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 Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and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.