Monday, May 31, 2010

Stoudts Karnival Kölsch


Karnival Kolsch
 

Brewed by:
Stoudts Brewing Co. 


Adamstown Pennsylvania

Kölsch


4.80% ABV







Commercial Description:Our new spring seasonal beer, Karnival Kolsch is arriving just in time for our Fasching Karneval . We are very excited about the release of this beer. For the first time in Stoudt’s history, we are releasing a brand new beer that has already received a medal at the Great American Beer Festival. This refreshing German-style ale was brewed using 2-row malt, a small amount of red wheat malt, and all German hops for bittering and aroma. This straw colored ale is smooth like a lager due to the colder fermentation temperature and extended cellaring time. It is dry and crisp with a slight fruitiness which compliments the mild hop bitterness and aroma. This light ale is a fresh complement to most foods, but in particular fish, chicken, and salads. Karneval Kolsch will be available at your local distributor soon.
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $10.00 - $10.50

Background:I have had this beer sitting in the fridge for several weeks. I’ve been waiting to get the proper glass to review it in. The German Stange (Kolsch) glass is the practically the only style of beer glass that I don’t have. So what’s in the picture above? I just found a new box of Libby glasses in basement and it had 6 rocks glasses and 6 of these glasses that are pretty darn close to a Stange. I’m sure someone in the household will discover this glass is missing; hopefully before they give it to someone as a wedding gift or something.

Review:The beer pours a pale straw with golden hues and a bright white head.

There is a light delicate nose on this beer; light pilsner type malts along with a mild floral hop aroma. This is just a nice light beer aroma. (Light as in mild not light as in America Light Beer)

That’s a nice Kolsch. It starts out with a light malt sweetness up front then a very pleasant effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. The back end starts to build a slight hoppy taste and it is very easy to swallow. The finish is dry and refreshing. There is just the right amount of hops to dry without bittering. The final aftertaste is mild with floral hops and light malts.

This Kolsch is really good but it may be lacking some of that German earthiness. I’m not sure what that is but there is distinct earthy flavor to a German Kolsch.

This is a great summertime beer; Clean, Crisp and Refreshing. It may be lacking slightly in the Kolsch flavor but all and all this is a good Kolsch. I am really enjoying this beer and at 4.8% you can have several and not worry about getting loaded.

The head has diminished to a patchy island on top of the beer and a decent ring around the glass. The lacing is quite impressive.

This beer is warming well but it is so refreshing you just can’t drink this too slowly. As soon as finish one sip you are called back for another and another. Soon the beer glass is empty and the review is over and you never got a chance for final thoughts.

This is a solid B for a Kolsch. It may be the best American version of a German Kolsch that I have had.

I highly recommend this beer to anyone that is looking for a nice refreshing summer beer. And I mean that in an old fashion way not this lemon zest American Summer beer thing that is going on. This is a good straight up classic beer tasting refreshing beer. The taste of a Kolsch is close to that of a pilsner with a little more earthy background to it. Clean Crisp and Refreshing.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Delirium Nocturnum


Delirium Nocturnum

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Huyghe
 

Belgium

Belgian 

Strong Dark Ale
8.50% ABV








General Pricing:750ml bottle, ~ $10.00 - $11.00

Background:This is actually more research for my next Belgian Event. I have had this bier before but it has been a year or more and I needed to try it again in order to evaluate its potential for John’s Second Annual Craft Beer Event. More on that later lets see what the Nocturnum has in store for us.

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

The nose is very nice with toasted malts, dark fruits with a yeasty background.

Oh my! This is GOOOOD! Dark rich Belgian malts, creamy mouthfeel with dark fruit esters all on a yeasty loaf of bread.

Sweet roasted malts up front then a nice effervescence followed immediately by a creaminess in the middle of the sip. The back end is rich but very easy to swallow. The finish is rich with sweet malty goodness. There is also a nice creaminess and delicious dark fruit notes on the finish. The final aftertaste is a lingering dark roasted malt coating along with that classic yeastiness.

This is nice. I have had this before but it’s been a year or two. I will be very pleased to have this in my #5 slot for a Strong Dark Ale. It looks like the bier menu is shaping up. I have one more slot to fill and then I’ll be ready to publish the bier menu for John’s Second Annual Craft Beer Event. Sorry, back to the review.

This is really starting to open up as it warms a little. I am now picking up some spicy notes that I did not notice earlier.

This is an excellent Belgian Strong Dark. It has warmed to room temperature and it is so smooth. Good to the last warm malty drop.

I’m going to settle for a B+. That may be a little low. This is an excellent Strong Dark but it is slightly lacking the fine complexities of some of the other Strong Darks. All and all this is an excellent bier and I highly recommend it to any lover of Belgians.
Smooth Rich Malty Goodness

Friday, May 28, 2010

Malheur 12


Malheur 12

Brewed by:
Brouwerij 

De Landtsheer NV
 

Belgium

Quadrupel (Quad)


12.00% ABV

 





Commercial Description:
12% vol.alc. – re-fermented and bottle-conditioned Rich, dark coloured beer, with a wonderful hoppy, floral nose and well-balanced flavours, making it easy to drink
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:

750ml bottle, ~ $12.00

Background:
Another Unknown: This is actually more research for my next Belgian Event. I was looking over the keg availability list and noticed this bier. I have never had it so I figured I would review it and evaluate its potential for John’s Second Annual Craft Beer Event, which will be on September 25th this year but more on that later, we have another bier to review.

Review:
The bier pours a very dark brown almost completely opaque with just a hint of amber hues. And a fairly rich off white to tan head.

The nose is wonderful; dark roasted malts, yeasty notes, dark fruit and a hint of sweet alcohol.

Wow, this is nice, really nice. Smooth rich malts with dark fruity notes and that classic yeasty background. This could hold up to St Bernardus 12 as a finishing bier at the Belgian event.

Let me try to attempt a play by play.

Man, the second sip was completely different from the first sip.

It starts off with sweet roasted malts up front on the tip of the tongue and carries through mid-sip. In the middle of the sip there is a very nice effervescence over the tongue. The back-end is smooth and rich and very easy to swallow. There is also a more aggressive release of the carbonation during the swallow. And then we have a very complex finish. This is where the first two sips drastically differed from each other. The carbonation release during the swallow masks most of the flavors on the back-end. But then you are hit with the most flavorful finish ever. The first sip was rich roasted malts with dark fruit on a yeasty background. The second sip had all of that but also a very distinct spiciness; cinnamon with a hint of coriander and clove. The final aftertaste is fairly dry; I assume that is from the alcohol. There is the most pleasant creamy mouthfeel with sweet rich Belgian malts along with a lingering yeasty background in the aftertaste.

This is a very nice bier. The complexity is amazing, I can’t wait to see what this does as it warms and open’s up a little. We are at 62 degrees and it is opening up already.

Another remarkable aspect to this bier is the alcohol. Well, it’s actually in the fact that you can’t detect it, and I mean at all. If I didn’t read the label I would have thought this was around 8% not 12. I know good Belgians mask the alcohol but this is stealth.

It has now warmed to 70 degrees. Man O Man is this good. It is much smoother and maltier now. I assume some of that is due to the out gassing of the Co2. At any rate this is an excellent bier. I am starting to pick up some of the alcohol it is still just a sweet note not boozy at all.

I poured just a little bit more into my empty glass; still not getting to the lees and noticed that the spicy notes are back. I really did not notice them in the previous sips. There is also just a little more carbonation in the addition.

Lees:

Wow, the lees are tough. These are very bitter and of course yeasty. There is also a very foul aspect to these lees. I really don’t think I want to finish them. I really just do this to keep re-enforcing my cardinal rule “Do not pour the lees directly into the glass with your bier”. I would not have enjoyed this bier as much if it had these lees flavors mixed in.

Final Thoughts:

This is one excellent bier. I’m giving this one an A. This rivals any of the Quads that I’m had including St. Bernardus 12 which I always held up as my gold standard for this style. This will make a nice finishing bier, nightcap or dessert bier for anyone. I highly recommend this to anyone that like the Strong Dark or Quad Belgian styles.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Heineken Premium Light Lager

 
Heineken Premium Light

Brewed by:
Heineken Nederland B.V.
Netherlands
 

Light Lager
 

3.30% ABV






Commercial Description:Brewed in the same high quality tradition as the original Heineken, but lighter in taste and with fewer calories and carbohydrates.

Being introduced in four select US markets beginning in June 2005: Phoenix, Arizona; Dallas, Texas; Tampa, Florida; and Providence, Rhode Island.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:5l Mini Keg, ~$19.00 - $20.00

Background:Here we go again; the Bier Snob is on another light beer? What is this world coming to.
This was left over from a party. We had a 1/6 keg of Allagash White and a 5l mini keg of Heineken Light. Its funny how there were no leftovers of the good beer. At any rate, I figured I would review this since I can’t seem to find a home for it.

Review:The beer pours a very clear pale straw color with a bright white head.

There are faint light malt and hop aromas on the nose. Not much but they are there.

I really can’t describe the tasting experience as I normally would since there really is not much on the taste.

There is nothing upfront where you normally would have a sweet malt flavor. There is a very pleasant effervescence over the tongue and a clean dry finish. I guess you call this refreshing but that’s because there really is not much to this beer. There is a slight aftertaste with a light malt flavor. I assume that there are hops here but they are not really detectable.

As it warms a little more flavor does come out. I may actually like this more than Bud Lite or Miller Light. Not that I liked either of them but it was a hoot doing a head to head review.  http://www.johnsbierblog.com/2010/05/bud-light-vs-miller-lite.html

This is not my cup of tea but if you like light beer this is probably one of the best. I would really have to taste this with other light beers to tell the difference but for what it is this isn’t too bad.

It is now at 65 degrees and time to cut this off. It is starting to pick up some unpleasantness.

This beer did have some flavor, maybe even a little more than the others but I really couldn’t tell unless they were head to head.

Like I stated before in my last light beer review, these light beers are like training wheels for real beer. Or they are for people that don’t really like beer they just want a slight hint of what one would taste like.

So unless I get handed another light beer I think this will be the last. The first ML vs. BL was a hoot, this one was just boring. Sorry it is what it is. A boring review for a boring light beer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale


Fire Rock Pale Ale
 

Brewed by:
Kona Brewing Company
 

Kona, Hawaii

American Pale Ale 

(APA)
 

5.80% ABV





Commercial Description:
Fire Rock Pale Ale is a crisp, refreshing “Hawaiian-style” pale ale. Its signature copper color results from the unique blend of specialty roasted malts. The pronounced citrus-floral hop aroma comes from the liberal amounts of Galena, Cascade & Mt. Hood hops added to each brew.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~ $8.50 6 pack. ~$30.00 case

Background:
This was a recommendation from my brother-in-law Anthony. I have never had it before now. So I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like.

Review:
The beer pours a clear light amber with an off white head.

There is a nice pleasant nose on this beer; light caramel malt aroma with a light citrus hop notes along with an interesting sweetness.

Not a bad first sip. There is a nice pleasant sweetness to the overall taste of this beer. I’m not sure exactly where that is coming from. The also seems to be a citrus aspect to this as well along with a nice dry hop but not bitter finish. This is a very easy drinking beer. Let me attempt a better play by play.

There is an interesting caramel almost toasted malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. This malt sweetness carries through the middle of the sip along with a nice effervescence. The back-end is smooth and easy to swallow, this is also where you start to pick up this unique sweet citrus and hop flavors, never bitter and very refreshing. The hops and citrus carry into the finish which is very nice, somewhat dry and extremely refreshing. The final aftertaste is just a faint hint of the whole experience; some caramel malt sweetness, some citrus and dry hops stay with you.

I have mentioned the hop flavors several times in describing this tasting experience but at no time are the hops in this beer ever bitter. These are the most unique blend of hops and are packed with flavor, without the bitterness.

Well, I can see why this is Anthony’s new favorite beer.

This beer is also warming well, it is now at 67 degrees and it is much smoother now. And more importantly it is not picking up any unpleasantness.

This is a very nice beer. It has the mouthfeel and looks of a good amber ale but the subtleties an citrus notes of a summer pale ale. This is one beer I could definitely drink all year round; full of flavor and refreshing.  

All and all I’m quite pleased with this find. Thanks for the suggestion Anthony.

I’m going to give this a B+ for now. I will definitely be having this again and I may bump it up a notch later. But for now a B+ will do quite fine.

I highly recommend this beer to anyone that is looking for a good pale ale. This is a very pleasant easy drinking summer beer that you really can drink anytime. With the citrus notes in this brew it may also be appealing to the Blue Moon wheat beer crowd as well.

So far Kona is 2 for 2, I also liked the Pipeline Porter. Now I have to go back to State Line Liquors for the Longboard Lager and the Wailua Wheat Ale.

Monday, May 24, 2010

John's Second Annual Craft Beer Event

John's Second Annual Craft Beer Event

This is going to be a recurring post that I will continue to update from time to time.

Update
October 11, 2010


I have been so busy with the details of the Event I have been neglecting updating this post. Then after the event I was falling behind on my reviews. So now I’m taking a few minutes to talk about this most successful event.

I don’t want to bore you with a lot of text so I’ll try to make this update short. I also would like to have comments from those who attended; good and bad so we can have an even better event next year.

All and all the event was a great success! A good time was had my all and I did not loose any money so Kathy is okay for a Third Annual.

The band was great and Michael was also great DJ’ing.

Piraat was the beer glass this year. In addition to the glasses I had an extra giveaway for the guest. I made around 200 beer bottle cap magnets for everyone to take home with them. 

The tasting table was another great success this year but since John Jr. was singing with the band it went unmanned for several hours. 

I do want to discuss this years beers but before I get into that I thought I would share some pictures taken by our dear friend Allison.









The Main Event Beers:
There was a minor set back in that one of the beers was not available. Of course we found out at the last minute and there really was not time to work on a substitute. So we ended up with a case of Delirium Nocturnum bottles instead of a 20L keg.

From a beer perspective there were a few surprises. The beers at this year’s event did not have the name recognition as last year’s beers. But they not only held there own some actually proved to be superior.

Braunch de Bruselle
This Wit was just fantastic on tap. Even the non-craft beer drinkers loved it. Boy, I wish Blue Moon could taste this good. It was smooth and refreshing and at 4.5 % you could drink it all night long. This Wit surpassed the St Bernadus Wit that we had last year and it is now my new Gold Standard for this style.

Affligem Blonde
This Blonde on draft turned out to be another surprise. I know this beer but did not realize how good it was on draft. I’m not sure if it was better than last years Leffe Blonde but it was excellent.

Maredsous 10
This Tripel seemed to be another favorite for some at the event. This is a very full bodied Tripel and was a perfect mid-range beer at the event. Several guest commented that this was their favorite of the night.

Piraat
Well, what can I say? This turned out to be the Party Bier of the night. And drinking it in its own glass didn’t hurt either.

Delirium Nocturnum
This was my only downfall of the night since we could only sample it from a case of 750ml bottles and not pour drafts.

Malheur 12
Wow what a surprise this was. And I must say the best beer of the night (in my humble opinion). Very smooth rich and creamy. I did a separate head to head with bottle St St. Bernardus Abt 12 and everyone said the Malheur was matier and smoother. The 12 % was not noticeable at all but you would definitely feel it later.

What a great event I can’t wait to start planning next years.


-----------------------------
-----------------------------

 

Update
July 15,2010

The tickets are printed and the sales are on. 

As like last year the tickets are Individual, Couple and DD.

Please let me know if you are interested.


Update
July 6, 2010

I just finalized the bier menu and flyer.

There has also been a change in the entertainment. I have just secured an exclusive. John's Second Annual Craft Beer Event will now be featuring special musical guest Pali Cannon!

Here is the agenda as it stands today:

6:00 - 7:00         Appetizers with two starter beers in bottles
7:00 - 9:00         Buffet Dinner with 6 main event biers on draft
9:00 - 11:00       Party with Special Musical Guest, Pali Cannon


I will have tickets available next week.


-----------------------------
-----------------------------

May 24, 2010
Save the Date


Yeah Man, its official, John’s Second Annual Craft Beer Event is on!

Date:    September 25, 2010
Time:    6:00 to 11:00PM
Place:    Holy Saviour Parish Hall, Linwood PA

If you are wondering what this is all about here is a link to John’s First Annual Craft Beer Event



As last year this will be a ticketed Shared Cost Event. So make sure you contact me for tickets (once I get them printed).

So what am I doing for round 2? Well, there is such a wonderful world of Belgian Biers out there I have decided that this year’s event would be another Belgian Bier Banquet but with 8 different Belgians Biers.

We are in the early stages investigating what is available in bottle and kegs so I don’t have a bier menu to share with you at this time.

What I do know

I have to raise the price a little to meet expenses. This years price will be $35.00 a person and $60.00 for a couple.

I am also adding 1 hour to the event.
Here is the tentative schedule.


Event Schedule
6:00 to 7:00  Appetizers with two starter biers in bottles
7:00 to 9:00  Full Buffet Dinner and 6 Main Event Belgians on Draft 

9:00 to 11:00 Party Time with Peiser! DJ Extraordinaire

The Tasting Table`

This was a very big hit last year so it will be back by popular demand. The success of this table relies on what Craft Beer everyone brings, so don’t forget to bring your favorite craft beer for the tasting table. 

Food Menu
It looks like we will have the same food menu as last year.

I’ll be posting an update soon.

John

Comments Post

Hello Everyone,

This post is just for comments, suggestions and recommendations.

I realized that there is no way to just leave a general comment on the blog that is not about a specific post. My solution is to crate a post just for comments.

So let me know what you think about this blog. Give me your suggestions for improving things, what you like what you don’t like.

I am also very interested in taking your suggestions for beer reviews.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks
John

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Samuel Adams Imperial White Ale


Samuel Adams Imperial White

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company 

(Samuel Adams)
 

Boston , Massachusetts

Witbier |  10.30% ABV

 





Commercial Description:
Sam Adams Imperial White pushes the boundaries of a witbier. While the brew delivers orange and coriander notes typical of a witbier, it has a bigger mouthfeel and body. It is truly a unique brew.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~ $9.00 4 pack. ~$50.00 case

Background:
I’m not sure why I picked this up. I was just looking for something different and I remember someone recommending this to me a while ago. I may have even had it some time back but I did not take any notes on it. So of course that’s gone with the 70’s brain cells.

Review:
The beer pours a cloudy pail amber with orange hues and an off white head. This beer is also highly carbonated with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from then bottom of the glass. I am a little taken back on the color, this is pretty dark for a wit but then again it’s not suppose to be an ordinary witbier. 

This beer has an interesting nose. There are almost toasted malt aromas, along with wheat, some yeasty notes and an interesting sweetness. I assume the sweetness is mostly from the alcohol but it may also be some fruity esters.

Nice, Very Nice. There is a interesting warmth and earthiness to this beer. It has nice sweet wheat flavors, some fruity esters and a fairly dry finish. There is also a nice yeasty background to this, almost like a real Belgian wit. This is pretty darn good. Let me attempt a better play by play.

It starts out with an almost caramel malt sweetness up front, then a very interesting creaminess and effervescence in mid-sip. I know that is contradictory but it is really there. Well I guess you get the effervescence first and then toward the back-end it leaves a creamy mouthfeel just before you get to the top of the swallow. The back-end through the swallow is very pleasant. This is a big beer and you start to feel it in the swallow. There is that part of the back of your throat that clinches slightly and prevents it from going down easily. There is nothing unpleasant; it is just not an easy drinking beer. Toward the end of the swallow you start to get the most pleasant warming sensation. This warmth carries through to the finish which is fairly dry, mainly from the alcohol. You also really start to pick up nice fruit and citrus notes through the finish. The final aftertaste is also very pleasant with rich yeasty wheat flavors, some light hop dryness but not bitterness, and an almost exquisite creaminess throughout your mouth. It’s almost like a stout coating but its sweet, wheatie and citrusy.

All and all I’m pretty impressed with this beer. I have criticized Samuel Adams’ beers in the past but this Imperial White is on the money. Let’s see how it warms.

The modest head has diminished to a patchy island on top of the beer and a solid ring around the edge of the glass. The lacing is quite impressive.

I neglected to take a starting temperature but we are now at 66 degrees. Wow, still good maybe even a little better. It’s hard to tell but it seams as if it’s easier to swallow. Sorry, it’s not hard to tell, it is, easier to swallow. It’s hard to tell why. I’m not sure if I’m getting accustomed to the alcohol or if this is really getting smoother as it warms.

The carbonation is less as it sits so that would account for some of the smoother aspects. At any rate, it is good, really good. This is one of those beers that really seems to get better as it warms. I did not expect that from a wit. Usually a dark maltier beer will get better as it warms and opens up.

The flavors do not seem to be changing but is it much smoother.
  
I’ve let this sit for a while; we are now at 71 degrees so it’s time to really see what this white is made of.

Now I’m really impressed. This picked up no unpleasantness whatsoever. I expected something to materialize at this warm temperature but the only thing I got was a slightly higher detection of the alcohol.

I’m going to give this a B+.
As much as I expected it I did not find anything wrong with this beer. It just kept on impressing me as it warmed.

I was very apprehensive about this beer since I have been suckered into some of Samuel Adams beers before that talked a good game but feel short, Like Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat

This is an excellent Imperial White. Actually it may be the only Imperial White. What it may lack in Belgian complexity it makes up for in overall body and taste. This is a big beer and may be a little boozy for some but I highly recommend that you give this one a try. It is strong in alcohol but there is nothing unpleasant and there are no extreme flavors in this brew. Think of it as a Hoegaarden on steroids.

Okay Jim, you won me over on this one I just hope it’s not a setup for another sucker punch.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Malheur 10


Malheur 10

Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Landtsheer NV
 

Belgium

Belgian Strong Pale Ale
 

10.00% ABV


 


Commercial Description:10% vol.alc. – re-fermented and bottle-conditioned Full bodied, medium strong, gold coloured beer, with a rich honey-like texture, and a pleasant warming, slightly hoppy-dry lingering aftertaste
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:750ml bottle, ~ $12.00

Background:Another Unknown: This is actually research for my next Belgian Event. I was looking over the keg availability list and noticed this bier. I have never had it so I figured I would review it and evaluate its potential for John’s Second Annual Craft Beer Event, which will be on September 25th this year but more on that later, we have a bier to review.

Review:The bier pours a slightly cloudy. pal golden straw color with a rich bright white head.

Oh man, that’s a nice nose. There are light malt aromas with fruity esters, a slight hop presence and all of that is riding on a nice Belgian yeasty background. This is an exceptionally inviting nose.

NICE, VERY NICE! Sweet malts up front on the tip of the tongue then the most pleasant effervescence in mid-sip. There is also a nice building yeastiness throughout the middle of the sip. The back-end is very interesting. The effervescence seems to increase through the swallow. It is also a very light and refreshing back-end. The finish is very crisp and dry. I assume most of that is from the alcohol but that is one aspect of this bier that is really hard to detect. It is really hard to believe that this is 10%. The final aftertaste is light with citrus notes and some of that yeasty background also hangs around.

There is a slight bloatiness to this bier due to the high carbonation.

I am pleasantly surprised by this bier. I really did not know what to expect and I am pretty much floored. It’s cool to be surprised by a good bier like this. You feel like you discovered a winner and now what to share that news with everyone.

This is really a delicious bier. What a great find.

The head is still hanging in there; it has diminished to a thick protective layer over the top of the bier with a decent ring around the edge of the glass.

I neglected to get a starting temperature but we are now at 60 degrees. I’m not sure if it’s the temperature or if the bier is just off gassing but the mouthfeel is much creamier now. Also the nose is much maltier than it was when it was colder.

The final sip was at 67 degrees and very fine indeed.

This is rally a good straight up Belgian Pale Ale and a strong one at that. I’m still struggling with the 10% thing. There may have been a slight detection of alcohol on that final sip but other than that you cannot detect the alcohol in the brew.

I’m going to settle for a B+ on this one. It is an excellent Belgian Pale. There is nothing over the top about it is just a good Belgian Pal.

I highly recommend this bier to anyone that is interested in trying a good Belgian Pale. There is nothing extreme or offensive about his bier. It should be appearing to a wide audience of beer drinkers.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bud Light vs. Miller Lite

Bud Light vs. Miller Lite


Bud Light
Brewed by:
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Light Lager |  4.20% ABV

Commercial Description:Introduced nationally in 1982, Bud Light is brewed with a malt and hops ratio different from Budweiser for a distinctively crisp taste with fewer calories.
(RateBeer.com)

Miller Lite
Brewed by:
Miller Brewing Co.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
Light Lager |  4.17% ABV

Commercial Description:
This carefully crafted pilsner uses the finest ingredients and brewing techniques to ensure rich, full-bodied beer taste at only 96 calories.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~ $5.00 6 pack, ~$15.00 Case

Background:

Whoa Nellie! The Bier Snob is going to review what? Yeah Man, I’m going to review Bud Light and Miller Lite. Well it’s going to be more of a head to head comparison than an actual review, I think?

So how did I get here? Well let me tell you. It all started….
Actually I was bartending at our parish hall last weekend and the client asked if I wanted any of the leftovers. He was serving Bud Light, Miller Light and Yuengling. So I instently had one of those Eureka! Moments and thought why not. Let’s see which one of these light beers tastes better. Yes. that’s were I also got the Yuengling from that I reviewed a few day’s ago.

I went to a local beer store to by a single bottle of Coors Light thinking I would make trio but I could not find the single bottles and I was not going to by a 6 pack. So here we are ready to review light brews. Can you feel the excitement?

Review:
Both beers poured exactly the same; clear, very light straw with diminishing white heads.

The noses are almost identical, which is just about nothing. There is a slightly maltier nose on the Miller Lite. Both have little to no real beer aromas with no discernable hops aromas at all.

BL
Wow, that is amazingly light. I know that that sounds corny but I did not realize how light this beer is. There are really no discernable beer flavors, well, not really. It is effervescent and somewhat refreshing but there is no real malt flavor at all. I assume that there are hops here and I guess that accounts for the dry finish but on the other hand there are no real beer flavors or malts to dry.

ML
I really did not detect any difference. Also here there are no real beer flavors and a dry finish.


The only thing these beers have going for them is that there is nothing offensive there, since there are no real flavors there.

I keep saying no real flavors but I guess there is, it is just really diminished from any pale pilsner or lager. It’s like these are training beers. It’s just a hint of what beer taste like.

I’m going to have to go back and forth to see if there is a difference. I really thought that I would be able to detect some differences. I’m really surprised that these are so much alike.

BL
Straw, light grassy notes are coming out.

ML
There is a light malt flavor on that sip.

I think as these warm a little there is some flavor coming out of them, faint as it is. I did not take a starting temp but they are now at 58 degrees. I suspect this is about as warm as they should be allowed to get. But I’m going to drive them a little further. Just for the pure enjoyment of it all.

We are now at 59 degrees and it is becoming clearer that ML has more flavor than BL. That being said it’s not much more or for that matter not much flavor at all.

I’m sorry I just can’t stop laughing as I’m typing this. Who wood a thunk it, the Bier Snob reviewing American Macro Light Beers. LOL!

What a minute, no I’m sorry I thought BL was going to show some flavor at it warmed but  I was mistaken. 

I can’t believe I’m going to say this. ML has a richer mouth feel. No, really it does. Oh, I actually have tears I’m laughing so hark.

Lordy lordy, who’s got a 40. No, sorry I’m not reviewing a 40. Sorry, it is getting a little silly, OK, a lot silly.

This is the most fun I’ve had trying to review a beer and it’s twice the fun since it’s twice the beer.

I am actually getting a sore throught from laughing so hard. My better half is asking what I am watching on TV that is so funny and my little ones are wondering what’s wrong with their daddy. (Don’t go there Missy)

We are at 62 degrees and they are both still drinkable. I guess I should explain that, they have not picked up any unpleasant flavors. They still don’t have any flavor but they have not picked up anything new.

Well just in case you were wondering; the heads completely disappeared almost before I starting drinking them and of course there is no lacing.

Ok, here are the final tastes. We are at 66 degrees and I must say I am very apprehensive in finishing these glasses.

Well they are both picking up some unpleasantness; nothing really harsh but there is an off taste to both of them that was not there earlier.

I believe I have a winner.

Bud Light or Miller Lite? That is the question.

And the answer is:

Drum roll please….

Miller Lite


Yes, the official word from the Bier Snob is that Miller Lite is a better tasting beer than Bud Light.

This was a hoot!. I really had a blast doing this. I have never sat down and drank a light beer before. I’m sure I must have had one from time to time but that was on draft at a party or just to test the lines after taping a keg at the hall. This really was my first time to sit down and actually drink a light beer.

Now for my final thoughts:
No I am not going to give these a letter grade.

What struck me is that these seem to be starter beers. I mean that with no disrespect to the light beer drinkers. These beers a really just a shadow of even your typical Pilsner Lager. They have just a hint of the hops and malts of the regular brews. It’s like training wheels for beer.

I cannot in all honesty recommend either of these beers. But hay if that’s your thing then go for it. The only thing I can say is that Miller Lite does have a little more flavor than Bud Light.  So have fun and let me know when your ready to take off those training wheels.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale


Farmhouse Summer Ale

Brewed by:
Flying Fish Brewing Company


Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Saison / Farmhouse Ale
 

4.60% ABV
 



Commercial Description:A tribute to the highly drinkable ""every day"" beers from French-speaking Belgium. Contains Belgian two-row pale malt and 7% wheat. This beer is lightly filtered with an earthy, spicy hop character from imported Styrian Goldings hops and a beautiful rich creamy head from the wheat. Dry quenching finish achieved by use of the traditional sour mash process
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $8.00-$10.00 6 pack, ~$30.00-$37.00 Case

Background:Another Unknown: I just picked this up to see what it tasted like. I am curious if it is a true Belgian Saison Farmhouse Ale or just another summer ale that they call Farmhouse. So let’s see what the Farmhouse has in store for us.

Review:The beer pours a clear pale straw with golden hues and a white head. There was not much of a head until I started pouring more aggressively.

I picked up a new temperature probe so we know that are starting out at 38 degrees. This is a little colder than normal; I put this in the freezer for a quick chill and left it in a little too long.

There is not much on the nose but I can detect a faint yeastiness. I expect the nose aromas to increase as the beer warms a little.

Well, I decided to let this sit a while and warm just a little. It is now at 46 degrees, which is more better where’s I like it. 

As predicted the hose has changed. There is now a real caramel malt aroma and a slight hoppiness that I did not notice when it was at 38 degrees. There is still a slight yeastiness on the nose.

Hmmm, I’m a little confused on this first sip. Not quite the funkiness of a real Saison Farmhouse but at the same time this is not your typical light summer ale either. Let me try a play by play.

Clean light sweet malts up front then a very refreshing effervescence over the tongue at mid-sip. There is an interesting tingling feeling on the tongue toward the back-end. On the back-end at the top of the swallow there is an interesting tang and a hop bitterness. This is slightly distracting and may make this not so easy to drink for some. The finish is fairly dry and refreshing. The final aftertaste is of a hop bitterness and that interesting tang or tingle also still present.

The beer has warmed to 62 degrees. This is not as refreshing as it was when it was colder. The hop presence is more noticeable now; not overly bitter but more noticeable.

All and all I’m liking this beer, even though it’s not a saison it is still a very enjoyable summer ale.

Since I bought a six pack I’m going for a second one as I work on my final thoughts and take care of some stuff on the grill.

BTW
The lacing on this beer has been pretty impressive.

I drank the second beer while grilling and it was very refreshing. This really isn’t a bad summer ale. It is a little hoppy; not very bitter but there is a definite hoppiness to this brew.

I also had a glass of this beer with dinner which was grilled London broil with baked potatoes, asparagus, eggplant and Portobello mushrooms. Also all cooked on the grill. It was quite accidental but the hop crispness of this beer cut through the smoky grilled flavors and turned out to be a good contrasting paring to this dinner.

This beer warmed well, I did not take the temperature but those last few sips where pretty close to room temperature and still pretty good. This beer did not pick up any unpleasantness as it warmed.

All and all this is a very enjoyable summer ale. It is a little hoppy but not very bitter. It doesn’t have the Belgian Farmhouse Funk but it’s still a easy drinking good Summer Ale.

I have to give this a C since it falls really short for being a Belgian Saison/Farmhouse Ale. But for an overall good summer ale it bay be closer to a B.

I do recommend this beer but not as a good representation of a Belgian Farmhouse Ale style. It is a good refreshing summer ale with a good hop bite to it. That hoppy bite may be a little much for some but it is extremely mild for a Hop Head. All and all this is a very drinkable Summer Ale.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Yuengling Traditional Lager



Yuengling Traditional Lager
 

Brewed by:
Yuengling Brewery

Pottsville, Pennsylvania

American Amber / Red Lager
4.40% ABV







Commercial Description:Has a deep amber color and a mild hop character.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $5.00 6pack, ~$20.00 case

Background:
Review #153
This was an old staple of mine. It was a lot cheaper and very comparable to Samuel Adams Lager. This is a very popular beer in these parts; southeastern PA. Actually around here it’s just pretty much known as “the lager”.  Since I have been in this craft beer craze I have not had too much of this beer, just occasionally with friends. I have not bought this is several years.

Review:
The beer pours a light amber with orange hues and an off white head.

Nice caramel malt aromas on the nose along with some a pleasant hop aroma. There is also a little grassy aroma on the nose as well.


Sweet caramel malts up front then a cleansing effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. On the back end things start to go south. There is a building hop bitterness on the back-end through the swallow, that is actually very nice but along with that is a very off flavor that is not very good. The finish is fairly dry with a hop presence but there again is this off flavor. The final aftertaste is a little hoppy and malty but it has an almost metallic taste to it as well.

It is hard to believe that his use to be my “Go-To” beer. And that was still up to just a few years ago.

I suspect most of the odd flavors that I’m now detecting is the adjunct malt substitutes that are being used. But this metallic aftertaste, I really can’t explain. Rumor has it that this metallic aftertaste in only in the Yuengling lager brewed in this area. There are some around here that claim that the canned Yuengling lager taste better than the bottles. The cans are brewed in Florida.

Sorry for the rant, I’m back.

Despite the noted unpleasantness there are some very nice malt and hop aspects to the beer. It does still have some appeal.  

As this beer warms it is getting easier to drink or I am just getting use to the oddities. At any rate the malt flavors are really coming out now. Sorry my temperature probe is still broken so I can’t tell you the exact temperature. It is fairly close to room temperature at this point.

I really don’t know if this beer has changed or if I have but it is hard to believe that this was my everyday beer at one time. I really wish I could find out if this beer has changed or whether I’m really just a beer snob now.

At any rate is it what it is and for what it is I guess it aint so bad. I don’t think I’ll be buying it but I will take it on occasion when offered.

I know Beer Advocate has this as an American Amber / Red Lager but I think it should be an American Adjunct. I’m not sure what to do for a rating. I have not rated any of the other Adjuncts so I don’t think I’m going to rate this either.

If American Adjucts are your thing than this is one of the best. I certainly would take this over Bud or any of the other Pale Adjunct Lagers. If you are looking for a good American Amber / Red Lager than I would recommend Blue Point Toasted Lager. I have not reviewed that one yet but I have had it and it’s a pretty good Amber Lager.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cerveza Imperial (Costa Rica)


Imperial

Brewed by:
Cerveceria Costa Rica
 

Costa Rica

American Adjunct Lager
 

4.60% ABV






Commercial Description:Costa Ricans have been enjoying this beer since 1924. Imperial is created from a balanced formula combining malts, grains and hops, without a pronounced overtone in its taste. It is what is known as a “centralized” beer. Adapted to a warm and spring-like climate, Imperial is Florida’s most popular and widely accepted beer, both nationally and internationally, and has thus become the favorite beer of Costa Rica.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $7.00 6pack, ~$27.00 case

Background:I know nothing about this beer other than the fact that my buddy Gene gave it to me to review. And the look on his face was, don’t expect much. So here we go not expected much, maybe well be surprised, it has happened.

Review:The beer pours a clear very pale straw color with a white head. The nose is pilsner like but there is also that grassy adjunct aroma to it. There are very little hops on the nose and there is also a skunkiness to this nose also.

Gee, I really don’t know what to say about this one. It’s your typical adjunct pale lager. Well, that style is not typical for me so I amusing that this is typical. This beer does have some flavor to it but there is that grassy almost skunky background to it.

There are light sweet pilsner type malts up front then a pleasant effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. That is really the best part of this beer. The back-end is not very good; there is a very odd unpleasantness to it. I’m really not sure what that that taste is. It is different form a typical macro lager in that it has some flavor but it’s not very enjoyable. The finish also has an odd flavor to it. It is somewhat dry with an almost citrus note to it. But again there is a very odd grassy or earthy flavor to it. That doesn’t sound too bad but it doesn’t taste that good.

Well, here’s a surprise. I expected this beer to be undrinkable as it warmed but it’s not. In fact it may actually be better as it warms. This is really confusing me. It’s still not good or even enjoyable but it is not getting worse as it warms.

I really don’t drink enough of these beers to give this a fair rating, so I won’t rate it. I guess if American adjunct lagers are your cup of tea than this is a probably better then most. I did not enjoy it but the fact that it did not get worse as it warmed did impress me, well a little anyway.

Leinenkugels Honey Weiss Bier

 
Honey Weiss

Brewed by:
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

Kristalweizen(beeradvocate.com)

American Wheat Ale
(ratebeer.com)

4.90% ABV




Commercial Description:Honey Weiss has a taste that's light, crisp and slightly sweet.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $7.00 - $8.00 6pack, ~$29.00 case

Background:I bought this on a whim last week looking for a light summer beer. I also wanted to know how it would compare to Blue Moon’s Honey Moon, which I did like. There was no special consideration on this one just a random summer beer selection. So, let’s see what we have.

Review:The beer pours a clear pale straw with golden hues and a bright white head. This is also highly carbonated with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

There are light pale malt and wheat aromas on the nose. There is also a slight hop aroma along with slight citrus notes.

There is not much to the taste of this beer. There is a light malt sweetness up front, then a very refreshing, cleansing effervescence over the tongue. The back end has a slight harshness to it that takes away any of the refreshing qualities in mid-sip. The finish is fairly dry with some very nice citrus notes. There is not much of a final aftertaste; some light malts and some citrus notes.

There is also a very grassy taste to this beer. I can see now why there seems to be some confusion to this style. Ratebeer.com has it as an American wheat ale while BeerAdvocate.com has it as an American Adjunct Lager. It is pretty surprising to have this beer classified as both a wheat ale and a lager. Even Leinie’s website claims awards for both a wheat ale and lager categories.  Personally I’m leaning toward an adjunct lager. This is not a clean refreshing wheat ale. There is a definite grassy harshness to this that you would usually find in an adjunct lager.

As this beer warms it is almost undrinkable. The harshness on the back end and finish is really unpleasant.

I’m going to give this one a D. It may not be a bad summer beer if it is kept ice cold but please don’t let it warm up; you really don’t want to taste it.

I cannot recommend this beer; if you are looking for a good summer honey wheat ale than I would recommend Blue Moon Honey Moon. I really thought that was a good beer for this category.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

North Coast Brewing Old Rasputin XII



Old Rasputin XII

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
Fort Bragg, 

California

Russian Imperial Stout
 

11.20% ABV






Commercial Description:
Seems hard to believe that we’ve been making Old Rasputin for 10 years now, but that’s what’s happened. And, to celebrate the occasion, we’ve brewed a special small batch that’s been aged for 9 months in some 12 year-old bourbon barrels. It’s bottled in 500 ml bottles with a cork and wired finish and a special commemorative label ---- and it’s amazing. The depth, intensity and complexity of the flavor profile make it a worthy tribute to this fine beer. Available at the brewery. XII is 11.2% ABV
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:

500ml bottle, ~ $20.00 - $22.00

Background:
150
That’s right this is my 150th review and the last of the of the Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning reviews. I have seen this beer around for a long time and never had the nerve to spend $20.00 on it; especially on something that I’ve never had before. Well about two months ago I picked it up on an impulse. It has been setting in the bier cabinet ever since. So tonight we decided to give it a whirl; the BierVlog son that’s still not Vlogging and I.

Review:
The beer pours a dark brown completely opaque with no light getting through the glass whatsoever. This beer also produced a modest but dark tan almost chocolate head.

The nose is powerful with dark roasted malt aromas, chocolate and coffee notes and a very interesting smoky bourbon aroma. With a slight swirl of the class light hops and sweet alcohol are emitted. This is somewhat intriguing and also a little intimidating.

OH MY! What a first sip; sweet, creamy, malty, and very warming. Wow, that was an amazing first sip.

It starts out with rich sweet roasted malts up front on the tip of the tongue, then a extremely creamy mouthfeel in mid-sip. I was waiting for something harsh to hit in mid-sip but it didn’t, it stayed very smooth and creamy. Toward the back-end you start to pick up some of the alcohol along with a slight increase in the robustness of the roasted malts. The back-end through the swallow is incredibly smooth for an 11% brew. Although you can really pick up the alcohol along with the smoky bourbon cast notes in the back end. The finish is really dry for such a malty brew. I figure that is mainly due to the alcohol. The final aftertaste is a little bit of everything; dark malts, some dark fruit, chocolate, sweet alcohol, a slight smokiness and a pinch of coffee.

This is one amazing brew. Although it is high in alcohol it is also very easy drinking.

As this beer warms the flavors are changing; it’s like a chocolaty, smoky bourbon, malt beverage. This is still an exquisitely smooth and rich brew.

I’m trying to review this beer and plan my next Belgian event at the same time and it’s a little distracting. I’m looking at and evaluation candidates from a list of over 55 Belgians that are available in kegs. Discussing that and this brew is tasking what brain cells survived the 70’s. So let’s get back to the brew, there will be plenty of time to discuss the next Belgian Event later. 

This is an interesting beer in that it is a very strong beer but not a very intense beer. The low hop presence and the rich malts along with the Bourbon Cast aging smooth this out to a velvety creaminess.

Well this is a solid A for me maybe even an A+. This stayed smooth and creamy all the way through. It never picked up any harshness or unpleasantness as it warmed, although the alcohol was more predominate toward the end.

This was a nice treat but I’m not sure whether it was worth $20.00 a bottle. Let’s put it this way, I don’t think I’ll be buying another one. There are comparable imperial Russian stouts out there for a lot less money. 

All and all this was very unique brew with an intriguing Bourbon Cask twist.  Not sure about the 20 spot but still one enjoyable brew. I have no regrets, put it that way.

Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout


Emelisse
Imperial Russian Stout

Brewed by:
Bierbrouwerij 

Grand-Café Emelisse
Netherlands

Russian Imperial Stout
 

11.00% ABV


 

Commercial Description:
*  Style: Imperial Stout, refermentation in bottle
* Alcohol Content: 11%/vol
* Format: 10 oz bottle
* Color: pitch black; creamy, khaki head
* Tasting Notes: dark roast, richly complex, berries, black coffee, bitter chocolate
(12percentimports.com)

General Pricing:
10.14 oz bottle, ~ $6.50

Background:
This is next to the last of the Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning reviews. The Kwak was consumed when family was over in April. That only leaves Old Rasputin 20th Anniversary Stout and I plan on doing that tomorrow with the BierVlog but I can’t talk him into vlogging it.

The Easter Bunny left a second one of these when he left the other Easter Basket Beers (ink). I really don’t know anything about this beer other then the fact that it is imported by 12 Percent Imports. And quite frankly that’s enough for me. I have only had exceptional brews imported by 12 percent.

Review:
The beer pours a dark brown completely opaque with no light whatsoever getting through. The beer also has a very rich dark tan almost a chocolate milk color.

The nose on the brew is wonderful. Very rich dark roasted malts with strong notes of chocolate, dark fruit and some coffee aromas are all on this nose.

Oh Man is that good. Wow, what a stout. I’m just floored by that first sip. It had just about everything you would expect in an imperial stout and then some. I could almost swear that I tasted cinnamon in the finish of that first sip. Let me attempt a better explanation.

Sweet rich dark roasted malts upfront on the tip of the tongue, then an exquisite, very creamy mouthfeel in mid-sip. This smooth creamy mouthfeel carries through to the back-end. There is a slight robustness that also builds though the middle of the sip. The back end is velvety smooth throughout the swallow. You can taste the alcohol as it goes down but in almost enhances the smoothness. There is also the most comforting warming effect as this delectable brew goes down. The finish is rich with roasted malts and notes of dark chocolate, a touch of black coffee along with a very interesting spicy quality. I can’t put my finger on the spice; it may just be the dark chocolate notes but there is a very pleasant rich spicy character to it. In the finish of the first sip it had an almost cinnamon quality to it.

Wow, this is another amazing brew, what a treat!

As it warms and opens up a little I’m picking up more flavors. Especially dark fruit notes are coming through more strongly now.

This is going down too easy for an 11% stout. I’m almost to the bottom of the snifter and it seems as it I just started this review.

The head retention has been pretty good on this one. Even now at the bottom of the glass there is still a thin layer covering the top of the beer. There has been moderate to good lacing also.

Well, you can start to pick up the alcohol as this warms. Don’t get me wrong this is still an exquisite brew.

Lees?
Ok technically I don’t know if it can be call the sediment on the bottom of this one Lees since it’s not a Belgian. I have been holding it back and just poured the last couple of ounces into my empty glass.

It’s not funky like a Belgian. It’s not even enjoyable.  It is very bitter and chalky. It actually has an almost medicine taste to it; really not good at all. But the general rule still holds true for this one also. Do not pour the Lees/Sediment from a bottle conditioned beer into the glass, it will change the taste of the beer. I’m so glad I didn’t pour this directly into the glass it would have dramatically changed my experience.

Actually I wished I hadn’t tasted these at all. Now I have a medicine taste in my mouth instead of that luscious imperial stout.

Final Thoughts:

This is an exceptional Imperial Stout. I highly recommend this to any imperial stout lover. It is fairly expensive at $6.50 or so for only a 10.14oz bottle. But it was a nice treat from the Easter Bunny just the same.

I’m going to end up with A+ on this one. This is an Exquisite Imperial Russian Stout. Another great import from 12 percent imports.

Monday, May 10, 2010

BrewDog/Stone Bashah



Bashah
 

Brewed by:
BrewDog Ltd
Scotland

American Strong Ale
 

8.60% ABV





 



Commercial Description:
What does it mean? Yes, what indeed does it all mean. Meaning of course is elusive and illusive. It can’t or shouldn’t be found on this bottle. Should it? Yet what if it was? Would you begin to look for pearls of wisdom or life direction on a beer label? Perhaps it’s been there all along. Since meaning is a mere illusion, perhaps we shouldn’t let it have any influence on our destiny. This particular beer refused to succumb to the illusion of meaning or allow capricious parameters to have any influence on its own fermented fate. Are we even asking the right question? Are you feeling frustrated in the emptiness? If so, that could be because someone got to this beer before you, and thus there’s a reason for that emptiness. It’s empty. And if so, perhaps there indeed is not any meaning for you here after all. Style over Substance, or Substance over the scriptures of Style? The latter, thank you very much. Twice.
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:
330ml bottle, ~ $6.50

Background:
Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning Continues. I had this beer in early March. It was part or the Beers of the British Isles or St. Patties Day Warm up, beer tasting at State Line Liquors. I thought it was the winner, the best beer of the tasting. It has been sitting in the cabinet ever since waiting for me to review it. 

This is a unique collaboration brew from Brew Dog in Scotland and Stone in Escondido, California. It is actually brewed in Scotland.

I’m having a little bit of glass confusion. I’m not really sure what style glass to go with on this brew. It’s a stout so I could go with a Tumbler, it’s Belgian so I could go with a cervoise or chalice and it’s almost imperial in strength so I could also use a snifter. Dilemma, dilemma, what glass to use….

I talked myself into the chalice. Well, I actually talked myself out of the other glasses.

Review:
The beer pours a dark brown completely opaque with no light whatsoever getting through. It has a modest dark tan head.

What a nose! Rich, stout like dark roasted malts with a yeasty background and notes of dark fruit, chocolate, a hint of spice and coffee. If the aromas are any indication of the beer this is shaping up to be a very rich and complex brew.

Wow, no I really mean it, WOW! This is nice, very nice. And as the nose predicted it is a complex brew.

Sweet dark roasted malts up front, then there is a somewhat creamy mouthfeel in mid-sip along with more robust malts. There is a malt bitterness/robustness that builds though out the middle of the sip. That robustness peeks at the top of the swallow but it’s never overpowering. The back end is still fairly robust but this is where you start to pick up some spice and some interesting yeasty notes as well. The finish is fairly dry with a slight hop bitterness, some leftover malt bitterness. The alcohol may also play a role in the dry finish. Although I must say you do not taste the alcohol you only sense the drying effect from it. The final aftertaste is a wonderful mixture of nutty flavors, almost smoky along with dark fruit, rich chocolate and some coffee malt flavors as well. There is that classic malty coating throughout your mouth and you find yourself exploring all the nooks and crannies with you tongue searching and savoring all the nuances of this delectable brew.

The warmer it gets the smoother and creamier it also seems to be getting. Again I don’t have my thermometer (broken) so I can’t give you actual temperature on this one. It is still somewhat chilled so I would suspect mid to low 60’s.

This is one amazing brew.

The head has diminished to a patchy island in the middle with a still sizable ring around the edge of the glass.

This is so unique I’m really having a hard time trying to come up with something to compare it to. It is stout like in some aspects of the malt flavor and that classic malt coating throughout your mouth. But it is also Belgian Like with the yeasty characteristics and some complexity like that of a Belgian Quad and the malty richness of a Belgian Black. And then you have a rich toasted almost smokiness quality to this like an America Brown Ale.

I guess the bottom line is that this is unlike any other beer that I’m had. It really does not fit any particular style. Maybe that’s why Beer Advocate calls it an American Strong Dark Ale. While BrewDog/Stone call it a “Black Belgian Style Double India Pale Ale”.

No matter what anyone else calls it, I’m calling it Fantastic!

The end of the glass has got to be pretty close to room temperature and it’s a warm night in early May. Even at this temperature this is still fantastic; smooth, rich and creamy malty goodness.

AHHH, Good to the last warm drop.

This is a solid A maybe an A+ for me. It doesn’t matter if you put this in a stout category of a Belgian Black, or just a Strong Dark Ale, it is one fantastic beer for any category,

I highly recommend this beer to anyone that like a rich robust stout, black or even a robust porter. This ale is sure to please any dark roasted malt lover.

Excuse me while my tongue searches for hidden remnants of this delectable brew.

Friday, May 7, 2010

De Dolle Stille Nacht


Stille Nacht

Brewed by:
Brouwerij
De Dolle Brouwers

Belgium

Belgian Strong Dark Ale


12.00% ABV



  


Commercial Description:
Stille Nacht (Silent Night) is a prestige beer from De Dolle Brouwers brewed for Christmas. It has the highest density of any Belgian beer (27°Pl), has been boiling for 5 hours, brewed with pale malt with white candi sugar in the kettle. The Nugget hops and dry hopping gives an extra bitterness to balance the extreme sweetness due to the density. The taste triangle is completed with some acidity of the fermentation. It is a very interesting beer to age. We have samples of every bottling we have done so far and aging does not mean decreasing quality with this beer. Keep some samples at 10°C and mark the year on the cap with an alcohol marker. Cheers!!
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:
330ml bottle, ~ $6.50

Background:
Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning Continues. This is a special Christmas Bier. The only problem is that it’s late February early March before we see it in the states. The cap on this bottle is stamped, October 2009. I assume they let it bottle condition before releasing it and then another month or so to get to the states.

This is another one of my favorite specialty Belgians. I have not had it yet since starting this blog and have not given it a full review. So let’s see how she holds up. And I just happen to still have a Christmas Glass out, imagine that.

Review:
The bier pours a slightly cloudy pale amber with ruby almost orange hues and an off white head. The head dissipated fairly quickly.

The nose is delightful with rich caramel malt aromas, sweet light hop and alcohol aromas as well with some spicy notes.


This is just heavenly. This brew has sweet malts with a somewhat light mouthfeel and the most pleasant warming effect, along with just the right amount of spicy notes. A real masterpiece. Let me attempt a play by play.

Sweet caramel malts up front on the tip of the tongue then a dry but very pleasant mid-sip mouthfeel. You can start to detect the alcohol in middle of the sip but just when you think it is going to be overwhelming it levels off at the back-end. There is a very interesting creaminess to the mouthfeel that still carries through enough that it smoothes out the back-end. For a 12% ABV this is very easy going down. Most beers of this ABV have harshness or booziness at the top of the swallow that clinches the throat and makes it hard to swallow. This is just the opposite. There is a velvety smoothness on the back-end that carries through the swallow and allows this 12% nectar to glide down the throat effortlessly. There is also the most comforting warming effect as it goes down. It stays smooth and creamy through and through. The finish is very dry with some spicy notes and an almost citrusy aspect to it. The final aftertaste is an exquisite mixture of creamy malts light hops, along with some spice and fruit notes. You are left with the most interesting creamy coating throughout your mouth. Wow, this is really good.

Vanilla Cream Soda just popped into my head. This bier is like an adult version of that childhood favorite. Remember as a kid how it left that sweet creamy coating in you mouth; unlike any other soda. That is what this bier reminds me of. Yeah, I know, I’m out there.

There is also an odd refreshing quality to this bier.  Or this brew may just be hitting that comfort zone for me. At any rate it is very enjoyable and relaxing.

This is warming nicely also. I don’t have my thermometer but this one is getting pretty close to room temperature and it is just exquisite. It really seems to be getting smoother as it warms. I would have thought that the alcohol would make this a little harsher at these temperatures but it hasn’t.
 
The final few sips were warmer then room temperature. I purposely held the glass to warm the bier a little. The outcome was amazing! This in another one of the “Beer Liqueurs” well in this case it’s a “Bier Liqueur”. Those final sips were silky smooth, creamy, and warming. This bier will go in the same category as Samichlaus and World Wide Stout as excellent warmers. And I mean warm, like 75 plus degrees.

A+ for Stille Nacht; an exquisite Belgian Christmas Ale for any season. Even for May this is a perfect nightcap beverage.
This is one of those specialty beers that you just have to treat yourself to once in a while. It is a Strong Ale so it’s not for everyone but then again what beer is for everyone. I highly recommend that you pick up a bottle while it’s still around and same it for next Christmas. 

The Lees:
Man O Man I’m so glad I did not pour these lees into this bier; these would have drastically changed my experience. For lees these were not bad but there is an odd bitterness and of course a yeastiness that I did not experience in this bier. So once again PLEASE save the lees for later.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Courage


Courage
 

Brewed by:
De Dochter
Van De Korenaar
 

Belgium

Belgian Strong Dark Ale
 

8.00% ABV
 






Commercial Description:
*  Style: Strong Wheat Ale, refermentation in bottle
* Alcohol Content: 8%/vol
* Format: 11.2 oz bottle, 20L kegs
* Color: dark ruby, dissipating off-white head
* Tasting Notes: fennel, clove, star anise, roasty, dry finish (ratebeer.com)
(12PercentImports.com)

General Pricing:

330ml bottle, ~ $6.50

Background:
Bier Cabinet Spring Cleaning Continues. This is another bier imported by 12 Percent Imports. So far every one I’ve had from 12 Percent have been exceptional brews. I don’t know anything about this one so let’s get this review started.

Review:
The bier pours a slightly cloudy dark amber with ruby hues and an off white head.

Sweet toasted malts on the nose, along with a nice hop aroma and a unique dryness, is that’s possible on the nose? Whatever that is I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s dry like alcohol but it also somewhat spicy.

This is very unique. I’m not getting the wow factor but it is still very unique.  This bier has a very unique robust toasted, almost smoky malt flavor. I’ve never tasted this in a Belgian before.  Let me try a play by play.

Sweet toasted malts up front on the tip of the tongue then a building robust malty flavor in mid-sip. There is also a noticeable lack of effervescence in mid-sip. The back-end through the swallow is roasted malt bitterness along with a unique spicy note. The spice on the end of the swallow carries through to the finish. The finish is very dry for a Belgian. It is also laden with that roasted spice, whatever that is. The final aftertaste is a toasted malt and spice. The toasted/roasted malt has a very pleasant almost smoky flavor in the final aftertaste.

Hats off to 12 Percent again; this is another very unique Belgian.

The smoky flavor is becoming more predominate as the bier warms. This is. a very good ale. The more I drink it the more I love the unique malt flavors.

I’m not sure what to give this unique brew. This is another one of those 12 percent imports that does not fit a solidly into a category. Regardless of category this is a solid B maybe a B+. I really have to feel that wow factor to go for an A and I didn’t get that from this one. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this bier; it is well worth looking for. This bier has a very unique smoky quality to it, an almost German quality.

I do recommend this bee to anyone that is looking for something different. It’s is on the robust side so it’s not for everyone.

Another unique Belgian; thank you 12 Percent Imports, I can’t wait to try the next one.