Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Smyrna Brown Water (Home Brew)

Smyrna Brown Water
(Home Brew)
Brewed Below the Ditch

Brewed by:
Fay Brewery
Smyrna, Delaware, USA

American Brown

6.6% ABV


Update:
I’m sick to find that I must have deleted the pictures for this post. I’ll keep looking but I think they are gone. Sorry Seth

Look what I got. Seth just sent me a pic for the review.



Style Description:
Spawned from the English Brown Ale, the American version can simply use American ingredients. Many other versions may have additions of coffee or nuts. This style also encompasses "Dark Ales". The bitterness and hop flavor has a wide range and the alcohol is not limited to the average either.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-8.0%
(BeerAdvocate.com)


Background:
We are continuing Homebrew Week. Actually I got a little distracted with my first home brew so I’m a little behind. This is another all grain brew from my friend Seth. His Pale Ale was great; I can’t wait to see what he did for an American Brown.

Review:
The beer pours a dark chestnut brown with just a hint or orange hues peeking through the bottom of the glass and a very rich off white to tan head.

The nose is nice with rich caramel malt aromas with notes of dark fruit and oak. There is a subtle earthiness to this nose. Then with a gentle swirl of the glass the most pleasent rich hop aromas are released. This is almost intimidating; can’t wait to see how these aromas play out in taste.

Nice, very nice; what a great and complex first sip. The nose had hints of robustness and throughout sip I was trying to anticipate what was coming. What a nice complex profile.

The experience starts out with a touch of caramel malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is immediately followed by a tingling and building malt and hop robustness as the ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. By the time you get to the top of the swallow you expect the robustness of a big beer but in turn you are pleasantly surprised with a fairly easy drinking back-end. The perceived robustness seems to be washed away with a carbonation release during the swallow that masks some flavors and adds a refreshing aspect to the experience. The finish is where this beer pulls it all together with rich caramel almost toasted malt flavors that leads into a nicely balanced but rich hop experience. The hops are earthy and not overpowering or bitter. They blend perfectly with the richer malts to leave and enjoyably balanced finish. The final aftertaste is a touch of both caramel malt and those great earthy hop flavors; just as balanced as the finish.

Wow, what a great tasting American Brown. This is rich but with an overall complexity that is both hardy and refreshing. Nice!

That rich head has not quit. It has reduced to a nice protective layer over the top of the ale and it is leaving some impressive lacing.

This is getting more impressive with each sip.

This almost reminds me of the Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale but this one is actually easier drinking and more enjoyable.

As the beer warms it’s getting richer but also smoother. The hop profile also seems to be changing with slightly less bite and more floral and earthy when it was when colder. And that head it still hanging in there.

I’m trying to nurse these last few sips for all it’s worth.

There is such a nice rich malt coating throughout the mouth; almost like that classic stout coating but with a toasted caramel malt flavor. Plus there is still that touch of lingering hops also.

What a great beer. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying this experience.

Well, all good things must come to and end and so to with this beer. The only thing left in the glass is a little bit of that head that would not quit.

A+ | Seth’s Smyrna Brown Water is a fantastic American Brown Ale with a rich complexity that is both hardy and refreshing with dark caramel malts, toasted oak and dark fruit notes leading into the most pleasant mouthfeel complemented by the creaminess of a rich head that builds to an overall experience that is both rich and satisfying.

American Pale Ale (Home Brew)

American Pale Ale
(Home Brew)

Brewed by:
Fay Brewery
Smyrna, Delaware, USA

American Pale Ale (APA)

5.7% ABV


Update:
I’m sick to discover that I must have deleted the pictures for this post. I’ll keep looking but I think they are gone. Sorry Seth.

Seth just sent me a pic for the review.
 

Style Description:
Of British origin, this style is now popular worldwide and the use of local ingredients, or imported, produces variances in character from region to region. Generally, expect a good balance of malt and hops. Fruity esters and diacetyl can vary from none to moderate, and bitterness can range from lightly floral to pungent.

American versions tend to be cleaner and hoppier, while British tend to be more malty, buttery, aromatic and balanced.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-7.0%
(BeerAdvocate.com)

Background:
We are continuing Homebrew Week. Actually I got a little distracted with my first home brew so I’m a little behind. This is an all grain brew from my friend Seth. We spend a good deal of time talking about beer and homebrewing so I can’t wait to taste the fruits of his labor.

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

The nose is extremely inviting with pale malt aromas with sweet fruity and citrus notes. With a gentle swirl of the glass there is a pleasent release of floral hop aromas. I cant’ wait to see what this taste like.

Wow, what a great first sip; easy drinking light and refreshing with a clean dry finish. I could drink this all summer long.

The experience starts out with touch of pale malt sweetness up front followed by the most pleasant cleansing mouthfeel as the ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. There is an additional carbonation release during the swallow that adds to the refreshing experience. The finish is perfect with pale malt flavors, sweet fruity esters and citrus notes followed by just the right amount of floral hops to dry without bitterness. There is not much of a final aftertaste just a hint of pale malts and citrus.

What an enjoyable experience.
As the beer warms an opens up a little I’m picking up more of pilsner malt aspect. I’ll have to get the spec sheet from Seth to see what malts he used.

What a great easy drinking beer. I love a simple beer done well and this is it. I’m going to have to get his recipe and brew some of this over the summer.

The finish on this is just perfect, sorry I think I said that already. It leaves you with just a hint of floral hops without any bitterness. Actually it would be a stretch to even say a bite. It is clean and refreshing all the way through. 

Two commercial beers come to mind as I’m enjoying this; Boxcar Original and Brooklyn Summer Ale. Actually this one is more like Brooklyn now that I think of it. Boxcar had a little more of an English flare to it.

What a great beer. Sorry for the short review Seth but this was so enjoyable it’s gone already. This is a solid A.

A | Seth’s American Pale Ale is sure to please with its pale malt flavors, fruity esters and citrus notes that lead into a clean, crisp and refreshingly dry finish with just a hint of floral hops to leave your thirst quenched palate asking for more.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

90 Minute IPA Clone Home Brew



90 Minute IPA
(Clone Home Brew)

Brewed by:
DGH Brewery
Hockessin, Delaware, USA

American Double / Imperial IPA

9.00% ABV (Commercial)






Style Description:
Take an India Pale Ale and feed it steroids, ergo the term Double IPA. Although open to the same interpretation as its sister styles, you should expect something robust, malty, alcoholic and with a hop profile that might rip your tongue out. The Imperial usage comes from Russian Imperial stout, a style of strong stout originally brewed in England for the Russian Imperial Court of the late 1700s; though Double IPA is often the preferred name.

You can thank west coast American brewers for this somewhat reactionary style. "Thanks!"

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 7.0-14.0%
(BeerAdvocate.com)


Background:
We are continuing Homebrew Week. This is a clone that I will try to review head to head with the commercial version. At least I’ll start off tasting them both side by side and then do separate reviews.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy chestnut brown with a rich tan head.
The nose is very nice with rich caramel malt aromas with an underlining sweetness. With a gentle swirl of the glass a rich hop complexity is release with aromas of citrus and pine.

Wow, what a great first sip. Rich caramel malt flavors smooth mouthfeel and nice hop finish.

I have to say right up front this is a completely different beer than the commercial version. The malt flavors in this beer are much richer than the commercial. For me this is a superior brew over what you can get in the store.

I’ll add a few comparative notes and then review each one of these on there own.

Appearance:
The color differences are astounding. The commercial beer is much rich copper color with an off white head and the clone is a much darker chestnut brown with a tan head.

Smell:
Again the nose has to go to the clone. There are very rich caramel malt aromoas on the nose of the clone that are not on the commercial. But the commercial beer has a richer and more complex hop presence on the nose.

Taste:
The commercial beer has a crisper taste with a more complex hoppy bit on the finish. However I prefer the richer malt flavors on the clone. The clone is a more balanced beer.

Mouthfeel:
Both of these ales have a smooth mouthfeel for such big beers. However the clone comes out ahead once again with a richer body and the richer head adds a creaminess to the mouthfeel that is not in the commercial beer.

OK from here on its stand along reviews

The taste starts out with a dark malt sweetness up front followed by a very pleasant almost creamy smooth mouthfeel as the ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is fairly easy drinking for such a big beer. There is typical but easily overcome hesitation at the top of the swallow. The finish is fantastic with rich caramel malts with dark fruit notes and a very pleasant hop complexity that is not overpowering. The hop flavors are citrus, floral and pine but blend with the rich malts to provide a nicely balanced experience. There is also a nice warming and alcohol sweetness on the finish. The final aftertaste is a combination of lingering hops and malts.

What a great experience. I am really enjoying this clone.

This is the perfect big beer for me rich in a hop complexity but equally balanced with rich caramel malt flavors.

I let this warm to room temperature and it is just fantastic.

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying this beer. The rich caramel malts have a wonderful dark fruit note to them.

This is an A+ for sure; what a great experience.

A+ | Dave’s 90 Minute IPA clone is a fantastic beer and superior to the commercial version with it’s great rich malt flavors and hop complexity that is never overpowering leading into a well balanced finish and warm alcohol sweetness.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA



90 Minute IPA

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton, Delaware USA

American Double / Imperial IPA

9.00% ABV






Commercial Description:
Esquire Magazine calls our 90 Minute I.I.PA., "perhaps the best I.P.A. in America." An Imperial I.P.A. brewed to be savored from a snifter. A big beer with a great malt backbone that stands up to the extreme hopping rate. This beer is an excellent candidate for use with Randall The Enamel Animal! 90 ibu
Tasting Notes: Brandied fruitcake, raisiney, citrusy.
Food Pairing recommendations: Pork chops, beef, grilled fish, frites, focaccia, split pea soup, Stilton cheese & escargot.
Glassware recommendation: Snifter
Wine comparable: Sauvignon Blanc
In case you care... the average 12 oz. serving has 294 calories.
(BeerAdvocate.com)


Background:
We are continuing Homebrew Week. I have several homebrews from friends to review so I thought that I would but them all together in a series of reviews. Although this is not a home brew my friend Dave brewed a clone of this what I will be reviewing at the same time. At least I’ll start off tasting them both side by side and then do separate reviews.

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

The nose is fairly modest with some caramel malt aromas and hop aromas of pine. Then with a gentle swirl of the glass a very rich hop complexity is released added floral and citrus hop aromas.

Wow what a nice first sip. This is a big beer for sure but has a rich smoothness to the mouthfeel and a nice complex hoppy finish.

I am writing this review side by side with the clone version; at least to start and compare differences.



I’ll add a few comparative notes and then review each one of these on there own.

Appearance:
The color differences are astounding. The commercial beer is a rich copper color with an off white head and the clone is a much darker chestnut brown with a tan head.

Smell:
Again the nose has to go to the clone. There are very rich caramel malt aromas on the nose of the clone that are not on the commercial. But the commercial beer has a richer and more complex hop presence on the nose.

Taste:
The commercial beer has a crisper taste with a more complex hoppy bit on the finish. However I prefer the richer malt flavors on the clone. The clone is a more balanced beer.

Mouthfeel:
Both of these ales have a smooth mouthfeel for such big beers. However the clone comes out ahead once again with a richer body and the richer head adds creaminess to the mouthfeel that is not in the commercial beer.

OK from here on its stand alone reviews. I’m going to complete the commercial beer first and savor the clone second.

The taste starts out with a touch of malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by tingling hop robustness as the ale glides over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The mouthfeel is contradictory with tingling hops and a caramel malt smoothness. There is a typical big beer hesitation on the top of the swallow that is easily overcome. The back-end is fairly easy drinking with building hop robustness into the finish. The finish is very nice with sweet caramel malt flavors and outstanding hop complexity of citrus, floral and pine notes. The sweet alcohol is also very noticeable on the finish. The final after taste is mostly pine hop notes with a touch of caramel malt.  

What a great second pour. I seemed to have created a much richer head on the second pour. That rich had definitely added creaminess to the mouthfeel that I did not have on the first pour.

The malt flavors are really coming out as this beer warms and opens up a little.

We are only at 57 degrees and this is much a richer and smoother ale than it was when cold.

These last few sips were close to room temperature and were smooth and delicious. The sweetness of the alcohol seems to be more noticeable at this temperature.

Such a great imperial IPA, I have to go for an A on this one.

A | Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is an excellent imperial/double IPA with rich caramel malt flavors followed by an astoundingly complex hop profile and sweet warming alcohol of a big beer that leads you savoring each sip.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Brew Day March 18 2012

 All grain Oktoberfest Marzen.

Mash Tun, steeping the grains to make the wort. 


Spent Grains 

6 Gallons of wort ready to boil
 
 Boiling the wort with hops added.

 Using the immersion wort chiller to cool down the wort.

Post boil or original gravity OG readings
 
Aerating the wort for yeast pitching.
 
Fermentation begins in an old modified fridge at 50 degrees.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tumbler (Clone Home Brew)




Tumbler
(Clone Home Brew)

Brewed by:
DGH Brewery
Hockessin, Delaware, USA

American Brown Ale

ABV ?





Style Description:
Spawned from the English Brown Ale, the American version can simply use American ingredients. Many other versions may have additions of coffee or nuts. This style also encompasses "Dark Ales". The bitterness and hop flavor has a wide range and the alcohol is not limited to the average either.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-8.0%
(BeerAdvocate.com)


Background:
We are continuing Homebrew Week. I have several homebrews from friends to review so I thought that I would but them all together in a series of reviews. This Tumbler clone is from my friend Dave and I believe this is was an all grain homebrew.

Review:
The beer pours a dark brown with just a hint of ruby hues and a very rich off white to tan head.

The nose is nice with rich toasted caramel malt aromas with nutty oak like notes. There is also a touch of floral hop aromas on the nose.

NICE! first sip; rich but smooth with a nice touch of smoke on the finish.

The taste starts out with a touch a malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue but that only last for a split second. It is followed by a pleasant almost cleansing mouthfeel as the ale washed over the tongue in the middle of the sip. There is a building robustness that seems to build toward the back-end. The back-end is fairly easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. The robustness fades during the swallow with a combination release that masks some of the flavors. The finish is fantastic with rich toasted caramel malt flavors and a very pleasant but not overpowering smoky finish. The final aftertaste is a touch of lingering caramel malts and a touch of smoke.

The rich head is still hanging in there. It has diminished to a thick protective layer over the top of the beer and it is leaving decent lacing.

This beer is really opening up as it warms. The dark malt flavors are getting richer and the overall mouthfeel is smoother.

This is a very nice American Brown; I am really enjoying this experience.

The last few sips were close to room temperature and just as, if not more delicious than when cold.

This is a solid B+ maybe even an A-; what a great tasting beer.

Dave’s Tumbler Homebrew Clone is an excellently well crafted American Brown Ale with its rich toasted caramel malt flavors and a hint of smoke, pleasant and easy drinking with a smooth mouthfeel brings you back to sitting around a campfire with old friends on an autumn evening. What a nice experience. 


Tripel (Home Brew)




Tripel (Home Brew)

Brewed by:
DGH Brewery
Hockessin, Delaware, USA

Tripel

ABV ?






Style Description:
The name "Tripel" actually stems from part of the brewing process, in which brewers use up to three times the amount of malt than a standard Trappist "Simple." Traditionally, Tripels are bright yellow to gold in color, which is a shade or two darker than the average Pilsener. Head should be big, dense and creamy. Aroma and flavor runs along complex, spicy phenolic, powdery yeast, fruity/estery with a sweet finish. Sweetness comes from both the pale malts and the higher alcohol. Bitterness is up there for a beer with such a light body for its strength, but at times is barely perceived amongst the even balance of malts and hops. The lighter body comes from the use of Belgian candy sugar (up to 25% sucrose), which not only lightens the body, but also adds complex alcoholic aromas and flavors. Small amounts of spices are sometimes added as well.

Tripels are actually notoriously alcoholic, yet the best crafted ones hide this character quite evil-like and deceivingly, making them sipping beers.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 8.0-12.0%
(BeerAdvocate.com)


Background:
It looks like this is going to be Homebrew Week. I have several homebrews from friends to review so I thought that I would but them all together in next few reviews. This Tripel was one of the first homebrews from my friend Dave. I have been cellaring this since last summer. I believe that was a mini-mash kit but I do not have any other information. 

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

The nose is modest with caramel malt aromas with notes of yeasty fruit on an underlining sweetness. I’m not sure if the sweetness is fruity esters or alcohol.

Nice first sip; sweet and delicious. It is certainly lacking the Belgian complexity but still a nice first sip.

The taste starts out with a touch of pale malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by pleasant cleansing mouthfeel as the ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is fairly easy drinking with a slight hesitation on the top of the swallow. There is a richness that builds during the swallow into the finish. The finish is very nice with clean pale malt flavors, sweet fruity citrus notes, some yeastiness and alcohol sweetness. The final aftertaste is a hint of lingering sweet pale malts and touch of citrus.

All and all this is very good considering it was brewed from a kit.

As this warms a little the pale malt flavors seem richen.

Although it’s not noted in the above style description from BeerAdvocate.com a traditional Abbey Tripel is brewed with 30% wheat malts. These wheat malt flavors are not present in this beer. This is also lacking the complexity of the style. But on the other hand this is impressively good overall beer. The bier snob in me comes out when review Belgians but I am actually enjoying this experience.

The sweetness of this ale as it warms reminds me of honey. I suppose this sweetness is from the candi sugar.

Wow. I put the glass style to work on the second pour and what a difference in the mouthfeel. The rich head retention of the tulip glass provided a silky smooth creamy mouthfeel in the first sip of this second pour.

The more I drink this, the more I’m enjoying it. I’ve had worst Belgian Style beers from commercial breweries. I still can’t get over that this was a kit; impressive.

This may be lacking that complexity but this beer is full of the right flavors.

I let this warm to room temperature and it was delicious. It’s always impressive when a beer warms and does not pick up any unpleasantness.

The rating is difficult for me. In style, this would be very low since it is lacking the wheat malt flavors and complexity of a Tripel. However for an overall rating I really enjoyed this ale. If this was a commercial beer I would be harsh and give it a D+ to a C- in style but would have to give it a B+ overall.  Since I don’t know anything about this beer or what Dave was shooting for it would not be fair for me to give this a grade.

Dave’s Home Brew Tripel was great overall well crafted ale. While lacking in some key aspects of the Belgian Abbey Tripel it was full of rich pale almost caramel malt flavors with fruity and citrus notes and an overall smooth and creamy mouthfeel and an alcohol intensity what warranted you savoring every sip.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Anderson Valley Brother David’s Double




Brother David’s Double
           
Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Boonville, California USA

Dubbel

9.00% ABV





Commercial Description:
Brewed at the Anderson Valley Brewing Company by David Keene, the owner of the legendary San Francisco beer-bar, Toronado, this double-style ale features the huge fruit flavors combined with yeastiness and spiciness that Belgian ales are known for. (RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
22oz bottle, ~$8.00 each

Background:
I bought this beer once on a whim back in 2008 and thought it was a pretty good Dubbel, especially for the price. I recently purchased a couple bottles to use for my Dark Abbey Roast beef jerky. Then last night I saw that this was the Gold Metal winner for Belgian-Style Abbey Ale at the Great American Beer Festival. So it looks like jerky making will be postponed and another review is underway.

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

The nose is nice with dark malt aromas and notes of dark fruit and sweet alcohol.

Wow, what a nice first sip. This is much richer than I remember.

The experience starts out with a dark malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by a smooth mouthfeel as this ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end has some hesitation that is typical for such a big beer but easily overcome. The finish is very nice rich dark malts with notes of caramel, dark fruits followed by sweetness and warming of alcohol. The final after taste is that of dark malts.

This is much richer and seems to have more alcohol than what I remember but it has been several years since I have had this last.

The head diminished to a patchy island and a ring around the glass with modest lacing.

I am really enjoying this experience.

I keep wanting it find something wrong with this but I can’t. This is a really nice Abbey Dubbel.

We have warmed to 58 degrees.

The malt flavors are getting richer as the beer warms and opens up.

This does not have the mouthfeel or complexity as some other Belgian Dubbels but this is still a great tasting beer.

We have warmed to 61 degrees now.

With lower carbonation the mouthfeel is much smoother now; almost silky smooth.

We are now at 65 degrees.

Wow, this is amazingly smooth with comforting warmth from the alcohol.

There is an interesting toffee note from the malts at this temperature. This is really warming well. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with this little Abbey Ale from Anderson Valley.

This is lacking some of the complexity that is found in the best of this style but this has been such a great experience I’m going for an A- on this excellent Dubbel.

A- | Brother David’s Double is a great tasting Belgian Style Abbey Dubbel, lacking some complexity of the authentic Belgians but full of all the right flavors, sweet rich dark malts, smooth mouthfeel and a comforting warm alcohol finish. 


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fordham Spiced Harvest Ale



Spiced Harvest Ale
           
Brewed by:
Fordham Brewing Company
Dover, Delaware USA

Herbed / Spiced Beer

6.60% ABV







Commercial Description:
Our Newest Fall Seasonal is light Amber in color with a medium body, spiced with Cinnamon, Ginger, Clove & Allspice.
OH YEAH, we also added Pumpkins in it during the last half hour of the boiling process!
This new seasonal can be found in the New Fordham VPACK
(fordhambrewing.com)

General Pricing:
N/A Inactive Seasonal, no local pricing available.

Background:
I’m backtracking to a couple fall beers. My friend Joe just gave me a couple fall seasonals and I thought it would be a good diversion from the heavier stouts that I have been reviewing. This pumpkin ale came highly recommend and I can’t wait to see what it’s like.

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

The nose is delightful with aromas of caramel malts and natural pumpkin along with spicy notes.

Wow, what a great first sip. This is smooth and full of natural pumpkin flavors with a pleasant light spice on the finish.

This wonderful experience starts out with a touch a caramel malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by a tingling effervescence as the ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. There is also a carbonation release during the swallow what masks some flavors. The finish is where this beer really comes together. There are nice caramel malt flavors and the most exquisite natural pumpkin on the finish along with spicy notes of cinnamon and clove. The final aftertaste is of light malts and some spice.

There is also hardiness to this beer. It’s an interesting feeling of being full and satisfied.

As the beer warms it just gets better. The flavors are richer and the mouthfeel is smooth, almost creamy now.

This has all the flavors of a pumpkin pie and the creaminess of the mouthfeel gives the allusion of whip cream on top.

These last few sips where at room temperature and simply amazing.

This is an A+ for me; hands down the best pumpkin ale that I’ve had.

A+ | Fordham Spiced Harvest Ale is a delicious Pumpkin Ale hardily full of natural pumpkin flavors and spice along with a smooth creamy mouthfeel leaves you with the illusion of just finishing a slice of pumpkin pie with a whip cream topping. 

Full Sail Session Fest Red Lager

Session Fest
           
Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Hood River, Oregon, USA
American Amber / Red Lager
6.20% ABV


Commercial Description:
Session Fest is a Czech-style strong lager (gotta love the Czechs!) called polotmavé or literally "light dark or semi-dark." Brewed with 2 Row Pale malt, Munich malt, Caramel malt and Wheat malt, and hopped with a blend of Glaciers and Cascades, Session Fest has a medium-to-full body balancing candy caramel and full malt flavors that are underscored by a spicy hoppiness that provides a nice perfume with citrus and pine overtones and a long clean finish.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
11oz bottle, ~$8.00 6 pack, ~$15.00 12 pack, ~$28.00 case

Background:
I’m backtracking to a couple fall beers. My friend Joe just gave me a couple fall seasonals and I thought it would be a good diversion from the heavier stouts that I have been reviewing. I really liked the Full Sail Session Lager and Session Black. When Joe told me he had a Session Fest I couldn’t wait to see what it was like.

Review:
The beer pours a clear copper with amber hues and a off white head.
The nose is modest but pleasant with caramel malt aromas along with some grassy notes and a touch of floral hops.

What a nice refreshing first sip.

The taste starts out with a touch of sweetness up font followed by a cleansing effervescence as the beer washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is easy drinking with an effortless and refreshing swallow. The finish is very pleasant with light caramel and pale malt flavors and just enough hops to dry with out noticing any bitterness or bite. There is almost no aftertaste just a hint of caramel malts.

Noticeably missing is that typical lager harshness. This is smooth, clean and refreshing.
This may be a short review I’m obviously doing more drinking than writing with this deliciously refreshing lager.
What a great change of pace. I’m really enjoying this easy drinking Amber Lager.

My only problem is that the bottle is gone and I only had this one.
This is a solid A in style and the first A that I have given an American Amber Lager. As of now this is my new gold standard for this style.

Thanks Joe for this great little lager. I’ll be getting a 12 pack next season.

A | Session Fest is a delightful, clean, crisp and refreshing American Amber Lager with pleasant pale and caramel malt favors followed by a simple dry finish that leaves you refreshed but craving for more. If you like Yuengling Traditional Lager you will love this beer.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trappistes Rochefort 10


Trappistes Rochefort 10

Brewed by:
Brasserie de Rochefort (Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy)
Belgium

Quadrupel (Quad)

11.3% ABV





Commercial Description:
The top product from the Rochefort Trappist brewery. Dark color, full and very impressive taste. Strong plum, raisin, and black currant palate, with ascending notes of vinousness and other complexities.
(vanhonsebrouck.be)

General Pricing:
11.2oz 330ml bottle, ~$6.50 each

Background:
The gang at work contracted State Line Liquors to put together a basket of cheer for me when I was home with a nasty case of the Shingles. Robert Murray at SLL did a great job in personally selecting beers for me. The next several reviews will be from this gift basket.


Review:
The  bier pours a dark brown completely opaque with a modest off white to tan head.

The nose is rich with dark roasted malt aromas with notes off toffee and dark fruits. There is also an underlining sweetness that may be from the alcohol.

We are starting out at 51 degrees.

Ahhh what a fantastic first sip. I forgot how good this was.

The experience starts out with a touch of malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by a rich but smooth mouthfeel as this wonderful ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The richness catches up with you at the top of the swallow with a noticeable hesitation. The finish is fantastic with rich dark malts with notes off toffee, chocolate, dark fruit and sweet alcohol. The final aftertaste is of lingering dark roasted malts.

The dark roasted malt flavors are really exceptional. They are smooth and rich with a caramel and toffee backbone not burnt like a stout.

I’m sinking lower in my char with each exquisite sip; what a soothing experience.

The complexity is astounding; I’m picking up subtle differences with each sip as this nectar warms and opens up.

We are only at 57 degrees and this experience is getting to be down right amazing. The smooth rich malts and the sweet warming alcohol are producing the most comforting experience.

I have let this warm up to room temperature.

Wow, it’s still smooth but richer with a more intense alcohol finish.

I’m savoring every small sip at this point. What an exceptional bier.

These last few sips were at 70 degrees and just exquisite.

A+ | The Trappist monks in the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy in Rochefort Belgium have created a heavenly masterpiece in this exquisite Abbey Style Quadrupel with its rich dark malts with notes of chocolate and dark fruit that melds into a silky smooth mouthfeel and concludes in a soul warming contemplative finish that leaves feeling comforted by angles.  


Van Honsebrouck Kasteel Rouge


Kasteel Rouge (Red)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Belgium

Fruit / Vegetable Beer

8.00% ABV




Commercial Description:
Castle Red is the fruit beer of the Castle range.
Its unique dark red colour is obtained by mixing Castle brown that has been left to mature for at least 6 months with sour cherries.
This beer has gastronomic qualities and can be drunk as an aperitif, with a BBQ, to accompany a dessert or simply as an outstanding real ale.
(vanhonsebrouck.be)

General Pricing:
11.2oz 330ml bottle, ~$5.50 each
750ml  bottle, ~$10.00 each

Background:
The gang at work contracted State Line Liquors to put together a basket of cheer for me when I was home with a nasty case of the Shingles. Robert Murray at SLL did a great job in personally selecting beers for me. The next several reviews will be from this gift basket.


Review:
The beer pours a deep ruby with a modest diminishing pinkish off white head.

The nose is complex with some caramel malt aromas blended in with sweet cherries and with a gentle swirl of the glass floral hops are noted.

Wow, what an unusual tasting beer; sweet cherries and a touch of sourness on the finish.

The taste starts out with a touch of sweetness up front followed by a cleansing effervescence as the ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. There is a carbonation release during the swallow that masks the flavors during the swallow. The finish is incredibly sweet with natural cherry flavors, a touch of caramel malts and a hint of sourness. All of this blends together for an amazing experience. The final aftertaste is of sweet cherries and a touch of caramel malts.

This is extremely sweet with rich sweet dark cherry flavors. I can’t really explain why but I am really enjoying this. Maybe I was just in the mood for something different and this fits the bill.

The cherry flavors are very rich and natural; there is nothing artificial about this beer whatsoever.

As the beer warms a little I’m starting to pick up the sweet alcohol on the finish.

These last few sips were at room temperature and how exquisite. At this temperature it reminded me of an adult ale version of a Cherry Coke. Rich natural cherries blended in with a dark malt ale.  

I have to go with an A on this sweet cherry fruit beer.

Kasteel Rouge is an exceptionally sweet Belgian Fruit Bier with exquisite natural cherry flavors that blend into aged dark malts producing an adulterated version of a cherry coke in your mouth while leaving a seductively smooth warm alcohol finish.