Monday, August 30, 2010

Stone Dogfish Head Victory Saison Du BUFF


Saison Du BUFF

Stone, Dogfish Head, Victory Collaboration

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido, California, United States

Saison / Farmhouse Ale


6.80% ABV



 

Commercial Description:
It’s a saison of sorts; hellaciously herbaceous and hopefully contagious. This was not a ready made ale. But it is a ready made collaboration. Meaning Stone and Victory are 2 breweries that are exactly like Dogfish in that they do/brew exactly what they love and they do/brew it exactly like no other brewery out there. (Love - lots of it in this bottle)
(ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $3.50

Background:This is a millstone of sorts. I have not mentioned this on the blog but I started a spread sheet a while back to document my craft beer experiences. Actually I was having a hard time remembering what beers I had and whether or not I liked them. So I started logging entries on a spread sheet to keep track of them. At any rate I updated my spread sheet today and realized that this beer will be my 600th beer. And this is my 193nd review on the blog. So what about the beer?

I saw this collaboration beer at a beer store and just picked it up an impulse. Any craft beer enthusiast appreciates the brewing craftsmanship of Stone, Victory and Dogfish Head so I just had to try this collaboration ale. Plus I am a huge fan of the Belgian Styles including the great Saison/Farmhouse ale.

Review:The beer pours a slightly hazy pale straw with a fairly rich bright white head.

What the heck is that? Sorry this is the most unique nose ever; at least very unexpected. The nose has a lot of spice almost cinnamon like with pepper and citrus notes. These are very unique aromas and also very strong aromas for a such a pale ale.

Wow, the taste is as unique as the nose, maybe even more so. I’m going to have a hard time describing this one. I am really dumbfounded and don’t know how to explain this.

The first experience just left my head spinning. This may be the most unusual beer that I’ve ever had. Well in the sense that it doesn’t keep to any real style. Every sip that I take changes from the previous sip. I am really picking up something different with every sip making this next to impossible for me to explain.

The usual up front on the tip of the tongue malt sweetness is not there. The first sensory experience is a tingling spicy sensation on the tongue. The tingling carries throughout the middle of the sip. There also seems to be a building bitterness and funkiness in mid-sip. The most unusual thing is that the bitterness. It does not seem to be a hop bitterness and these are not roasted malts either so the bitterness can’t be from that.  The back-end has a building intensity but it is also fairly easy to swallow. The intensity is mostly a bitter spicy flavor. The finish is like a tangy Christmas Beer, yes I said Christmas. The spicy notes on the finish remind me of cinnamon and junipers that you would have in a Christmas beer. The final after taste is a unique tang of lingering citrus and spice notes.

My tongue is actually tingling from this experience.

I’m not sure how this sounds. It is really a good beer; actually it’s a great beer. It is just extremely unusual.

I am really picking up different things with every sip. Especially now that it has warmed up a little. We are now at 62 degrees.

I really like this beer.

Just when I thought I couldn’t experience anything else in the sip the final aftertaste in this sip hit me as a tart almost Flemish note out of nowhere.

At this point I think I’m enjoying the artistry of this beer more then I’m enjoying the flavors.

We are now at 67 degrees.

This is just one phenomenal brew. It is incredible to take a sip now and then and experience the growth in flavors of this beer. This complexity reviles any Belgian.

It is amazing that all of these flavors are coming out of such a pale beer. This truly is an Artisan beer.

We are now very close to room temperature and I’m nursing his delicious brew for all I can. 

With all of these flavors I neglected to tell you that this beer also has a fairly dry finish.

Wow, this was really a unique experience. Just for the artistry along this beer is an A+. I am really taken back by this unique and phenomenal brew. This is truly one of a kind; a real masterpiece.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

North Coast Old Stock Ale Old 2010


Old Stock Ale 2010

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
 

Fort Brag, California, United States

Old Ale
 

11.70% ABV
 

 

Commercial Description:As a continuation of North Coast Brewing Co.’s commitment to quality, our Old Stock Ale is crafted in the tradition of our critically acclaimed Pranqster Belgian Style Golden Ale and Old Rasputin Imperial Stout. It’s brewed with classic floor-malted Maris Otter Pale Malt and Fuggles Hops imported from England, so it’s a beer to be served proudly. Like a fine wine, North Coast’s Old Stock Ale is intended to be laid down. With an original gravity of over 1100 and a generous hopping rate, Old Stock Ale is well-designed to round-out and mellow with age. North Coast Brewing Co. Old Stock Ale is a vintage dated ale. We produce a small quantity each year and it remains available from release date until our stock is depleted.
(ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $4.00 each, ~$13.00-$14.00 4 pack
 
Review:The beer pours a dark amber almost brown with a very modest off white head.

The nose is incredible with rich caramel malts, sweet alcohol and a nice slight hop presence.

Oh my goodness, this is amazing. It starts out with sweet malty goodness up front, then the most exquisite smooth and creamy mid-sip. By the time you get to the back-end you expect this to build into an intense big beer but it doesn’t. The back end remains smooth and fairly easy drinking, extremely easy for such a big beer. There is also just a little effervescence during the swallow that masks some of the flavors and actually makes this very easy to swallow. The finish is exquisite with rich malts, a dry hopiness, sweet alcohol and the most comforting warming effect. The final aftertaste is a creamy toasted malt flavor.

Wow, what a great beer.

The malt flavors in this beer are very unique. It has the creamy aspects of a roasted malt stout but the flavor is subdued to more of a toasted caramel malt flavor.

The alcohol in the beer is also very subdued. Oh don’t get me wrong it’s a big beer but you would suspect 9% not 11.7%

This just gets better as it warms. It is now at 70 degrees and I’m liking it more and more.
There is no mistaking that it’s a big beer but Man O Man is it smooth at 70 degrees.

I really can’t tell you how impressed I am with this beer; it has a lot going for it. Rich malt flavors, creamy smooth mouthfeel and the comforting warming effect. This is just one amazingly smooth easy sipping big beer.

This is hands down an A+. What a great beer!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sly Fox Ichor


Ichor

Brewed by:
Sly Fox Brewing Company


Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Quadrupel (Quad)
 

10.00% ABV






Commercial Description:
An Abbot style Quadruple brewed with German Pils and Roast malts and Belgian Candi Sugar, hopped with German Tradition hops. Luscious and seductive, Ichor is brewed for both the body and the soul. This beer will improve with careful aging but is ready to drink now.
(ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:
750ml bottle, ~ $10.00

Background:
 Stopped at the brew pub for lunch and a sampling I decided to take this one home. I must say that everything I sampled was outstanding.
   
Review:
The beer pours a dark brown with just a hint of ruby hues peeking thru around the edges of the glass and an off white to tan head.

The nose is wonderful with rich malts, dark fruit esters and a light sweet aroma, not sure if that’s a light floral hop or alcohol. At any rate this is extremely inviting.

We are starting this one off at 46 degrees

WOW, this is great. What a wonderful first sip. It may be just a touch too sweet on the finish and final aftertaste but all and all this is a pretty good quad.

It starts off with sweet rich malts up front on the tip of the tongue then the most enjoyable mouthfeel in mid-sip. The back-end is nice; rich and malty with a pleasant bite and surprisingly very easy to swallow. The finish is rich with creamy sweet malts and candi sugar. The final aftertaste is a lingering caramel sweetness.

There is a nice creaminess to this beer.

All and all this is a very good Quad. It is lacking in a just a few areas. This beer has a lighter body than what is typical for this style. It is also just a tad too sweet.

 Now that the negatives are out of the way we can get back to this great beer.

We have warmed to 65 degrees now. This is creamier and maltier now that it has warmed and opened up a little.

One thing I forgot to mention was the alcohol. There was a sweetness on the nose that I suspected could be alcohol but that is really the only sign of alcohol in this beer. If you didn’t read the description you would have figured maybe 8 %. It is extremely impressive that this beer is 10%. The alcohol is not masked, this is stealth.

As I’m getting to the bottom of the glass I can see the clarity and lighter body of this beer. I am also finally starting to pick up some alcohol notes now that this has warmed 70 degrees.

It is also interesting how the last few ounces are clinging to the glass. This may be an aspect of the alcohol.

This is a solid A for me; Rich, malty, luscious goodness with dark fruit esters and a silky smooth mouthfeel.
I highly recommend this beer to anyone that likes the rich malty flavors of a Belgian Quad.

This may even be a little young and need to cellar for a while to mature a little. If I ever make it up to their Royersford site I’ll pick up a few warm bottles and cellar one for a while. What a great beer!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

River Horse Tripel Horse


River Horse
Tripel Horse

Brewed by:
River Horse Brewing Co.
 

Lambertville, New Jersey, United States

Tripel
10.00% ABV







Commercial Description:Notice a unique aromatic nose with a hint of vanilla esters, which comes from the Belgian ale yeast. Tripel Horse has a big body and rich mouth feel and finishes mostly dry with only a touch of sweetness. If you shy from some of the sweeter Belgian ales, we think you will enjoy this one. The palate improves with age, so keep some on hand and you can ride Tripel Horse down a new path with each opened bottle.
(ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $10.00-12.00 6pack, $39.00-45.00 case

Background:I gave my oldest a few dollars with instructions to come back with some High Test brews. This was one of the brews she came back with.
   
Review:The beer pours a hazy copper with orange hues and a fairly rich off white head.

The nose is nice with sweet pale malts along with aromas of spice and fruit.

First off the alcohol is not masked at all in this beer. Actually this may be the most predominate aspect of this beer.

Boy I’m having a hard time giving a play by play on this one. There really only seems to be one note of alcohol throughout the taste. Well, that may not be fair but there is not much going on with this beer.

Usually up front there is a malt sweetness but not on this beer. The taste is pretty flat up front with a building alcohol intensity in mid-sip. The back-end is a little more intense; this is not an easy drinking beer. You can tell throughout the swallow that this is a big beer. The finish does have some spicy notes but that is also masked by the alcohol. The final aftertaste does have a little bit of a lingering pale malt flavors.

The bottom line for me is that this beer is not a tripel but an Imperial/Double pale ale. I know that they state that they use Belgian yeast but this beer is missing all of that great complexity, esters and fruity notes that are usually generated from this yeast.

It is a common mistake for American brewers to make Belgians overly sweet. In their attempt not to make the same mistake did the opposite. But the result is a beer without a good flavor just high in alcohol.

I am actually forcing the last few sips. I am really not enjoying this beer at all. This is not warming well either.

It is just down rite nasty at 68 degrees.

I’m going for a D on this. This may really be the worst tripel that I have ever had.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale


Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States

American Barleywine

10.00% ABV

 




Commecerial Discription:Our Barleywine Style Ale is rich & malty with hints of fruity esters & a well-hopped finish. Enjoy this hearty ale with fresh fruit & rich cheese on a cold, winter’s night, or lay it up & savor it with a friend for a special summer treat.
(ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:22oz bottle, ~ $6.50 each

Review:The beer pours a clear amber with ruby hues and a very rich off white to tan head.

The nose is of toasted malts, hops and sweet alcohol. The hops seem to have floral, citrus and pine notes; very interesting.

We are starting this one out at 45 degrees. It’s funny no matter what I do my review beers always seem to warm 5 degrees by the time I get to start the review.

Sweet caramel malts up front then a building malt and hop bitterness thru the middle of the sip. The back-end has intensified some of these malt and hop flavors but it is still fairly easy to swallow.  What a powerful finish; it hits you like a ton of bricks, at least on the first sip. The finish is packed with intense hop and malt flavors. The final aftertaste has a slight pine hop flovor along with some sweet caramel malts.

This is more like an imperial IPA then a barleywine. This beer does not have the typical harshness on the back-end and distinct finish a barleywine. This has a much smoother characteristic to it.

This is actually pretty easy to drink for a 10% barleywine.

The head has diminished to a nice protective layer over the top of the beer with a decent ring and very impressive lacing.

We are now at 58 degrees.

There are more malt flavors coming out now as this beer opens up a little. This is an interesting beer in the fact that it is so intense but also fairly easy drinking. There is also a nice warming effect in the chest as the large swallows to down.
I am really enjoying this beer.  I will have to pick up some more of this for those upcoming chilly nights.

I am convinced that some of the smoothness of this beer is from the rich head. The first sip of the second glass was much smoother then the last sip of the first glass. The only other difference between the first and second glass would be the temperature and the temp of the second glass is at 62 degrees.

This is interesting that I am starting to feel the alcohol effects of this beer and I’m only about half way through the second glass.

We are now at 65 degrees.

As this warms it may be picking up more of that classic barleywine finish. It is still very smooth though.

All and all this is pretty good. I am, well, how do I say this, surprised. I have had some likes and some not so likes (if you will) from Smuttynose but this is clearly a winner.

This must be bottled conditioned as the last couple ounces in the bottle poured much cloudier than the first two glasses.

If these are lees they not bad; that is they are not bitter or foul tasting they just have a chalky taste to them.

I’m going to give this one a B. It is lacking some of those classic barleywine notes but this is still a good beer. Like I stated earlier this is more of a double/imperial IPA than a barleywine. At any rate this is still a good beer. 

If you are interested in trying a barleywine you can’t go wrong with this one for under $7.00.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Brooklyn Black Ops


Brooklyn Black Ops

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery


Brooklyn, New York, United States

Russian Imperial Stout


11.60% ABV







Commecerial Discription:Barrel-aged in Woodford Reserve bottles. Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a robust stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. Supposedly, "Black Ops" was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast, creating big chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oak notes. They say there are only 1000 cases. We have no idea what they’re talking about.
(ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:750ml bottle, ~ $21.00 each

Background:I’m a sucker for anything Brooklyn brews. Well, that didn’t come out right. I’m a huge fan of this brewery. Yeah that’s better. I heard about this when shopping in a small beer store and the owner was telling me how good it was and that he can’t get any more of it. About two weeks later I saw it at another store and picked it up without even looking at the price. Like I said I’m a huge fan of Brooklyn well actually Garret Oliver their brew master. Ok so enough already lets see what this Black Ops thing is all about.
   
Review:The beer pours a dark brown stout dark, completely opaque with no light getting though the glass and a dark tan to chocolate milk colored rich head.

Wow, this nose is amazing. There is so much going on this nose I’m going to have a hard time describing it.

There are extremely rich roasted malts, exquisite dark fruit notes along with toasted nuttiness and a sweetness that I assume is the alcohol. Along with some more typical notes of coffee and chocolate there are also a ton of other notes coming out of this beer that I just can’t explain.

We are starting this one at around 52 degrees. It has been out of the 40 degree beer fridge for a little while now.

Wow, this is a very robust and complex stout. 

Sweet roasted malt up front then a nice creamy middle of the sip. There is also a slight but building malt bitterness in mid-sip. The back-end is where you senses kink in and tell you that this is no lightweight. Although it is surprisingly smooth and easy to swallow you know this is a  big beer. There is still some effervescence during the swallow that masks some of the flavors but they all hit you on the finish. The finish is exquisite. Rich roasted malts, caramel, toasted nuts, dark fruits, coffee and chocolate notes and some yeasty notes all with the most gracious creamy coating throughout your mouth. The final after taste is that classic lingering stout maltiness with an earthiness and alcohol.

There is also the most comforting warming effect from this beer. It’s one of those feelings that make you just want to sink into your seat and enjoy the long slow ride. There will be no, rushing of this beer. I want to take my good old time and savor every sip.

This is one fantastic beer. This makes their black chocolate stout seem like a light weight and I thought that was fantastic.

This is a very unique Imperial Stout. There are subtle flavors here that I can’t even begin to describe. I don’t think I’ve had an imperial stout with this much complexity. What a great beer.

We are now at 60 degrees.

What an amazing beer. One unique thing I’m picking up now at that it has warmed and opened up is a definite hop presence. I really did not notice the hops earlier.

The roasted malts are perfect. So many times there is a harsh bitterness from the roasted malts but I’m not really getting that here. There was a touch of that early on at mid-sip but I’m not getting any malt bitterness now. This is really getting smoother as it warms.

This is extremely frustrating that I cannot articulate what I’m tasting in this beer. This is just exquisite. And it’s getting better and better as it warms.

The end of this first snifter is now at 65 degrees and just fantastic.

There is not just lacing, there is a beer coating left around the bottom and sides of the snifter. This is one rich beer.

This second glass I’m going to warm like I have with some other rich beers. And I don’t mean let it warm to room temperature; I’m going to use the snifter in the palm of my hand to warm this up like you would a fine cognac.

We will start at 61 degrees.

69 degrees
Oh my, this is getting good. I’m somewhat surprised at the amount of combination still. Even the nose is sweeter with more bourbon flavors from the alcohol escaping at these warmer temperatures.

79 degrees
This is just beyond belief. I’m just sinking in my seat. This is one of the most comforting experiences. This beer at 79 degrees has the most sweet roasted malt flavor. Also the chocolate and vanilla oak favors are outstanding.

I still have a good amount left in the snifter. Let’s see how high I can go with this.

81 degrees
Outstanding, this is just amazing. It is incredibly smooth at this extreme temperature.

89 degrees
It is astonishing that this beer has just gotten smoother and it warms, even to this extreme of 89 degrees. This is just one phenomenal beer. I realize that I’ve been saying that but this is just beyond belief. How can you warm a beer to 89 degrees and it not pick up anything unpleasant? But not just that it’s actually has gotten better, richer and smoother than it was chilled.

I still have some left in the bottle lets go back to that and compare it to the warmed beer.

Ok, we are backed to a somewhat chilled 67 degrees.

That’s interesting by comparison there is a little more harshness or malt bitterness with this that I did not notice warm. And while this was chilled and gradually warming I did not notice this malt bitterness. This may also be a slight hop bitterness?

Man, I don’t know how I’m going to end his review. My limited vocabulary has run out of words a long time ago.

This is another great masterpiece from Brooklyn. Garret Oliver is simply the master of his trade. Words just cannot describe this beer, well my words can’t.

This is hands down an A+. I still don’t know why I haven’t come up with an O for outstanding but I’m stuck with an A+ still the highest rating I can give a beer.

This is a very costly beer but I really do think it is worth it. Actually I’m going to look for a few more to cellar for a while. This beer has my highest recommendation to anyone that likes an imperial stout. Please do yourself a favor and treat yourself to this amazing beer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hacker-Pschorr Anno 1417


Hacker-Pschorr 
Anno 1417

Brewed by:
Hacker-Pschorr Bräu GmbH

Germany

Keller Bier / Zwickel Bier

5.50% ABV
 






Commercial Description:"Kellerbier" - unfiltered lagerbeer. It is named after a old lagering cellar at the brewery. (ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:????


Background:This is another gift from my friend Gene. This will be my first time having this beer. I’m very intrigued by the label and swing top, can’t wait to get started. This will also be a good start to the upcoming great beer seasons of Fall and Winter brews.

Review:The beer pours a hazy pale copper with a very rich bright white head. The head has a very unique look to it with combination of creamy and soapy bubbles.

The nose is very interesting. At first you think typical German lager malt and hop aromas. Then you start to pick up more interesting aspects of richer malts almost like a Swartz bier (dark lager). There is also in earthy almost mineral water aromas on the nose of this beer.  The nose is so interesting I can’t wait to dive in and see what this taste like.

Wow, this is really nice, different but also very good. There is a very unique taste to this beer, it’s a hard to put my finger on it. It’s mineral, like hard water, similar to some English ales with that unique mineral water taste. Let me try a play by play.

The experience starts out with light sweet malts up front on the tip of the tongue. Then there is a very nice almost creamy mouthfeel during the middle of the sip. Also in mid-sip there is a building malt harshness. Well, I’m not sure harshness is correct it’s a building intensity of that mineral flavor. This building flavor carries through to the back-end. There is a lot of flavor on the back-end throughout the swallow. The finish if fairly dry with this unique malt flavor and some light hops just enough to dry but not enough to bitter the beer. The lingering aftertaste is that of this unique malt flavor.

I’m sorry but I’m having a hard time describing this malt flavor. It has qualities of caramel malt but without the sweetness. It has an almost chalky quality like a wheat beer but again without the sweetness also. And it sometimes reminds me of a Schwarzbier. I have had a few other German beers like Kulmbacher EKU Pils with this same quality but I have not reviewed them. Also this flavor is very close to that mineral water flavor in some English Ales like Newcastle Brown.

All and all I really do like this beer. The unique malt flavor may take a little to get use to but once accustomed to it this is really a pretty good beer.

There is a nice, almost creaminess to this beer.

I’m not sure if I’m just getting more use to these flavors or weather the beer is getting smoother as it warms but I am enjoying this more now as it warms and opens up a little.

We are now at 67 degrees. Although I did not take a starting temperature it must have been between 40 – 45 degrees since the beer fridge is at 40 degrees.

There is also a nice yeastiness to this beer. That may also be part of this unique flavor.

I’m giving this beer a B. I usually don’t rate beers on the first review of that style but I’m making an exception in this case. This rating may go up or down as I have more of this Keller Bier / Zwickel Bier style but for now I’m sticking to a B. Even for a good overall rating.

I do recommend this beer. It’s earthy malt flavors and heartiness will be widely appealing to a great many beer drinkers.

Thanks Gene for another good beer.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mr Beer Home Brewing

Well, we finally did it. Home Brewing was finally started last week.

We started off as about as simple as you can get with a Mr. Beer home brew kit. Actually I have had this kit for over 10 years and have never used it until now. Don't worry I bought a new ingredients kit to brew with.

As far as home brewing kits go, it doesn't get any simpler than this. One can of hop malt extract, sugar, water, and yeast. We brewed last week and bottled today. There's how it went down.


Last Week Brewing

Measuring the water for the boil.


 Pouring in the hop malt extract.


Adding the sugar.


Pouring the wort into the barrel fermentor.


Topping it off and cooling down for Yeast Pitching.


Pitching the yeast.





Waiting for fermentation.



One Week Later Bottling
Quality Control Taste Test


Priming the bottles with sugar.


Bottling


Bottling


Starting two weeks of bottle conditioning in the beer cabinet.

I guess the next post on this subject will be a review.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

He'Brew Origin Pomegranate Ale

 
He'Brew Origin 
Pomegranate Ale

Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company (He'Brew)
 

San Francisco, California

American Strong Ale


8.00% ABV





Commercial Description:Brewed with the juice of over 10,000 luscious pomegranates, ORIGIN is a complex, rich and balanced Imperial Amber Ale with a truly unique character. The pomegranate juice is added during fermentation, leaving only the residual sugars, which serve to balance the hop bitterness.
(ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:22oz bottle, ~ 7.00

Review:The beer pours a slightly hazy amber with copper hues and an off white head.

The nose is very unusual with rich toasted/caramel malts, citrus hop aromas and a very interesting fruit sweetness. I assume that is the pomegranates.

Humm, I’m nut sure what to think about this one. This may be difficult to dissect so bare with me.

Sweet up front on the tip of the tongue but that does not last long. It is replaced by an odd mid-sip building bitterness. This is a very unique bitterness. It’s definitely not hops or malts it must be from the pomegranates. The back-end has more of this sweet bitterness and is not very easy drinking. The finish is the most strange with a more intense pomegranate bitterness.

I may be making this sound worse than it is. It is not a bad beer it is just not to my liking.

Maybe this will grow on me as it warms.

Well, it’s not getting any better for me. I’m really having a hard time with the sweet bitterness from the pomegranates. I keep sating “pomegranate bitterness” because this does not seem like a hop bitterness. It could however be a hop bitterness but the sweet pomegranate masks it or is confusing my palate. At any rate it’s obvious that I’m not a good person to be evaluating this beer.

It is growing on me as it warms and I’m drinking more of it.  We are now just over 60 degrees. I’m still not digging the final aftertaste. I just cannot discern the bitterness.   

To be fair to the craft brewers at Shmaltz Brewing I’m not going to rate this one. Like I always say “It’s a matter of taste, your personal taste”. This particular beer just doesn’t taste good for me. You, on the other hand you may love this. It is a finely crafted beer it’s just that these particular flavors/bitterness don’t work for me.

I split this beer with my son John and he really liked it. Actually John said that he loved it. He is a big fan of pomegranates and this beer really works for him, not so much for me.

I have been a big fan of the He’Brew beers and I’m sure this one was just a matter of my personal taste. If you like pomegranates and craft beer then I suggest you try this one.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shiner Bock



Shiner Bock

Brewed by:
Spoetzl Brewery

Shiner, Texas

Bock
 

4.40% ABV






Commercial Description:
 Is a distinctive, rich, full-flavored, deep amber-colored beer with an inviting smooth taste without excessive bitterness.
(ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~ 6.00 6 pack, ~$22.00 case

Background:
I think someone in the household pick up a 6 pack of this to drink one day and I just managed to save one in the beer fridge to review.

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

The nose has rich toasted malts and an almost mineral type aroma. There are little to no hop aromas on the nose.

We are starting this one at 44 degrees.

There is a malt sweetness upfront then a fairly uneventful mid-sip. The mid-sip is an odd washing over the tongue with no added flavors or mouthfeel. The backend is extremely easy to swallow. In fact there is not much of anything on the back end and that carries through to the finish. Well, there is an interesting malt or almost mineral type of bitterness or harshness toward the end of the swallow. By the time you get to the finish you realize that there is not much to this beer. Again the finish is pretty uneventful with some toasted malt flavors and a very light hop bite. There is not really much if any of a final aftertaste; maybe just a slight toasted malt note.

There is nothing wrong or offensive about this beer. This beer just doesn’t have much going on. It is almost watery. That may be harsh but throughout the whole tasting experience I kept waiting for richer flavors and they never came.

The beer has warmed slightly to 53 degrees. It has not picked up anything offensive but it also has not picked up any real bock flavors either.

I may be a little harsh on this review. This is not a bad beer. On a positive note it is a very easy drinking beer and is probably well liked by a variety of people. A real craft beer enthusiast may find this very watery but I’m sure this would be a widely liked beer.

This is a good easy drinking beer.

60 degrees now and still pretty good.

I’m going for a C maybe a C- but once again that may be harsh. There really is nothing wrong with this beer I just wish it had a fuller malt aspect to it.

Like I said this is not bad and it is very easy drinking. However I really cannot recommend this beer. If you are interested in a good bock I suggest (when it’s in season) Yuengling Bock.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Poperings Hommel Bier



Poperings Hommel Bier

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Eecke N.V.

Belgium

Belgian IPA
 

7.50% ABV





Commercial Description:Hommel is the local abbreviation of humulus, from the botanical name for the hop plant. Confusingly, it also means bumble bee in Flemish. Poperings Hommelbier is a hoppy, golden-bronze, ale. It is made from a blend of winter, summer and aromatic pale malts. (ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:750ml bottle, ~ $9.00

Background:I got this bier for father day from my son John. It was gift set of (2) bottles and a glass. I guess it’s about time I reviewed it.

Review:The bier pours a hazy golden straw color with a bright white head.

The nose is extremely inviting with light malt and floral hop aromas.

That is a very nice and refreshing Belgian IPA. It starts out sweet up front and then a nice effervesce over the tongue in mid-sip. The back-end is very easy drinking; smooth and easy to swallow. There is a nice hoppy finish; not bitter just good hop flavor.

This is really a nice Belgian IPA.

The rich head adds a nice creaminess to the mouthfeel.

I am really enjoying this one; another perfect summer ale.

We started around 45 degrees and we are now at 52. The flavors are not changing too much as it warms but it does seem a little smoother at these temperatures.

For a pale this is a very flavorful bier. Now that I think about it I assume a lot of this has to do with the hops. There is a nice floral hop flavor but there is really no typical hop bitterness.

I am very impressed with this bier. What a great find. I have to thank my son John for this one.

We are at 62 degrees and this is still one fantastic bier.

The bier has a great light malt and citrus flavors along with a very unique and dry hop finish. I am really liking this bier.

Well, it’s hard to believe but this 750 is almost empty; I only have a couple sips left. This was a very easy drinking bier.

I’m going for a B+ on this. It’s another excellent Belgian IPA. It does not have the complexity or flavors as Piraat or Houblon Chouffe  but it is non the less a great Belgian IPA.

I highly recommend this bier to any authentic Belgian IPA fan. And what I mean by that are actual brewed in Belgium IPA’s. So far I have not had an American brewed Belgian IPA that was anywhere near as good as the Authentic Belgians.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Allagash Curieux (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Tripel)



Allagash Curieux

Brewed by:
Allagash Brewing Company
 

Portland, Maine, United States

Tripel


11.00% ABV





Commercial Description:Allagash Curieux is a unique beer that was aged for 8 weeks in Jim Beam Bourbon Barrels. In July 2004 they brewed a batch of the Triple and placed it in Bourbon barrels from Kentucky.
December ’04 bottles labeled as 11% ABV. Previous vintages at 9.5%
(ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:750ml bottle, ~ $18.00-19.00 each


Review:The beer pours a hazy pale straw with almost copper hues and a white head.

The nose on this beer is wonderful. There are nice light malt and hop aromas, some yeasty notes but most of all this is all on a nice oak/wood backbone. This is a most inviting nose, I can’t wait to dive into it.

Wow, Wow, man o man this is good! I’m going to have a hard time explaining this one. You have to take a great Belgian Triple and then kick it up a notch by aging it in bourbon barrels. This is very unique and also very good.

It starts out like a classic Belgian triple and then it gets interesting.

It taste starts out sweet up front on the tip of the tongue and then a very nice effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. There is a nice earthy buildup toward the back-end. The back-end is a little intense. It’s still easy drinking but you can start to feel the alcohol and the bourbon flavors at the top of the swallow. The back-end does have a real alcohol feel to it throughout the swallow. The finish is fairly dry but also flavorful. There is a very nice complexity that is realized in the finish with nice fruit esters, citrus and yeasty notes along with those unique bourbon barrel flavors. 

This is just exquisite; one amazing brew.

I neglected to take a starting temperature but we are now at 63 degrees. This beer has just gotten better and better as it warms and opens up a little. There are maltier flavors now and you really taste the bourbon at this temperature.

I also neglected to state this but there is also a very nice warming effect from this beer.

I’m going for an A on this. This is a great classic Belgian Tripel with an exquisite Bourbon Barrel touch that really makes it outstanding.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heavy Seas - Red Sky At Night (Saison Ale)



Red Sky At Night

Brewed by:
Clipper City Brewing Co.
Baltimore, Maryland

Saison / Farmhouse Ale
 

7.50% ABV





Commercial Description:Pils, Carapils, and wheat malts, Belgian candi sugar
Magnum and Styrian Goldings Hops
This beer is brewed in the Belgian Saison style (country farm house ale). A potent yet delicate ale, brewed with a unique Belgian yeast which develops a spicy, fruity flavor. Enormously complex. Available from May to around August.
(ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:12oz bottle, ~ $9.00 6pack, ~$33.00

Background:This was another gift from my friend Gene.

Review:The beer pours a hazy yellow straw color with an extremely modest white head.

We are starting this one out at around 44 degrees.

This is a very nice nose; pleasant light malt sweetness, light hops and a nice yeasty aroma.

Wow, I am pleasantly surprised by that first sip. It’s not exactly Belgian Farmhouse but it is pretty good.

It starts out with a light malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue then a nice cleansing in mid-sip. There is a building almost funkiness toward the back end. Don’t worry about my verbiage that funkiness is a good thing for a real farmhouse saison. The back-end is very smooth and easy drinking. The finish is full of good Belgian spice and fruity notes and esters. The final aftertaste has some spice and citrus notes along with a lingering yeastiness. This sounds like a lot but this all and all this beer has a clean dry finish.

This beer doesn’t have the funkiness of an authentic Belgian Farmhouse but it sure does have a lot of the Belgian characteristics.

The beer has warmed to 62 degrees now. It is smoother and more flavorful at these temperatures.

Like I stated in the beginning of this review I am pleasantly surprised with this beer. It is a much better beer than I thought it was going to be.

Even though this is lacking some of the Belgian Authenticity it is still a very good beer. I’m giving this a B. It has been a very nice saison with spice and citrus notes all on a nice Belgian yeasty background.

I do recommend this beer to anyone that likes the Belgian Saison style ale. It does not have the funkiness of a Saison Dupont but it is still and all around good American rendition of the Belgian Classic, Saison Farmhouse style ale.

Thanks Gene, you have redeemed yourself with this one. Not a bad find at all.

Paulaner Hefeweissbier


Paulaner Hefeweissbier

Brewed by:
Paulaner Salvator Thomasbraeu AG
 

Germany

Hefeweizen

5.50% ABV







Commercial Description:High in effervescence and low in calories, with a crisp, refreshing fruity flavor. (ratebeer.com)
   
General Pricing:330ml, 11.2oz bottle, ~ $7.50-$9.00 6pack, ~$29.00-$35.00

Background:I’m really not sure how this ended up in the beer fridge. I or someone in the household must have picked up a 6pack one weekend and I managed to save this one to review. I have had this before but I really can’t remember whether I liked it or not.

Review:The beer pours a hazy straw color with golden hues and a rich bright white head. This beer is also very carbonated with a ton of bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

The nose is wonderful; rich aromas of citrus banana and clove. This is just a great classic Hefeweizen nose.

Sweet light malts up front on the tongue then a nice cleansing effervescence in mid-sip. The back end is extremely refreshing and easy to drink. The finish is sweet with light malts and classic notes of citrus, banana and clove. There is just a bit of a lingering aftertaste, mostly a yeasty banana note.

This is a great summer beer with natural fruit esters and a clean refreshing finish. I’m not sure why American Summer beers have to artificially add fruit to there beers when the naturally generated esters are much more refreshing.

I am really enjoying this beer. This is a very nice classic Hefe.

It is warming a bit but it is still very refreshing. We are now at 60 degrees.

Did I say how much I’m enjoying this?

The head on this beer never quit. It diminished to a very rich protective layer over the top of the beer but is going to be there till the end. Also the lacing has been quite impressive.

Well, it looks like this review is almost over since I am down to just about one sip left.

This has been a very nice enjoyable and refreshing beer. Not quite a session but I can envision a German bier garden with people sitting around for hours talking and drinking this beer.

I’m going for a B on this one. This is a very good easy drinking summer beer. The rich wheat flavors and natural fruit esters make this a most enjoyable and refreshing summer ale.

I highly recommend this beer to anyone that likes or that is interested in trying a classic German Hefeweizen. There are no strong flavors that could be offensive. This is just a nice easy drinking beer. Not the best Hefeweizen but a darn good one. I still hold Scheider Weisse Original as my gold standard for this style.