Saturday, June 19, 2010

Samuel Adams LongShot Mile High Barleywine

LongShot Mile High Barley Wine Ale

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Boston, Massachusetts

American Barleywine

9.80% ABV

Commercial Description:Ben brewed this ale to mark his 100th batch of homebrew. The beer is rich and malty, with a hint of caramel and plum. Brewed with citrusy American hops and a blend of six varieties of malt, the sweet and dark fruit notes in this beer linger on the palate.” (

General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $8.00 - $12.00 6 pack, ~ $29.00 - $46.00 case

Background:This is another one that has been sitting for weeks for me to review. I had this once at the end of a dinner party and thought it was pretty good. It will be interesting to see how it holds up during a full review.

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

The nose is rich with robust toasted malts and hops.

That’s a barley wine for sure; robust malts and hops and that classic Barleywine harshness. There is a unique harshness to the barley wine style and this beer does have it.

It starts out almost sweet on the tip of the tongue but that is only for a split second. It is immediately replaced with a robust malt bitterness followed by a hop bitterness that carries through the middle of the sip to the back end. The back end has a much stronger robustness to it. There is a clinching of the throat at the top of the swallow that makes this robust ale not so easy to drink. That’s not bad its par for the style and makes these robust ales more of a sipping ale rather than a drinking or guzzling ale. At the end of the swallow into the finish you are hit with an almost harsh hop and malt robustness. Again par or the style, Barleywines are not for the faint of heart.  The finish ends fairly dry, mainly due to the hops and alcohol. There is a lingering classic Barleywine aftertaste.

I’m sorry that sounded a lot worse than it actually tasted. There is a unique robust almost harsh style to a Barleywine that is hard for me to describe. All and all this is a very good Barleywine. It has the classic Barleywine robustness in malt and hop bitterness. This is very enjoyable.

It has warmed to room temperature and picked up no unpleasantness whatsoever.

I’m going to give this a B for a very good Barleywine.

The robustness of a Barleywine is not for everyone but if you like Barleywine I highly recommend that you try this one.  

I was pretty impressed with this year’s Longshot winners. All three were very good beers. I strongly recommend picking up a six pack while they are still available.

Lemon Pepper Saison
Old Ben Ale
High Barley Wine Ale

Samuel Adams LongShot Old Ben Ale

LongShot Old Ben Ale

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Boston, Massachusetts

Old Ale

9.00% ABV

Commercial Description:Michael Robinson’s Old Ben Ale is a malty English-style brew boasting notes of dried fruit, nut, and caramel. A slight bitterness balances the combination of five malts in this full bodied beer. Light brown with reddish highlights and good clarity, the ingredients of this English-style brew are all American with the exception of the yeast which is distinctively English. Created to enjoy on cold nights or as an after dinner treat, Mike’s Old Ale is 9% alcohol by volume, about twice that of the average beer. An experienced homebrewer, Mike was recognized as a finalist in the 2008 Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest, as well as in the 2007 Samuel Adams® Patriot Homebrew Contest.

General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $8.00 - $12.00 6 pack, ~ $29.00 - $46.00 case.

Background:This is the second in the LongShot winner series. It has also been sitting around for weeks waiting for me to review. I have had this once before. Actually it was the same dinner that we had the Lemon Pepper Saison paired with grilled fish. We had this more or less as a dissert beer and at the time I thought it was pretty good. Lets see how it does on a full review.

Review:The beer pours a clear dark amber with ruby hues and a fairly rich off white head.

This is a very nice nose with rich sweet toasted malts and just a hint of floral hops.

Oh, smooth rich and soothing. This is a great malty English Ale. Sweet almost roasted caramel malts upfront then a very pleasant almost creamy mid-sip. The back end starts to build on these nice malt flavors and it is smooth and easy to swallow. At the end of the swallow you can start to pick up more of these rich malts and there is also a soothing almost warming effect at the end of the swallow. The finish is rich and malty. Not Porter or Stout Porter like but just a nice rich English malt.  You really can’t taste the alcohol but you can sure feel it. By the time you get to the finish you are slouching back in your seat with a long relaxing exhale.  There is a lingering aftertaste of slight English hops but mostly those wonderful English malts.  

This is good, really good. This beer can hold its own against any British Isle Ale, Scotch Ale or Wee Heavy. I realize that this is an English Ale but it drinks more like a Scotch Ale or Wee Heavy. This beer does not have that typical English mineral water taste to it. It is much smoother, almost creamy in comparison to an English Brown or English Old Ale.  

The beer just gets better as it warms. It’s hard to imagine it getting smother but it is. Oh my, this is good.

I’m a sucker for a good tasting warm beer and this one has drawn me in. I’m giving this an A- for an excellent English Ale.

I highly recommend this beer to anyone that is looking or a good English Ale or Wee Heavy.

Samuel Adams LongShot Lemon Pepper Saison

LongShot Lemon Pepper Saison

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Boston, Massachusetts

Saison / Farmhouse Ale

6.40% ABV

Commercial Description:Jeremy White, who works in the IT department at Samuel Adams, channeled his love of Belgian beers to create his Lemon Pepper Saison, a classic Belgian-style brew. Jeremy’s flavorful, refreshing and lighter-bodied beer is brewed with Grains of Paradise, an exotic tropical spice also found in Samuel Adams Summer Ale. The peppery flavor is complemented by a slightly sweet aroma with hints of vanilla and citrus, making this beer the perfect cool down to a hot summer day.

General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $8.00 - $12.00 6 pack, ~ $29.00 - $46.00 case

Background: This is the first of three in this year's Longhot winner series. It has been sitting in the fridge for weeks waiting to be reviewed. I have had this a few times while waiting to do a full review. This saison was great when paired with grilled fish. I speculated at the time that this beer maybe better paired with food then along. So lets see if the Lemon Pepper Saison can stand up on it’s own.

Review:The beer pours a clear pale amber almost copper with orange hues and a fairly rich bright white head.

The nose is a wonderful Belgian Saison; rich yeasty aromas of spice, clove, banana and citrus notes. This is extremely inviting especially to a Belgian nut like me.

Man, is this nice. It may be a little spicier than a typical Saison and it also may be lacking some of that authentic “Farmhouse Funk”. But putting that aside this is an excellent American version of the Classic Belgian Saison.

OK, now that I got that off my chest we can continue reviewing this beer.

It starts out sweet on the tip of the tongue, then a very nice effervescence along with a building tartness in mid-sip. On the back-end you start to pick up a little more of that tartness along with some citrus notes. There is also a fair amount of carbonation release during the swallow that help mask some of the flavors. In the finish all of the flavors hit you at once. This explosion of flavor is almost startling on the first sip. There is a fair amount of peeper spice not a black pepper more of a coriander. The finish is also full of the citrus notes along with some banana and clove all on a nice yeasty background.

This is a pretty spicy beer but it is not overwhelming. And don’t let the name mislead you. This lemon pepper is nothing like the common spice that you would put on chicken. The lemon in this beer is nothing more then a heavy citrus note and the pepper is not a black pepper but more like coriander. The spice and citrus notes work well together in this beer.

All and I this is a really good Saison.

The head on this beer never really quit. There are just a few ounces left and the beer is still protected by a nice layer and there is also some pretty nice lacing.  

I’m still not sure if this beer is better alone or with a meal. The spice and citrus notes on that yeasty background lends itself perfectly to a grilled fish dinner. This beer can stand on its own also but the spiciness may be too much for some.

I’m going to give this a B. It really is a good Saison.

I do recommend this beer to anyone that likes Saisons; you will not be disappointed in this beer. I strongly recommend pairing this beer with any grilled fish. The citrus and pepper notes are an outstanding complement to the fish. This beer is good on it’s own but it may be better paired with grilled fish dinner.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Kona Wailua Wheat

Wailua Wheat

Brewed by:
Kona Brewing Company
Kona, Hawaii

American Pale Wheat Ale

5.40% ABV


Commercial Description:Limited release. Swimming in a fresh water pool at the base of a cascading waterfall is what we all imagine we would find in paradise. On Maui, follow the old Hana Highway and you will find such a place – Wailua Falls. This plunging cascade of clear water is the inspiration for our Limited Release Wailua Wheat. This golden, sun colored ale has a bright, citrusy flavor that comes from the tropical passion fruit we brew into each batch. Sit back, relax and enjoy paradise anytime.

General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $8.50 6 pack, ~ $31.00 case.

Background:I had to try this after having the Kona Fire Rock. I picked up a 6 pack at State Line Liquors last weekend. I had one right away and thought it was pretty good. I shared a few and actually use two bottles on the last ribs that I smoked. I guess I should explain that. I generally smoke ribs for about 5 hours they do start to dry out a little so for the last hour I wrap them in foil and add some liquid, usually some apple juice. This time the liquid was Kona Wailua. I was told by my better half that they were the best ribs that I have ever made, so take that for whatever its worth.

And finally I kept this one to give a full review.

Review:The beer pours a clear pale golden straw with a diminishing bright white head.

This is a refreshingly inviting nose. There are light malts, floral hops and a very interesting sweetness. I assume that the sweetness is from Passion Fruit.

Sweet light malts upfront then a very pleasant effervescence at mid-sip. During the middle of the sip you also start to get some of the sweet fruity notes. The back-end is very easy to swallow. There is also a creaminess on the back and it’s here on the back-end that pleasant light hops start making their presence known. The finish is somewhat sweet but also fairly dry. Yes, this is a little contradictory. It is basically a dry finish but there is a unique fruity sweetness also. There is not much of a final aftertaste but there is a slight lingering fruit note.

The first time I had this I was very confused by the fruit flavor. I have never had Passion Fruit so I did not know what that tastes like. The other confusing factor is that I kept expecting lemon citrus notes and I never got them.

I normally do not like fruity summer beers but this one is very unique and very well crafted. It is really a nice refreshing summer ale.

It is now at 62 degrees and still very nice. I don’t see this getting much warmer since it is so good and refreshing it’s not going to sit that long.

This is good but it is getting a little to sweet for me as it warms. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad or offensive in any way, it’s just a little too sweet for my liking.

All and all this is a very good summer wheat ale. I’m going to give this a B+. That may be a little high but this is a very unique and well crafted ale. I am now 3 for 3 on beers from Kona; Pipeline Porter , Fire Rock Pale Ale and now this refreshing Wailua Wheat brewed with Passion Fruit.

I do highly recommend this beer to anyone that likes the Blue Moon Honey Moon or other Summer Wheat ales. Just don’t look for the typical lemon citrus notes like I did. Just enjoy it for what it is a refreshing, easy drinking light summer ale.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Magic Hat Wacko


Brewed by:
Magic Hat 

Brewing Company

Burlington, Vermont

Fruit / Vegetable Beer

4.50% ABV

Commercial Description:This beer truly defies style. A portion of the fermentable sugars that make up this beer come from beet sugar. Real beet extract is used which gives the beer a beautiful light red color. It’s body is inviting and the taste is smooth. Hops are barely perceivable and are there to balance out the sweetness from the malt.

General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $ 800 6 pack, ~ $29.00 case.

Background:This is another gift and request from my buddy Gene. I have never had this beer and I don’t know anything about it. So let’s get this show on the road.

Review:The beer pours a pale amber with strawberry red hues and a white head.

The nose has caramel malt aromas some light floral hops and a unique sweetness.  The sweetness aroma is light, fruity but also very unique.

That was different. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I didn’t get it. This isn’t bad. I think I was expecting something really wacky; extremely sweet or even sour but this just has a light fruity note to it not an overwhelming sweetness.

There is a light malt sweetness up front then a very nice effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. The back end is clean, and very easy to swallow. The finish is crisp and very refreshing along with some fruity notes. The final aftertaste is slightly sweet but no long lingering flavors.

For a summer beer I guess this isn’t too bad. Personally I really don’t understand this fruity summer beer craze. This is refreshing but it is also somewhat confusing. Well, confusing may not be the right word. I just don’t understand why you would brew a beer like this. For me, get rid of the fruit and just give me a decent straight up light blond ale. Now that would be a good summer beer.

On a more positive note, there is nothing offensive about this beer. It is somewhat pleasant and refreshing.
This beer is changing as it warms and not for the better. It is now at 64 degrees and the sweetness is stronger and not very pleasant. This sweet taste is just downright odd. I don’t know what it is but I do know it’s not good; at least not now that it has warmed.

I’m going to give this a C. Actually it’s not bad when cold it just doesn’t warm well. And fundamentally this odd fruit sweetness may be just too odd for a good refreshing beer.

I really can’t recommend this beer. But at the same time I can see how it may be appealing to the fruity summer beer crazed crowd.

Thanks Gene, this is one that I would not have bought on my own.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lindemans Cassis Lambic

Lindemans Cassis

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Lindemans


Lambic – Fruit
4.00% ABV

Commercial Description:Lindemans Cassis is a lambic made from local barley, unmalted wheat, and wild yeast. After spontaneous fermentation the lambic is aged in oak. Black currants are added creating a secondary fermentation and yielding an ale of exceptional flavor and complexity.

General Pricing:
330ml bottle, ~ $6.00
750ml bottle, ~$10.00

Background:This was totally impromptu. Actually this will probably not be a review. I had a bottle in the fridge and when we were having a berry fruit bowl dessert it seemed natural to pour this bier over it. Well, seemed natural to me. At any rate I took some pictures so let’s see how this goes.

Review:The Bier pours a dark ruby almost purple in color with an almost pink rich head.

This is a very sweet and fruity nose, with sweet black currents and yeasty background.

Well, this is really too sweet for me. It’s like a carbonated blueberry juice if you could image what that may taste like. I don’t think I have actually had a Currant but based on what this taste like I suspect that Currants are very similar to blueberries. 

There is also a very tart and sour background to this that comes from the base Lambic. Fruit is added to the base lambic and then another fermentation and aging after that. So this style of bier does have some complexity but the bottom line is that it is really just too sweet for me. It’s ok to sip but I don’t think I could consume a bottle or for that matter even a full glass.

But on the other hand, it makes a great topper!

This was excellent when poured into a bowl of fresh berries. I would suspect it would hold up to ice cream also. In this respect it is very similar to Framboise.

Well, I’m not really sure what this was; somewhat of a review but mostly just an FYI on another fruit lambic.

This almost more of a warning then a recommendation but don’t buy a fruit lambic and expect something that taste like beer. They are very sweet and tart carbonated syrup. Not quite that thick but much heavier then any type of juice. 

So if you are looking or something different try a fruit lambic. And Yes, it is really great over fresh berries or ice-cream.