Thursday, September 30, 2010

Swashbuckler Captain Rude's Blackwater Stout

Captain Rude's Blackwater Stout

Brewed by:
Swashbuckler Brewing Co.
PA RenFaire
Manheim, PA

English Oatmeal Stout

??% ABV

Well it’s PA Renfaire Season again. And since my daughter Molly works there that means a grower for dad. I reviewed this beer last year; Captain Rude's Blackwater Stout it was actually my 24th review. I’m not sure if I need to review this again but I did make a slight improvement in the bringing home process. This time I make sure Molly had a cooler so the grower will stay cold on the ride home. Plus I did not rate this beer last year so I think I owe it a second review.

The beer pours a dark brown, stout dark, completely opaque with no light showing through at all. This beer also has produced a nice dark tan head.

The nose is nice with rich robust dark roasted malts. There are also very pleasant notes of chocolate, coffee and something sweet; vanilla, alcohol or maybe it’s just a nice hop presence. 

This is nice. It is however a very robust stout.

It starts out with sweet dark roasted malts up front on the tip of the tongue, then a nice smooth mouthfeel throughout the middle of the sip. There is also a building malt bitterness or robustness as you get to the back-end. The back-end is robust but still fairly easy drinking. The finish is fairly dry for such a rich malt stout with a sharp hop and malt bitterness. The final aftertaste has that classic malt (stout) coating throughout your mouth. Along with the lingering rich malt flavor there is a sharpness to the final aftertaste. This may be some of that lingering hop and malt bitterness.

As this beer warms it seems to get smoother but the final aftertaste seems to be more robust. It’s not harsh or offensive just more robust.

Well, I’m obviously doing more drinking than typing since I just poured my third glass from the grower.

I am really enjoying this beer. It is different from most of the stouts that I have had. I like the hearty robustness and rich malt flavors. This is really a good stout.

I’m not sure if it’s the handling improvements with the cooler or what but I like this one more than I did last years stout.

I’m going to give this a B. That may be a little low but I have not had too many English Oatmeal Stouts to compare this to. This is a very good robust and hearty stout. I highly recommend this to anyone traveling to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire this season.

Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest-Märzen


Brewed by:
Hacker-Pschorr Bräu GmbH


Märzen / Oktoberfest

5.80% ABV

Commercial Description:
Bavarian barley slow roasted, caramelized to a rich, red amber color combined with the purest spring waters from the Alps, exclusive yeast and the finest Hallertau hops.

General Pricing:
~$9.50 6 pack, ~$35.00 case

 This was another gift from my good friend Gene. It’s funny that I reviewed 22 Oktoberfest beers last year and I missed getting this one and I here it is one of the best. So lets get started and see what Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest has for us.

The beer pours a clear copper with amber hues and an off white head. The head was modest and faded fairly quickly

The nose nice with rich caramel almost toasted malt aromas and floral hops.

Ahhh that’s a nice Oktoberfest! There is a nice caramel malt sweetness upfront then a very pleasant almost creamy mouthfeel in the middle of the sip. The back-end is smooth and very easy to swallow. The finish is fairly dry but there is also a malt aspect to it as well. There are just enough hops to dry the finish a little but there is no bitterness to this beer whatsoever. The final aftertaste is more of a slight lingering malt flavor but this is also mild as well.

I’m not sure I did that any justice. This is really a very good tasking and easy drinking Oktoberfest.

The overall flavor is a little lighter than some of the other German Oktoberfest. That’s not necessary a negative, just an observation.

I can till you that I’m sorry I just have one of these beers. This is really one of those refreshing beers that as soon as you put the glass down you want to take a breath and pick it back up again. With that in mind I am running out of beer in my glass.

This is extremely easy drinking and at 5.8 percent it could catch up on you after a few.

We are now at 62 degrees and this beer is actually getting better as it warms. It is much smoother now and there is more of a malt aspect to it.  Even with it having richer malt flavor at this temperature it is still a very refreshing beer.

The last few sips were at room temperature and still very refreshing with an almost sweet malty finish.

I’m going to give this a B. It may be lacking just slightly in flavor from some other German Oktoberfest but it is still a very good beer. This is a very refreshing easy drinking Oktoberfest with a nice toasted malt flavor and a light floral hop finish.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tiger Beer

Tiger Beer

Brewed by:
Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd.


American Adjunct Lager

5.00% ABV

Commercial Description:
World acclaimed lager beer. Awarded championship gold medals in London, Geneva and Paris.

This beer as been the source of some dispute in the office. Several work collages of mine were traveling to Singapore and had this beer while there. Some really liked it (Gene, Andy) and some (Ray) claimed it tasted like fish oil. So low and behold on my office desk a couple days ago was a bottle of Tiger. I assume my job is to settle this dispute on the World Acclaimed Tiger. So here we go.

The beer pours a clear pale straw with a bright white head. The head initially appeared that it would diminish to nothing in a short time but it really just reduced to a nice protective layer and looks like it may leave some lacing. At least this did not vanish like most American Adjunct Lagers.

Like most Adjuncts there is not much on the nose of this beer. There are some light pilsner type malts and very light floral hop notes on the nose of this beer.

Wow, what a surprise. This is a clean crisp and refreshing lager. It really does have all the qualities of a good pilsner lager. There will not be much of a play by play but let me try to explain this experience.

It starts out with a very light sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue, then the most pleasant and refreshing effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. The back end is extremely easy drinking; the swallow is effortless. The finish is crisp and clean with just enough hops to provide a dry bite but nothing lingering or bitter. Like most adjuncts there is not much of a lingering aftertaste.

There is an almost German-Like pilsner quality to this beer. I am not just surprised; I am astonished at how much I like this beer. I really was expecting a Budweiser tasting beer. 

We started this one somewhere around 45 degrees. We are now at 57 degrees and this is just as refreshing as it was at 45. This beer is not picking up anything off tasting as it warms.

It’s interesting that this taste more like a German Pilsner than an American Adjunct Lager. 

I always rate beers according to their individual style or category. That being said I normally do not rate American Adjuncts. I really have a hard time giving one of these beers a rating of an A or B in class when overall they are not very drinkable. However this is one that could change my thinking about rating these beers. OK, back to the review.

As this beer warms there is a more noticeable earthy aspect to it. It’s actually quite good; more like a German Pilsner than an Adjunct Lager. I know, I’m repeating my self.

I was actually prepared to take bribes from Gene and Andy in order to give this a favorable review but that will not be necessary. I really did enjoy this beer. Well, as much as you can enjoy and American Adjunct Lager.

I’m not going to rate this but I can say that this may be the best Adjunct lager that I have ever had. I just hope the headache was worth it.

So many thanks to Gene, Andy and Ray for all the office entertainment around this beer. I cannot say that this is a good beer but I can say that it is a good Adjunct Lager, for what it’s worth.

If you like American Adjuncts like Bud, Miller, Coors etc you will love this beer. It really does have some nice lager flavors to it.

Where did I leave that aspirin bottle. LOL

Swashbuckler Gold

Swashbuckler  Gold

Brewed by:
Swashbuckler Brewing Co

PA RenFaire

Manheim, Pennsylvania, United States

5.10% ABV

Commercial Description:A traditional German-Style Kolsch Ale that is light in both color and body. German Tettnang hops lend themselves to a soft and balanced aroma, while German wheat adds to the flavor. This crisp, light ale is perfect for all beer drinkers.

Background:I love Fair Season! This weeks offering from the RenFaire is the Swashbuckler Gold. I have never had this one so it will be interesting to see what it’s like.

 I still do not have a Kolsch glass. I have even given up trying to use these that come close but are not quite there. So for this review I am just using a standard beer glass.

Review:The beer pours a clear light copper color with a white head. This seems a little dark for a Kolsch.

The nose is light caramel malts and floral hops. This smells more like a pale ale then a Kolsch.

Well, it tastes more like a pale ale also. This is really a good tasting beer but it is not a typical Kolsch. This is more like an American pale ale rendition of a Kolsch.

The taste starts out with sweet pale almost caramel malts upfront on the tip of the tongue but that is quickly replaced with a effervescence and tang on the tongue throughout the middle of the sip. There is also a building hop bitterness throught the middle of the sip. The back end is fairly easy drinking. The building hop bitterness does diminish during the swallow. The finish is dry with a pleasant hop bite. The final aftertaste is very hoppy. These hops do not have the typical American hop bitterness. These German hops are more tangy and floral.

This is really a good tasting beer. It may not have sounded good but I am really enjoying it.  I really like these hops. As I have said many times before I’m not a hop head. I do however like the flavor of these German hops. They have a nice flavor and a good bite or tang to them without the excessive bitterness.

My only real problem with this beer is that it does not taste like a typical Kolsch, it tastes more like an American Pale with German hops instead of the American Cascades.

This rating will be another of those style conflicts. As a all around good drinkable beer this is a solid B. However for a German Kolsch I’m going to give this a C+. I have really enjoyed this beer but it is lacking some of those German earthy notes and crispness of the Kolsch. Still all and all this is a very good beer.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen


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


4.80% ABV

Commercial Description:
Kellerweis is one of the only American Hefeweizens made using the traditional Bavarian style of open fermentation. This difficult and labor-intensive technique adds uncommon depth and flavor complexity. Our hazy-golden hefeweizen is deeply flavorful, refreshing and perfect for a sunny day. To serve, pour two-thirds into a glass, swirl and pour the rest.

General Pricing:
~$7.50-$8.50 6 pack, ~$28.00-$31.00 case

Background:I have had this beer several times in the past. I actually bought a 6 pack this time to wet down my pork ribs while smoking them for several hours. So while the ribs are smoking I thought I would review one of these Hefeweizen brews from Sierra Nevada.

Review:The beer pours a hazy golden pale straw color with orange hues and a very rich bright white head.

The nose is nice with sweet wheat malt aromas along with notes of clove, banana and yeast.

What a nice refreshing beer. This is a little light for an authentic Hefeweizen but it has all the correct flavors for the style.

There is a nice sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue then a very pleasant effervescence over the tongue in mid sip. The mid-sip effervescence is also very cleansing and refreshing. The back-end is very smooth and easy drinking; it just glides down your throught with no effort whatsoever. The finish is fairly dry and also a little sweetness that’s normal for a Hefeweizen. The final aftertaste is sweet with yeast, banana and clove notes. The final aftertaste is pretty much taste just like the nose smells.

This is going to be a short review. Since this is such a refreshing beer it is not hanging around very long.

Well, that’s about it. This was a very good refreshing Hefeweizen. It’s a little lighter than the authentic German counterparts but all and all a very nice beer. I’m going for a B- on this. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ename Tripel

Ename Tripel

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Roman N.V. 



8.50% ABV

Commercial Description:Trademark: Ename Tripel Abbey Beer, beer type: High fermentation, fermented in the bottle Ingredients: Water, malt, hops, sugar, yeast (bottled) and carbonic acid (
General Pricing:
750ml bottle, ~ $14.00

Background:I picked this up as a birthday present for my son John. Luckily he invited me down to share it with him. I really know nothing about this beer. It looked like a nice Belgian set with a glass so I picked it up. Let’s see what Ename is all about.

Review:The bier pours a pale copper with yarrow/orange hues and a modest white head.

The nose is nice with yeasty notes, some spice and citrus notes.

There is a nice sweetness up front that leads into an interesting middle of the sip. There is a more intense back-end than what is typical for a Belgian Tripel. This is not a smooth easy drinking Tripel. There is a really off taste on the finish with a mostly alcohol flavor on the finish and aftertaste.

For a drinkable strong pale this is not too bad but for a Belgian Tripel it’s not very good.

There is no complexity to this beer whatsoever. I have had Belgian pales with more complexity than this. It is a very bland beer with a strong alcohol finish.

I’m beginning to suspect that this beer is past its prime or that it was mishandled. I don’t think I’ve had an authentic Belgian Tripel that was this bad before. 

Well, bad may not be the right word. This is not bad it’s just not a good Tripel.

As this warms more maltier flavors are coming out so there is some development as the opens up a little. But there are no subtle esters and volatiles in this beer. It is pretty much one dimensional and that dimension is alcohol. 

I’m going to hold off on a rating for now. I’m going to get another bottle of this and compare it to this experience. Hopefully the new bottle will be better than this one.