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.