this beer warms you can start to feel the alcohol. The beer is now at 64 degrees and it has really opened up nicely. This is a very good beer. I’m just wondering why this one tastes so much different than it has in past years. I am not getting that dry bitter barleywine finish. It is really an odd complaint because this beer is actually better tasting than last years brew but it just seems to be outside of the barleywine style. This is more like a double pale ale.

Now at 68 degrees I can tell you that this beer warms well. I am always impressed with a beer when it taste this good after warming to these temperatures.

I may have to reserve a final rating until I have another one of these. I have one more left from the 4 pack that I was going to age but I think I need to try this one again. It is possible that the food and previous beer have altered my palate. I do not taste that intense dry barleywine finish.

This is a very good beer but due to the intensity of a big beer this is not for everyone. For a barleywine this is probably the most easy drinking of any that I have had. But that is also where my confusion sets in. In past years this was not so smooth and more like the traditional barleywine.

This would be an excellent introductory barleywine for anyone that was interested in trying this style of beer for the first time. It is much smoother and less intense than most.

I’ll give this one a B for now until I try it again and revise this posting.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sierra Nevada Stout

Sierra Nevada Stout

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

American Stout

5.80% ABV


Commercial Description:
Silver Medal Winner, Great American Beer Festival, Stout 1988, 1989. Sierra Nevada Stout is a creamy and full-bodied example of this traditional style ale. Very dark and very rich, the Stout displays a pronounced roasted flavor.

Finishing Hops:Cascade
Bittering Hops:Chinook
Beginning Gravity:16 Plato
Ending Gravity:4.5 Plato
Malts:Two-row Barley Malt, Caramel Malt, Black Malt, Dextrin Malt
Yeast:Top Fermenting Ale Yeast

General Pricing:

12 oz bottle  ~ $7.50 to $8.50 6pack, ~$28.00 to $30 case

Pours a dark brown, completely opaque with a rich tan head. The head started out looking very rich; fluffy and creamy. Then the bubbles seemed to grow larger and larger until it seemed to just collapse.

Dark roasted malts on the nose with aromas of chocolate and coffee. The aromas on nose are somewhat subtle, nice but subtle.

Not bad. This is a good straight up stout; nothing exceptional just some overall good stout flavors.

Sweet roasted malts upfront. There is not much going on in the middle of the sip but it does have a nice smooth mouthfeel. The back-end has a roasted malt and hoppy bitterness to it. The finish is a classic lingering roasted malt flavor with a slight hop bitterness. This is just an all around good basic stout.

The head has diminished to just a patchy island on top of the beer and a ring around the edge of the glass. It is also leaving some nice lacing on the glass.

I really like this beer. It is really refreshing to have a good basic American stout. There is nothing extreme, no high octane alcohol, no chocolate or coffee adjuncts, just a good basic stout for stout sake.

The beer is now at 59 degrees. It is much smoother and richer now. Boy, I am really enjoying this stout.  This stout is smooth and rich with just the right amount of robustness and nothing overpowering.

The final sips of this beer were at 68 degrees and this beer did not pick up anything unpleasant. It stayed smooth and rich to the very end.

I highly recommend this beer to anyone that likes a good basic stout. If you like other stouts like Guinness you will love this stout. Well, it’s a solid B for this American Stout; a very good straight up stout.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Southern Tier Oat

(Imperial Oatmeal Stout)

Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States

American Double / Imperial Stout
9.60% ABV

Commercial Description:
“brewed for the harvest” This beer begins in spring when oat seeds are sown as soon as the soil can be worked. Meanwhile, select types of barley are planted with hopes that Mother Nature will be kind. Our brewers wait patiently until the legumes are mature and ready for the scythe. Upon delivery to the brewery, these ingredients are mixed together in the mash tun where they steep, creating a rich molasses-like liquid. Spicy hops are boiled with the thick brew, giving balance and complexity. Brewers yeast feasts upon the rich sugars, concluding its transformation into oatmeal stout. Pour Oat into a snifter, allow its thick tan head to slowly rise, releasing unbridled aromas. The color of Oat is as dark as a moonless night. The first sip reveals Oat’s thick and nourishing taste. Like a haversack to a horse, a bottle of this stout is a meal in itself.
Enjoy responsibly. 11.0% abv • 238º L

General Pricing:
22 oz bottle  ~ $8.00

The beer pours a dark brown completely opaque. Well, in this particular glass there is just a hint of dark amber hues just at the tip of the bottom of the cervoise glass. In any other glass it would be completely opaque. There was a very small, chocolate milk color head.

Wow, what a smooth imperial stout. Yes, you can taste the alcohol but the beer is so rich and smooth is subtle.

The taste starts with sweet dark roasted malts up front then the most exquisite creamy mouthfeel though the middle of the sip. In the back-end you pickup up some malt bitterness and this is also where you start to feel the alcohol. The finish is dried mainly by the alcohol but there is also a slight hop bitterness. The final aftertaste is rich dark roasted malts with chocolate and coffee notes. Your entire mouth is left with a rich creamy malt coating. You just can’t help moving you tongue around savoring all of the rich flavors.

This in one exquisite beer but it’s not for everyone. This is an imperial stout; high in roasted malt flavors and alcohol.

The beer is now at 61. I really expected some change in this beer as it warms a little. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very good, excellent in fact. I just expected the malt flavors to become more pronounced and change somewhat as it warmed up. This beer really tastes the same now as it did when it was cold. Let’s see what happens as it warms even more.

Well I must say that this beer finished nicely. The final sips were at 72 degrees and still very nice. There was a slight harshness at the end I seemed that the alcohol was stronger at these temperatures.

The one thing I did notice was the lack of oats. Usually an oatmeal stout is very hearty. This was very creamy but without that robust oat heaviness.

There was no head or lacing but the beer and alcohol are so heavy it clings to the glass.

All and all this is a very good Imperial Stout. I thought is was odd that it did not open up more or change in any way when it warmed up. So this beer is a solid B+ maybe an A-.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Nøgne Ø Winter Ale

Nøgne Ø Winter Ale
aka God Jul

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

English Porter
8.50% ABV

Commercial Description:
In the US this is called "Winter Ale".

A dark ale brewed specially for the Christmas season, with a rich, complex taste of caramel. This is a strong, dark and rather sweet Christmas Beer – just the way we think a Christmas beer should be.

Recommended serving temperature 12°C/53°F. Great with cheese or nuts. Ingredients: Lager, Munich, caramel, black, and chocolate malt; Chinook, Columbus, and Centennial hops; English ale yeast, and our local Grimstad water.

General Pricing:

500ml bottle, ~$9.00

The beer pours a very dark brown almost completely opaque with just a hint of rich ruby hues on the edge of the glass. The beer also has a very rich tan head.
Oh my! What a nose. The most predominate aroma is a wonderful sweet and rich roasted chocolate malt. This is a nice roasted malt aroma not a chocolate additive. There is also a slight hop aroma and a nice sweet malty background aroma. I can’t tell you how inviting this nose it. So let’s dive in.

Wow….Wow, that’s amazing. Sweet roasted malt goodness throughout the taste with a nice almost smoky finish. Really Nice!

Let me try to dissect this a little more.
The taste starts out with sweet roasted malts up front. Mid sip has a nice creamy mouthfeel with a richer roasted malt flavor. Just before the back end you expect these rich malts to get bitter but they don’t. The back end is more malty goodness with some hops finally making their presence known that drives to a nice semi-sweet semi-dry finish. The final aftertaste is a lingering roasted malt sweetness with a great mouthfeel; you whole mouth is just coated with sweet creamy roasted malts. There are also some nice spices along with chocolate and slight coffee notes, mostly chocolate.  

The head has completely disappeared along with the lacing.

This is hearty brew. It is very robust for a porter but it maintains a smooth creamy mouthfeel with no malt bitterness. This is not one of those porters that you wonder if it should be a stout. This beer does not have the stout-like bitter or almost burnt roasted malt flavors. The backbone of this beer is unmistakably an English Porter.

I’m a sucker for a good porter and I can tell you hands down This Is A Good Porter.

This beer has warmed to 65 degrees and it has not picked up any unpleasantness at all. I really expected the malts to acquire a more bitter flavor at these temperatures but they stayed smooth and sweet to the end.

This beer stays a porter it keeps that light creamy mouthfeel.

Well, the final grade is an A for this delicious brew. I highly recommend this to anyone that likes a porter and is interested in taking one more step beyond.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dale's Pale Ale

Dale's Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery

Lyons, Colorado

American Pale Ale (APA)
6.50% ABV


Commercial Description:
Brewed with hefty amounts of European malts and four kinds of American hops, it delivers a blast of hop aromas, a rich middle of malt and hops, and a thrilling finish. It weighs in at 6.5 % alcohol by volume. Why squeeze such a big brew into a little can? Because we think fun in the great outdoors calls for great beer. Our cans go where bottled beers can't, where flavorless canned beers don't belong. And no matter where you drink Dale's Pale Ale, our can protect it from light and oxidation far better than bottles do.

Northern Brewer for bittering, Cascade and Columbus for flavor, and a big, post-boil addition of Centennial for aroma.

General Pricing:
12oz cans, ~$9.00 6 pack,  ~    $17.00 12 pack,   ~$32.00 case

The beer pours a pale copper color with amber hues and on fairly rich white head.

The nose is very nice with caramel malts and flowering hops all with a sweet background to it.

Wow, that’s an APA. This is one good beer. It is very hoppy but it also is nicely balanced with a rich caramel malt backbone.

The taste starts out with sweet caramel malts upfront. Then a nice effervescence over the tongue along with a building hop bitterness. The rich caramel malts seem to stop the hops from completely taking over. Back-end is different hop flavor and a little more intense. The finish is very refreshing it is a little hoppy but not overly bitter and fades quickly. The final aftertaste somewhat lingering but it is a perfect blend of hops and malts.

This is one amazing Pale Ale. The aroma, mid-sip, back-end and finishing hops are all different flavors. At no time are any of these hops over powering the beer. This is very impressive to me since I am not a hophead. In fact American IPA’s are my least favorite craft beers.

The head has diminished to just a patchy island covering most of the top of the beer. There is also a nice ring around the top of the glass and it is leaving some decent lacing.

As this beer warms it just gets better. This beer is at 63 degrees and even better than it was earlier. The hops are toned down to just a nice bite. The malts are richer tasting and have risen from the background to be a more pronounced player now.

The final sips were at 67 degrees and simple amazing. I am always impressed with a beer when it warms to these temperatures and still taste great. This may be my gold standard for and APA.

I highly recommend this beer to anyone that is looking for something more than the traditional offerings but don’t care for those over the top extreme brews. This is a little more intense than your typical stock ale but it’s worth a try.

A+ for Dales Pale Ale, a truly great America Pale Ale.