Sunday, March 3, 2013

Budweiser Budvar Czech Dark Lager



Budweiser Budvar Czech Dark Lager

Brewed by:
Brewery Budweiser Budvar / B.B.N.P.
Czech Republic

Euro Dark Lager

4.70% ABV





  
Commercial Description:
None Available

General Pricing:
Also N/A

Background:
I’m trying to catch up on some late summer and fall beers that I have had in the beer cabinet to review but never seemed to have the time. This is yet another one given to be by my friend Gene. It’s been so long I’m not sure if he got this while in Europe or bought this locally. Either way I can’t wait to try it.

Review:
The beer pours a dark brown almost completely opaque with just a hint of ruby hues peeking through the thinnest portion of the glass. The pour also produce a fairly rich off white to light tan head.

The nose is very intriguing with dark malt aromas with notes of toffee along with a very pleasant noble hop aroma. I can’t tell with the hops are but they remind me of the classic European beers.

What a nice first sip; deceivingly light in body clean and refreshing with great malt flavors and a touch of those earthy hops on the finish.

The experience starts out with a touch of caramel malt sweetness up front followed by a light almost refreshing mouthfeel in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is very nice with dark malt flavors with notes of toffee and a touch of caramel and coffee. The final aftertaste is of touch of lingering dark malts.

This beer is refreshingly clean for a lager without that typical lager harshness.

I am really enjoying this beer. This may be the best dark lager that I have had.

As the beer warms I’m starting to pick up more on those noble hops on the finish. I suspect Hallertauer and Saaz but I’m not very good on my hops yet.

A | Budweiser Budvar Czech Dark Lager is anything but your typical Budweiser. This Czech beer is rich with great dark roasted malt flavors with notes of toffee and a hint of chocolate with pleasant earthy hop flavors on the finish. This may be the best example of a Euro Dark Lager that I have had yet.

Yards Cape Of Good Hope IPA


Cape Of Good Hope IPA

Brewed by:
Yards Brewing Co.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

American Double / Imperial IPA

8.10% ABV



 




Commercial Description:
Originally brewed to withstand the epic voyages from the shores of England around the African Cape of Good Hope to the Indian Subcontient, the India Pale Ale has always been a beer for the adventurous soul. Thoroughly hopped with Amarillos in both the whirlpool and the fermenter, it was then transferred to our makeshift shipping cask, where it was dry-hopped again with Nugget and Columbus. Set adrift in our brewery without cooling, it was able to age as though it had been put to sea for six months. The result is an authentic double dry hopped and uniquely aged India Pale Ale reminiscent of something you’d find solace in on a balmy, Indian evening far away from home. Beware of tigers.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$12.00 6 pack

Background:
I’m trying to catch up on some late summer and fall beers that I have had in my beer cabinet to review but never seemed to have the time. This one was given to me be by my friend Gene. I am a big fan of Yards but I have not had this before so I’m really looking forward to see what it’s like.

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

The nose is nice with pale and caramel malt aromas with pleasant hop aromas and a touch of sweetness.

 What a nice first sip; smooth but rich with a modest hop profile that is not overpowering. I’m going to enjoy this one.

The experience starts out with touch of sweetness up front but that only last for a split second. It is replaced by a tingling effervescence on the tongue. As this ale is rolling over the tongue the hop presence is felt. There is also a perceived robustness of a big beer that creates a hesitation at the top of the swallow. That hesitation is easily overcome with a carbonation release during the swallow that masks some flavors and adds an almost refreshing aspect to the experience. The finish is pretty intense; the robustness masked on the swallow really hits you on the finish. There is a lot going on in this little beer. The finish has great caramel malt flavors with a wonderful hop complexity that is balanced and not overpowering. The final aftertaste is carrying that balance of caramel malt and a lingering hop bite. There is also a nice warming effect from the alcohol.

Although the head seemed modest on the pour it is leaving some impressive lacing on the glass.

I’m not sure why but this 8% ale is going down fast. There must be more of a refreshing aspect of this beer than what I previously noted.

The malt flavors and the hop complexity on this beer are very intriguing.

The malt flavors remind me more of a Scotch Ale, Wee Heavy than a typical American Double IPA. The caramel flavors seem as if a portion of the wort was actually caramelized not just using caramelized malted grain. Just some nice flavors.

Also the hops are very unique and pleasant. I’m not a hop head and I’m still struggling to identify hop verities in the beers that I drink. These hops are across the board from floral to earthy to a touch of citrus and pine. For a non hophead this is very impressive.

This is a solid A for me; very impressive ale from Yards.

A | Yards Cape of Good Hope is a very impressive American Double IPA with it’s unique almost Scottish caramel malt flavors followed by an equally unique hop complexity on the finish ending in a soothing warming of the sweet alcohol. One nice little beer!

Boxcar Mango Ginger India Pale Ale



Boxcar Mango Ginger India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Boxcar Brewing Co.West Chester, Pennsylvania USA
 

American IPA

7.00% ABV






Commercial Description:
Just in time for the warm spring days of 2012, Mango Ginger Ale is flying off shelves faster than we ever thought possible! It must be that crisp, delicious flavor taking everyone by storm. First take in fresh mango to your nose, then get a hint of ginger with the first sip. Bright mango washes it down, and finally a ginger pop comes back with hops in the finish.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$30.00 case

Background:
I’m trying to catch up on some late summer and fall beers that I have had in my beer cabinet to review but never seemed to have the time. This one was a summertime favorite; I even had a keg of this for a party we had last summer. However I never got around to reviewing it. Since I have not had this in several months it will be an interesting fresh revisited.

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

The nose is extremely inviting with pale malt aromas with notes of spice and a unique sweetness, I assume from the ginger, it may also be a touch of alcohol.

 Wow, what a great and refreshing first sip; clean and refreshing with a touch of sweetness on the finish. This brings me back to summer in the back yard.

The experience starts out with a touch of pale malt 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 also a slight carbonation release during the swallow that adds a refreshing quality to the experience. The finish is great with clean pale malt flavors followed by a pleasant floral almost earthy hoppiness leading into unique sweetness. The final aftertaste is also unique carrying with it some of that hoppiness and sweetness.

There is some subtle complexity here. Not like a Belgian complexity but the hops, mango and alcohol combine for the most unique finish.

On a warm summer day the complexity of this beer can easily be overlooked. This is such an easy drinking and refreshing beer you don’t want to put the glass down. As I remember from having a keg of this that 7% can easily catch up on you also.

As the beer warms and opens up a bit, releasing some carbonation, it is smoother and even more complex. Now I’m starting to pick up some of that alcohol and a touch of spice. I was at the brewery last summer and helped, well more like watched, Jason brew this beer. I know that there was no spices added. It’s interesting how I’m picking up that note now.

There is a definite sweetness on the finish and aftertaste of this beer but if I did not know that mango was added I could not be able to tell you what that sweetness is from; more of the unique subtleties of this ale.

The hops are present for sure but are also subtle; especially for an American IPA. To me this is more of a unique twist on a classic English IPA.

I’m trying to let this beer warm up but it is very difficult. This is so good and refreshing it’s hard to just sip it.

With a little coxing from the palm of my hand I did manage to warm this up to 65 degrees before I took my last sip.

At this temperature the beer seemed richer. The pale malt flavors were much more pronounced and the lack of carbonation made the mouthfeel less refreshing but much smoother. The final aftertaste still has the hops and sweetnees but more of the plale malts come through at the warmer temperature.


What a great beer.

Here’s where I may have to deviate from my review by Style, well at least from Beer Advocates point of view. This is classified as and American IPA by Beer Advocate. I think this is more of an English IPA than American, based on the hop profile along. At any rate this is a solid A+ for me. But it would not fair so well as an American IPA.

A+ | Boxcar Mango Ginger is a most unique IPA, extremely easy drinking with it’s great pale malt flavors followed by a complex finish of floral hops, clean sweetness and a touch of spice that leaves you refreshed and craving that next sip. Tread lightly; although this drinks like a easy summertime ale it’s 7% ABV can easily catch you by surprise.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout


Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn, New York, USA

Russian Imperial Stout

10.00% ABV





Commercial Description:
This is the famous Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, our award-winning rendition of the Imperial Stout style once made exclusively for Catherine the Great. We use three mashes to brew each batch of this beer, achieving a luscious deep dark chocolate flavor through a blend of specialty roasted malts. We brew it every year for the winter season. It is delicious when newly bottled, but also ages beautifully for years.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$8.00 4 pack ~$42.00 case

Background:
I have had this beer many times over the years. I last reviewed it back in 2009 and gave it an A+. The ABV on this beer seems to change from year to year. I thought when I first had it (before this blog) it was over 11%. In 2009 it was at 10.6 % ABV and I have seen it in recent years to be as low as 8.5%. I just sampled this beer last week at Chocolate Beer tasting at State Line Liquors and noticed that it was back up to 10%. I also thought it was pretty good and worth revisiting.

Review:
The beer poured a dark brown completely opaque with no light getting through and a modest dark tan to chocolate milk head.

The nose is nice with dark roasted malt aromas, sweet alcohol and a touch of chocolate. There is no doubt that this is an Imperial Stout.

AHHH what a great first sip; smooth rich and warming, perfect beer for a chilly winter’s night.

This impressive ale starts out with a touch of dark malt sweetness up front then smooth but intense mouthfeel as the rich ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. This is certainly a “Big Beer” as sensed by the noticeable hesitation at the top of the swallow. The finish is fantastic with rich roasted malt flavors with notes of chocolate and a touch of coffee followed by sweet alcohol and a most soothing warming. The final aftertaste is of lingering rich roasted malts.

The ale is getting smoother and richer as it warms. This is still one impressive stout.

A+ | Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is a most impressive Russian Imperial Stout with rich dark roasted malt flavors a smooth mouthfeel and warming finish with notes of chocolate and a touch of coffee. A wonderful experience that was rich and sweet to the last warm drop.

Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout


Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout


Brewed by:

Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Tadcaster, United Kingdom (England)


Milk / Sweet Stout


5.00% ABV

Commercial Description:
Bottle: Filtered
Ingredients: Water; Organic malted barley; Organic cane sugar; Yeast; Organic hops; Organic cocoa extract; Carbon dioxide
Brewed with well water (the original well, sunk in 1758, is still in use with the hard well water being drawn from 85 feet underground), the gently roasted organic cocoa extract impart a delicious, smooth and creamy character, with inviting deep flavours and a delightful finish - this is a marriage of satisfying stout and luxurious chocolate. (RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$10.00 4 pack ~$55.00 case
18.7oz bottles: ~$4.00 each

Background:
I just sampled this beer last week at Chocolate Beer tasting at State Line Liquors. I thought it was the best chocolate flavored beer at the tasting and thought I should give it a full review.

Review:
The beer pours a dark brown, almost completely opaque with just a hint of ruby hues peeking though the glass. The pour also produced a fairly rich tan to cocoa colored head.

The nose is almost all chocolate with some roasted malt aromas mixed in.

Wow, what a great first sip; rich chocolate malty goodness.

This wonderful experience starts out with a dark malt sweetness up front followed by a silky smooth and creamy mouthfeel as this rich ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very rich, thick and malty but still fairly easy drinking with an almost effortless swallow. The finish is amazingly rich with smooth dark roasted malt flavors with notes of chocolate and a touch of coffee followed by the most impressive chocolate aftertaste.

The head on this beer has diminished but still remains thick enough to add a nice creaminess to the mouthfeel.

This has got to be the chocolatiest tasting chocolate beer that I have ever had.  

As the beer warms it is getting richer and smoother and the chocolate notes are just outstanding.

Wow, Rich chocolaty malt goodness to the last warm drop. Gotta Love It!

A+ | Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout is probably the best tasting natural chocolate flavored beer that I have ever had with it’s rich dark roasted malt flavors and velvety smooth mouthfeel this chocolate delight has rich malty goodness to the last warm drop.

DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus


Sweet Baby Jesus

Brewed by:

DuClaw Brewing Company

Abingdon, Maryland USA


American Porter


6.50% ABV



Commercial Description:
Chocolate peanut butter porter. This is the 2011 H.E.R.O. Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter re-branded and released again in December 2012.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$9.00 6 pack ~$34.00 case

Background:
I just sampled this beer last week at Chocolate Beer tasting at State Line Liquors. I thought it was very interesting at the time and thought I should give it a full review.

Review:
The beer pours a dark brown almost completely opaque with just a hint of ruby hues peeking though the edges of the glass. The pour also produced a fairly rich tan head.

The nose is very unique with dark roasted malt aromas along with very strong notes of chocolate and peanut butter; actually the peanut butter very predominant on the nose. This is a first for me.

Wow, what a unique first sip; full with rich roasted malts, chocolate and peanut butter.

This unique experience starts out with a touch of dark malt sweetness up front followed by a very smooth almost silky mouthfeel as this rich ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end continues to be smooth but the richness provides a slight hesitation on the swallow. The finish is as unique and complex as the nose with rich roasted malt flavors with notes of coffee, toffee and chocolate followed by the flavor of peanut butter. The final aftertaste is of lingering toffee and peanut butter.

This may be the most unique beer that I have ever tasted.

As the beer warms I’m picking up more peanut butter and also a touch of bitterness. There is so much complexity in the experience that I did not notice the dry hops on the finish until now that it as warmed a little.

Certainly for craftsmanship alone this is a solid A. I’m still a little put off or completely not accepting of a peanut butter flavored beer but I have to acknowledge the quality of this fine brew.

A | DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus is a most unique American Porter with rich roasted malt flavors with notes of coffee, toffee and chocolate followed by the strong  but natural peanut butter flavors on the finish.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Leinenkugels Snowdrift Vanilla Porter


Snowdrift Vanilla Porter


Brewed by:

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin USA


American Porter


6.00% ABV

Commercial Description:
Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter is a robust and velvety addition to Leinenkugel’s seasonal selection. This porter-style beer is aged on real vanilla to reveal rich layers of caramel, coffee and chocolate that is ideal for the season.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$8.50 6 pack ~$31.00 case

Background:
This seemed to be a staple for us over the holidays. It was originally recommended to me by my daughter Molly. This was also in a variety case of Christmas bees that I got from State Line Liquors just before Christmas. I managed to save a few of these to review.

Review:
The beer pours a clear dark brown, almost completely opaque with just a hint of deep ruby hues peaking through the glass.

The nose is very nice with roasted malt aromas with a touch of vanilla.

Ahhh with a nice first sip; smooth, mildly rich and easy drinking with touch of vanilla on the finish.

The experience starts out with a dark malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. That is followed by a smooth almost creamy mouthfeel as the rich porter rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end continues to be smooth and easy drinking with just a slight hesitation at the top of the swallow. The finish is nice with smooth but rich roasted malt flavors with notes of toffee and chocolate. There is also a very pleasant natural vanilla taste in the finish. There is very little of a hop presence just enough to slightly dry the finish. The final aftertaste is some lingering roasted malt and a touch of vanilla.

I’m a sucker for a good porter and this one is not bad at all. This may be the best beer that I’ve had from Leinenkugel.

It is also impressive when a beer warms up to room temperature and tastes as good if not better than it did when chilled.
B+ | Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter is a very nice easy drinking porter with great roasted malts flavors and a touch of vanilla on the finish.

Saranac Season's Best Nut Brown Lager


Saranac Season's Best - Nut Brown Lager


Brewed by:

Matt Brewing Company

Utica, New York USA


Vienna Lager


5.30% ABV


Commercial Description:
Brewed with a special blend of domestic and Belgian malts for a delicate nut-like character, you'll love this lager's rich taste and signature hop aroma. The exceptional full-bodied taste reflects our brewery's extraordinary commitment to brewing beers of the highest standard of quality. We hope you'll enjoy it. Happy Holidays!
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$7.50 6 pack ~$27.00 case

Background:
This was in a variety case of Christmas bees that I got from State Line Liquors just before Christmas. I managed to save a few of these to review.

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

The nose is interesting with pilsner and caramel malt aromas along with grassy notes and a touch of floral hops.

Not a bad first sip; easy drinking, somewhat sweet with caramel malt flavors and nutty notes.

The taste starts out with a touch of sweetness up front followed by effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. There is additional carbonation release during the swallow that masks flavors and adds a refreshing aspect to the experience. The finish is pleasant with pilsner malt flavors with a touch of caramel followed by a slight hop bite and touch of spice. There is also a distinct harshness on the finish. This is not bad, for me it’s more typical of a lager. There is little of a final aftertaste just a hint of some caramel malt.

At this beer warms that harshness is almost overpowering and now leaving a bad aftertaste.

C | Saranac’s Seasons Best is anything but the best. It’s not a awful lager but it’s also not a very good one. It does have nice malt flavors with a touch of caramel and spice with a slight hop bite on the finish. However it also has a harshness that turns down right unpleasant as the beer warms.
    

Thursday, January 31, 2013

R.J. Rockers First Snow Ale



The First Snow Ale

Brewed by:
RJ Rockers Brewing Company
Spartanburg, South Carolina USA

Winter Warmer

6.00% ABV





Commercial Description:
This hearty American pale ale contains a rich blend of spices that warms the soul on a cold winter’s night. Chill the mug, stoke the fire, and savor this quality seasonal brew. Available only during the Winter season, thusly, our featured beer.
(RateBeer.com)

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

Background:
This was in a variety case of Christmas bees that I got from State Line Liquors just before Christmas. I managed to save a few of these to review.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy light amber with orange hues and a modest white head.

The nose is nice with caramel almost toasted malt aromas with notes of cinnamon spice and floral hops.

What a nice first sip; smooth, easy drinking with great flavors spicy notes and a floral hop finish.

The experience starts out with a touch of malt sweetness up front followed by an almost refreshing and cleansing mouthfeel as the ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The spicy notes hit you just before you get to the top of the swallow in the back-end. The back-end is very easy drinking with and almost effortless swallow. The finish is great with nice pale malt flavors with a touch of caramel and floral finishing hops with just the right amount of spice. The spicy notes are of a touch of cinnamon. The final aftertaste is a slightly lingering spicy note with floral hops.

I am really enjoying this beer. It’s a shame that I only have one. This is something that I could enjoy drinking several of.

As the beer warms it is getting smoother. The spices also seem a little stronger now but are still not overpowering.

B+ | RJ Rockers First Winter Snow is a very good Winter Warmer with light pale malt flavors with a touch of caramel, smooth and easy drinking with a slight floral hop bite and spicy finish.

Goose Island Mild Winter


Goose Island Mild Winter

Brewed by:

Goose Island Beer Co.

Chicago, Illinois USA


English Dark Mild Ale


5.60% ABV



Commercial Description:
Toffee brown, medium-bodied, with a creamy head and an aroma of raisins and freshly baked dark bread. Mild Winter’s rich caramel malt and spicy rye flavors are sure to take the bite out of whatever Old Man Winter brews up for you this year.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$9.50 6pack

Background:
This was in a variety case of Christmas bees that I got from State Line Liquors just before Christmas. I managed to save a few of these to review.

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

The nose is wonderful with rich caramel and toasted malt aromas with a touch of earthy hop aromas.

Ahhh what a nice first sip.

The experience starts out with a touch of dark malt sweetness up front followed by a very smooth mouthfeel as the ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back-end has a bit of robustness with a hesitation at the top of the swallow. The finish really pulls this experience together with robust dark roasted malts notes of toffee followed by an earthiness of English hops. There is also slight bitterness from the toasted malts.  

B+ | Goose Island Mild Winter is a very nice hardy and robust ale for a cold winter night with it’s roasted malt character notes of toffee and a touch of coffee finishing with a pinch of spice.

Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale

Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale


Brewed by:

Coors Brewing Company
Golden, Colorado, USA


Dubbel

5.60% ABV



Commercial Description:
This copper-colored ale is crafted with roasted malts, Belgian sugar, and a touch of wheat for a rich caramel flavor and a smooth toffee finish.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$7.50 6 pack

Background:
This was in a variety case of Christmas bees that I got from State Line Liquors just before Christmas. I managed to save a few of these to review.

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

The nose is nice with toasted caramel malt aromas with nutty notes.

Not a bad first sip, refreshing and easy drinking but with decent flavors.

The taste starts out with a touch of malt sweetness up front followed by an almost cleansing effervescence as this light bodied ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is modest but with pleasant caramel malt flavors with notes of oak and toffee. There is very little of any hop presence at all. The final aftertaste is just a hint of lingering caramel malts.

This is a very easy drinking and almost refreshing ale. However there is also nothing special and quite honestly nothing Belgian about it. This reminds me more of an English brown than a Belgian Dubbel; I’m not even picking up the unique Belgian yeast notes.

At this warms it is starting to pick up some off flavors.

Yeah there is some real unpleasantness as this ale warms.

D+ | Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale is not so good Abbey Dubbel. It starts out as a decent drinkable ale but it goes down hill fast as it warms and is a poor representation of a Belgian Dubbel.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Redhook Winterhook


Redhook Winterhook


Brewed by:

Redhook Ale Brewery

Woodinville, Washington USA


Winter Warmer


6.00% ABV


Commercial Description:
Winterhook is the perfect beer to keep warm during cold months after shoveling snow, shredding some powder,  or playing hooky to can catch the game. Since it was first brewed, Redhook’s Winterhook has changed slightly each year to celebrate the season and keep everyone on their toes. After all, no one likes getting the same gift twice. The 28th version of Winterhook brewed for this year offers a rich caramel body that balances a big malt backbone with the aggressively dry hopped brew, making this year’s winter ale slightly naughty and very nice.
(RedHook.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$8.50 6pack

Background:
This was in a variety case of Christmas bees that I got from State Line Liquors just before Christmas. I managed to save a few of these to review.

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

The nose is modest with sweet caramel malt aromas and a touch of floral hops.

That was a tingling almost refreshing first sip with a slight hop bite on the finish.

The taste starts out with a touch of malt sweetness up front followed by a tingling effervescence as this ale washes over the tongue in the middle of the sip. There is a slight hop robustness and earthiness that builds toward the back-end. The back-end is fairly easy drinking with a modest hesitation at the top of the swallow. The finish is nice with sweet caramel malt flavors with nutty notes. There is also and American hop presence on the finish that add a crisp cleanliness to the finish. The final aftertaste is a touch of caramel malt notes.

The hop bite gives this winter warmer a nice slant on the English Winter Warmer style. However there is still that classic English caramel malt flavor and earthiness of the traditional style.

I really like this one; classic with an American touch on the finish.

B+ | Red Hook Winter Hook is a very good Winter Warmer with classic caramel malts with toasted notes, a tingling effervescent mouthfeel and a nice hop bite twist on the style that makes this an American Winter Warmer.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Southern Tier 2Xmas


Southern Tier 2Xmas


Brewed by:

Southern Tier Brewing Company
Lakewood, New York, USA


Herbed / Spiced Beer



8.00% ABV


Commercial Description:
”double spiced ale brewed in the tradition of Swedish Glögg”
(RateBeer.com)

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


Background:
This was in a variety case of Christmas bees that I got from State Line Liquors just before Christmas. I managed to save a few of these to review.


Review:
The beer pours slightly hazy dark amber almost brown with a very modest off white head.

The nose is very heavily spiced along with rich caramel malt aromas and a touch of sweetness I assume is alcohol.

Wow, that is one spicy ale but it does have a nice sweet finish.

The starts out with a touch of dark malt sweetness up front followed by a smooth mouthfeel as this low carbonated ale rolls over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The spicy aspect of this ale starts to come out just before you get to the back-end. The back-end is rich with a hesitation at the top of the swallow. The finish is rich with dark roasted malt flavors, spice and sweet alcohol. The final aftertaste is of lingering spice and toasted malts.

All and all this is an enjoyable beer but it is heavily spiced with traditional Christmas spices.

There is a nice warming effect from the alcohol in this ale also.

B- | Southern Tier 2Xmas is a nice Christmas ale highly spiced but also good caramel malt flavors and warming finish.

Abita Christmas Ale 2012


Abita Christmas Ale 2012


Brewed by:

Abita Brewing Co.

Abita Springs, Louisiana, USA


American Brown Ale


5.50% ABV


Commercial Description:
Abita Christmas Ale (November - December) rounds out our calendar. Each year at the Abita Brewery we craft a special dark ale for the holiday season. The recipe changes each year so that Abita Christmas Ale is always the perfect gift. Its spicy character is excellent with traditional holiday foods such as gingerbread or spiced nuts. Try some blue cheese or a creamy Camembert with a Christmas Ale.
(Abita.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles: ~$9.00 6pack, ~$32.00 case

Background:
This was in a variety case of Christmas bees that I got from State Line Liquors just before Christmas. I managed to save a few of these to review.

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

The nose is very pleasant and inviting with sweet caramel and roasted malt aromas along with just a hint of floral hop aromas. The is also a earthiness on the nose reminiscent of an English Brown.

What a nice first sip; smooth with nice malt flavors and bright finish.

The experience starts out with a touch of caramel malt up front on the tip of the tongue followed by an almost cleansing effervescence over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is fairly easy drinking with and almost effortless swallow. The finish is nice with sweet caramel malt flavors with at touch or roastiness. There is also a touch of spice and a very pleasant hop presence at the end of the finish that provides a nice bite. The final aftertaste is just a hint of lingering caramel malt and a touch of that hop bite.

This is very nice ale; I am really enjoying it.

As this warms the malt flavors and spicy notes are becoming more predominate. Also as this beer sits and off gases the carbonation has reduced and the overall mouthfeel is smoother.

I still can’t but my finger on the spice. Maybe it’s a combination of light spice and a hop bit that is combining for this flavor.

B | Abita Christmas Ale 2012 is a very good dark ale with nice dark malt flavors, smooth and mildly rich but maintaining a refreshing aspect throughout the taste finishing with a touch of spice and slight hop bite making this a great holiday experience.   

Gaffel Kölsch


Gaffel Kölsch


Brewed by: Privatbrauerei Gaffel Becker & Co.

Köln, Germany


Kölsch


4.80% ABV





Commercial Description:
The laws protecting the brewing of kolsch are as strict as the German Purity Law of 1516. Kolsch beer can only be brewed within the city of Cologne. As the best-known kolsch brewery, Gaffel’s flavor is derived from an ale yeast that is "lagered" (or aged) in cold cellars. Gaffel is pale, faintly fruity with a crisp, hop finish. Enjoy as an aperitif or digestif.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
11.2oz bottles: ~$12.00 6pack

Background:
This review was actually written back in September as preparation for the Holy Saviour Parish Oktoberfest that I was running. I’m just now getting around to posting it.

This has always been my gold standard for this style but I have never reviewed it. When I had the opportunity to have this on draft for the Oktoberfest I fingered it was long overdue.

Review:
The beer pours a clear golden yellow with a diminishing bright white head. This beer is highly carbonated with lots of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass.

The nose is very pleasant with earthy pale pilsner malt aromas and a touch of hops.

What a nice clean and refreshing first sip.

The taste starts out with touch of pale malt sweetness up front followed by a cleansing effervesce over the tongue in the middle of the sip. The back end is very easy drinking with an effortless swallow. The finish is very nice with pale malt flavors, mostly pilsner with a nice earthiness and a touch of hops to dry without bittering.

I’m not sure where that earthiness comes from but it sure is good and gives this a special uniqueness.

Well, this beer was so light and refreshing it’s gone.

A | Gaffel Kölsch is the best example of this unique Cologne beer. It is clean and crisp with light mouthfeel and pleasant pale malt flavors with a unique earthiness and dry finish.