Mocha Porter by Rogue Brewing

23885_10100928490409740_1000318734_nRating: 4.45/5

Mocha Porter by Rogue Brewing is a 5.3%ABV Sweet Porter 

Label:

Ruddy brown in color, a bittersweet balance of malt and hops with a light cream finish.13 Ingredients:
Malts: Great Western 2-Row, 
135-165, 95-115, and 70-80 Crystal; Chocolate, Black, Carastan & Rogue Micro Barley Farm Dare Malts
Hops: Williamette & Rogue Micro Hopyard Revolution & Freedom hops
Yeast & Water: Rogue’s Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.
No Chemicals , Preservatives or additives
Specs:
13º PLATO
54 IBU
73 AA
77º Lovibond

Rogue makes some pretty awesome beers. This one should be no exception. The some smokey bakers chocolate aromas and sweet caramel on a mocha Frappucino. The flavors are of caramel, chocolate, coffee grounds, mocha, brown sugar, earthy hops,. Vanilla, raisin bread and whipped cream. There is this underlying chocolate cake flavor that reminds me of the Oak Aged Yeti. Good stuff here :P. So much rich flavor and a little bits of alcohol. Worth the try 🙂

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Tower 20 IIPA by Karl Strauss

Rating: 4.25/5

Tower 20 IIPA by Karl Strauss is a 9.5% ABV Imperial India Pale Ale. Had this one a couple times but never really sat down to review it. Had this for my friend Carlos Bachelor party as well. Our friend Eric brought it in a growler and even though some of my friends don’t like IPAs, this was definitely Gold

Label:

The saying “less is more” doesn’t apply to West Coast IPA’s. Less is a glass half empty and Tower 20 is a full glass of unrivaled hop character – a Double IPA where more is more. In brewing this hoppy offering, we took the best of Tower 10 IPA and added more. An abundance of high-alpha Centennial hops give T20 its resinous pine-like bitterness, while Oregon-grown Crystals and Chinooks lend zesty grapefruit and tangerine hop flavors. Don’t hoard this hop bomb, drink it fresh and we’ll brew more. 
So like other IPAs,DIPAS/IIPAS, that I have reviewed in the past, each with their own emphasis on certain flavors than others. This IIPA focus is more on tropical fruity flavors and piney hoppy bitterness. The fragrance is like a honey and tangerine marmalade smell. Some grapefruit and mango aromas. Possibly some Lime and Barley wine aromas as well. The flavors are of candy orange, tangerine, mango, peach, grapefruit, pineapple, caramel, toffee, biscuit bread and vanilla. The hoppy, pine and grassy bitterness is not as abundant. Then again I don’t know how long it has been on the shelf. Regardless, it bleeds of tropical IPA awesomeness but not too bitter. SO…for people that do not like IPAs, this might be something that you will like.

Wreck Alley by Karl Strauss Brewing

Rating: 4.6/5Wreck Alley by Karl Strauss Brewing is a 9.5% ABV Imperial Stout. This was recommended to me by my friend Eric although he advised that it is better and fresher on tap. LOL I agree to some extent. Although this beer can be aged as stated on the bottle. So I took his word for it and sought this beer :).

Label:

Beneath the tides off Mission Beach rests Wreck Alley – a dark and mysterious seascape of forgotten ships. Amidst the rusted wreckage is a marine ecosystem, an artificial reef teeming with life. Our Wreck Alley is as dark as the depths of its namesake, an Imperial Stout of uncharted complexity. Brewed with darkly kilned malts, cocoa nibs, and Ethiopian coffee beans, Wreck Alley boasts rich layers of dark chocolate, toffee, and espresso-like roast. Save a bottle. This one has a stout shelf-life. 
The aroma of this beer is quite nice. Roasted malts, vanilla, chocolate, cream and almost like a faint tobacco. In terms of the flavors, Vanilla is king in this one. It is then followed by the sweet chocolate, coffee, licorice/anise, slight coconut and caramel. The after taste is not smokey or bitter but almost like a brownie or a chocolate cake with anise but the earthy notes settle the sweetness so it is not overly sweet. Well hidden alcohol as it is hard to tell that it is there. It is quite a nice imperial Stout. As with many stouts, each more unique than the other. It think vanilla is the big hit with this one. This is an awesome pick up if you can get it. I think it is only seasonal too.

Breakfast Stout by Founders Brewing

Rating: 5/5

Breakfast Stout by Founders Brewing is a 8.9%ABV Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout.

Label:

You’ve got to love coffee to truly appreciate this phenomenal brew. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, Sumatra and Kona coffee. We’re actually not sure if this is some type of coffee cake or a beer. Either way you can drink this ale with a fork. Breakfast Stout has an intense fresh roasted coffee nose topped with a cinnamon colored frothy head that seems to never fade and makes you wish breakfast could last forever.
A world class beer that seems to be highly rated on the interwebs. Had to figure out what it was about. This beer comes in a 4 pack and available in the Fall and Winter. To be honest I couldn’t help my self but to have the first bottle as a beer float. Pure mocha goodness mixed in with that cookies and cream Ice Cream. Even though it was sweetened out, I could still taste the roasted malts and bitter earthy hops. Quite nice. So This is a review for the beer stand alone, I just figured I add that stuff extra to say it goes good as a beer float too. The aroma of this beer is like a nice rich coffee. I think one of the biggest reasons it is highly rated is because it is closer to a nice cup of coffee than a lot of other beers. Don’t know a lot about coffee types since I don’t drink that often but yes the fragrance is rich with it. Also, it is not just pure coffee, I can smell some vanilla, cocoa, caramel and crème sugar. The flavors of this beer is quite exquisite. This definitely like drinking a cold coffee that is sweetened up. However, not to the level of an Espresso. Although, the fresh flavors reminds of a light Khalua.. Notes of dark, bitter chocolate, followed by a light crème, oatmeal, raisin, mocha, vanilla, and alittle bit of caramel. Not too complex but as close as a very good cup of coffee goes. As for the alcohol…what alcohol?…hard to find it in the taste but it does get you after. Definitely because it is the closest to Liquid cold Coffee a beer can be is probably the reason why it is rated highly. If you can find this at the store or online, go try it. Coffee drinkers and Stout lovers will find this one very pleasing. I think the hype definitely lives up to it

Paulaner Oktoberfest Weisn by Paulaner Munchen Brauerei Gmbh & Co.

Rating: 4.25/5

Paulaner Oktoberfest Weisn by Paulaner Munchen Brauerei Gmbh & Co. is a 6% ABV Märzen / Oktoberfest ale. This is the same delicious stuff they gave last year at the Oktoberfest. This year I heard it was Warsteiner. Regardless, this is the same awesome beer that is friggin sweet. In my previous review, I talked about about the origin of the Oktoberfest/Marzen style (http://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/oktoberfestbier-by-bayerische-staatsbrauerei-weihenstephan/)

Label:
The long tradition of the Munich Oktoberfest began in 1810 on the occasion of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig von Bayern and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, to which the Munich population was also invited. Munich’s residents lovingly call the area on which the world’s largest folk festival has traditionally taken place since then the “Wiesn” (meadow). You [CAN] also participate in our festival this year again, since we are bringing the Oktoberfest feeling into your home. Celebrate with us and enjoy drinking a ‘Oktoberfest Wiesn’ specialty out of an original ‘Wiesn’ beer mug. Paulaner Oktoberfest Wiesn Bier is brewed strictly according to the Bavarian beer purity law of 1516 only from the best natural ingredients. It has the character of a typically bottom-fermented festival brew – a deep golden yellow color, with a balanced harmonious taste and the pleasant fragrance of hops. A full-bodied, wonderfully mellow Wiesn Ale [?] enjoyment.”
—-I have tried this beer before many times but I have not had a chance to review it, so here it goes. There is a lot of sweet biscuit bread, honey, lemon and hoppy aromas. The flavors are probably what makes me keep trying the beer over and over again. Sweet honey laid on top of a biscuit bread with sweet lemon and caramel jam, some cornflakes with banana slices, however, there is still enough earthy and grassy hop bitterness to mellow out some of the sweetness. The sweet flavors linger in the aftertaste which is awesome reminding you that you had some good beer. LOL will admit, the only reason why this beer did not get a higher grade is because to me, The Hefeveizen Dunkel is the true Oktoberfest beer. Like the franziskaner. Although if they have Paulaner Heff it is still close enough with its banana cloves and bread :P. However, pickers can’t be choosers. This is still a very good beer and worthy of many tries. This is only available in the fall, so get this one before they disappear in the winter.

Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing

Rating: 5/5

Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing is a 10%ABV Russian Imperial Stout. This is the second time I try this beer. Both the Oak Aged and regular versions are awesome :P. 

Label:

Each year santa works up that famous list. He takes notes of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. To the nice people he brings good cheer. For the people who have been anything but nice, he loads up on big fat lumps of coal. Thankfully, santa knows this is one seriously nice beer. Brewed only once a year since it was first released in 1997, Santa’a Little Helper has been our annual insurance policy against lumps of coal in our stockings. Each year, we look forward to the release of this beer which signals the impending arrival of the jolly old fat man and his merry band of eves. Santa’s Little Helper Imperials stouts is as back as christmas eve with a decidedly smooth finish. We know you’ll find it the perfect companion for chestnuts roasting by an open fire paired with that lump of coal you’ll be receiving.

The easiest way to describe this beer is to say that if you were to take Old Rasputin and collided him with Christmas and made him run gift errands on Christmas Eve, you would have this. Think of a Russian Imperial stout and add Christmas spices to it like nutmeg, cinnamon, cherries and other Christmasy goodness. The flavors of chocolate, coffee and earthy hop bitterness is toned down to release more sweeter flavors. There are notes of cinnamon, cherries, raisins, molasses, vanilla, caramel. However as you keep trying it, there seems to be more chocolate flowing here. Milk, dark, baker and bitter sweet chocolates that flow into a coffee like a mocha. One of the better Christmas beers you will find along with some of the ones I have already reviewed here for sure :). Many places including Bevmo have this around this time of year. Get it before the season ends :P. LOL and you are lucky to find the Oak aged version which was released in he summer, get that too 😀

2011 Review:
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas..lol even if its barely gonna be Halloween…lmao!! Anyways. We have here a nice Christmas Imperial Stout. This is the Santa’s Little Helper by Port Brewing company. Delicious chocolate and coffee flavors like most Imperial Stouts with 10% ABV. However, this beer is heavy in bitterness but there is this delicious note of dry cinnamon and cherry. Like those delicious Christmas chocolates that come out around that time. LOL looks like the guys took some of last years coals left in the stockings to heat and roast up the malts to use in this years beer. Definitely a good present to receive this holiday season…or even before Halloween >:)

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Ale Voodoo Doughnut by Rogue Brewing

Rating: 5/5

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Ale Voodoo Doughnut by Rogue Brewing is a 5.3% Fruit Beer brewed with Chocolate, Peanut butter and Bananas. LOL Yeah this is different but awesome. A Homer Simpson type of beer I’m sure. This is the Variant of the original Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale and recent release from Rogue.

Label:

A Collision of Crazies Rogue Ales has again collided with Voodoo Doughnut to create Chocolate, Banana & Peanut Butter Ale! This unique artisan creation contains a baker’s dozen ingredients including chocolate, banana and peanut butter to match Voodoo’s “Memphis Mafia” doughnut- a nod to Elvis’ entourage.
2-Row, C-150, C-175, Carafoam Special II & Chocolate Malts; Rogue Farms Revolution & Independent Hops; Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana; Pacman Yeast and Free Range Coastal Water

Initial smell was very enticing. Strong smell from the chocolate, peanut butter and bananas. Hints of vanilla and caramel are in the aromas as well. There is also a smell of like cherry glaze. Almost like walking into the Doughnut shop type of pastry smell. The Initial taste is somewhat smokey and grassy but all that dissipates as soon as the rest of the flavors take over. Milk Chocolate, peanut butter, banana bread, vanilla, caramel, maple, campfire graham cracker and marshmallow notes, brown sugar, raisin, cherry, definitely like this butterscotch after taste. They definitely worked hard to make this beer taste like a doughnut. The smokeyness is only there to balance out the sweetness. This beer has many notes but it is not overly sweet. The balance works very well towards its favor. It is not too much in alcohol and managed to hit a lot of pleasure notes in the taste buds. Got this one directly from Rogue so the distribution should be hitting Bevmo and other specialty liquor stores soon. Go and pick this up, its quite interesting and delicious…lol but don’t take my word for, judge for yourself.

Spéciale Cent Cinquante by Chimay Trappistes

Rating: 4.5/5

Spéciale Cent Cinquante by Chimay Trappistes is a 10% ABV Tripel Brewed in honor of their 150th Anniversary (1892-20120)

Label:

This special edition is a full bodied and distinctive strong beer developed within the abbey to celebrate and honour the 150th anniversary of the brewery. Produced with 100% natural ingredients,its pale golden robe and champagne sparkle is topped by a rich white head of foam. The distinctive bouquet evokes the rich fruity and complex notes of the Chimay yeast in harmony with a delicate spicy note and the fragrance of fresh noble hops. At 10% alcohol, the flavour is full bodied and complex with a slight but refreshing tang note and a crisp hop finish that will delight the palate. 

Chimay, located in Scourmont Abbey in Belgium is one of the 7 Trappist monasteries in the world brewing some of the Best Belgian Beers in the world. Like the Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue) which is one of the best in the world and quite common to boot :). This beer reminds me of Curiex by Allagash as well as the Duvel Rustica by Ommegang. It is one of those sweet Belgian beers that are more pale and golden than a strong Quad. This Tripel is quite fragrant and floral. There are aromas of citrus, lime, honey, spices, cloves, peppercorn, grapes and hibiscus. The flavors are sweeter than Curiex and Duvel. There is a lot of sweet bread dipped in honey nectar or agave nectar. Oranges, lime, grape, apples, mango, peach, banana, alittle bit of pine and earthy hops, vanilla, coriander, spices, and pink peppercorns (Like in Allagash Fluxus). The beer is very good but for the price, you only get some extra flavors and sweetness. I would definitely go with the other Chimay beers for sure, but this one is worth a try atleast :). Still a very good beer

Jewbelation Sweet 16 (16th Anniversary Ale) by He’Brew

Rating: 4.9/5

Jewbelation Sweet 16 16th Anniversary Ale by He’Brew is a 16%ABV Strong Ale made with 16 hops and 16 malts. That’s a lot of ingredients and a lot of alcohol!!

Label:

For our Shmaltz Sweet 16, it’s all cupcakes and unicorns this—round! Romans 16:16: “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” 16 books in the Hebrew Bible go by the names of Prophets. Lincoln was our 16th president. As the Revolution raged, Louis the XVI became the only King of France ever executed, ending 1000 years of dynasty. “One cannot become a saint when one works 16 hours a day.” -Jean-Paul Sartre. The true 16 oz pint must pour to the ”painted line,” taken from Old French and Latin. The Clash first rocked the US in 1980 on their “16 Tons Tour”. A 16-Ton weight famously crushed skits in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. 16 year-olds can legally pilot a glider, buy a lottery ticket, and get married in Scotland. Jewish superstar of the roaring ’20′s, Al Jolson, often performing in blackface, popularized the song, “When You Were Sweet 16″. Seth Rogen, child of self-avowed “Jewish radical socialists,” got on Freaks and Geeks at age 16. “At 16, the adolescent knows about suffering because he himself has suffered, but he barely knows that other beings also suffer.” -Jean-Jacques Rousseau. To attend Justin Bieber’s Sweet 16 party, parents had to sign a waiver stating “My participation may involve risk of serious injury or death.” In South Park’s “Satan’s Super Sweet 16,” serial killers from Hell failed to produce a cake baked in the form of a Ferrari. Thankfully there’s a ton of ways to come of age so Shmaltz it up, Tribe — Le’Chaim! – Jeremy Cowan, proprietor 

This one is is pretty strong. Last years 15th was intense as well. Trying to pick out the individual differences from 15 to 16 is no easy task. To begin, the smell of this beer is just like a stout with its chocolate and coffee aromas. In fact I think this beer is more of a stout than anything. However, you can smell the aroma of the boozyness from like a bourbon and vanilla bean. Although, this was not aged in bourbon casks. There are also fragrances of plums and and like a soy sauce almost. The flavors are pretty complex. Dark Chocolate, Coffee, vanilla, mocha, earthy and grassy hop pine bitterness, barley wine honey, molasses, brown sugar, plum, raisins, cherry notes, licorice, caramel, and booze like a rum or a bourbon but distinct flavors of those liquors are not present here. No matter as the beer itself has enough other flavors to make it very outstanding. The booze is quite present but you can still tell the complex flavors about it because the booziness fades as the flavors are unleashed. The after taste is still quite stout like as the sweet and rich chocolate cake and coffee flavors still linger on. I would definitely give this another go. Although you do not want to drink this in one sitting. The ABV is quite high 😛

Bush de Noël (Scaldis Noel) by Brasserie Dubuisson Frères sprl

Rating: 5/5

Bush de Noël (Scaldis Noel) by Brasserie Dubuisson Frères sprl is a 12%ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Label:

“Brewed especially for the Christmas period, Scaldis Noel is a brilliant red amber ale that will delight the most demanding connoisseurs.”

The Prequel to the Scaldis Prestige De Nuits (https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/scaldis-prestige-de-nuits-cuvee-speciale-2009-by-brasserie-dubuisson-freres-sprl/)
Like it’s epic counter part, this beer has fragrances of banana, caramel, some dark fruit noted, nutmeg, cinnamon and all spice. This awesome beer is only a small sample of a strong Belgian beer that screams with flavors like a quad or a Dubbel. There are some flavors of a litle bit of bourbon, cinnamon, banana cloves, coriander spice, all spice, nutmeg, sweet bread like, citrus, raisins, blueberries, pilsner grain, vinous grapes, and graham crackers. It is indeed a lighter version in terms of flavor complexity than what is found in the aged version. Still complex and strong though. A strong Christmas beer with a lot of delight. Drinks like a Trois Pistoles as well. So yeah, I think I am being reasonable to say that is is worth a try and a sipper :P. One if the best Christmas Belgian beers for sure.

The Perfect Crime Conspiracy by Stillwater Artisanal, Stone Brewing and Evil twin

Rating: 3.9/5

The Perfect Crime Conspiracy by Stillwater Artisanal, Stone Brewing and Evil twin is a 6% ABV Black Smoked Saison

Label:
When two gypsies team up with an arrogant bastard, there is bound to be some criminal activity…better to view this project as a conspiracy rather than a collaboration. The strengths of all involved were utilized to break the laws of style guidelines…dark with deception, mys

teriously smoked, unexplainably dry, and intriguingly hoppy…maybe it’s best not to even talk about it.

Never thought I would see the day Stone and Stillwater would make a collaboration beer. With their accomplice Evil Twin, you definite have some arrogant gangsters :P. Been looking for this beer for the last 2 weeks and finally was able to snag a bottle. Pours almost pitch black and full bodied. Fragrances are definitely of smoke, campfire, flowers and farmhouse hay like the awesome saisons of Still water but there is some grassy mint fragrance. The flavors pretty wicked. Saison bread, like a peppercorn spice, cloves, roasted malt with like a bacon aftertaste but starts off with molasses, mint, grassy hops, citrus, hibiscus and maybe lavander, . Finish smokey but dry. Definitely for those that enjoy smokey beers. But the fusion with a Saison is just epic. So it makes it not pure smoke. The beer got better with later sips :P.

Firestone XVI Sixteenth Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker

Rating: 5.5/5 (Just like last years version, harder to explain. Strategy guide included) (https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/firestone-xv-fifteenth-anniversary-ale-by-firestone-walker/)

Firestone XVI Sixteenth Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker is a 13% ABV Strong Multi-liquor Barrel Aged Hybrid Blend Ale. If Last year’s beer was the Akira of beers, this beer ascended to another dimension of flavor and complexity. A Goku super saiyan of sorts. Maybe Kaiohken x20 Goku. I should mention by the way. Since this beer is stupidly complex, the flavors change with temperature. Meaning every sip will evolve into different flavors. I kid you NOT!!!. Why the fuck do you think this has a strategy guide :/. Hell, even me, I am not sure if I can explain all the flavors to the fullest. And like the stories where the people visit some mountain or some island or even reach the bottom of the ocean or go digging for archeological treasure a la National Treasure in search if riches or even…the truth, along the way, you may get buzzed enough to lower your senses. Meaning you will not be able to fully find the treasure hidden beneath as you wont be able to taste anything if you finish the bottle. A “Shut up and Take My Money” moment in beerdom. Buy one before they run out!!

Label:
The Aging Cellar – The Components
We blended together 226 oak barrels and 8 different beers creating something truly complex and exceptional. 

The following are descriptions of key components with their original code names:

Velvet Merkin (8.7% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon barrels
-Traditional Oatmeal Stout (23% of final blend)
OG= 15P FG=5.5 IBU=32.5 Color= Black / 15% Oats / Hopped with 100% US grown Fuggles

Stickee Monkee (12.5% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon and Brandy barrels
-English Barley Wine (22.5% of final blend)
OGP FG=5.4P IBU=45 Color=28 / Brewed with Mexican Turbinado (Brown) sugar

Double Double Barrel Ale (14.2% ABV) – Aged 100% in retired Firestone Union barrels
-Double strength English Pale Ale (20.3% of final blend)
OG=25.0P FG=5.1P IBU=30 Color=16 / A Double version of our flagship created by Ali Razi

Parabola (13% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon barrels
-Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout (10.8% of final blend)
OG=31P FG=8.5P IBU=80 Color=Black / Hopped with Simcoe, Bravo, Styrian Golding and East Kent Golding

PNC (13.0% ABV) – Aged in Tequila barrels 
-American Strong Buckwheat Stout (8.1% of final blend)
OG = 25P FG = 5.0P IBU = 80 Color = 100 / Brewed with Buckwheat

Helldorado (11.5% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon Barrels and Brandy barrels
-Blonde Barley Wine (5.4% of final blend)
OG=24.7P FG=4.5P IBU=24 Color = 8 / Brewed with buckwheat honey & 100% El Dorado hops

Bravo (13.4% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon and Brandy barrels
-Imperial Brown Ale (5.4% of final blend)
OG=26.5 FG=7.7 IBU=35 Color=32 / Hopped with 100% US grown Fuggles

Wookey Jack (8.3% ABV)- 100% Fresh, Dank & Hoppy 100% Stainless Steel
-Black Rye India Pale Ale (4.5% of final blend)
OG= 18P FG = 3.0P IBU = 80 Color =black / Extremely hoppy double dry hopped BIPA

As a finished beer, XVI takes us back to some of the wonderful dark notes (the black keys) that I remember from the original 10 blending. XVI is 42% stout with Velvet Merkin, Parabola and “PNC” working together as three roasty toasty friends that create rich cacao, chocolate and mocha flavors together. “PNC” also introduces tequila barrels into our blend for the first time and brings some interesting south of the boarder spirit notes to the mix – a welcome twist. Helldorado, with flavors of lavender honey liqueur was again a favorite of the winemakers and made the cut adding some flowery notes. DDBA continues to deliver its signature American toasted oak, English caramel toffee and light leather nuances. DDBA was also release on its own in 2012 and is now established as a solid annual brew. Stickee Monkee is fast becoming one of our favorite pieces with its rich maple syrup, spicy cinnamon, and ripe fig flavors which has developed into a bolder cousin of perennial blend component Bravo who carries barrel character and bourbon notes like no other. The additional twist this year is Wookey Jack, Black Rye IPA with its wily citrusy hop notes and spicy rye backbone. The finished blend is unfiltered and unfined, so there will be a small amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. XVI is best enjoyed poured carefully into a half filled brandy snifter or red wine glass. Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas. It takes a while, but as this beer sits and breathes in the glass, more rich dusty chocolate, stone fruit and crème brulee character is reveled as the rich spirit characters fade – so take your time. If you wait to open your bottle later, store it in a cool dark place. I suspect that this beer will age well and change favorably for years to come. It was an absolute pleasure in the making and I truly hope you enjoy our Seventh oak-aged blend! The journey continues and its just as fun and exciting now as it was back in 1996. Thank you so much for spending a little time with us!

Did you catch all that?? okay good. Now let’s go explore this briny deep. Lets start with the Event Horizon, A.K.A Aromas. Smells like coconut, coffee, Frappucino, bourbon, caramel, vanilla, chocolate, whiskey, bubble gum, bananas, plums, Key Lime pie, hazelnut and agave. I have had agave iced tea (Agave Lechugilla from Guadalajara, Mexico) and tequila. I have also had other Tequila Barrel Aged beers, so I will be looking for these things in the flavors. Right off the bat, you are bombarded by flavors, but stay close, the journey gets rough… Coconut, vanilla, toasted bread, milk and dark chocolate, coffee, raisin, plums, cherries, pecan pie, bananas (like the chunky munky icecream), hazelnut, walnuts, almonds, burnt sugar, nutmeg, capirotada (Mexican pastry with nuts and raisins, sometimes with leche nestle [sweetened condensed milk]) and Danish cookies. As the beer got warmer, it stayed primarily on the banana and pecan pie flavors where at first it had the coffee, whipped cream, cherry and chocolate, more danish cookies, peach, mango, Reese’s dipped in strawberry and blueberry and spread on a French Crêpe with maple. The Coconut, vanilla, bourbon lingers all around. There are flavors of vanilla and cinnamon with pecan pie notes and agave is what stays in the after taste. Maybe the agave was overwhelmed by the other flavors but it sure comes out to shine in the sweet after taste. As the glass goes on (mind you, This is still the first 8 oz glass, it has been more than 30 minutes of waiting and the beer just keeps….EVOLVING. I am semi buzzed at this point so like I was saying earlier, I may not find the truth still…or the treasure of all the flavors presented in the complexity of this beer. My mouth is left with sorrow because the beer evolved into this sweet pastry my mom used to make with Eggs and Leche Nestle 😦 . Now that was true deliciousness . Crusty, oily, super sweet, creamy…. I cannot say anymore. This is a supreme dessert beer. Only reason it did not get a 6 is because I could not find everything and well, When a beer like Black Tuesday, Chocolate Rain, White Chocolate, Sexual Chocolate or even Choklat tell you…this is pure liquid bliss, then you better listen. This beer was way better than last years beer. I will be buying another bottler soon enough. Maybe the aging/evolution process will take it to a 6 or more…who knows :O …Why are you still reading this…. GO FIND THIS GOLD NOW!!!

Winter Welcome by Samuel Smith

Rating: 4.6/5

Winter Welcome by Samuel Smith is a 6.0% ABV Winter Warmer ale. Winter Warmer is a style of beer that is geared toward Christmas and the winter. This is an English style ale so it bring more of brown ale characteristic to it. Also, English Ales do not spice up their beers.

Label:

This seasonal beer is a limited edition brewed for the short days and long nights of winter. The full body resulting from fermentation in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’ and the luxurious malt character, which will appeal to a broad range of drinkers, is balanced against whole-dried Fuggle and Golding hops with nuances and complexities that should be contemplated before an open fire. 
Bottle: Pasteurised.
Each year the label has a different picture.
Ingredients: Water, malted barley, yeast, hops, seaweed finings, carbon dioxide. 

(Every year, the picture in the center changes. This year it is the Rugby pic)
—-

If these are not using spices, this is very awesome. I heard somewhere that this is one of the best Christmas beers out there. LOL They maybe right. The interesting thing about this beer, is that it drinks like a brown ale with its grain, almonds, caramel and toffee flavors. However, what if the the caramel flavor became richer and there some banana and maybe some dark fruit notes to it. Reminiscent of a light Belgian quad almost….almost, then this is what we have here. Something about this beer and is bready, dulce de leche with minor raisin and plum flavors is very appealing to me. It is not overwhelming but enough to make it a very good beer. If you like new castle, and maybe a fan of Belgian beers, try this one. It is all around pretty good.

Hibiscus IPA Two Islands collaboration by Coronado and Maui

Rating: 4.45/5

Hibiscus IPA Two Islands collaboration by Coronado and Maui is a 4.9% ABV India Pale Ale brewed with Hibiscus flowers. Many of us Latinos know this flower as it is used to make Jamaica (Iced Hibiscus-Tea). Never had such a mix before. However, now the tropical flavors are probably more potent in this IPA

Label:

CBC and our fellow islanders at Maui Brewing Co are bridging the distance from Hawaii to the mainland with big flavor, camaraderie, and generosity. This centennial, chinook, and nugget-stoked IPA, made floral with the addition of hibiscus flower, is the first of an annual series of collaborative beers benefiting local charities. This time around, a donation will be made to Beer for Boobs, a Susan G Komen 3-day team formed by San Diego company White Labs, who contributed the yeast for this brew. No matter which side of the Pacific you’re on, there’s no better reason to ” Drink Pink!” 

When pouring this beer, it was mainly crimson and pink. The beer aromas of the pine and grassy hops are there but the floral and fruity aromas are also there. Almost like cherries. First sip of this beer and I was amazed by a different type of bitterness. I have had Jamaica on many occasions, with and with out sugars. So the flowery bitterness is there but it works very will with the hops creating a hoppy and floral bitterness hybrid. The flavors are of grapefruit, pineapple, cranberry tart, light cherries, orange, biscuit bread and lime. The flavors are not too overwhelming making this a pretty refreshing beer which wont fill you up to quick but has enough flavors to make it interesting. Even though it does not a super bitter IPA role, it plays it role for which it is suited for, a tropical, floral and a bit fruity IPA.

Denogginizer by Drake’s Brewing

Rating: 4.25/5

Denogginizer by Drake’s Brewing is a 9.75%ABV Imperial India Pale Ale. 

Label:

Silver Medal winner for Imperial India Pale Ale, Great American Beer Festival 2009. An Imperial (or Double) IPA, Denogginizer is a big bold beer hopped with an abundant amount of Simcoe and Columbus with a touch of Amarillo and Cascade. Mashed with Munich and Crystal malt for color and flavor…and to help balance out the hop assault. 

Another DIPA to add to the list of Double IPAs. As I have explained in other reviews, some IPAs focus on certain traits wether sweeter or more bitter. This IPA focuses on several things but mostly in the sweeter category. More caramel than tropical sweet. Hoppy but not super bitter. Just enough to let you know you are dealing with an Double IPA. Also the alcohol is well hidden. Flavors of caramel, honey, hoppy grassy pine and grapefruit, some apple, tangerine, peach, spicy but not herbal. A sweeter DIPA than others. So if you prefer more bitter and more tropical, there are others out there. This one is still recommended if you like sweeter DIPAs though. Not bad at all 🙂

Chocolate Porter by Hangar 24

Rating: 4.25/5

Chocolate Porter by Hangar 24 is a 8%ABV Porter brewed with chocolate malts, cocoa nibs and vanilla bean.

Label:

Rich and decadent. This strong porter is perfect for sipping at the end of the day or to accompany full-flavored foods. The intense, roasty flavor comes from two types of chocolate malt and raw cocoa nibs. Whole vanilla beans introduced post fermentation add complexity and enhance the dessert-like qualities of this full bodied beer. Indulge yourself! Additional Information: This beer began life as our Panamanian Porter with the flavors of chocolate, vanilla and banana. A truly unique beer, we felt that all those flavors needed some smoothing out so we changed yeast strains and eliminated the banana flavor (Which came from the yeast strain). The Panamanian Porter did have many fans however, and there may be plans in the future to bring it back for a special occasion. Stay tuned…

This beer reminds me of the split shot espresso milk stout but with more chocolate and vanilla and a lot less coffee. It is not as chocolate forth as the choklat or as chocolate intense as Black Tuesday or Chocolate Rain, but it is close. Probably close to the the Stone Vanilla Porter. However, that one was dead on with more vanilla and chocolate. The flavors you get in this beer are rich dark and milk chocolate, vanilla, caramel, mocha, light coffee bitterness, some coconut and a bit of almond. This is a dessert beer, plain and simple, as close as a candy bar, but not pure liquid chocolate. LOL I am sure if they had raised the levels of chocolate, cocoa nibs, vanilla and alcohol, you would have something just like some of the best liquid chocolate beers in the world. It also helps that this fairly smooth, rich and creamy. While the beer is not completely full bodied that you can’t see anything, it is enough to let you know it is a porter. Quite a delicious porter and now a days easier to find than in the past. I found this one in a liquor store near my town of South Gate.

Of Love & Regret (Import Series Vol. #1) by Gypsy/Gangster Brewer Stillwater Artisanal

Rating: 4.5/5

Of Love & Regret (Import Series Vol. #1) by Gypsy/Gangster Brewer Stillwater Artisanal, is a 7.2%ABV Belgian Saison Ale.

Description:
For the first edition of the Stillwater Import Series I traveled to the village of Beerzel, located in the Antwerp province of Belgium. Here I teamed up with brewmaster Jef Goetelen to craft an authentic Belgian version of my liquid interpretation of the Spring season. A recipe originally contrived a few years prior as a collaboration brew with my good friend Paul Kretzer. The base is German barley & wheat, with a touch of Belgian aromatic; accented with grassy hops and an array of spring botanicals (heather, chamomile, lavender, & dandelion). Like a fresh meadow in spring.

—-

This is the second time I get a chance to try this beer. I got around to trying the 750ml bottle this time around. Wish I could get a chance to go the the actual bar up in Baltimore (http://www.ofloveandregret.com/) lol maybe someday.

The aromas of this beers are very sweet and floral. Lime, citrus, herbs and different types of flowers. Almost like a field of flowers. Uniqueness fragrances like Lavender and Chamomile can be sensed.The flavors are rich. Orange, tamarind, biscuit bread, chamomile tea, honey, cinnamon, ginger, flowers (like the way they smell, this tastes) like Heather, Lavender and Rose hips. A beer to share your joys and regrets with others. Something quite nice and worth the taste if you can find it 😛

2011 Review:
LMFAO!!… Of Love & Regret (Import Series Vol. #1) by Stillwater Artisanal gypsy/gangster brewing. A super rarity…lol but was very affordable brew for sure :3. This brew goes out to all who have fallen in love twice or more. For many reasons. When we fall in love we think its awesome and it is a magical ride of goodness for sure little to know if we go all the way and marry someone and maybe we become miserable and want to find someone else to love…lol not to say this happens but sometimes it does. Well to those who feel they messed up and truly didn’t find what they were looking for, this brew is for you. By the way it goes both ways, man upset with his woman or even woman upset with her man. LOL cheating but you will get caught cuz karma is a real bitch :P. Anyways about this elusive brew I have been looking for ever. First off this is a wild saison ale which is brewed with wild yeast as most of the still waters go. This is different though. There truly is alot of love in this beer, literally its brewed with flowers :P. The base is German barley & wheat, with a touch of Belgian aromatic; accented with grassy hops and an array of spring botanicals (heather, chamomile, lavender, & dandelion)…YES..there is a reason why this brew was made very limited and very hard to find. Because honestly true love is the same way sometimes. In fact the brew opened up bursting and I was lucky enough to get the beer out before it spilled everywhere thank god :/ … The brew taste like all sorts of fruits, passion fruit, mango, tangerine, banana, minor vanilla, earth and bready notes. Man it is very good. If you ever lost some one to someone else, lol love is a real bitch, but drink up this may make you feel better,….that is if your able to find this true love beauty of a beer for sure :P…Good luck and cheer up, as there are plenty of dogfish in the sea you will find the right woman/man and the right beer to share with your partner some day 🙂  

Double Dragonfly by Upland Brewing

Rating: 4.45/5

Double Dragonfly by Upland Brewing is a 9.1%AV Imperial India Pale Ale.

Label:
We took our award-winning Dragonfly IPA and cranked up the malt and hops, but managed to hold onto the the perfect balance our Dragonfly is known for. The result is a brew with a very powerful hop profile, matching malt character, and an enticing floral nose.
—–

A very very elusive beer. I love IPAs but what really had me hooked on a mission to finding this beer is the label. It is very good artwork, mysterious, dark, lol but at the same time may be quite revealing. Yes that is 2 dragonflies….lol mating probably. Anyways, on to the beer review. There is is this aroma of flowers and honey that come along with the piney, grapefruit and grassy scent that comes natural to IPAs and DIPAs alike. I have reviewed many IPAs and always try to look for what is unique about each one. While some may taste similar or even similar in complexity, some may have certain rooted notes that are more recognizable or stronger than others. For this beer, it is the flowery notes more than tropical or hoppy bitter. Even the appearance is more crimson than some of the other IPAs I have had. The flavors range from cotton candy, caramel, honey, rose hips, hibiscus, cherry, grapefruit, peach, grassy and piney hops, tangerine citrus, herbs, notes of biscuit bread and strawberry jam. The bitterness gives way to the flavors but you can still tell it is an IPA. The alcohol comes as the beer becomes warmer but does not detract from the beer flavors. A pleasant and sweet IPA. Not too bitter, not too tropical in flavors. Not quite a Saison either. Yet, if you can find this give it a try. Unless you like more tropical and bitter beers, it may not be what you are looking for. Regardless, it was a win for me. One that took me almost a year to find :D.

Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale by Rogue Brewing

Rating: 4/5

Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale by Rogue Brewing is a 4.8%ABV Specialty Grain Ale. Never really had a Soba beer before. By specialty grain they mean Soba as in buck wheat. In the traditional sense, Soba means the Soba noodles which are thin noodles made from buckwheat flower. I think they were going for a beer that taste like noodles…lol….Lagers like Sapporo, Asahi and Hite are fermen

ted with Rice. This is fermented with the primary ingredient that make a Japanese Soba Ramen, so in this case, the buckwheat. I guess they were going for an Ale made with Japanese wheat or barley so to speak. Also the name in Japanese would probably be something like “Morimoto Kuro Obi Soba Eru or Biiru”. 

Label:
A richer version of our Soba Ale with the addition of specialty malts and a special blend of hops to give it a fuller, nutty flavor while retaining a clean, crisp finish.

13 Ingredients:
Malts: Roasted Soba, Harrington, Metcalf, Munich, C-15, C-60 and Carafa Special No. 2, Rogue Micro Barley Farm Dare
Hops: Horizon, Sterling,Cascade and Rogue Micro Hopyard Revolution hops. 
Yeast & Water: Rogue’s Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.
Specs:
12º PLATO
30 IBU
75.2 AA
36º Lovibond
—-

The flavor of this ale much like I though I would probably expect. Something awesome that would go well with Ramen or Sushi. There is is soy sauce component to it, rich caramel, earthy hops with grassy bitterness, plums sauce, hazelnut, almonds and pecan, somewhat pilsnery, grainy, minor chocolate and coffee and somewhat smokey. Reminds me a little bit of the Ise Kadoya Stout…lol if it wasn’t a sour ale. All and all, I would take this beer to pair with a good sushi or Ramen or other Japanese dish. It would so fit :P.

Ommegang XV 15th Aniversary Ale

Rating: 5/5

Ommegang XV 15th Aniversary Ale is a 9.6% ABV Belgian Trappist Dark Ale Reserve. I am already a huge fan of Ommegang as they do Belgian beers very well. This is no exception and I seriously think it can go toe to toe with the Trappist styles of Belgian. Just like Westvleteren 12. This is pretty good and hard to find. Probably because it is still trickling down the distribution chains.

 

Label:
Ommegang XV Reserve Ale is an Extraordinary and uncommon ale, even by our refined standards.

One year in creation-and brewed but once- Ommegang XV Reserve Celebrates Fifteen years of creating fine Belgian-Style Ales.

This Celebratory ale honors our ancestry, and pays homage to the world’s most desired ales- The Legendary Trappist Ales of Belgium.

Like the revered Trappist Ales, Ommegang XV reserve is brewed with only the finest ingredients and with devotion and care-creating an ale with strikingly complex aromas and flavors.

Deep, Dark, and Elegant, this ale will delight and satisfy today and will age gracefully in the cellar.
-=—

No kidding, the fragrance and taste of this ale is quite complex and delicious. The Aroma of dark fruits like raisins, banana nut bread, dulce de leche caramel, some minor citrus, and bourbon. The flavors are just like the awesome Trappist beers and quad ales. Raisin fig and banana pecan bread laced with rich dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, cherries, blueberries, wine grape tartness, minor coffee notes in the aftertaste but nothing removing from the primary Trappist focus. I still think that this can go toe to toe with the ever elusive Westvleteren 12, but hey you be the judge of that one.Truly a Belgian worth trying once it arrives in greater quantities 😛

Santa’s Private Reserve by Rogue Brewing

Rating: 3.8/5

Santa’s Private Reserve by Rogue Brewing is a 6% Amber Ale.

Label:

10 Ingredients: 
Carastan 30-37 & 13-17, Crystal 70-80 & Rogue Micro Barley Farm Dare & Risk Malts; Chinook & Rogue Farm Revolution & Freedom Hops; Free Range Coastal Water and Pacman Yeast. 

13º PLATO 
65 IBU 
73.1 AA 
26.75º L 

Christmas beers are something special especially for the season. I have tried several good ones but some are better than others. This on in particular is decent at best. Flavors of caramel, grassy hops, biscuit bread, cinnamon, minor mango, little bit of apple and grapefruit, some all spice, and minor notes of pecan pie. It is an amber ale that has some delicious flavors, not too overwhelming, pretty spicy and sweet. If you like amber ales, you may find some nice sweetness to it but nothing mind blowing as I thought originally. The idea is pretty bad ass though, just like the Giant Robot pulling the sleigh in this picture. Who would of thought Santa saved the best for last.

Porcine Unidragon by Clown Shoes

Rating: 4.8/5

Porcine Unidragon by Clown Shoes is a 12.5% ABV Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels

Label:

This is Blaecorn Unidragon made with Beechwood Smoked malt, which adds a natural meaty note (there is no actual meat in the brew). Aged 100% bourbon barrels. Little piggies run, squeal to the heavens: Clown Shoes wishes you luck.

A strong stout brewed in the path of Tactical Nuclear Penguin but not as strong and more noticeable flavors. Smells like chocolate, campfire, coffee, coconut, vanilla, caramel and marinated BBQ pork. This beer is not purely smoke and roast. This beer is more like a sweet BBQ over an open flame while sipping on some hot chocolate on a really cold camp ground wrapped up in a blanket. Flavors are pretty reminiscent of that. Dark Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, toffee, caramel, coconut from the bourbon, some what a flavor of Rum, oak wood, smoked malts with somewhat of a bacon and maple syrup or sweet honey barbeque. The beer feel kinda warm going down. So like I was saying earlier, definitely for the winter. It warms up the body and it delicious. Stout and smoked beer lovers will like this one. The level of harsh smoke is not there, it is well balanced with the sweet bourbon. Try it out if you dare…

Duvel Rustica by Ommegang

Rating: 4.25/5

Duvel Rustica by Ommegang is an 8.5% Belgian Strong/Imperial Golden Ale. 

Label:

Duvel Rustica is our American farmhouse interpretation of Duvel Golden Ale, renowned worldwide as the finest Belgian Golden Ale. Like Duvel, our ale begins with a perfect balance of fine malts and noble hops, then undergoes fermentation with Ommegang’s proprietary yeast. 

Duvel Rustica is a richly flavorful and aromatic brew with the depth and complexity of the finest Belgian ales. Enjoy the alluring flavors and aromas, fine carbonation, full body, hazy rustic golden hue, fluffy white head and dry, warming finish. 
———

I almost want to consider this a Belgian Pilsner. If you were to add Belgian yeast to a lager you would get something similar to this. I have had many Belgian Pale Ales and even some Golden Ales that have more sweet Belgian fruits and candied sugars. Despite this, I love how this beer presents itself. The bitterness is like that of a pilsner amplified into the realms of Belgian beer. I really think a lot of people that like so called Belgian Lagers like Stella will realize that if you took that beer and made it is more mature, fermented and super complex, and definitely unfiltered, you would get a golden ale truly worthy of then name, Duvel. This isn’t Stella at all though, no where near its league as Ommegang is legend amongst the beer world. This beer is mix thought. Some flavors of strong candied sugar on warm sweet and biscuit bread, vanilla, pilsner flavor like cereal, pears, orange peel, grapes, lemon, some grassy, tangy, pine and pineapple with grapefruit hops. There is is sour dough bready after taste as well. Like a rye bread. Quite the delicious beer at that. I would have to compare Duvel vs. this one to see if one is better than the other. Many beer lovers may like this one 😛

Panty Peeler by Midnight Sun Brewing

Rating: 4.25/5

Panty Peeler by Midnight Sun Brewing is a 8.5% Belgian Style Tripel brewed with Orange Peel and Coriander.

Label: 

Free spirited Panty Peeler Tripel pours rambunctiously into your glass, releasing its engaging aroma. Curacao (bitter) orange peel and coriander create a beautiful yet bolder tripel by infusing color, citrus and spice. Belgian yeast adds playful character. Bottle conditioning assures a perfectly heady experience. Ride Free

Brewed as a Belgian tripel but with American boldness, Panty Peeler is delicious yet spirited. Originally named Extreme Polar White Bier, it got nicknamed “Panty Peeler” along the way. Then we translated it to French for a while: Épluche-Culotte. Now we’re back to calling it Panty Peeler and we’ve kicked up the coriander and orange peel to represent its original design. 

Interesting name….lol. Either way, the beer is what I would expect of a good tripel. a lot of the Tripels I have tried have a yeast driven complexity that follows rich and bold flavors from the unfermented concoction. Panty Peeler allows a free flow of semi-Belgian White Ale or a Heffeveizen like those served in many places. Shock top, Pyramid, Widmer, Blue Moon, etc. While Orange Peel an coriander emphasize the drive of this beer, the yeast rolls right in to remind you, hey, this is still a tripel. Flavors of Orange, Tangerine, Gummy bear, pineapple and peach sweetness (possibly from the Curacao) along with sweet caramel and biscuit bread. You can tell the Tripel flavors as you go along as there is also some spices, banana cloves, and candied sugar. It is quite tangy but is not super bitter. It is actually more balanced because while it is a sweet beer, the herbal and orange peel bitterness blends but keeps some of the sweetness at bay. Interesting tripel. Surely Belgian Tripel and Belgian White ale lovers may like.

90 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head

Rating: 5/5

90 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head is a 9%AV Double Imperial IPA. This is the second time I this special ale, so I realize it deserves another round of attention.

Label:

What you have here
is an Imperial India Pale Ale featuring a single constant 90-minute hop addition. It’s balanced by ridiculous amount of English Two-row Barley. Then we dry-hop it in every tank

Esquire Magazine calls our 90 Minute IPA “perhaps the best IPA in America.” An imperial IPA best savored from a snifter, 90 Minute has a great malt backbone that stands up to the extreme hopping rate. 

90 Minute IPA was the first beer we continuously hopped, allowing for a pungent — but not crushing — hop flavor. 

An IPA with some awesome proportions. Smells of Barley and honey. Lots of it. First sip gives off right away, citrus, tangerine sweetness, orange gummy bears, honey, pink grapefruit, biscuit and barley bread like a piece of toast with butter, cinnamon and grape jelly, some grassy and pine hops that don’t really provide bitterness as much as it adds to the sweet floral hop flavor. This is a strong beer but it is very smooth and gives way to what an IPA would be like with minor bitterness. It is pretty damn awesome and if you love IPAs or not, you will find this one to be quite the delicious one 😛

2011 Review: 
What we have is a a level down version of the previous awesome 120 minute IPA I had before. The 90 Minute IPA by Dogfish head brings to the table an awesome balance of hoppy flavors with sweet hop goodness. Made with hops, English two-row barley and malts. A concoction of 9%ABV. The balance is just right as the 120 was more sweeter like honey and alcohol that hit ya good. This is more like a balance
e and more enjoyable one so you can have multiple of. A really great beer from its sweet start to bitter finish. Flavors of Citrus, caramel and piney hops are all in there. Definitely a beer not to be missed out on. The best part is that the alcohol is not felt in the taste. It takes the back door and slowly hits ya all at once…crap..it hit as I am writing this. D:!!!…..CHEERS regardless ;P

Barrel-Aged Gonzo by Flying Dog

Rating: 4.9/5

Barrel-Aged Gonzo by Flying Dog is a 9.5%ABV Imperial Porter aged in Oak Whiskey Barrels. Hot Diggity 😛

Label: 

“It never got weird enough for me.” – Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson once said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Consider this our professional version of Gonzo Imperial Porter. Aged and seasoned for three months in wood barrels from our neighbors at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, this ale has a well-balanced taste and abundance of character. The taste will remind you of sweet chocolate, dry oak, and smooth whiskey with a memorable, velvety mouthfeel. 
—–

Chocolate, Coconut, Bourbon right off the bottle. Fucking awesome. This is not quite like the Barrel Aged Human Block Head as that was more sweeter. This focuses more on its chocolate, coffee, and bourbon properties. The smokey side of aged ales. As soon as I tried this I was liked this a lot. Some bourbon barrel-Aged beers, especially whiskey bourbon always give somewhat of a vanilla, caramel, coconut or banana flavor to them. This is important as it raises the character of a beer into bigger heights of flavor. Dark Chocolate, coffee, Bourbon whiskey, vanilla caramel, raisins, cherries, smokey roasted coffee beans, coconuts, licorice, oak, molasses and peach. The malts and bourbon are king in this one, yet, this one is still pretty good. Comparing aged beers (non-sour) is a difficult task as each aged beer, unless they bleed with a lot of alcohol exclusively, are really good as their character is elevated into more complexities like the Quadruples. Quadruples will changed flavor with age and liquor based barrels (Cognac, Scotch, Bourbon, Whiskey, Tequila, etc) will absorb the flavors of those liquors into the beers with age. You never get the same result twice, even for some more complex beers that add Brettanomyces to advance beers into a more Saison/Farmhouse or even sour beers. Everything is about technique and style. I try to bring the best forth. Maybe some of you reading this may not be in tune with highest level of craft, but even understanding where your senses of flavor and smell can go are outstanding.

Narwhal by Sierra Nevada

Rating: 4.75/5

Narwhal by Sierra Nevada is a 10.2%ABV Russian Imperial Stout. Yes, the Jedi of the Sea. Maybe just as dangerous too. Just like the actual Narwhal, good luck finding this one…..Although maybe it is too early for its release

Label:

Inspired by the mysterious creature that dwells in the deepest Arctic seas, Narwhal Imperial Stout is midnight black and bold–with notes of baker’s cocoa and dark roasted coffee. This massive imperial stout is incredibly complex and explores the darkest depths of malt flavor. 

Incredibly hefty and full bodied. Almost syrupy. Setting sail to find this guy is no small task. This beer reminds me so much of the Old Rasputin. It is very thick and creamy as most stouts go. The alcohol is lost in the depths of flavor. Just like the deepest part of the ocean. Flavors from what I can make out are a lot of smooth and rich dark chocolate (possible form the bakers chocolate), roasted and smoked coffee grains with mocha, vanilla and caramel notes, raisins, figs and a little bit of Bourbon or Rum. The difference from this and Old Rasputin is the amount of smokey bitterness. While is leaves with a bitter yet sweet taste, Old Rasputin makes you appreciate the coffee roast more. LOL This is dangerous on its own. If it comes in a 6 pack, you are looking at 60+% ABV. It is ridiculous. Although they sell it in 4 packs. I was able to find it by itself to give it a try. Never had their Big Foot Stout, but I am definitely very impressed with this one.

Merry Mischief by Sam Adams

Rating: 4.8/5

 

Merry Mischief by Sam Adams is a 9.0% ABV Gingerbread Stout. It is made with Cinnamons, Nutmeg, Cloves and Gingerbread

 

Label:
Lively & Festive with a Devilish Streak
This rich dark brew entices with the aromas of the holidays, hinting at the merriment and spices within. The flavor of gingerbread comes alive beginning with the smooth sweetness and heartiness of dark roasted malts and a touch of wheat. But it’s the intensity and spices of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, & ginger that add a wicked kick for a jolly playful brew full of merry mischief.

Now this is nice and wonderful :P. The fragrances of this beer is very rich. Like a chocolate chip and banana nut muffin. The rich flavors of this beers come out right away. Chocolate, bananas, coffee, gingerbread, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, caramel, little bit of pumpkin pie, brown sugar cookies dipped in milk, earthy hops create a minor bitterness for balance and raisins. This beer is really creamy. Like a chocolate milk shake, or at least it feels that way as you try it. As for a Christmas beer, YES, go get this one… it is quite good 😛

Elysian Omen

Rating: 4.25/5

This is a series from Elysian, The 12 Beers of the Apocalypse. “The End is Beer”
Beer#10 (October) Omen is a 7.2% ABV Belgian Raspberry Stout.

Omen is in reference the signs and phenomenon which can foretell events of the future. Some good or some bad. Regardless of the case. Foretelling the future or deciphering signs to create meanings of what is to come has been something that has been practiced for centuries. Of all the Apocalyptic events that could happen in 12-21-2012 or the real end of the world , this is it’s greatest component and the key to the door of sight. Like in the Thundercats, sight beyond sight, something can be seen but it is all left onto interpretation as to what it really means for the future or even a current event that links people to a current event that may pertain to them trying to tell them something good or something bad is going on. The Mystery is in the eye of the beholder. 

This beer is focused more on the smokey and roasted bitter malts than other Belgian Style stouts. While some people prefer more sweeter than bitter, this one tries to balance it all. The smell of coffee, chocolate and minor fruitiness is apparent. The flavor is of dark bitter chocolate, coffee, raspberry fruitiness with some dark fruits like raisins and figs and alittle bit of biscuit bread, earthy hops and caramel. I think another component that rules in this beer is the smokey bitterness. While yes you do get some awesome sweet flavors, they finish dry making you want to try more so that the flavors really stick. There are hints of the Folklore from Stillwater in there but very little. Almost like a Black Saison with little bit of fruits here and there. It is worth a try just to see what this is about 🙂

T.R.E.A.T (The Royal Eccentric Ale Treatment) by Midnight Sun

Rating: 5/5

T.R.E.A.T (The Royal Eccentric Ale Treatment) by Midnight Sun is a 7.8%ABV Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter brewed with Pumpkin, Cocoa Nibs, Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg. While there are many pumpkin beers out there, a very few squadron of hybrid beers are out that combine with chocolate stouts and porters. This, my friends, is the one that rules them all. This is the second time I try this beer. 

Label:
Intriguing doses of sweet spices, cocoa nibs and pumpkin transform an exceptional porter into a mesmerizing potion. Pour this tantalizing brew into a snifter and experience its many eccentric nuances, which create a royal treat. Demented or delightful? 

This is the same award-winning recipe that garnered a GOLD MEDAL at GABF in 2007. Formerly known simply as Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter, we’ve named it T.R.E.A.T.: The Royal Eccentric Ale Treatment.

So why is this a winner? Well, it doesn’t compare strictly with pumpkins ales directly, but because it is in a class that combines rich chocolate and coffee flavors with it. The flavors are very good. Noticeable flavors of bitter dark Chocolate, Pumpkin pie with vanilla cream, sweet potato, little bit of coffee and mocha, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, caramel, wine grapes, oak and smokiness like that of Madrugada Obscura JP Sour stout, raisin bread, . The fact that it has that sour and bittering agents, it brings the beer to a unique balance that can described and awesome!! I am a fan of sweet beer but also a fan of bitter, smokey and sour beers too. So this sort of displays a lot of great characteristics of beer aside from just what the beer taste like to how is the beer in terms of palate distinction. Yes, for some people, this is very important. Many people who could care less about what flavor a beer is, would certainly like to know about how it feels to their taste buds. So there you have it friends, a great dark chocolate and pumpkin beer. I had this twice to let you know, it is worth a pick up 🙂

2011 Review:
Yes… another pumpkin beer…but one unlike the rest. What if you took a pumpkin pie and made it with chocolate sweetness. That is what this is.. :P… BEHOLD!!!… the ultimate in pumpkin sweetness just because …well I will get to that part in just a moment…I bring forth the T.R.E.A.T (The Royal Eccentric Ale Treatment) Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter by Midnight Sun Brewing….damn that w
as a long sentence and a name for the beer. But even it’s long name does not even begin to describe its royal king pumpkin goodness. Sure this is a fall beer but technically (Even though were in Christmas season) it is still fall until later on this month. So it sorta counts….:P… Anyways about this beer. Dis I mention it had chocolate and pumpkin?…LOL like a zillion times yes…This beer actually won the championship at the Great American Beer Festival. I understand why…. It is damn good…!!… You have pumpkin, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg brewed with roasted malts. The fact that this beer is so creamy and sweet, it hides its 7.8% alcohol content. It may not be walloping with alot of alcohol but the flavor of mix spices pumpkin and chocolate just gives it that right Fall before Christmas type of feel. It is hard to say this since I have had a lot of pumpkin brews but this is one is now on my top 3 favorites. This pumpkin beer is king right next to La Parcella by JP and the collab La Citrueille Céleste de Citracado. Maybe cus I love chocolate so much and pumpkin pie and spices so much :P. Who knew Alaskan pumpkins could be so good ♥

Gourdgeous by Hangar 24

Rating: 4.8/5

Gourdgeous by Hangar 24 is a 8.5% ABV Local Fields Series Porter brewed with pumpkins, molasses and spices.

Label:

It’s time to usher in autumn with this robust porter. Using pumpkins grown just a half mile from the brewery, Gourdgeous also features traditional pumpkin pie spices and molasses. Rich with notes of dark chocolate, pumpkin pie, and sweet caramel, it’s the perfect pour for when the days get shorter. 

Hangar 24 has made some of the finest beers out there. You honestly can’t go wrong when trying these beers. They are delicious. While strictly speaking in terms of pumpkin beers, I have to set aside the porters and stouts aside from classifying “Best Pumpkin beer” This is so that the beers that are strictly pumpkin can shine. Although, the best Pumpkin porter/stout I have had has been T.R.E.A.T but that is debatable. The reason being as I have tried T.R.E.A.T last year and it was delicious. And this is very phenomenal. Starting with chocolate, cinnamon, molasses, nutmeg, all spice, vanilla, and champurrado (Mexican Maize Chocolate Atole drink). I think what gives it the spicy flavor in this case is not the chile spices as those of a champurrado. No, rather, the pumpkin, boiled in sugar cone like my mom used to make is what makes up for the spiciness that is similar to champurrado, lol except it is champurrado with sweetened, caramel glazed pumpkin rather than pumpkin and milk. It is one of the best pumpkin beers simply because it is chocolate porter hybrid, lol not because it is strictly pumpkin like some of the other pumpkin beers I have had. Please do not confuse, yet, if you love chocolate and pumpkin then go find this one. You won’t regret it’s sweet and rich emphasis on the Autumn season. I would honestly say it is on par with T.R.E.A.T.

Levitation Ale by Stone

Rating: 4.25/5

Levitation Ale by Stone is a 4.4% ABV Amber Ale. The first time I tried this beer was at Carino’s in Santa Fe Springs last year. Didn’t quite know exactly what this was at first. It seemed lighter than Arrogant Bastard….way lighter…in fact…it was as close to the 4.2% of a budlight. LOL imagine that, a beer full of 100% more flavors than a Budlight and still close to its alcoh

ol content. Now that’s awesome

Label:
Stone Levitation Ale: That’s Stone Levitation Ale. Not “alleviation”; not “divination”; and no, not “leviathan” either though these other oft-uttered permutations of this very special brew’s proper name may not be too far off the mark. First of all, let’s talk about what the word “levitation” means. One definition states that it means to rise in “apparent defiance of gravity”.** Yes, that’s a good one. Another perhaps more nuanced meaning is that this phenomenon is typically the “result of a supernatural power”. We’ll take that one too. After all, Stone Levitation Ale certainly defies the gravitational forces at work in much of the beer industry today-less character, less flavor, less creativity and as for any supernatural forces at work in this beer, well, we can only guess. (Though yeast pretty much qualifies in our book.) We do know that you will find more flavor and character than previously thought possible in a beer of such a modest (for Stone Brewing Co. anyway!) alcohol level (4.4%). It does, in this sense seem to indeed defy the laws of gravity and nature. There really is nothing unnatural at all about the beer itself, of course. It is made from the four all-natural, basic elements of craft beer: water, barley, hops and yeast. Cheers! 
—-

I figure I would finally get around to reviewing this beer. This one isn’t as apparent as the others. However, it still kicks ass :P. Strong yet refreshing flavors of caramel, hops, buttered sugar toast and biscuit bread, hints of vanilla, citrus, peanuts, almonds, black tea and nutty like an English brown ale almost. I have tried other ambers which are better, but this one is still pretty damn good.

Indio by Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma

Rating: 3.25/5

Indio by Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma is a 4.5% ABV Märzen / Oktoberfest style beer. This is made by the same group that makes Tecate, Dos Equis, Sol, Noche Buena and Bohemia, which is one awesome lager.

Label: 

Hecho en Mexico, La cosa es Buscarle 1905. (Made in Mexico, What’s important is too keep looking)
A darker color lager, brewed with caramel malts that gives indio a rich taste which balances its bitterness.

Finally got around to getting a review out of this one. This is not the typical Mexican beer. In fact, some of the other beers like the typical lagers cannot emphasize the greatness unless they use darker malts vs pilsner malts. Although Pilsners have been proven epic in other instaces…*cough*.. Staropramen lol. I have had Bohemia before which to me possibly along with Pacifico some of the better lagers from Mexico out there. This one, just like Victoria, Bohemia or Dos Equis Amber is made in the traditional German style Marzen or Munich lager. The complexities are different but the styles create beers that are sweeter in flavor, stronger, and darker. With that said, on to the review! 

It smells somewhat like a caramel biscuit but dipped in a lager. This beer is diferent from Victoria and the others as its bitterness is more like wheat cereal (Total perhaps). Dry finishing beer so you wanna try more. Flavors of sweet caramel, sweet grains, some pilsner, hints or almond or hazel, little bit of earthy hops, this awesome but very faint yeasty after taste like that of Rogue Dead Guy but it is quickly dismissed by the grainy cereal flavor. Regardless, this beer is pretty good. Definitely alittle bit above the average beer. LOL unfortunately many will still choose their bud, coronas, or what ever yellow lagers they try. It is somewhat of a shame because this one is pretty good 😛

Lukcy Basartd by Stone Brewing

Rating: 5/5 *2012 score, Although many will not like this if they are not fans of the Arrogant Bastard. >:)

2012 Version:
Lukcy Basartd by Stone Brewing is an 8.5% ABV Cuvee de Bastard. It was made in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Arrogant Bastard Beer Release. It is made by fusing all the Arrogant Bastards into one bottle (Arrogant, Double and Oaked). The last time Stone released this beer was in 2010. It is in high demand right now so if you miss out on this bottle, its done….be the Lucky Bastard that find this one.

Label: (If You Can’t Read this, then this would not be beer for you.
Lukcy Basartd Ale
Oepn yuor mnid. Use a craobwr if you msut. Snice 1997, Arorgnat Basartd Ale has denemdad taht tyrnianacl micredioty rleax its girp of opprobrium on our ciollectve couniescosnss. Few pessoss the ruiereqd isinght or detph of piversceptve to crdiet the Liuqid Arorgnace for initatgsing the rlveoituon in tsate taht it has. Hevweor, taht’s pfecertly fnie, as our hlurecaen erffots in thirstung the larlegy unlliwing wolrd farorwd rquereis no exrtneal vaditilaon. We ralieze it’s hmaun nautre to bleeive taht pregorss trowads getreanss is one’s own ieda. 

The mree fcat taht yuo’re hdoinlg tihs bttloe in yuor hnad ianidctes taht yuo’re pyiang antteiton, wihch ideitammley stes you arpat form the msseas. It aslo mkaes you one Lukcy Basartd. Hewover, lcuk faovrs the blod… and the arorgnat. The trmiraivute of Arorgnat Basartd Ale, OEKAD Arorgnat Basartd Ale and Dbolue Basartd Ale are all in paly in this cvueé de Basartd you now hlod, and wihle it is idneed a Lukcy Basartd, lcuk had ntohing to do wtih it. 

Taody, wihle nueomrus iendicrlby dinistcitve chcoies are now alavaible, msot popele sitll fucos tiehr attntieon uopn msas mdiea’s isscenatnly banal ehco cheambr, keenpig thier hdeas frimly buerid in the maross of mecridioty. To beark thurogh tihs cophocany, to gsarp enitghnelnemt anmog the mnid-nmubnig culettr, rerequis itnent. Coinscous itnent. For mnay, this aictve piticipataron in the wolrd is unomfacbtorle. Prerrifeng inasted for oethrs to mkae teihr chcoies for tehm — be it a shioutng pindut or a toelievisn ciommecral — sheeple apccet the cmmoitozdied nrom wioutht thoghut. And to thsoe we say: “Setp asdie, and get the hlel out of our way.”

So in this epitome of pure rich fragrance and flavors you will find magic….lol unless you are one of the sheeple amongst the masses that could care less about good flavor of beer and actually believe that Bud is the King of beers….bah!!

The beer smells like like grassy hops, caramel, toffee and fruit. While the sweet caramel flavor is strong, the pine and grassy hops bleed leaving a nice residue of hops and sweetness to the tongue. There are also some flavors or red berries, raisins, cranberry, oak, vanilla, grapefruit, biscuit bread, oregano and basil. Not sure if this beer is meant to age as the hops and herbs are more apparent than in the 2010 one. I guess the reason could be because it shouldn’t be aged. According to the new bottle, it says: enjoy by Jan 31st, 2013. So yeah, drink before. Also, Double Bastard has more sweetness, but the overall combination of all the bastards makes this complex mesh, very enjoyable. If you love Arrogant Bastard, go get this one 😛

2010 version tried March 2012:
Lukcy Basartd or Cuvee de Bastard is what happens when you mix the best of all the bastards into one bottle. It rates at 8.5%ABV. You have to be one lucky bastard to be able to find this as it was extremely hard to find…LOL… The ale is a magic potion consisting of the original arrogant bastard, oak aged bastard, and the double bastard ales all in one. Aged even further you reach a state of ale
that is unlike any bastard I have ever had. You have your hops, you have your aged oak and malty earthy flavors of the double bastard. A mix between an IPA and a barley wine. Extremely delicious and strong 🙂 This bastard is definitely one that one may only have and enjoyed is small quantities as it is hard to find. So use that wine plug and save some for another day as this bastard although kicks you in the nuts, it is very forgiving. Free your mind from the oppression of the media, take a sip of this and remember, there is more to beer in life than the usual stuff they have off of every liquor section’s shelf. Dig deeper in that rabbit hole to find the gold!! Happy St. Patrick’s day http://www.arrogantbastard.com/lukcybasartd/

Victory at Sea by Ballast Point

Rating: 5/5

Victory at Sea by Ballast Point is a 10% ABV Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter made with Caffe Calabria brewed Coffee.

Label:

Two of the world’s oldest beverages join forces to conquer your palate. Victory at Sea embodies the art of masterful brewing by infusing a velvety Imperial Porter with pure vanilla flavor and specially-selected, hand roasted coffee. The addition of cold brewed coffee to the beer lends a subtle roasted flavor to this robust imperial porter, blending perfectly with rich vanilla and caramel undertones. By uniting two San Diego brewing traditions, Caffe Calabria freshly brewed coffee and Ballast Point beer, we have successfully created an artisanal masterpiece. 

This is quite the elusive beer. Since last year when I stumbled upon the artwork and the reviews, I decided I had to eventually try this beer. So here it is, my first review of this beer. I must say, now I understand why it is so elusive. This beer reminds me a lot of the split shot espresso milk stout. Except this one is more rich in vanilla, mocha and the overall coffee flavor. The other one is more caramel and crème frappucino. Although this one has some nice elements of it. You can almost think of this as an Irish crème coffee and that one an Irish crème cappuccino. I don’t connoisseur coffees so my intelligence and expertise is lacking in that area. All I know is that this beer is rich with dark chocolate, roasted coffee, caramel and vanilla crème, rich mocha. I almost want to say it is like southern Tier chocklat except add coffee to it. Some oak and bourbon or brandy notes are in there as well. However, the overall alcohol level is muted. LOL but it will hit you afterward. People that enjoy porters and sweet stouts that are nice, rich in flavor, creamy and overall taste like what they are supposed to taste like, should give this a try. After a couple of sips, all the flavors will come together in this Victory..at the coffee vanilla sea…AHOY!!

Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale by Stone Brewing

Rating: 5/5

Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale by Stone Brewing is a 7.2% ABV bottle of liquid arrogance aged in American Oak Wood Chips. So instead of aging in Oak barrels, the beer has an easier time soaking up all the wooden oak flavors. I imagine it as doing something like what milk does to chocolate cereal. The milk soaks up the chocolate to become chocolate milk.

Label:

This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory — maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it’s made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi-million dollar ad campaigns make a beer taste better. Perhaps you’re mouthing your words as you read this. 

No doubt in my mind, the regular Arrogant Bastard is the true king of the beers. Set it down and and age it for some more delicious flavors that are only set within the arrogance of the bitterness. Caramel, like the Dulce de leche on a wooden tray they sell in Mexico. Meaning you get Caramel and oak wood flavor. Toffee, vanilla, earthy and grassy notes shine enough but not to cry mercy in bitterness, smokey and roasted malts, minor apple, raisin and grapefruit hints and some flavor of biscuit bread with very light maple. If you are worthy of the original Arrogant Bastard, then come try level 2… You will be quite surprised.

Too many strive towards complacency as a goal. We grow up thinking that the ability to become complacent is the equivalence of success in life. True Arrogant Bastards know that this could not be further from the truth. The real beauty, richness and depth in life can only be found if the journey through life itself is looked upon as a constant chance to learn, live and find life’s passion. Passion threatens the complacent, and fills them with fear. Fear of the new, the deep and the different. We, on the other hand, seek it out. Endlessly, joyously…and aggressively. To this end we bring you the “OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale.” Another reward for those seeking new sources of passion, and another point of dissension for those who are not.

2011 Review:
The oaked aged arrogant bastard is one I was able to find in a 6 pack. The awesomeness that is AB, I could not pass this one up. The beer itself compromises of the awesome taste of the arrogant bastard but less bitterness and more focus on the woody, malty flavor. The nice hops and caramel are there as complimentary. Definitely a beer worthy of the name and thus one who is still not worthy of this greatness I still salute you in all its glory 😛

Straffe Hendrik Heritage 2011 by Brouwerij Straffe Hendrik / De Halve Maan of Belgium

Rating: 5.25/5

Straffe Hendrik Heritage 2011 by Brouwerij Straffe Hendrik / De Halve Maan of Belgium is a 11% ABV Oak Aged Quadrupel Ale. I have tried their original, the Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel II but this taken into beer levels that truly take a person into taste realms of extraordinary proportions.

Label:

This quadrupel is a heavy and dark ale, brewed in the unique family brewery “De Halve Maan”, which has been located since 1856 in the historical centre of Bruges. This quadrupel is matured for more than one year in oak casks in the ancient cellars of the brewery. It gives this ale a complex flavour and rich aroma. The ale is refermented in the bottle, and has a longer shelf life, during which the taste evolves still further. The tannins and the complex malt flavours ripen into a harmonious balance over time.

When I got this at Ramirez Liquor in Boyle Heights, the dude told me that they go this shipment on a wooden crate. He advised that something like this is pretty special so hopefully the ale was just as special as well. I was pretty much sold. Upon first opening the beer, there was a major amount of complexity even in the aromas of the beer. I could smell the wine and bourbon oak just screaming along with the sweet dulce de leche and pecan pie notes. I got this scent that reminded me of the way barrel aged Saison Du Buff or Escondidian 15th PA was from stone. Something really complex and fancy. Trying this and discovering bit by bit what this tasted like was not gonna be an easy task. So at first sip, it was right there. The wine grapes, bourbon vanilla, dulce de leche caramel biscuit bread , pecan pie, dark fruits like plum or a raisin, bitter sweet berries like currants, blackberries, strong wooden oak and earthy notes, apricots, apples, bananas, fancy wine cheese and coconut. Alcohol is a paradox to find. It gets you, but it gets you at the subconscious level. Drinking this is not for the meek of beer palates. It is something quite different that should only be tried if you are ready for it. The flavors are everywhere and it is a game of butterfly catch. Digging into the taste complexity of the experienced beer connoisseurist. Still, if you are a Belgian Beer lover and want to experience something quite unique, give this a go. 

I realized because it had been aging since 2011, this was gonna be something truly special. Many Barrel aged beers give off certain flavors of oak and vanilla that is almost like coconut. Some wine barrels give off wine and sour grape flavors. This beer seems to give off both. Just the mere fact that it was their Quadrupel II that was aged literally took the beer taste to another dimension. If there ever existed a St. Bernardus or Trois Pistoles oak barrel aged beers, it would jump what I would consider the best beer in the world in terms of complexity into something greater. The original quadrupel of theirs was close to a 5 in review. Now this actually exceeds it for me. May not be into the levels of sweetness that I enjoy, but the level of completely that drives it there. Highly recommend it if you can find this one. Ramirez Liquor has it in stock but only for a limited time and limited amount.

Racer X by Bear Republic

Rating: 5/5

Racer X by Bear Republic is an 8.3% ABV Double India Pale Ale. It is the Faster and Stronger brother of Racer 5. Yes from Speed Racer….lol…AWESOME!

Label:

Racer X™ is an uncommon Double India Pale Ale which puts a California twist on English brewing traditions by adding an assertive hop aroma and bitterness that compliments the firm malt backbone.
Like its little brother Racer 5, Racer X™ is balance in a bottle. 

So why is this so good anyway? In terms of IPAs, especially double IPAs, the blood of the hop juices flows strongly in this one giving off stronger piney, grasst and tropical flavors while the bitterness takes a back seat. Meaning it lets the fruity and grassy tropical flavors drive. Alcohol strength is masked to make way for flavors of sweet pink grapefruit, mango, citrus, mandarins, tangerines, pinnaple, pine, prickly pear (yes, the cactus Tunas of Mexico), alittle bit of biscuit bread. I think this is pretty close to Heady Topper. Double IPA and IPA lovers will love this one. Get it now before it becomes as elusive as Speed Racer 5’s brother from the series. A definite winner 😛

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale by Brouwerij St. Bernardus

Rating: 4.8/5

2012 Review:
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV is a 10%ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale. This is the second time I get to review this beer. Yes, I know Halloween is still around the corner but what a better time to review this. After all, even though Christmas is a time of being together with family, in a way, so is Halloween.

Label:St. Bernardus Christmas Ale is the youngest descendant in the illustrious family of delicious Abbey Ales by Brewery St. Bernardus. This specialty beer of 10% alc. vol. is characterized by its deep dark colour, with a creamy, thick head and a full, almost velvety taste with a fruity nose. It’s a seasonal ale, brewed annually for the holiday season. The long winter nights are perfect moments to savour this ale with or without friends and to enjoy its unique, complex taste and after-taste. 

So while I feel that St Bernardus 12 is the best, this would probably the best Christmas beer. It is definitely filled with so many notes. Not as strong as the best beers in the world but the caliber of this beer is enough to make my top 20 atleast. This beer is a result of taking whats good about some Belgians like St. Bernardus or Unibroue and spicing it up Christmas style. We have flavors of cinnamon, Ginger man bread, Mexican De La Rosa Mazapan, raisins, minor caramel (not like dulce de leche abt 12), figs, chocolate, allspice, pears, peach, banana, brown sugar, cherry and almost some port wine flavor like Trois Pistoles. If you love Belgian beer, this would be the best Belgian Christmas beer for ya 😛

2011 Review:
It’s that time of year again. The time where every one spends a lot of money on gifts and decorations all in for the “Holiday Spirit”. But really, some people forget that it is mainly about enjoying the end of the year and being with the family. The whole thought that counts is what truly matters in these times. Especially with family and friends. So to ring in the beginning of the last month of 2011 I am trying the St. Bernardus Chrismas Ale. This brew is full of a lot of….well…..spirit…and by that I mean 10% ABV of alcohol. It is the type of brew one would have to stay warm during these cold seasons. Filled with malty caramel, bread (from yeast), dark fruit flavors like raisins and figs, spices, and really really creamy :P. The flavors linger around for a while. Similar to the abt 12 except not as sweet but sure feels like a Christmas beer. LOL you are probably looking at the screenshot and wonder why is it that I paired a Holy beer with 2 devil chicks. Well…I wanted to show in its artistic form that even though appearances can be deceiving, even little devils like these know what it is like to love their families. Basically even though someone can look evil, we should not judge people by their covers until we can know who they are. This is an example that you don’t have to be holy like to be good or be a devil to still have a caring heart… Anyways. This is also to show that this year has taught me a lot about this hobby. When you learn to experience and get to know things like beer tasting and art, you get to realized that even if something looks odd, not artistic, or looks like it would taste bad, you do not get to know until you try it. It has been quite the year and I know I will be writing more as time goes. So tune in next year…well or next week. as I will still have some brews to try before the year is over. Cheers, Merry Christmas, love your families and be thankful so that next year can be better than the last 😀

Longfin by Ballast Point

Rating: 2.5/5

Longfin by Ballast Point is a 4.6% Munich Helles Lager. It has alittle bit more pilsner malts than some adjunct lagers. A lighter lager competing in a world of artificial metallic tasting beers like Bud, Miller, Coors, Corona, etc.

Label:

When the coastal waters near San Diego begin to warm up each year, anglers anticipate the return of Albacore Tuna, known locally as Longfin. This traditional German Style Helles is a great compliment to any cuisine, and the ideal choice for a warm-weather day. Ballast Point Lager, get the point!

So, we are into the fall, but here in So. Cal. it feels like summer on some days still. So for the days that feel like that, I think this beer probably fits those days. This is a light lager with minute flavors. It is meant to be a refreshing and crisp alternative to other lagers. Although some Munich Maltier lagers like Pacifico or Victoria I would prefer. Then again, those are not lighter all-around lagers. However, because this is Ballast Point’s lager I had to give a whirl. The beer taste primarily of light pilsner like a bud light but with more flavors and less metallic and artificial. Minor Malts, grains, grassy notes, sugar and minor caramel sweetness but not too much. I think this beer can easily beat other lagers like Stella or Corona. You know, so called “Premium Beers”. You don’t get any metallic after taste. Just sweet pilsner and very minor caramel flavor. Comes in a six pack so I had to try another one just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. If you prefer to drink lagers like Coronas, Miller, Coors or Bud, you should be able to notice the smoother and less metallic and artificial bitter taste of this one. While not as delicious as the Staropramen lager, it is a champ in a a light lager world. Like is said, while it is not overwhelming in flavors, it does have just enough to make it a really good beer to those that haven’t tried anything outside the Macro brewery lagers. Give this a try and let me know what you think

Bitch Please!! Collaboration by Brewdog and Three Floyds

Rating: 4.5/5

Ain’t this a bitch….lol literally. The guys at Brewdog teamed up with Three Floyds to to create a bitchin’ collaboration. This beer is strong and bitter. LOL I assume if Stone made Scottish ales it would be something like this. Special Scottish roasted malts and lots and lots of hops. This is a Scottish barley wine style ale that made me wonder how worthy I really was. Thanks to the practice of 

the bastard and the blessing of deliverance I was able to indulge in this magnificent piece of work. Islay malts and Eclectic hops are fermented and aged in single malt whiskey barrels for 8 months. I don’t wanna say I am a bitch for trying to stay strong as we speak, but damn, it hits your from all sides. It is a bitchin’ 11.5% alcohol. The malts are strong in this one mostly lingering for a bit those really smokey, vanilla and burnt chocolate with fruity hop bitterness. Smooth going down and hits you quite later. LOL that scotch whiskey is sure there and compliments all the ingredients extremely well. Reminds me of the Tactical nuclear penguin but at a lower alcohol content but more bitterness. I enjoyed it to the fullest. The video is quite funny too 😛http://vimeo.com/15087114 . Damn it, and to think this little bottle was super hard to find….ain’t that the real bitch…lol…I want another one

Ain’t this a bitch….lol literally. The guys at Brewdog teamed up with Three Floyds to to create a bitchin’ collaboration. This beer is strong and bitter. LOL I assume if Stone made Scottish ales it would be something like this. Special Scottish roasted malts and lots and lots of hops. This is a Scottish barley wine style ale that made me wonder how worthy I really was. Thanks to the practice of the bastard and the blessing of deliverance I was able to indulge in this magnificent piece of work. Islay malts and Eclectic hops are fermented and aged in single malt whiskey barrels for 8 months. I don’t wanna say I am a bitch for trying to stay strong as we speak, but damn, it hits your from all sides. It is a bitchin’ 11.5% alcohol. The malts are strong in this one mostly lingering for a bit those really smokey, vanilla and burnt chocolate with fruity hop bitterness. Smooth going down and hits you quite later. LOL that scotch whiskey is sure there and compliments all the ingredients extremely well. Reminds me of the Tactical nuclear penguin but at a lower alcohol content but more bitterness. I enjoyed it to the fullest. The video is quite funny too 😛http://vimeo.com/15087114 . Damn it, and to think this little bottle was super hard to find….ain’t that the real bitch…lol…I want another one

The Three Philosophers by Ommegang

Rating: 5/5

The Three Philosophers by Ommegang is a 9.8%ABV Belgian Quadrupple ale blended with 2% Belgian Kriek (Cherry Belgian Ale). This, is my third next best beer in the world, right next to Trois Pistoles and St. Bernardus 12. It is simply remarkable. This is the 2012 edition and I have tried this beer several times to know I really like this one. This beer is now available at Downey Brewery. 

Label:
Created by blending a rich, malty, Belgian-style ale with authentic Kriek, a classic cherry ale from Belgium, our Quadruple is cultured yet wild, curious yet wise.
And remember “Phisolophy Begins in Wonder” – Plato
—-

The fragrance of the beers is like that of mix of sweet bread, vanilla, caramel and cherries. It is really robust with fragrance. The flavors are very rich. While in some reviews I mentions flavors where in small amounts, medium or rich, this is really rich. Dulce de leche bread, vanilla, capirotada (Mexican Bread Pudding with raisins, except this is with cherries and raisins), cinnamon, tangy cherries, raisins, dark fruits like figs and plums, some banana clove, minor pecan, hint of dark chocolate, brown sugar, alittle bit of wine sour grapes but not a lot, just a hint. Many people that have tried this beer enjoyed it. So I don’t see why it would be one of the best. This talking from my personal experience. It is widely available year round in 750ml bottles or in 330ml 4 packs an many craft beers places. Yes, amazingly enough, some of the best beers in the world for me are closer to home than some of the other beers I tired 😛

2011 Review:
SO….. this year I tried the 2011 version. LOL well it is almost the end of the year :P. The Three Philosophers by Ommegang is a true Belgian Quadruple brewed with Cherries. This style is called Kriek where you find a diversity of wine like/beer like flavors as a cherry ale is mixed with this Belgium beauty. Caramel, cherry, bread, unique deliciousness as only found in brews that are the best in 
the world. This is one of my top 10 beers. Originally introduced by my friend Chino, this is a world class for sure. Once that is often missed but surely a necessary pickup. Sometimes I wish they could invent an X-ray tongue tasting device where I can walk into the bev mo or any other craft brew store and learn to pick out the brews of ultimate deliciousness for myself. Sure, there are reviews and all but taste is everything. Until you try it for yourself then you will understand for sure….For anyone that reads my albums here on Facebook you should probably send me some feed back let me know what kind of brews you would like to see posted on here and I will try them and write about them….let me know :)…thanks for reading 😀

Hazelnut Brown Nectar by Rogue

Rating: 5/5

Hazelnut Brown Nectar by Rogue is a 6.2% Brown Ale brewed with natural hazel nut flavors, no chemicals, preservatives or additives. Probably to me, the best Brown Ale ever. Not to mention the fact that it truly is a desert in a bottle.

Label:

A nutty twist to a traditional European Brown Ale. Dark Brown in Color with a hazelnut aroma, a rich nutty flavor and a smooth malty finish
12 Ingredients: 
Great Western 2-Row, Brown, Carastan 13/17, Crystal 70/80, Crystal 135/165, Beeston Pale, Chocolate & Rogue Micro Barley Farm Dare Malts; Rogue Micro Hopyard Independent & Revolution Hops; Hazelnut Extract, Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast. 

14 Plato 
33 IBU 
73.6 AA 
36 L 
—–

I have had this beer a number of times even since my first review. I still think it is one of the best Brown Ales out there, I guess simply because it is like pecan and hazel nut pie. It even smells like one too. The flavors are of sweet and biscuit bread, vanilla, caramel, toffee, pecans, almonds, hazelnut, peanut butter, cashews, minor chocolate notes, coffee cake, minor apricot with some earthy hop bitterness. While yes, the flavors are noticeable, it is not overly sweet. That is why many people may like it. 

2011:
For those that truly love nutty things, this is the best ale out there. As recommended by my friend Daniel S, this is the Rogue brewing company’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar Ale with all natural hazel nut flavor. This brew is made with a lot of wholesome delicious ingredients :3. Harrington, Klages, Munich, Hugh Baird Brown, Carastan 13-17, Crystal 70-80, Crystal 135-165 & Beeston Chocolate malts, Perle and Sterling hops, Hazelnut Nectar, Rogue’s Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water. This beer smells and tastes of nutty flavors. It taste like a range of things like caramel, coffee, java, pecan pie, vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, hazel nuts, cashews, burnt sugar, toffee, bread, and apricot. I think this one is for the masses, it truly meets expectations as world class beer. A true champion in my book for sure. If I was a squirrel, this would be the beer of prime choice. I found this one locally and was glad I decided on it. Surely I will buy it again, I would definitely be nuts if I did not buy this one 2,3,4 or 50 times…. It is just that damn good….If you like nutty coffee things, then this is your answer in beer form.

Oyster Stout by The Porterhouse Brewing Company

Rating: 4/5

Oyster Stout by The Porterhouse Brewing Company is a 5.2% ABV Irish Dry Stout brewed with fresh Oysters. This is the second time I try this beer.

Label:

Brewed with fresh oyster. A smooth drinking aromatic stout with a discernible but unidentifiable aromatic aspect. Not suitable for vegetarians. This gently flavored stout has a roast malt character, full body and an aromatic character from the Goldings hops. Fresh oysters added during the brewing process, lend a discernible yet unidentifiable note.

Quite the different beer here. While there is not a crazy amount of sea salt or fish tast to it, one can tell that there are some Oysters here. If you have ever had Oysters whether raw or cooked, you know they have a distinct flavor. The fragrance is like coffee and a little bit of soy sause. The flavors of chocolate, coffee and earthy hops combine well with the oyster and sea mineral flavor to give this beer a unique blend of smokiness, bitterness and minor sweet and somewhat salty taste. It also finishes dry so the flavors dissipate making you want to drink more. Like the tide of the sea rolling in and gently rolling back in. I like Oysters and I enjoy good beer, so if you are willing to give a try, I am sure it would pair with some actual oysters well :P.

2011 Review:
Wow….I love oysters with tapatio and lemon…so I figure I tried this out. I found it at this one place in west covina while visiting my friend Adrian. This beer must of been aged well. Aside from the usual stout with coffee/chocolate flavors provided from the roasted malts, you also get something special. That’s the oysters and golding hops. However, you can tell they give off a somewhat of sea salt taste but very little. It is very interesting and very delicious to say the least :P. Not sure if eating oysters with corona and eating a chocolate coffee cake would be stronger, but regardless, its enough to give it great character. I cannot even smell the fishyness of the beer either. Definitely a great pickup and very different type of stout. I highly recommend it if you like stouts and want something other than chocolate/coffee to play with your palette 😛

Mississippi Mud Black & Tan by Mississippi Brewing

Rating: 3.5/5

Mississippi Mud Black & Tan by Mississippi Brewing is a 5% ABV Black and Tan Style Blend. This beer is supposed to be a porter and pilsner blended beer. Practices in bars as the beers become layered where the darker malts are at the top and the lighter beer at the bottom. LOL in my case it just stayed blended. I tried this beer in multiple occasions but haven’t really sat down for a review.

Label:
Dating back to 18th century England, the custom of blending pale and dark beers has kept the “Black & Tan” a favorite of experienced beer drinkers for centuries. Our famous recipe combines a robust English Porter with a fine Continental Pilsner, preserving the character of each, while creating the classic taste of the legendary “Black & Tan.” In true American style, we bring you the best of both beers as they meet in Mississippi Mud. 

The flavor of this is more like a English Brown Ale or Munich lager but sweeter. Some caramel, minor roasted coffee, and bitter chocolate fragrance is what I smell in this one. Kind of nice. The flavors are I can sense are of grainy pilsner, a good amount of caramel sweetness, minor roasted coffee, minor hints hazelnut and chocolate notes. Finishes dry so the flavor does not linger. Makes you want to try more. This is nice if you are looking for a nice dark beer with not as many overpowering flavors but definitely enough to keep you interested. Budweiser is also 5%ABV. I would take this over Bud any day. People who love Newcastle or Victoria will find this one more appealing in terms of flavor

Hoopla Pale Ale by Boulder Beer

Rating: 2.25/5

Hoopla Pale Ale by Boulder Beer is a 5.7% ABV Pale Ale.

Label: Out collaboration with Kyle Hollingsworth, Keyboardist of the String Cheese Incident, Hoopla’s fruity floral hop aroma and flavor will have your taste buds dancing!

As soon as I tried this beer I realized it was something else. Bitterness taste like pickle juice. Although I like pickles like for a nice sandwich, this is alittle too much. Cucumber Saison was nice and complex but this is different. You can smell the floral hops and taste some pine, apple, cheese, pickled bitterness, citrus, grapefruit, grains, and some minor caramel. Not sure if I got the strange can of the litter but this one was fair at most. I have tried worst Pale Ales and IPAs so atleast this one gets some credit.

.Existent. by Stillwater Artisanal

Rating: 4.8/5

.Existent. by Gypsy/Gangsta Stillwater Artisanal is a 7.4% ABV American Farmhouse Ale. Some of the best I have had and still one of my favorite brewers.

Label:
Existent represents the philosophy behind Stillwater Artisanal. We strive to define ourselves through our passion and sincerity while accepting that not all aspects of life are readily explainable. To manifest this ideology we present an a

le of intrigue. Deep & dark though deceptively dry, braced by a firm yet smooth bitterness and accented with an earthy hop and mild roast aroma. This is an ale for you to define… 
’and if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.’ –Nietzsche 
–—-

An ale about perception. Reality as a whole cannot be defined but merely perceived as best as out 5 senses can understand it. The levels of existence at the most deep level of understanding can only be defined as best as we can dig. We are only at the surface of truth and yet we can only come to our own conclusions. The saddest part is to never find it fully, yet the best part which truly shows no regret is the fact that we tried to find it. The truth of reality. If reality is only but an illusion of what our own senses can perceive, then the possibility of phenomena such as anything paranormal can exist due to the fundamental laws that make up this so called…”physical realm”…a realm of illusion and and infinite number of possibility. With that said, on to the beer review :P. 

Existent for me goes into territory of Black Saisons and specialty brews which I am familiar with. This beer actually came out before Folklore. That beer was epic in its own decree. I am a fan of Dark Belgian Stouts and Dark Belgians. Saison is more of a French term indicating Farmhouse Ale. Reasong being is because the flavors you get from usual saisons are very floral, bready, and complex in flavor. This beer is a Dark Farmhouse Ale. So there are some flavors of like that of Folklore but not to the specialty which made Folklore. Some Belgian/French yeast which makes the bread flavor, chocolate, banana, coffee cake, raisins, peppercorns, coriander spice, plum, figs, currants, grapes, earthy pine grass, grapefruit and oak. Folklore is different in the sense that the sweeter flavors flow more than that earthy hops and roasted flavors of this one. While the composition of the yeast is so familiar. Only as best as Stillwater Artisanal can make. Little by little I find more brews here in California. Baltimore has some of the best beers in the world.

Alpha Dog by Laughing Dog

Rating: 4/5

Alpha Dog by Laughing Dog is a 8.5% Double/Imperial India Pale Ale

Label: A true hop bomb brewed plenty of Columbus and Mt Hood hops for a piney hop character. Premium Pale, Honey and Munich malt make this beer a little less malty but packing plenty of hop punch. 

This DIPA has a lot of flavors. Smells like some of the DIPAs I have had before. The flavors range of caramel, honey, grapefruit, pine, grass, mango, oregano, tangerine and pineapple. An Awesome Double IPA worth the trying 😛

Wolfgang by Great Divide

Rating: 5/5

Wolfgang by Great Divide is an 8%ABV Sacred Doppelbock Lager. This is actually more of an ale but well in Germany, Ales are their lagers….so fuck it :P.

Label:

Originally called “liquid bread,” the Dopplebock style guided monks through periods of penitent fasting. Wolfgang has heavenly notes of caramel, dark fruit, and toffee balanced by a subtle hop character. While its revered history evokes and appreciation of austerity and sacrifice, this Dopplebock is a rich luxury – no repentance required 
—-

Upon trying this beer, I was like WOAH!!…IT was like really damn good. Like if you elevated an Amber ale to the status of a Belgian or German bock. While some amber ales focus on a balance of hops and malts, bocks are usually primarily malts. I have no idea why I get some of those amber qualities here. I think it is mainly because of the malts uses in ambers. This particular beverage is something special. There is a lot of bready biscuits, caramel, some dulce de leche, raisins, figs, pecans, hazelnut, cereal grains, chocolate, brown sugar, maple syrup, minor apple, sweet orange citrus, raspberry and cream. I honestly want to say it is like Rogue Dead Guy if he took a trip to the holy land to see the abbeys. Seriously, wow, this is was amazing….wow