Friday, December 30, 2011

Victory Yakima Glory



Yakima Glory

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company
Downingtown, Pennsylvania USA

American Black Ale
Black IPA
Cascadian Dark Ale

8.70% ABV




Commercial Description:
The tenacious grip of big, juicy hop aroma and character slides smoothly into rich, dark malts. This heavyweight battle between fresh, Yakima Valley hops and dark, roasted malts is resolved harmoniously as the flavors merge to deliver complex satisfaction with a warming edge. Bask in the “glory”­ of the bright and brassy hops!
(victorybeer.com)

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

Background:
I stopped in State Line Liquors after work on a Friday and found that there was a Victory rep tasting going on. I sampled this one and had to buy a 6 pack. From the tasting I was torn between an imperial/double IPA or a Black IPA. With only a few ounces in the cup it was difficult to get an appreciation for the color. So let’s give this a full review and see what Yakima Glory has in store for us.

Review:
The beer pours a dark brown with burnt amber hues and a very rich off white head, highly effervescent with lots of tiny bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

The nose is very intriguing with dark almost roasted malt aromas along with a complexity of citrus, pine and floral hop aromas.

Wow, that a nice first sip. That’s an impressive black IPA. This reminds me of Otter Creek’s Black IPA.
                                         
The experience starts out with dark almost roasted malt sweetness up front. That is immediately followed by a tingling effervescence over the tongue along with a building hop and malt robustness as the ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The robustness diminishes slightly on the back-end but there is a hesitation at the top of the swallow that is typical and expected. There is an additional carbonation release during the swallow that masks some flavors and cuts the robustness. Everything comes together for one fantastic finish. There rich dark roasted malts come through nicely and cut the rich hop complexity to leave a very robust but balanced enjoyable rich dark ale. The hop bite stays with you into the final aftertaste but there are also some dark malt flavors as well.

This is a great beer. Rich, even robust but not over the top, it stays satisfying and enjoyable.

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

This is a B+ for me. This is a very unique IPA; a very rich dark roasted malt ale with an interesting hop complexity of citrus and floral fresh hop flavors.

Abita Purple Haze


Abita Purple Haze

Brewed by:
Abita Brewing Co.
Abita Springs, Louisiana USA

Fruit / Vegetable Beer

4.20% ABV





Commercial Description:
Purple Haze is a crisp, American style wheat beer with raspberry puree added after filtration. Therefore, you may see raspberry pulp in the beer. The raspberries provide the lager with a subtle purple coloration and haze, a fruity aroma, and a tartly sweet taste. (abita.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$8.00 6 pack, ~$32.00 case

Background:


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

The nose is complex with pale malt aromas and notes of sweet fruit and citrus along with floral hop aromas.
                                  
Not bad. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this is much better. I guess I thought it would be an overly sweet beer but this is actually quite good and refreshing.

We start out with light malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by a cleansing effervescence over the tongue throughout the middle of the sip. The back end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. There is also an additional carbonation release during the swallow that masks some of the flavors and adds a refreshing aspect to the experience. It is really not until you get to the finish of this beer when any real flavors are noticed. The finish is nice with pale malt flavors along with sweet fruity notes of raspberry and citrus. The hops are not noticeable by taste but they add dryness to the finish.

All and all this is a very nice easy drinking beer. I am pleasantly surprised with this experience.

As the beer warms a little I’m starting to pick up some lager harshness. It’s not bad at all it just some typical lager characteristics are coming out as it warms a little.

This is not bad at all. I’m going for a B- on this one. Purple Haze is a nice easy drinking beer with very pleasant and refreshing light raspberry flavors and citrus notes on the finish. At 4.2 ABV it would be a great summer session beer.

Abita Restoration Pale Ale


Restoration Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Abita Brewing Co.
Abita Springs, Louisiana USA

American Pale Ale (APA)

5.00% ABV





Commercial Description:
Restoration Pale Ale is made with Pale, Lager, Crystal and Cara Pils malted barley. It is liberally hopped and dry hopped with American Cascade and fermented with California Ale yeast. The end result is a brilliant gold ale with a rich body, mild bitterness and a snappy fresh citrus hop flavor and aroma.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$8.00 6 pack, ~$32.00 case

Review:
The beer pours a clear golden yellow with copper hues and a bright white head.

The nose is very inviting with sweet light malt pale malt aromas with notes of citrus and floral hops. This nose is so inviting I can’t what to see if this beer is a refreshing as the nose indicates.

What a great first sip, nice and refreshing.

We start out with a light malt sweetness up front followed by a very refreshing cleansing effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is extremely easy drinking with an effortless swallow. There is also a carbonation release during the swallow that adds to the refreshing aspect of this beer. The finish is perfect for a light refreshing beer; sweet malts with a very light hop finish followed by some interesting notes of citrus. There is very little of a final aftertaste just a hint of light malts and citrus notes.

As the beer warms the sweetness and citrus notes are becoming more pronounced.

The head has diminished to just a patchy island on top of the beer but it has left some decent lacing.

All and all this is a nice refreshing pale ale. This is one I could drink over and over again. I’m going to have to get more of this next summer. Seems like the perfect summer ale.

This is a solid B+ maybe even an A-. What a nice easy drinking, extremely refreshing beer with sweet pale malt flavors and citrus notes on the finish. What a great summer beer.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Belgium 1554 Enlightened Black Ale



New Belgium 1554

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Fort Collins, Colorado USA

Belgian Dark Ale

5.60% ABV






Commercial Description:
Born of a flood and centuries-old Belgian text, 1554 Enlightened Black Ale uses a light lager yeast strain and dark chocolaty malts to redefine what dark beer can be. In 1997, a Fort Collins flood destroyed the original recipe our researcher, Phil Benstein, found in the library. So Phil and brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, traveled to Belgium to retrieve this unique style lost to the ages. Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and mouthfeel.
(RateBeer.)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottles: ~$9.00 6 pack

Background:
I had this beer several years ago while visiting relatives in Illinois. I thought it was pretty good at the time but I have not had it since then. I saw this at State Line Liquors and couldn’t help but buy it. I then had it again just last week as the dessert beer for Thanksgiving. So lets give this a full review and see how it holds up. 

Review:
The beer pours a very dark brown almost completely opaque with just a slight hint of caramel hues showing at the bottom of the glass.

The nose is fantastic with rich dark malt aromas with notes of toffee, chocolate and dark fruit.

Wow, what a rich tasting first sip.

The experience starts out with a dark malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by a very pleasant mouthfeel as the rich beer washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is rich but fairly easy drinking. There is a robustness of dark roasted malts that builds during the swallow into the finish. The finish is very nice with rich dark roasted malts with notes of toffee, chocolate and dark fruit. There is little to no hop presence on the finish. There is a lingering aftertaste of sweet dark malt with those fruity notes.

The head diminished to a nice protective layer over the top of the beer with a thick ring around the glass. It is also leaving some impressive lacing on the glass.

What a nice little beer.

I let this last bit sit a little to warm up. We are now at 66 degrees.

Ahhh my, this has smoothed out into an exquisite ale at this temperature.

The malt flavors seem richer and smoother now at this temperature. Also now that the carbonation has been released it there is a silkiness in the mouthfeel.

This is a solid A. 1554 is a excellently crafted Belgian Dark Ale with rich dark roasted malt flavors, dark fruit esters and earthy notes. What a great experience.

Redbridge Gluten Free Beer




Redbridge

Brewed by:
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

American Amber / Red Lager

4.00% ABV






Commercial Description:
Redbridge is a hearty, full-bodied lager brewed using imported Hallertau and domestic Cascade hops. It is brewed with sorghum and has a well-balanced, moderately hopped taste.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$10.00 6 pack, ~$40.00 case

Background:
Paul, a good friend of mine has developed a gluten intolerance. We discussed alternative Gluten Free beers and I bought a 6 pack of this for a party that he was attending. I had this that night and was pleasantly surprised. It was not an excellent beer but it did taste and look like beer which was more than I expected. At any rate I kept one to review. So let’s put this Sorghum beer through the ropes.

Review:
The beer pours clear pale copper with orange hues and a white to off white head.

The nose is interesting. It really does smell like a beer but there are also some none typical aromas. There is a very different grassy aroma along with the typical hop aromas and some sweet notes that I can’t put by finger on.

Not a bad first sip. There are some oddities at the end of the finish but other than that it’s pretty much a regular tasting beer.

The taste starts out with a light sweetness up front. That is followed by a cleansing effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is extremely easy drinking with an effortless swallow. So far a normal beer experience. The finish is where this experience gets different. There is a unique sweetness in the finish that must be from the sorghum. It’s not bad just very different from the typical beer. The final aftertaste is just a hint of that sorghum sweetness.

All and all this is not a bad tasting beer. I’m not sure if I would buy this again for me but I certainly would buy it and have with a friend. Actually I could get use to this if I was gluten intolerant.

We are at 57 degrees and it’s not as smooth as it was. It’s got a little bit of that lager harshness and it’s not as easy drinking or refreshing either.

I’m use to tasting the differences in malt flavors as the beer warms and opens up. These differences however are unique to this sorghum beer. It is sweeter and more pronounced but very unique. I really can not compare this sweetness to any other beer.

Since this is my first sorghum or gluten free beer I don’t think I’m going to give it a letter grade. But, if this was a regular amber lager I would give it a C maybe even a C+. It’ really was not a bad tasting lager.

Yards Brawler Pugilist Style Ale



Brawler Pugilist Style Ale


Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
 

English Dark Mild Ale



4.20% ABV






Commercial Description:
Boasting superior taste and champion flavor, the Brawler is crafted in the style of English session ales. This malt-forward, ruby colored ale is great for when you want to go a few rounds.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$9.00 6 pack, ~$36.00 case

Background:
I have heard good things about this beer but I have never had it. It’s funny how it just jumped into my cart last week. So let’s see what the Brawler has in store for us.

Review:
The beer pours a clear dark brown with ruby hues and an off white to tan head.

The nose is classic English Brown with toasted toffee like malt and earthy hop aromas.

What a nice first sip with richer than expected malt flavors but also clean and refreshing.

The taste starts out with light malt sweetness up front. That is followed by a cleansing effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is very easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. The finish is very flavorful with nice toasted malts and earthy floral hops. The hops in this beer are very flavorful but floral and earthy in nature without bitterness. There is very little of a final aftertaste just some slight lingering toasted malt flavor.

All and all this is a very nice drinking beer. It is very impressive how flavorful this beer for only being 4.2% ABV. This is a noticeable characteristic of a lot of English and Scotch Ales; richer malt flavors but light in alcohol.

We have warmed to 65 degrees now.

The carbonation has diminished and the malt flavors are richer and smoother at this temperature.

I’m going for a B+ on this English Brown. What a nice refreshing beer with great malt flavors and a mildly hopped finish.

Abita Turbodog



Abita Turbodog

Brewed by:
Abita Brewing Co.
Abita Springs, Louisiana USA

English Brown Ale

5.60% ABV





Commercial Description:
Abita Turbodog is a dark brown ale brewed with Willamette hops and a combination of British pale, crystal and chocolate malts. This combination gives Turbodog its rich body and color and a sweet chocolate-toffee like flavor.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$8.00 6 pack, ~$30.00 case

Background:
I was at State Line Liquors looking for the Abita Pecan Harvest but I was too late. Matt recommended this one so I figured that I would give it a whirl.


Review:
The beer pours a dark brown almost completely opaque with just a hint of deep ruby hues showing through the glass. The beer also produced a fairly rich tan head.

The nose is nice with rich toasted malt aromas with earthy undertones, nutty notes and light floral hops aromas.

What a nice brown ale with rich malt flavors but still maintaining a smooth and refreshing mouthfeel and body.

It starts out with a caramel malt sweetness up front followed by a nice almost creamy mouthfeel in the middle of the sip. The back end is pretty easy drinking for a brown ale with an almost effortless swallow. There is malt robustness that builds during swallow into the finish. This robustness diminishes however at the finish. The finish is nice, smooth, almost creamy with rich toasted malt flavors and a touch earthiness from the hops. There is just a slight lingering of toasted malts on the final aftertaste.

This is a really nice Brown Ale. I can’t tell you how impressed I am this one, rich but still smooth and almost refreshing.

I’ve been doing more drinking than writing so I am going to let this sit and warm up a little.

OK, I let this sit for a while; we are now at 66 degrees.

Man O Man is that good! This beer was good before but now it’s exquisite. The warm malts are richer but much smoother now. There is a silky smoothness, almost creaminess to this Brown Ale.

This delicious Brown Ale went from a B to an A in the last few sips. What a great character development in the last few degrees. This is one Brown Ale that I highly recommend.





Weyerbacher Harvest Ale 2011


Weyerbacher Harvest Ale
Fresh Hop
2011

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Easton, Pennsylvania USA

American IPA

5.40% ABV




Commercial Description:
Brewed with fresh hops harvested from our own local hops farm.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$8.00 4 pack, ~$47.00 case

Background:
This was a gift from my friend Gonzalo. I’m a big fan of this Easton brewery. I have had beer before and reviewed it back in November 2009. Since this is a fresh hop ale I thought it would be worth doing a 2011 review.


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

The nose is nice with sweet malt aromas along with robust but pleasant complex hop aromas. The hop aromas are mainly floral and earthy.

What a nice first sip. The hops are fresh full of flavor but not overpowering or bitter.

The taste starts with touch of sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue but that only last for a split second. It is immediately followed by a tingle and effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. There is also building hop robustness as you get to the back-end. The back-end is pretty intense with hop flavors that create a hefty hesitation at the top of the swallow. The finish is rich with hop flavors. The hops are robust for sure but mostly earthy and floral without being overwhelming or bitter. There is a lingering hop bite that carries through on the final aftertaste.

All and all this is still a solid Fresh Hop ale. I’m going for an A- on this. That is a little lower than what I gave it a few years ago but I have had a lot more Fresh Hop IPA’s in the last two years.

Weyerbacher Autumn Fest


Weyerbacher Autumn Fest

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Easton, Pennsylvania USA

American Amber / Red Ale

5.40% ABV






Commercial Description:
AutumnFest is Weyerbachers own unique twist on the German Oktoberfest style. Copper-amber in color, AutumnFest is made with Vienna and Munich malts for that authentic, Bavarian easy drinking taste. Each sip imparts a wonderful roastiness of malt on the tongue followed by a smooth, consistent finish. Wonderfully balanced with a clean, velvety, slightly fruity taste, AutumnFest is the perfect beer for the Fall- a nice transition between the lighter beers of summer and the darker, heavier winter brews. It is a favorite of many Weyerbacher aficionados, who anticipate the end of summer with this wonderful beer. Weyerbacher AutumnFest (ABV 5.4%) is generally available in stores August through December. Pick up a case to celebrate the change of seasons. Prost! (RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$10.00 6 pack, ~$39.00 case

Background:
This was a gift from my friend Gonzalo. I’m a big fan of this Easton brewery but I have never had this one before now. So let’s see what the Autumn Fest has in store for us.


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

The nose is nice with sweet caramel malt and floral hop aromas.

Well, that was unexpected. What a great first sip; rich caramel malts with a light hop finish. Let me attempt a play by play.

The experience starts out with a caramel malt sweetness upfront. That is followed by effervescence over the tongue and building malt robustness in the middle of the sip. The robustness diminishes during the swallow with a carbonation release that masks the flavors. The finish is very nice with a sweet caramel malt flavors along with a floral hops. The final aftertaste is a lingering caramel malt sweetness. It’s almost like a coating it is so robust.

I’m not sure what I was expecting but it wasn’t this.

This is a very impressive easy drinking beer with rich caramel malt flavors and nice floral hops on the finish.

The experience gets smoother and richer as the beer warms and opens up a little.
I have let this beer warm to 65 degrees.

The beer is extremely smooth at this temperature. The malt flavors are very nice with robustness but still smooth and easy drinking.

I’m going for a B+ on this Autumn Ale.  What a nice offering from Weyerbacher; easy drinking with rich caramel malts and a mildly hopped finish.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Schlafly American IPA


Schlafly American IPA

Brewed by:
Saint Louis Brewery / Schlafly Tap Room
Saint Louis, Missouri, United States

American IPA

7.20% ABV






Commercial Description:
A medium-bodied amber ale with a hefty dose of hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. (RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$9.00 6 pack, ~$33.00 case

Background:
Lost Review: Review 324 Schlafly American IPA.doc was done on 11-12-2011 but not posted until 02-13-2012
 
This was a gift from my friend Gonzalo. I have never had this beer from Schlafly so I’m really looking forward to this one.

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

The nose is pleasant with sweet malt aromas with citrus and floral hop aromas.

That was a great first sip; clean crisp and refreshing with a nice hop complexity.

We start out with pale malt sweetness up front. Then there’s a tingling effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. There is also building hop robustness in mid-sip. The back end is fairly easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. The finish very refreshing with light pale malts and a great hop finish. The hop flavors are mild for an American IPA but there is also an interesting complexity to it also.

There is no wow factor here just a nice easy drinking and refreshing IPA. The pleasure of a simple beer, gotta love it.

As the beer warmed the hops seemed to intensify a little. The finish is more like grapefruit in bitterness now.   

All and all this was a very nice American IPA. Sorry for the short review, I obviously did more drinking then writing on this one.

I’m going or a B+ on this American IPA. This is a very refreshing American IPA with a nice malt balance. Still favoring the hops as an IPA should be there was a definite malt backbone to this beer.

Schlafly Dry-Hopped American Pale Ale


Schlafly Dry-Hopped American Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Saint Louis Brewery / Schlafly Tap Room
Saint Louis, Missouri, United States

American Pale Ale (APA)

5.90% ABV






Commercial Description:
A medium-bodied amber ale with a hefty dose of hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. (RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$9.00 6 pack, ~$33.00 case

Background:
Lost Review: Review 323 Schlafly Dry-Hopped American Pale Ale was reviewed on 11-12-2011 but not posted until 02-13-2012

This was a gift from my friend Gonzalo. I have never had this beer from Schlafly so I’m really looking forward to this one.

Review:
The beer pours a clear golden copper with orange hues and an off white head.

The nose is modest but pleasant with aromas of light malt and floral hops.

Ahhh, that’s a nice APA; smooth and refreshing with nice malt flavors and floral hop bite.

The taste starts out with a light malt sweetness up front followed by tingling effervescence over the tongue in mid sip. The back end is easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. There is also a carbonation release during the swallow that adds a refreshing aspect to the experience. The finish is very nice with malt flavors and a very pleasant hop bite. The hop flavors are more floral and not bitter.

We have warmed to 62 degrees and this is really getting good. It’s much smoother now
This is a nice APA, very refreshing with light pale malt flavor and a great floral hop bite.

I’m going for an B+ on this. This American Pale Ale has a little something for everyone. Nice refreshing pale malt flavors and a wonderful floral hop bite on the finish.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Otter Creek Imperial India Pale Ale Aged from 2009


Otter Creek Imperial India Pale Ale
Aged from 2009

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Middlebury, Vermont

American Double / Imperial IPA

11.00% ABV





Commercial Description:
Malts: 2-row Munich, Carapils, Caramel 60L, Caramel 20L, Wheat. Hops: Bravo, Apollo, Amarillo, Simcoe.  
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
22 oz bottle: ~$7.00 each

Background:
It’s a cold snowy night in October, yes I said snowy. We are in a middle of an unusual fall snow storm. I was looking around the house for something to take the chill off and I remembered that I was cellaring one of these since 2009. I reviewed this beer back in the fall of 2009. At the time I thought that the beer was too intense with hops and alcohol and that it was lacking any malt balance. I also thought that it would be interesting to see how it aged; would the hops mellow? Would the malts create more balance as they age? So let’s see what happens to an intense imperial IPA after cellaring for two years.

Review:
The beer pours a slightly hazy amber with deep ruby hues and a very rich and lasting off white head. As a side note I do have to mention that there is a lot of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. The fresh version does not have sediment.

The nose has very pleasant caramel malt aromas on the nose along with sweet alcohol and a mild hop presence. The hop aromas are subtle but complex with mostly floral and earthy notes.

I can’t to see how this tastes.

Wow, what a great first sip; rich and warming. This is a perfect beer for a cold snowy night, even if it is only October.

The experience starts out with malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is immediately followed by a hop robustness the builds throughout the middle of the sip. The back-end is pretty intense with a large hesitation on the top of the swallow.
The warming effect almost hits you before the finish. The finish is also intense with rich caramel malt flavors, a robust hop complexity and sweet alcohol. There is a lingering robust hop aftertaste. The hop experience is very rich and intense but the bitterness has mellowed.

This is a very smooth big beer whose hop intensity has mellowed with age.

I’m really enjoying this big beer.

I let the second glass warm to room temperature.

The beer did not pick up any new flavors or character as it warmed.

It’s interesting how the character of the beer changed but this beer did not develop any as it warmed. I guess I was expecting more complexity now after two years in the cellar.

I’m going for a B maybe a B+ for the aged Imperial IPA. This beer did get better over time. Aging this beer mellowed the intense hop flavors and brought out a richer malt character.

Southampton Pumpkin Ale


Southampton Pumpkin Ale

Brewed by:
Southampton Publick House
Southampton, New York USA

Pumpkin Ale

5.50% ABV






Commercial Description:
Our Autumn amber brew with the unmistakable flavor of “pumpkin pie” is available now through Thanksgiving in 12 oz bottles and seasonal draft.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$9.00 6 pack

Background:
This was a gift from my friend Gonzalo. I have had a lot of good beers from Southampton but I have not had their pumpkin ale yet. I’m really looking forward to this.

Review:
The beer pours a clear amber with orange hues and a modest off white head.

The nose has some caramel malt aromas but it is mostly pumpkin spice.

Not a bad first sip. I was expecting it to be mostly spice but this as some nice pumpkin flavor to it as well.

It starts out with a light sweetness up front followed by a effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. There is also a carbonation release during the swallow that adds a refreshing quality to the experience and masks some of the flavors. The finish is very nice with caramel malt flavors along with floral hops, real pumpkin flavor and of course a good dose of pumpkin spices. The final aftertaste is of a lingering pumpkin spice.

All and all this is a very nice pumpkin ale. It really does have some nice pumpkin flavor along with the spicy notes.

I’m going for a B on this one. This beer has a good pumpkin flavor along with nice caramel malts and pumpkin spice.

DuClaw 13 Degrees


13 (Thirteen) Degrees

Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company
Abingdon, Maryland USA

Hefeweizen

4.80% ABV






Commercial Description:
Get ready to cheat fate with a foreboding potion of wheat and barley malt temptation. Pure and unfiltered, the first taste forewarns the unsuspecting of spicy clove and smooth banana lurking around the corner.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$9.00 6 pack

Background:
I picked up a 6pack of this a while back and left one setting in the beer fridge since then to review. I remember having it back then but I can’t remember how good it was. So lets see what 13 degrees has in store for us.

Review:
The beer pours a slightly hazy golden yellow with a bright white head.

The nose is classic Hefeweizen with citrus, banana and clove notes. This is very inviting I can’t wait to delve into it.

Well, that’s a Hefeweizen all right. That first sip was pretty good; all the flavors and notes of a classic Hefeweizen.

The taste starts out with a light wheat malt sweetness up front followed by a cleansing effervescence in mid-sip. The back end is extremely easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is light and refreshing with wheat flavors and notes of citrus, banana and clove. The final aftertaste is light but with noticeable banana and clove notes.

The beer is extremely light and refreshing. It may be too light and refreshing for the style but still good none the less.

There are two other notes to make about this beer. There was not any real wheat sediment on the bottom of the glass. I did the typical end of the bottle swirl and did not notice any sediment back in the glass.

Also this beer did not produce much of a head and it diminished quickly then completely disappeared.

I’m going for a B- on this one. It is a very good tasting and refreshing Hefe but it is lacking some the richness of the style.
 

Wolavers Pumpkin Ale 2011


Wolavers Pumpkin Ale
2011

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Middlebury, Vermont USA

Pumpkin Ale

4.80% ABV





Commercial Description:
Generous use of Vermont grown organic pumpkins artfully blended with four fresh organic spices craft this seasonal treat.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$8.00 6 pack

Background:
I reviewed that a few years ago back in the fall of 2009 under the name Wolaver's Will Stevens' Pumpkin Ale. I noticed the new label this year and the drop of the Will Stevens name so I figured it was time to re-visit this seasonal Pumpkin Ale.

Review:
The beer pours a clear copper with orange hues and a white to off white head.

The nose is great! This pumpkin ale actually has real pumpkin aromas on the nose not just pumpkin spice.

Ahh what nice ale; smooth and full of pumpkin and spice flavors.

The experience starts with a touch of sweetness up front followed by a smooth and almost creamy mouthfeel over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is where this beer pulls it all together. The finish has great almost caramel malt flavors along with pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavors. The pumpkin flavors on this beer are for real not artificial. There are also some nice pumpkin spices on this beer. 

This may be the best real pumpkin flavored pumpkin ale on the market today. Most of the pumpkin ales that I have had should be called pumpkin spice beer because that’s mostly what you get, the spice. With this one you get real pumpkin flavor.

We have warmed to almost room temperature and this beer has not picked up any off flavors. That is always impressive to me.

I’m giving this wonderful natural tasting pumpkin ale an A. This may rival Post Road as my new gold standard for the style. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Otter Creek Oktoberfest 2011

Otter Creek Oktoberfest
2011

Brewed by:
Otter Creek Brewing / Wolaver's
Middlebury, Vermont USA

American Amber / Red Ale
BeerAdvocate.com

Oktoberfest/Marzen
RateBeer.com

4.80% ABV

Commercial Description:
Brewed with Hallertau and Tettnang hops to balance its clean, malty sweetness, it's the perfect brew for a crisp Autumn day. Available from September to November. (RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$8.00 6 pack

Background:
I just realized that I have reviewed this beer before, back in the Fall of 2009. Although the label said Otter Creek Oktoberfest I reviewed it as an American Amber Ale going by BeerAdvocate’s style category. Now I’m just confused if this is an Oktoberfest (lager) or Amber ale. I guess I’ll just have to see how it goes.

Review:
The beer pours a clear copper with orange hues and a off white head.

The nose is very pleasant with rich caramel malt and light floral hop aromas.

What’s a nice Oktoberfest; rich caramel malt flavors but also very refreshing.

The experience starts out with malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by a refreshing cleansing effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is very nice with caramel malt flavors along with a nice floral hop bite at the end. There is not much of a lingering aftertaste, just some sweet malt.

All and all this is a very nice, easy drinking beer. I am really enjoyable this one.

This is a B+ to A- for an American Amber Ale. I’m not sure I would give it such a good rating for an authentic Oktoberfest. It is lacking some of that German malt flavor to be a great Oktoberfest.

Guinness Black Lager



Guinness Black Lager

Brewed by:
Guinness Ltd.
Ireland

Euro Dark Lager

4.50% ABV








Commercial Description:
Guinness Black Lager is cold-brewed with roasted barley to deliver the refreshing taste of lager with the unique character of Guinness. Enjoy ice cold straight from the bottle. (RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12 oz bottle: ~$7.00 6 pack, ~$25.00 case

Background:
This was another gift from my friend Gene. I did not know Guinness had a black lager. This should be an interesting review.

Review:
The beer pours a dark brown almost completely opaque with just a hint of amber hues showing at the bottom of the glass. This beer also produced a fairly rich tan head.

The nose is modest with dark toasted malt aromas.

That’s a nice drinkable black lager. That first sip was a smooth as porter ale not a typical black lager. This may be very interesting indeed.

The taste starts out with a dark malt sweetness up front but that is followed by a cleansing effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. The back end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The carbonation release during the swallow adds a refreshing aspect to the beer and masks some flavors. The finish is modest but very pleasant with nice dark toasted malt flavors along with a subtle hop finish. The finish is surprisingly dry for such a dark beer. There is very little of a final aftertaste just some lingering toasted malt flavors.

This is a very smooth and refreshing beer. I’m really quite surprised on how good it is. It may be too light and refreshing for the style and will probably not get good reviews. But it has been very enjoyable to me so far.

We are now at 63 degrees
Finally I’m starting to pick up some more robust malt flavors as this beer warms and opens up a little.

I let this get to room temperature and it has not picked up any unpleasantness whatsoever. Actually I’m impressed with how good it still tastes.

I’m going for an A- on this one. This was a very impressive black lager, very refreshing with nice dark toasted malt flavors with a clean finish. I went back and looked at my previous black lager reviews and it looks like this was the best so far.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

16 Mile Amber Sun Ale


Amber Sun Ale
(Glass Bottle)

Brewed by:
16 Mile Brewing Company, Inc.
Georgetown, Delaware, USA

American Amber / Red Ale

6.10% ABV





Commercial Description:
Amber Sun Ale– Roasty finishing malts, balanced with just enough bitterness provides a traditional amber ale that is dark red to the eye, but not heavy on the palate. 16 Mile names this premium amber ale for the famous sunsets found at the Breakwater Lighthouse located off of Lewes Beach, Delaware.
(16milebrewery.com)

Background:
I reviewed this Amber Sun Ale from a 22 oz bottle shaped can back in the summer. It was not very good. Actually I don’t think I finished it. But I did remember thinking that it may be an artifact of the can and that I would re-visit it if they produced the beer in a glass bottle. Well, my buddy Gene found it in a 12 oz glass bottle and gave me one. So it looks like it’s time to re-visit this one.

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

The nose is modest but nice with caramel malt and light floral hop aromas.

The first sip was not bad, not impressive but not bad either.

The taste starts out with a caramel malt sweetness up front followed by effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. There is also a carbonation release on the swallow that masks some flavors and adds a nice refreshing quality to the beer. The finish is pleasant with nice caramel malt flavors. There is a questionable bite at the end of the finish. I’m not really sure if it’s all hops or something else. There is not much of a final aftertaste just some slight lingering malt flavors.

All and all this is not a bad tasting beer. I’m not sure how good it is but it’s not offensive. I’m going to let this warm up a little and see what happens.

We are now at 65 degrees.

We are picking up some unpleasantness. There is a definite harshness on the finish and final aftertaste now. But overall this is still a drinkable beer.

I think there is a noticeable improvement from what I had in the bottle/can a few months ago. I don’t think I finished that one. This is still not a great beer but at least it is a drinkable C out of a glass bottle.

Sly Fox Route 113 India Pale Ale



Route 113 India Pale Ale

Brewed By:
Sly Fox Brewing Company
Royersford, Pennsylvania, USA

American IPA

7.00% ABV






Commercial Description:
A big, strong IPA for all the hopheads out there, brewed with British Pale and Caramel malts, and hopped with Centennial, Cascade, German Tradition, UK East Kent Goldings & Styrian Goldings. Bold and spicy. 16.5 OG 113 IBUs 6.6% ABV


Background:
I sampled this beer back in May at the Holy Saviour Parish Craft Beer Event. I remember being impressed with how the high IBU’s were artfully masked. My friend Joe was also impressed with this beer and bought a case of it. He then in turn gave me this one to review. Thanks Joe, I can’t wait to finally delve into it.

Review:
The beer pours a clear amber with copper/orange hues and a fairly rich off white head.

The nose is nice with caramel malt aromas and the most pleasant hop complexity.

Wow, that’s an IPA that I can love. What a great first sip.

The experience starts out with a caramel malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is immediately followed by a tingling effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. There is also a slight hop robustness growing toward the back-end. The back-end is very easy drinking for an IPA with an almost effortless swallow. The hop robustness continues to build during the swallow into the finish. The finish is great; excellently balanced with rich caramel malt flavors and a wonderful complex hop bite. The hops in this beer are never overpowering or bitter. Amazing for a 113 IBU beer. There final aftertaste is of lingering hops but more floral and citrus not bitterness. There is also a nice sweetness on the aftertaste.

This is a great IPA. I may have to do a head to head with Great Divide Titan and Evolution Lot #3 to see how has the best American IPA.

The head on this beer has not quit. It has diminished to just a thin protective layer over the top of the beer with a nice ring around the class and it is leaving some very impressive lacing.

This experience just keeps getting better as the beer warms and opens up a little.

The hop complexity is also very impressive. The hop flavors range across the board, Citrus, Pine, Floral and Earthy; all without being overpowering or bitter.

We are only at 60 degrees; I can’t wait to see what happens as this delicious beer really warms up.

The second glass pours with a creamier head.

Wow, that rich head added the creamiest mouthfeel to that sip. All and all this second glass seems richer and smoother than the first.

This beer is going from great to exquisite as it warms.

I’m now at the point that I’m savoring every bit of this delicious ale. What a great experience.

We are now at 67 degrees.

The malt flavors are just outstanding at these temperatures and that great hop bite is still there on the finish. This is starting to feel full and satisfying like an imperial/double IPA but without the high alcohol.

Well, that was another excellent offering from Sly Fox and this one was good to the last warm drop.

This is a solid A+ for me. Rt. 113 is full bodied excellently balance IPA with rich caramel malt flavors and the most exquisite hop complexity; all without being overpowering or bitter.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mr Beer Octoberfest Vienna Lager Home Brew



Mr. Beer Octoberfest Vienna Lager

Brewed by:
Remaley and Daughter
Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, USA

Vienna Lager

3.7 % ABV






Background:
My 9 year old daughter Frances and I brewed this beer back in May. It was a cool home school science project for her and just a blast for me. I did sample this a week or so after bottling and was not very impressed with it. It tasted all right but there was a green apple bite to it that didn’t seem to belong. So 5 months later lets see what the Mr. Beer home brew has in store for us.


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

The nose is modest but pleasant with caramel malt and light floral hop aromas.

Not a bad first sip. I’m not sure it’s good but it’s not bad.

The taste starts out with a slight sweetness up font on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by a tingling effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is vey easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. There is also a carbonation release during the swallow that adds a refreshing quality to the beer. The finish is just OK. There are caramel malt flavors and a nice bite. I’m not sure if the bite is from the hops or not. There is also a grassy note on finish with a slight green apple flavor. That may be giving the beer more bite than the hops. There is not much of a final aftertaste, just a slight lingering malt sweetness.

This beer is drinkable for sure. I just thought it would be better than this since I let it sit since May. I guess it’s that grassy/grainy bite on the finish that is setting me back.

The more I drink it the more I’m getting accustomed to the green apple. At this point I hardly notice it. This is really not too bad. I still hope it will get better with age.

Well there is not much more I can say about this. I still have one bottle I let sit for a few more months, maybe up to a year and try it again.