Grey Monday by The Bruery

375268_10100970740155910_403711075_n (1)Rating: 6/5 * Final Review of 2012*


Grey Monday by The Bruery is an 18.6% ABV Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels with Hazelnuts. Essentially, this is the Black Tuesday Variant but made with Hazelnuts. Black Tuesday along with it’s cousin, Chocolate Rain are one of my most favorite Chocolate beers ever. They may not be the highest in the world but they certainly rated higher in my opinion. While St. Bernardus abt 12 and Trois Pistoles covers my most favorite Belgian/ World beers ever. Mainly this cover covers my ultimate chocolate beer sweet tooth. This is like a very special chocolate liquid of the gods.

 

Label:
Originally brewed for a molecular gastronomy dinner at Beachwood BBQ, this decadent version of Black Tuesday is brewed with Oregon grown, roasted hazelnuts.
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The ABV on the label said 18.6% however, at the tasting rooms in The Bruery they have it at 19.2%. Chocolate Rain was about that much, maybe more. This year’s Black Tuesday is in the 19 something as well. Anyways, on to the review 🙂
Grey Monday is hard to get. You have to basically go out of your way to get it so for those that want to seek this on out, be ready to climb over a good amount of obstacles. If your lucky, you may find it online though. So immediately after you open the beer is an massive explosion of extremely rich chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, cherries, plums, pecans, hazelnut, and caramel. Like literally, you can smell how sweet and nutty this is. Aromas are just that rich. Just like I said about Chocolate Rain. Basically Diabetes in a bottle. Also a note to the wise. Take your time and do not consume in one sitting. 1 small 8 ounce glass or less is best. Nectar of gods should be taken lightly and savored to the best ability and saved some for later or for friends. I decided to drink this on Monday 31st as being the last beer of 2012 I review :). So I figure why not. Upon trying it I was taken to the boozy world chocolate nirvana. Immediately I was surrounded by flavors of very strong milk, dark, sweet chocolate, chocolate covered raisins and tart cherries, rich mocha, rich dulce de leche caramel, rich sweetened condensed milk (Mexican Lechera), flan with pecans, almonds, walnuts, Bourbon, vanilla, raisins, port chocolate, Chambord Raspberry in chocolate cake, hazelnut nectar, pecan pie, chocolate cheesecake with maybe some macadamia nuts and well lots of burnt sweet caramelized sugars and cocoa. There is also an underlying banana nut bread with cherry and chocolate, vanilla and caramel hazelnut in the aftertaste. This beer is pretty deep and it takes grasp of the spirit. You would probably be done in one sip. The Oak Bourbon is present but no burn, just a small level of intensity for this super giant megaton fusion super saiyan of an ABV beer. Certainly one of the greats and nothing less. World Class in its own special way. The Grey Monday, The Black Tuesday and The Chocolate Rain. I love Trois Pistoles and I love St. Bernardus abt 12, but just as Chocolate Rain has taken me above and beyond this has taken me to another level of rich hazelnut, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, dark fruits and oak bourbon vanilla heaven.

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Wee Heavy by Ale Smith brewing

188765_10100969381159350_1196332505_nRating: 5.5/5

Bourbon Barrel Aged Wee Heavy by Ale Smith brewing is a 10% ABV Wee Heavy/Scotch Ale aged in Bourbon Barrels. This is a recent 2012 release.

Label:
Great American Beer Festival 2008 “Small Brewing Company of the Year”
This Barrel-Aged version of our Scotch-Style Ale is matured in premium bourbons barrels for at least one year to add layers of complexity to its rich, malty flavor profile. Notes of Vanilla, Oak, and Bourbon from the Barrels combine with the beer’s profile of caramel and toffee to make an utterly unique beer we think you’ll love. Enjoy it now or let it mature in the bottle for years to come. Serve in a goblet at 50-55 degrees.
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Wee Heavy beers are pretty good. I once enjoyed a Sam Adams Wee Heavy which probably does not come close to the awesomeness of this on. I still have to try the original of this but I figured when I saw my chance to get this one I take it. The fragrance coming of the beer in the glass is pretty sweet. Bourbon, Vanilla, plums, caramel, licorice, molasses, butterscotch and possibly some chocolate as well. The flavors are freaking phenomenal. So the first thing I notice is there is really not a lot of burning alcohol for being a “Heavy” ABV beer. The flavors flow of Bourbon, vanilla, caramel, toffee, Blueberry Cheesecake, flan, Dulce de leche and Sweetened Condensed Milk (Leche Nestle), raisins, butterscotch, blackberries, boysenberries, sugar coconut crème pudding, Chocolate Mousse, oak, walnuts and like a Jaggermeister Licorice sweetness. I remember some of the very good notes reminiscent of the original wee heavy I have tried which was a Sam Adams version but this is amplified to over 9000 times in complexity and flavor. I exaggerate ofcourse but when it comes to some of the best beers in the world, this is certainly one of them and I can’t explain it enough. It is just delicious. Now… I am sure this will pair great with a nice dessert 😛

Ron And The Beast Ryan collaboration by Evil Twin Brewing and Jolly Pumpkin

262982_10100969380445780_390181023_nRating: 4.75/5

Ron And The Beast Ryan collaboration by Evil Twin Brewing and Jolly Pumpkin is a 7% ABV Saison/ Farmhouse Ale brewed with honey 

Label:
n Denmark we have a lovely tradition for funky beer, and what you have here is certainly no exception. This is a never before seen collaboration between Ron and the Beast Ryan. A fluffy and precious Saison-style ale brewed with a beautiful yeast called Brettanomyces. It may sound like a true fairytale, but don’t be fooled by it’s cute appearance.
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Quite floral saison here. Aromas of honey, botanicals, bread, flowers, orange citrus, herbs, barnyard hay and spices. The flavors are kind of funky like a Belgian Ale, but it is a saison. Flavors of honey, biscuit bread, wine grapes, a touch of lemon, grapefruit, apples, peaches, wild yeast bread, wheat, coriander, herbs, rose petals and hibiscus. The after taste is floral sweet with some hoppy bitterness but not a lot. This Saison is worth trying although other saisons that may come close are like the Stillwater Stateside or the Anchorage Love Buzz. Still an awesome beer to try 🙂

 
 
 

Rare Vos by Ommegang

63727_10100969378789100_510167516_nRating: 5/5

Rare Vos by Ommegang is a 6.5% ABV Belgian Amber Ale. This was a Christmas day present from my awesome friend Adrian. I have never tried this one from Ommegang so I figured it be an awesome treat as Belgians are some of my favorite beers

Label:
Rare Vos is flemmish for “Sly Fox,” and the name of one of Brussels’ great cafes. It is also the name of our cunning Belgian-Style Amber, which sports a mellow, fruity character and elusive spiciness.
And Remember: A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable – Jefferson.
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Upon opening the beer there is grasp of bready sweetness in the aromas. Honey, caramel, orange gummy bears, biscuit bread, citrus, coriander spice and a bit of vanilla. The flavors are of raisin bread pudding, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, toffee, orange, apple, pear, grapes, apricot, banana slices in honey, cloves, cherries and oak. The aftertaste is still rich in flavors of raisin bread pudding and spices. You can never go wrong with Ommegang beers. The art on here is of in relation to a fox. Tails, Naruto and Krystal are some of my favorite fox or fox like characters so in order to match the fox and colors of the beer I chose this piece of anime work. As for the beer, you should know I already recommended, it is remarkably delicious World Class Belgian beer. Not sure on how rare this beer really is…but regardless it is a must try for sure.

Hullabaloo by Hangar 24

574765_10100969369263190_910034077_nRating: 3.75/5

Hullabaloo by Hangar 24 is a 6.5% ABV Scottish ale.

Label:
Experience a world of hearty flavors and aromas with this special winter beer. This brew starts as a Scottish ale featuring European and Domestic malts, giving Hullabaloo intriguing caramel and roast nuances. A blend of American and English hops delivers ample bitterness & unique hop profile. This is a big, rich beer with a nice, underlying complexity – Toast to the Season!
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Never had a Scottish ale but this is one is almost like a smoked amber ale. Aromas are of caramel, toffee, smoke, maple, earthy hops, roasted peanuts and hazel nut. The flavors consist of caramel, toffee, earthy and grassy hops, a little bit of grapefruit, peanuts, hazel nuts, biscuit bread, minor flavors of campfire sweet maple glazed bacon, minor hints of chocolate and coffee. The aftertaste is bitter with a slight touch of sweetness and smokey. It is a good beer for the holidays but I think you can probably find some other awesome holiday beers. It is worth a try. People that like smoked beers might like this one

Monks Brew (Elixir) by Mikkeller Brewing

734678_10100969367711300_122555278_nRating: 4.8/5

Monks Brew (Elixir) by Mikkeller Brewing is a 10% ABV Belgian Quadrupple Ale brewed with Raspberries and Aged in wine Barrels.

Label:
Brewed by Mikkeller at De Proefbrouwerij in Lochristi, Belgium. Known as Monk’s Brew in the U.S. 
Ingredients : Water, malts (pils and pale), candy syrup, brown sugar, hops (northern brewer, hallertauer and styrian goldings) and ale yeast
Monk’s Elixir is a heavy dark Belgian ale inspired by the Trappist monasteries of Rochefort and Westvleteren. The beer style, characterized by its high content of alcohol, distinguishes itself by its dominant yeast character, delicious malt background and balanced hop notes.
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Immediately after opening this beer, there is a strong fruity and sweet aroma. You can tell that there is grape wine fragrance along with Framboise Raspberries, apples, Dark Fruits like cherries, black berries and raisins and Belgian sweet bready aromas with nice caramel. Some of the barrel aromas are present as well. The flavor is quite vinious. There seems to be a stronger grape wine and oak presense it is immediately balanced by the dulce de leche bread. Some flavors or raspberries, raisins, bananas, figs and apples dipped in dark chocolate and caramel are also present. The wine and oak notes give it a bit of a tart, sour, lemon and bitter taste, it is not enough to take away from the the fact that this is still a quadruple ale. This means it is a hybrid of fancy wine and Belgian Dark quad ale. Something like the Cuvee de Tomme with that extra fermentation creating a quint or quintuple (5th) fermentation style which really isn’t heard of but it just makes sense when adding a 4th (quadruple) fermentation to a oak wine barrels and letting it age again. Complex dessert beer and the fact that it uses Trappist yeast is definitely one holy elixir of gods :P.

Elysian Doom

734946_10100969364807120_1108964645_nRating: 4/5

This is a series from Elysian, The 12 Beers of the Apocalypse. “The End is Beer”
Beer#12 (December) Doom is a 6% ABV Golden Treacle Pale Ale brewed with oats and fermented with golden syrup and raisins. Doom is the End.
This is the final installment to the series depicting the End has come…

Doom is in reference to the final apocalyptic event of ultimate judgment. Whether it was the good deeds or bad that had set fate in motion or simply predetermined at birth, the final stage in which will result into the ultimate judgment of that fate will be sealed. We have already passed 12-21-2012 which was set as the Mayan Apocalypse to be the end of the world. Since it did not happen, does not mean that humanity itself is invulnerable to each individuals fate. We are mortals, we will face death one day and what comes after is the unknown. However, it is believed some type of fate or judgment will come after. Whether you are brought back as a speck of energy, a fly, another person, whether there is a heaven or hell OR whether your existence becomes another piece to the molded universe of this reality…nothing is certain. Things happen for a reason and all we can do is wait and see what happens. Till then, pass the time and drink some phenomenal beers 😛

This is it, the final beer in the series. Upon opening the beer, there was some tropical fragrances reminiscent of a double IPA or an Imperial Pale Ale. Aromas of mango, orange, papaya, pineapple, hop grass, grapefruit, treacle syrup, honey and caramel. There is no aromas of raisins in the fragrance though. The flavors are of orange, tangerines, mango, lemon, pine, grassy and grapefruit hops, honey, caramel, treacle syrup, matured bananas, raisins and a little bit of biscuit bread. The matured banana dryness and hoppy bitterness remains in the aftertaste along with the notes from the tropical fruits. It is pretty good ale and reminiscent of a more Tropical IPA but with lower ABV. Recommended to those that like tropical hoppy pale ales.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Black Cauldron by Grand Teton Brewing

307218_10100969359522710_644190825_nRating: 5/5

Bourbon Barrel Aged Black Cauldron by Grand Teton Brewing is a 8% ABV Russian Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels. 

This is part of a rare release of brewers’ series beers that may be available soon. The beer has no particular description noted. I have tried the regular version of this beer in the past and have considered it a favorite. With a release of a barrel aged version, it brings forth something even more magical, mystical, dark and well, just delicious. 

The aromas of this beer come off as a semi sweet semi bitter bakers chocolate, coffee, mocha, vanilla, some bourbon, oak, dark fruits and berries. The taste reminds me of the Oak Aged Chocolate Yeti with bourbon. It is pretty good. Like a Dark and semi sweet/bitter bakers chocolate and coffee cake dipped in a little bit of bourbon with notes of wooden oak barrel, caramel, vanilla, blackberries, raisins, cherries, sweet bread, minor earthy hop bitterness with disappears into some coconut like notes but just a little bit. It is quite smooth and rich going down. It is not super boozy but you get some nice notes of the oak and the bourbon. It is not like the Old Rasputin Barrel Aged but it is still a great barrel aged stout. Remembering how good the original was for me, this is a great step up in complexity and a must find.

Bran Reserva by Birrificio Grado Plato Montigioco

546426_10100965798843340_465557322_nRating: 5/5

Bran Reserva by Birrificio Grado Plato Montigioco of Italy is a 8.5%ABV English Porter aged in Barbera Wine Barrels to become a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. They take their Bran Raven ale and age it for several months

Description:
Produced a Bran aging for 10 months in barrels (ex Barbera Bigolla Walter Massa). In the glass is black, impenetrable, with foam cappuccino color, the nose coexist roasting (with a scent reminiscent of cocoa paste) and notes derived from aging in wood (reminiscent of balsamic vinegar). In the mouth it is very divided: on one side the obvious toasty, cocoa, soy sauce, and secondly the acidity. Long in the mouth, the tannins in the finish shows the wood and a slight astringency of roasting. Beer very complex, difficult, for lovers of strong emotions. Serving suggestions: hard to match, recommended after a meal, maybe (if you want) with a big cigar.
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I don’t smoke so the Cigar might be a no go here ;). .The flavors are of vanilla, wine grapes, banana, dulce de leche bread, possibly a flan, sweetened condenced milk (Leche Nestle), raisins, butterscotch, lemon, cherries, blackberries, sour apples, peach. minor tart, vinegary and Jolly pumpkin style funky notes, oak wood, The after taste is like raisinettes, those chocolate covered raisins and coffee. Despite being somewhat tart and somewhat funky, this is pretty amazing. Lots of sweeter and rich flavors verlap the sourness. The little bit of sourness does not last and disappears soon and leaves some awesome sweet flavors. This is the Third beer I try from Italy’s Birrificio Montegioco. None of their beers have disappointed me at all and possibly this one and the Draco are my favorites from the 3. This is a must try if you can find it. It is the type of beer that steps into the realms of the Wine and becomes Neo from the Matrix…quote the raven…Forevermore…

Finding this in a specialty shop or online and is also considered to one of the 100 beers to try before kicking the bucket: http://www.complex.com/city-guide/2012/12/100-beers-to-try-before-you-die/grado-plato-montegioco-bran-reserva

de Viento (of the Wind) by Jolly Pumpkin

301726_10100965793144760_1977737499_nRating: 4.8/5

de Viento (of the Wind) by Jolly Pumpkin is a 7.5%ABV Oak Aged Sour Saison/Farmhouse ale brewed with coffee and spices 

Label:
De Viento … and still we dance

March 15, 2012 a tornado tore through Dexter, missing the brewery, but not all of our neighbors. What could we do to help? Hmmm. We do know how to make beer. So make a beer is what we did. This beer. Teaming up with co-conspirators Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company, Schera’s and the Abu Nawas Beverage Company to create a collaborative beer like noneother. 

A dark and smoky sour Saison full of rich aromatic coffee and the spicy heat of a secret Algerian spice blend. Proceeds go to the Dexter Relief Fund.
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It has been a while since I have tried something completely new from Jolly Pumpkin. This one was hard to come by but based on the beer information and first whiff, I knew it wasn’t gonna be a typical sour Jolly Pumpkin beer. Aromas of grapes, wine, coffee, almost like a mocha, chocolate, vanilla, citrus, apples and some earthy notes. The flavors are that of a sour Porter. Unlike Madrugada Obscura which has coffee and chocolate with nice sour notes, this breeds more of sweeter notes along with the sour notes. It seems the sourness is only like a squash or a pumpkin and wine taste. Coffee, Mocha, caramel, dark and milk chocolate, wine grapes, tart sour apple, some vanilla, oak wood, roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin and squash (which is complimented oh so well with the sweet cappuccino flavors), some lemon, cloves, peppercorn, almonds and pecans. The flavor is quite different that what I was expecting. In a very good way ofcourse. The good thing is that the sour notes are not as dominant as other JP beers which people that don’t normally enjoy sour beers may take a liking to this one as the sweetness balances out the sourness to create a pretty tasty beer here.

Snow Day by New Belgium Brewing

249820_10100964280081950_210252472_nRating: 4/5

Snow Day by New Belgium Brewing is a 6.2% ABV Winter Black India Pale Ale. 

Label:
With three feet of powder closing the roads, a brewery is not a bad place to get snowed in. Given the unanticipated hall pass of a snow day, our brewers decided to experiment. Hmm…what about this dark caramel roasted Midnight Wheat braced with a serious load of Styrian Goldings, Centennial and Cascade hops? Shovel it in. What a deliciously unexpected way to spend a SNOW DAY!
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Just like the Stone 15th Anniversary or Self Righteous, but much much lighter in flavor and depth as well as alcohol. Aromas of Italian herbs and spices, oregano, basil, pine, grass, maple and minor chocolate coffee. The flavors are of oregano, basil, earthy pine and grass, smoked campfire bacon, beechwood, orange, lemon, grapefruit, alittle bit caramel, chocolate and coffee, some honey and biscuit notes. Some smoke, bacon and chocolate remain in the after taste. Not a mind blowing Black IPA but it is still pretty good as it has flavors of some of the best Black IPAs out there. Got this as part of the Folly Pack this year.

The Cloak of St Martin by Brunehaut of Abbey Reconnue

734136_10100964265047080_1078817046_nRating: 5.25/5

The Cloak of St Martin by Brunehaut of Abbey Reconnue is a 13%ABV Belgian Quadruple fermented ale. Quad’s are some of my most favorite styles of beers and this is probably the strongest quad I have ever seen. It is also a rarity in itself. Brewed in a Belgian monastery

Press Release info: (via beerpulse.com)
The Cloak of St. Martin is a limited-edition Barleywine-style Belgian ale, ready to warm the North American autumn and winter (fermentation details seen below).

The Cloak is Brasserie Brunehaut’s first Abbaye ale brewed using doubled fermentation capacity gained via three new vats installed on Leap Day 2012. This increased capacity delivered enough vat time for the first batch of this labor-intensive 13%+ ABV quadruple. 

The Cloak of St. Martin is a new Belgian Quadruple celebrating St. Martin’s famous charity of “sharing” his cloak with a beggar!

A very dark quad, The Cloak of St. Martin’s first fermentation, to 9% ABV, uses Brasserie Brunehaut’s signature, centuries-old yeast strain. Rare, exquisite champagne yeast boosts ABV from 9% to 13% during a six-week second fermentation. The Cloak is then cellared six more weeks before final fermentation yeast is added.

The low foam pour, due to high (13.2% ABV) alcohol content, announces with an extraordinary aroma. Robust, complex notes include blackberries, coffee and bitter Belgian dark chocolate. Only 1200x six-bottle cases of engraved, individually wrapped and corked with-muselet 750ml bottles were shipped. Demand seems certain to outpace supply.

Ingredients – Pure Belgian H20 + four malt types, three yeast strains, three hops varieties and candy sugar.
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This is a real treat to be able to a find a bottle like this. The fragrance is of Raisins, chocolate coffee, Quadruple aromas like that of Judgment Day ale which is a lot of raisin bread with caramel, The flavors just very exquisite. The quad flavors of St. Bernardus meeting with some of the Trois Pistoles. Flavors or Dulce de leche caramel on sweet bread, candi sugars, dark fruits like that of raisins, blackberries, Blueberrie muffins dipped in bourbon like that of the birrificio montegioco draco, cherries, grapes, apples, pecan pie, vanilla, dark and milk chocolate, mocha, coffee, port wine, honey on biscuits, oak, and capirotada (Mexican Raisin Bread Pudding). The strangest part about this beer is the mouth feel. You cannot tell anything about the booze and yet it is not a concentrated as other Belgian quads. Also, there is hardly any head retention and goes down too smooth. Quite the conundrum really. I guess that is what makes this beer so special. Still, I have taken a liking to this beer and it is difficult to believe this is the only quad they have from Brunehaut. Also, after a while it will hit you. It is a strong quad after all. Regardless, just like finding the holy grail, finding the cloak of St. Martin should be an utmost treasure. Belgian lovers will love this one…probably as much as I liked this one. One of the strongest quadrupels with some surprises and greatly flavorful 😀

Scaldis Blond Ale Triple by Brasserie Dubuisson Frères

262738_10100964263659860_902611297_nRating: 4.75/5

Scaldis Blond Ale Triple by Brasserie Dubuisson Frères is a 10.5% ABV Belgian Triple

Label:
Scaldis Blond Triple is brasserie Dubuisson’s golden ale. Sharing the finesse and balance of all the delicious Scaldis beers it is an elegant and dry ale with wonderful orchard-fruit aromas of orange and peach. And because it is refermented in the bottle, it has the natural sparkle that perfectly compliments its flavors. Suitable for cellaring!
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Reminds me of the Cent Cinquante by Chimay. Smells like citrus, peach, pepper corns, honey, bread, biscuit. The flavors are of champagne, citrus, honey, biscuit bread, apples, peaches, grapes, little bit of banana, caramel, herbs, coriander, peppercorn, cloves, and other spices. This beer is quite like Allagash Fluxus and the Cent Cinquante by Chimay. Not as full bodied as some of the other Tripels I have tried but still very good. Lots of honey and citrus in the after taste. Give it a try if you love Belgian Beers. You might like this one 😛

Ranger IPA by New Belgium

268023_10100964262157870_1834729844_nRating: 3.6/5

Ranger by New Belgium is a 6.5%ABV India Pale Ale

Label:
Are you a hopinista? Thank our Beer Rangers for inspiring (and begging for) this well-balanced Simcoe, Cascade and Chinook hopped IPA. 70 IBUs
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New Belgium makes some nice beers like their Fat Tire Ale. This is their IPA. I have tried many IPAs so I will try to find what is good about this one. The aromas of the Ranger IPA start off with alittle bit of citrus, grassy pine, grapefruit and minor honey biscuit.The flavors are as many IPAs go. Grassy, Pine, Grapefruit, citrus, subtle caramel, biscuit, some herbs and spices, minor notes of peach or a mango but not too fruity. It has a nice hoppy, grassy and bitter aftertaste. While it is quite balanced with flavors, it has nothing new that blows me away. Yet, this is still a good IPA to have. I have tried other bad ones, but this one won’t let you down. Especially if your into IPAs for the hops mainly.

John John Series Whiskey Barrel Aged Dead Guy Ale by Rogue Brewing

523052_10100964259737720_2013574869_nRating: 4.9/5

John John Series Whiskey Barrel Aged Dead Guy Ale by Rogue Brewing is a 6.4% Helles Bock. It is the original dead guy aged in Dead Guy Whiskey Barrels. Interesting as this is the lowest ABV Barrel Aged beer I have had. Most Barrel Aged beers usually are stronger in alcohol.

Label:
40 IBU, 78AA, 16 Plato, 16 L 
Malts: Carastan, Rogue Micro-Barley Farm Dare & Risk malts. 
Hops: Saaz, Willamette, Rogue Micro-Farm Hop Yard Revolution hops. 
Yeast & Water: Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

In a collaboration of crafts, Rogue Brewmaster John Maier and Rogue Spirits Master Distiller John Couchot have joined forces to create a distinct, innovative series of brews called John John Ales. The series will take Rogue Ales legends and age them in Rogue Spirits barrels. A 3,100 gallon batch of John John Ale produces 1357 cases of beer. The first of the John John series is John John Dead Guy Ale, Rogue’s award winning Dead Guy Ale matured in Rogue’s award winning Dead Guy Whiskey barrels.
Deep honey in color with a malt aroma, a caramel, vanilla and oak finish.
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Rogue Dead guy ale is one of the most awesome beers out there. So far I have only tried the regular and the double dead guy ale. So finding this variant with Rogue dead guy whiskey brings a lot of in house quality when aging it in a barrel that they used similar ingredients from dead guy ale. Aromas of nice caramel covered pecans, whiskey, pecans and biscuit bread. The flavors of this version of Rogue Guy dead ale are of the original caramel, honey, biscuit bread, toffee, vanilla with added notes of the whiskey, oak, some coconut, banana, mango, pecans, alafajor (Mexican Coconut sugar candy), minor bittering earthy hops, minor citrus and some funky tart notes. For being only 6.5%ABV, there is a lot of flavor that you would normally get from a higher barrel aged beer. I haven’t tried the Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey but if its as close to this it would be definitely worth trying. Finally, a beer with some Barrel Aged oak and liquor flavors but without the excessive booziness.

Mayan Apocalypse Judgment Day Ale by The Lost Abbey

224949_10100956403816050_40157343_nRating: 5.25/5

Mayan Apocalypse Judgment Day Ale by The Lost Abbey is a 10.5%ABV Belgian Quad brewed with Raisins, Chiles and Spices. The original Judgment Day Ale with the 4 horseman of the Apocalypse is one of my top 10 favorite beers. So this will probably give it a slight twist 😛Label:
Five thousand years ago the Mayan Calendar last turned over. Since then, Nostradamus. The Book of Revelations and random Shaman have all prognosticated that mankind would meet a fateful end. Currently, our demise is is scheduled for December 21, 2012for it has been so decreed our world is about end not in a Christian Judgment Day but rather a Mayan Apocalypse.

Funny thing is. The Mayan’s don’t actually believe in the concept of an Apocalypse. We at The Lost Abbey didn’t want to miss an opportunity to update our original judgment Day recipe to accompany us as we collide towards this impending Rapture. Like us, we’re pretty sure you can believe in dried chiles. Cinnamon and Tamarind working well together in this beer. This means, you can count on this little bottle of beer to help you survive this cultural Armageddon. Please pop the cork and enjoy this version. We’ve got you covered. See you on December 22nd wherever life may take us.
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So it has finally come….opened this one at 12:00 AM on the dot 12-21-2012…trying this one for the occasion, the special Judgment day Mayan Apocalypse Ale. So let’s get into it…before the world ends today…. Immediate fragrance of this was something else. Being a fan of chiles and spices and Belgian quads (Ale fermented 4 times). Aromas of Cinnamon, Mole, chocolate abuelita (Dark chocolate Mexican hot cocoa), guajillo, chipotle, dulce de leche/cajeta caramel, candy sugar, some minor capirotada fragrance (Mexican Raisin bread pudding with pecans, bananas, spices and other fruits and flavors. Definitely rich in smell. The flavors of the end of the world are a Mexican and Belgian clash. I have never had a quad that was melded like this… WOW….. It took Judgment day to a new level. Immediate Dulce de leche/ cajeta, Capirotada with mild chile peppers (not too hot but enough to notice you are drinking chiles), coffee cake, Belgian candy sugars, pan dulce/sweet bread, dark fruits like figs, raisins, plums, cinnamon, dark chocolate like that of abuelita, and some tamarindo/tamarind at the end of the flavor. In the after taste, the Tamarindo calms anything that has to do with the chile spices leading them into Belgian Abbey redemption. Even the Devil can redeem for his sins…. lol although the Mayans and early indigenous did not believe in such things…but greater beings from the stars. Great Mathematicians creating meaning for the moon sun and the stars… and that is what this is about. It may not be the end of the world just yet, but the beginning of something new…something else. Keep in mind, as my dearly mother one said: “The end of the world comes to those who’s time has run out” explains that no matter what..whether it is the end of the world today or tomorrow…every one is on a schedule to someday pay the piper a.k.a death and will do so regardless of Apocalypses, End of Times, Armageddons, Raptures…you name it….I leave this this…. and the message explained from the original Judgment day ale…Belgian and Mexican alike will love this creation…. so if you seek this after 12-21-2012….try it out… as for finding meaning in your lives and this whole End of the World business…According to the original label: 

“Live an inspired life. Find opportunities in everything to make a difference. Seek out new and spontaneous adventures and when you find them, embrace them as if they were the devil’s song. For an interesting life is one worth living. Challenge yourself to embrace passion, persistence and a motivated way of life. So that when Judgment Day arrives from nowhere, you’ll go out knowing full well that you’ve lived your life on your terms and they can’t take that away from you.”
http://lostabbey.com/beer/judgement-day/

Smoking Wood by The Bruery

540438_10100954716427590_370128381_n 61022_10100954712809840_1216744887_nRating: 5/5

Smoking Wood by The Bruery is a 13% ABV Smoked Imperial Rye Porter Aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels.

Label:
Smoked Imperial Rye Porter aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels. A rich porter layered with rye spiciness and earthy smoke, caramel-like flavors, roasty malt and oaky deliciousness. 
Brewed with beachwood and cherrywood smoked malt, and aged in rye whiskey barrels, Smoking Wood is a delicious demonstration of what wood has to offer when it comes to beer. This imperial smoked porter is brewed with a hefty amount of rye malt, contributing to a full body and light spiciness. Toasty oak, caramel and vanilla flavors balance the smokiness, contributing to an intense yet refined flavor profile. This is one of our favorite beers at the moment, we hope you agree. 
—-

For smoked beers, I hear this one was phenomenal. The aromas are of whiskey or a bourbon, vanilla, caramel, smokey notes, campfire, bacon, some rye bread, minor coffee, chocolate and raisins. The flavors are of dark and milk chocolate, campfire, bacon, BBQ Ribs, whiskey, Jack Daniels Honey, scotch, vanilla, caramel, mocha, maple syrup, oak, coconut, minor flan notes, brown sugar, sourdough bread, plums, cherry, walnuts and pecans. This beer turned out to be fantastic. While it has a high ABV, the flavors prevent too much burn. You can kind of tell that it is strong but not to an overwhelming point. In fact, the smoke and sweet flavors take care of that. Ofcourse, do not drink this in one sitting. You will get wasted. Try some and save it for later. For people that do not like smoked beers might find this one pretty appealing and pleasant.

Cellar Door by Stilwater Artisanal

60756_10100953684909760_557966199_n18719_10100953678547510_785513984_n224886_10100953677714180_1615555740_n
Rating: 5/5

Cellar Door by Gypsy/Gangster brewer, Stilwater Artisanal is a 6.6%ABV Farmhouse ale/Saison wheat ale brewed with White Sage. It is actually closer to a witbier (Belgian White). Perhaps, a fusion of a saison and a Belgian white

Description:
over the ages the term ’cellar door’ has numerously been referred to as the most beautiful term in the English language. upon setting out to create the first summer addition to the Stateside line up of ales; the feeling that almost instantly came to me was that of beauty & cleansing. many summer offerings tend to lack the complexity of their bigger, colder season counterparts; so my goal was to craft an ale of extreme balance with a delicate complexity that allows for contemplation while also providing quaffable refreshment. Starting with a base of German wheat & pale malts this crisp slightly hazy foundation was then accented with a blend of Sterling & Citra hops providing a intricate blend of herbal grass & tangerine citrus flavors and aroma. to pull this all together and to complete the ’cleansing’ aspect of my vision i gently finished the ale off with a touch of white sage, lending a mild earthy spice character to the blend. of course let’s not forget our house saison yeast that brought all the elements together leaving a dry yet intricate finish. enjoy, b.
—-

Upon opening the Cellar Door of this fine ale, we are exposed to sweet Belgian and saison aromas. On one hand you have floral and some peppercorn notes but you can also smell the fragrance of tangerine, lemon, coriander spice, some mango, almost like a tang orange sweetness. The flavors go in many directions. We have Belgian wheat brad, sweet bread, orange, honey, minor grassy, pine and grapfruit hops in order to establish a minor Belgian Pale feel without compromising the sweet flavor for bitterness. There are some flavors or caramel, white grapes, mango, apples, peaches, pears, sage, coriander spice, banana cloves, peppercorn, oak wood and biscuit. It is kind of crazy as you get a load of tropical like fruit flavors, with rich Saison and bready goodness along with the way a Belgian White tastes. Quite the awesome blend of flavors here. Saison, Belgian White and some Belgian Pale Ale lovers will love this one. It is quite the exquisite beer and a must pick up if you can find it 😀

Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin XV by North Coast Brewing

382030_10100953674296030_1531994946_nRating: 5.5/5

Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin XV by North Coast Brewing is an 11.9% ABV Russian Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels.

Label:
Never say Die!

Every year we age a special batch of our much-loved Russian Imperial Stout in Bourbon barrels. The depth, intensity, and complexity of the flavor profile of this special release, like its predecessors, make it a worthy tribute to Old Rasputin.

Prior to 2010, Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin was released in such limited quantities that it was available only at the North Coast Brewing retail shop in Fort Bragg, California. However, we received so many requests for this beer that we began producing enough Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin to put into broader, but still limited, distribution.

This a pretty awesome beer. Upon opening this one, there was immediate aromas of rich coconut, vanilla, bourbon with roasted coffee, chocolate, caramel and some notes of Mexican sweetened condensed or flan. Maybe California’s response to Bourbon County Stout? The flavors are pretty sweet. The boozyness is only slight the flavors that hit the palate. Sweet rich chocolate, espresso, mocha, vanilla, caramel, whipped cream, rich Mexican flan, bourbon, coconut, figs, raisins and prunes. Another masterpiece exceeding the expectations. A must find for Barrel-Aged Stout lovers. Just awesome is what this is. If the original Old Rasputin is world class, this takes it to another level for me.

Bam Noire by Jolly Pumpkin

407283_10100953671771090_1355560881_nRating: 3.9/5

Bam Noire by Jolly Pumpkin is a 4.3% ABV Dark Farmhouse Ale/Saison. This is the second time I get to try this beer. One of the things I failed to notice when I did my first review, is the fact that… THIS BEER IS LOWER IN ALCOHOL THAN A BUDLIGHT. Also, the flavors is probably over 9000 times better than a bud light.

Label:
One of Bam’s brown eyes is, in fact, black. When mischief reigns supreme, it positively glows. Dedicated to the dark side; smooth, dark, incredibly delicious as only a Jack Russell with bat wings can be.

One thing to note about Jolly pumpkin ales is that there is always some aromas and flavors of like wine grape sourness. This one seems to have a lighter amount of sourness to it. The fragrance is of wine grapes, coffee, lemon, caramel, cherries, raisins and oak wood. The flavors are somewhat balanced. There are some coffee cake notes, wine grape sourness, molasses, notes of apple cider vinegar, citrus, lemon, caramel, apples, ginger, brown sugar, and cherries. This is a nice low ABV beer to try if you like Saisons or sour ales. Even for some that may not like sour ales, this is pretty moderate to low sourness. It is enough for you to taste the dark roasted malts and fruits. 

2011 Review:
Bam Noire Dark Farm House Ale is a well balanced beer consisting of sweet flavor from the malt, bit of bitterness from the fresh hops, and that Jolly Pumpkin goodness of wild yeast making this sour as well. It is refreshing and not too overwhelming in complexity. Just the right beer for the special occasion where you want to try sweet,sour,bitter at once…Definitely good stuff :P.

Warmer by Hangar 24

68175_10100953665224210_1801148142_nRating: 4.6/5

Warmer by Hangar 24 is 7.8% ABV Local Fields Series Winter Warmer ale brewed with Maple Syrup, Spruce and Cinnamon.

Label:
This rich, strong ale neatly balances caramel malts and spices, providing warmth on a cool winter day. Every fall, we trek up the San Bernardino Mountains to harvest fresh spruce, then carefully add just the right amount of cinnamon and maple syrup to create our Warmer. It’s a lightly hopped, tantalizing ale with festive notes of maple, spruce and spice; a nice complement to a cooler time of year.
—–

This is the winter time holiday ale from Hangar 24. They usually make some pretty awesome beers. I have tried several different holiday beers and most of them are pretty awesome. This probably won’t be an exception. :P. Fragrance here is of maple, citrus, oak, nutmeg and other holiday spices. The aroma is not super intense but it still smells nice. The flavor reminds me of stronger Fat Tire notes. Ofcourse, mostly the malty sweetness and not the bitterness. It taste like maple syrup, caramel, biscuit bread, graham crackers, cinnamon, a little bit of ginger, Christmas Cookies, nutmeg, a little bit orange, pear, apples, raisins, bananas, Christmas tree oak, and notes of chocolate covered cherries in the after taste. All in all it is a very good Winter/Holiday time ale to enjoy and stay warm. It is common this time of the year so this one should be a pick up so try it out. Although Some of the other winter warmers may be much more sweeter because of their Ginger bread or Holiday Fruit cake properties, this is still a very ale and, most likely, easier to find 🙂

Gorch Fock by Three Floyds

598527_10100952007651000_430091526_nRating: 4/5

Gorch Fock by Three Floyds is a 5.2% ABV Munich Helles Lager. This style originated from the need to come up with a German “light” beer so that people would not seek Czech Pilsners as a ligh beer alternative. These beers are light in color and generally sweeter due to the malts

Label:

A light golden colored Franconian style Helles Lager. With a slightly sweet malt body, a noble hop profile and a crisp finish this beer is as traditional as we’ll ever get.

The fragrance is of pilsnery grains with some of the sweet peppercorn fragrances, spices, apples, honey and floral with some reminiscent spices like that of Allagash Curiex. This beer almost drinks like Curiex or like an Oktoberfest beer. Some honey biscuit bread, citrus, cereal, pilsner, peppercorn, graham crackers, and apples, grassy but crisp and refreshing hop bitterness. This would go good for like a summer day. The beer is pretty good and way more flavorful than an average lager beer and is quite drinkable too. Since it carries so much flavor yet it is still a lighter beer than most, it is definitely worth trying for those wanting to see what certain gateway craft beers are like.

Jubilee by Eagle Rock Brewery

224830_10100951664353970_285875234_nRating: 4.8/5

Jubilee by Eagle Rock Brewery of Los Angeles California (Yes my home county) is a 8.1% ABV Winter Warmer Spiced Old Ale. I explained in an earlier review about winter warmers. Usually malt forward, sweeter beers that only hop bitterness is used for balance and are spiced up for holiday servings.

Label:

Jubilee, spiced old ale, is a delicious holiday treat with the aromas of freshly-baked banana bread and rich caramel. The spices used in this full-bodied winter warmer combined with a hint of molasses are reminiscent of the complex flavors of gingerbread. The rounded malt sweetness is balanced by an earthy finish, and just enough bitterness to give way to a lingering warmth, subdued sweetness, and rich fruit character on the palate. 
Whether you choose to drink this beer during this holiday season or age it for another special occasion, enjoy it! Because ‘tis the season for jubilation!

The fragrance reminds me of a cherry bread, cinnamon, and grapes. It is somewhat like the Holiday Fruit Cake Ale I tried before. Yet, the flavors are more abundant than the fragrance. The flavor is pretty delicious. Just the right type of Christmas beer. Its is full of cinnamon, delicious gingerbread flavors, cherry, some pumpkin spice, vanilla, caramel, bananas, raisins, pears, apples and brown sugar cookies. This is a very damn good Christmas beer. This is a definite pickup for Christmas, it is really awesome 😛

Dead Cat by BeerHere

282535_10100951568401260_949345822_nRating: 4.85/5

Dead Cat by BeerHere Brewing of Denmark is a 4.7% ABV Amber/Red Ale.

Label:

Dead Cat is an ale based on BeerHere’s Fat Cat which has been temporarily discontinued due to hop shortages. Dead Cat is an easy-going red ale with subtle bitterness, but a great hop aroma and hop flavor from American Simcoe hops. THE CAT IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE CAT!

Hard to find back in October, now easier to find online and possibly in some beer specialty shops. This beer cries with hop, mango, peach, pears, citrus, maple and caramel aromas. For an amber ale, this seems pretty good. I would wanna say, just as close to dead guy (no pun intended…maybe 😉 ). That is pretty good balance of hops and caramel. The flavors pour in of maple, hazelnut, roasted peanuts, pine, grass and grapefruit hops but mild to medium bitterness. Some nice biscuit bread, caramel, but not as yeasty and sweet like the glory of Rogue Dead Guy. The Dead Cat likes to take it alittle bit more tropical. Not into the bitterness though. There are still some notes of orange, mango, and peach but not super fruity. The amazing thing about this beer, is just the fact that it is so low in ABV (.2% higher than Bud Light) and yet somehow it packs so much flavor. It is quite an amazing beer for such flavors and being so low in ABV. Too bad this is an import, this would be a top for so many amber beer lovers.

Fantôme Boo! by Brasserie Fantôme

184590_10100951561021050_451599044_n563686_10100951563076930_1306320432_nRating: 5/5

Fantôme Boo! by Brasserie Fantôme of Belgium is an 8.0%ABV Saison/Farmhouse ale brewed with pumpkins. Just as a fair warning, BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN OPENING THIS BOTTLE and open over an open sink. As you can see from the picture the bottle spewed all over the place. LOL, it certainly spooked me….lucky I was able to save the majority of it 😉

Label:

Fantome Boo! Special Begian Ale. Burgundian Babble Belt. Imported by Shelton Bothers, Belchertown MA
Been looking for this beer since October…I’m glad I found it and is more abundant now than before. I figure…One more pumpkin beer before the end of the year…why not 😉
Right off opening the bottle, there was a distinct pumpkin and vegetable smell like a tomato . Some orange zest, lemons, flowers, pine, grass and wet hay. Flavors are of peach, banana, wine grapes, tamarind, funky tart , biscuit bread, earthy must, sweet caramel, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, sweet orange, pear, old apples, pumpkin bread, pumpkin seeds, squash, mushrooms and like a cilantro or basil after taste. This has some very strange but rather delicious character. I don’t think I have tasted an ale that was like this with certain sweet and sour vegetable and fruit flavors. The sourness is hardly anything bad, more or a tart. People that love Saisons and possibly less artificial spiced, more fruity and more fermented pumpkin beers will like this one. The overall beer is sweet but the sourness balances it out.

Mouette à Trois (Three Seagulls) by Karl Strauss

148619_10100950630046730_1994997927_nRating: 5/5

Mouette à Trois (Three Seagulls) by Karl Strauss is an 8.5%ABV Holiday Fruitcake Dubbel. 

Label:

Mouette a Trois est la meileure biere que vous avez jamais goute ou notre nom n’est pas Karl Strauss. Mouette a Trois, meaning Three Seagulls, is the 3rd installment in our less than literal “Twelve Days” series of holiday ales. Brewed with fresh apricots, cherries and a blend of spices, the resulting strong ale is Belgian Dubbel meets fruitcake. Rich layers of candied fruit and warming spices are punctuated by notes of toffee and fresh baked bread. Aging on brandy-cured French oak adds hints of vanilla that linger through a warming finish. Don’t. Even. Think. About. Regifting.

Sounded pretty interesting, so I said pourquoi pas? First pour of the beer had hardly any head retention. The fragrance of this beer is of cherries,peach, apple, citrus, chocolate, caramel and sweet bread. The flavors are quite fruity. There are some flavors of raisin, cherry, apple, peach, gummy bears, chocolate, coffee cake, buttery bread, dulce de leche caramel and vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, walnuts, almonds, oak wood, some flavors of the brandy, earthy hop and cider bitterness but the caramel and vanilla compliment in the after taste. Quite the complex, sweet, but not full bodied or overpowering Christmas beer. Now that is Christmas in a bottle. Pretty fancy and well worth trying. I’m liking this one a lot.

Bavarian Style Hefeweizen by Black Market Brewing

598389_10100950630006810_1816952265_nRating: 4/5.

Bavarian Style Hefeweizen by Black Market Brewing is a 5%ABV German Hefeveizen

Label:

Our award winning example of an authentic, traditional Bavarian (southern German) style Wheat Ale offers a fruity aroma with a touch of spiciness ad a creamy, but dry palate. Unfiltered for richer flavor and a characteristic haze. Enjoy it as a summer refresher, or anytime you’re feeling a little parched. Keeps bet when refrigerated.

Bavarian Heffs are some of the best German beers in the world to me so to try one like this is an awesome thing. Fragrances include orange, tangerine, bread, some banana cloves but very little of it. The flavors include of the nice citrus like a lime, orange and tangerine, banana cloves, sweet bread, wheat, some coriander spice, and a little bit grainy cereal aftertaste. It is a pretty good beer but then again, Fransiskaner Heffeweisse is much easier to find. Still, not a bad pick up for an awesome hefeweizen though :).

Celebration by Sierra Nevada

397030_10100950629587650_1579873398_nRating: 5/5

Celebration by Sierra Nevada is a 6.8%ABV Fresh Hop India Pale Ale

Label:

We first created Celebration Ale in the winter of 1981. Each year, we use only the first fresh hops of the growing season to create this complex and robust IPA. Layered pine and citrus hop aromas balance delicately against rich malt sweetness – creating this bold winter time classic.

Fresh hop ale is a special ale for the holidays. Featuring the first hops of the growing season, this pioneering IPA is full of complex flavors and aromas from fresh aromas from the generous use of whole-cone American hops.
—-

I have hear good things about this beer. Being one of the first craft brewing IPAs back in the 80’s, there is surely some history to this. A real hop bomb so fresh even for being the winter time. No wonder it is called celebration. Upon opening the beer it screams with grassy, pine, floral and herbal aromas. There is a scent of citrus and caramel in there as well. The hop fragrance is the usual nice hops from Sierra Nevada beers that I know of. The flavor of the beer is strong with hops. Not in the super bitter IPA but the actual grassy piney rich hops. The oily hops possibly or like a Christmas Tree pine. Some notes of caramel and maple. Flavors of grapefruit, apples, orange, herbs and some breadyness but not lot. Through out the beer, the hop flavors do not seem to dissipate at all. They go there even in the after taste. Huge hop head favorite I am sure. The bitterness is quite pleasant and not like actual IPA overpowering, although that may not be so bad ;). Still an awesome IPA for Christmas.

Organic Gingerbread Ale by Bison Brewing

68911_10100950628080670_97443679_nRating: 4/5

Organic Gingerbread Ale by Bison Brewing is a 6%ABV Gingerbread spice ale brewed with Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon

Label:

Gingerbread Ale our spiced holiday porter is brewed with only a touch of spices for the aroma of fresh baked gingerbread men! The chewy dark malt flavors are sure to smooth out that dinner with the in-laws.
——–

The aromas on the beer are of cloves, gingerbread, cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe some pumpkin spice but it is not very fragrant. The flavors of this beer are not too strong. I can tell that there is some cinnamon, some ginger spice, a little bit of biscuit, ginger bread, some grainy cereal, faint chocolate and coffee, and somewhat of banana notes as well in the after taste. While this beer is not super overwhelming, it is still pretty good. Very drinkable and goes down well. Worthy of a taste although Sam Adams Merry Michief I think is a better alternative for the holiday season. Still, if you want a gingerbread beer that comes in a pack to share got get this one.

namaste. By Dogfish Head

60943_10100950629203420_122263894_n 521340_10100950629193440_1071244939_nRating: 4.25/5

namaste. By Dogfish Head is a 5%ABV Belgian White (Witbier) brewed with coriander, orange and lemongrass.

Label:

Namaste, the word kinds sorta means the spirit in me recognizes and celebrates the spirit in you. Namaste the beer kinda sorta means white ale as in wheat and coriander but also means dried orange slices and lemongrass. A refreshing summer thing. Namaste.
—-

Namaste has nice wheat, citrus, lemon, grassy, peppercorn and honey aromas. The taste is of wheat, coriander spices, coriander, lemon, honey, light biscuit bread, peppercorn, light peaches, grapes, light pears, mild grass and pine hops. It goes down smooth, crisp, refreshing and is light bodied. It is definitely more of a summer and is a good alternative if you do not want something too strong or overwhelming. Quite enjoyable Belgian White.

Organic Chocolate Stout by Samuel Smith

528175_10100950627896040_153898885_nRating: 5.75/5

Organic Chocolate Stout by Samuel Smith is a 5.00%ABV Milk Stout Brewed with Organic Chocolate. 

Label:

Brewed with water from the original brewery well sunk in 1758, the gently roasted organic chocolate malt and real organic cocoa used in this ale impart a delicious, smooth and creamy character, with inviting deep flavors and a delightful finish—this is the perfect marriage of satisfying stout and luxurious chocolate that will lead to smiles and refills. Samuel Smith’s brews in traditional coppers, uses stone ‘Yorkshire Squares’ for fermentation, and ships every bottle from the brewery with great pride 
—-

Oh my fucking GOD!!!… another epic chocolate beer….lol just like the art work of the bags of chocolate, just plug it into MY VEINS!!!….Fragrance explodes with very rich milk chocolate aromas. Taste is like nectar of gods. Chocolate, rich but not super ultra mega sweet. There is still some caramel and vanilla notes there as well. There is some roasty bitterness but it is very little. So little that it is only there balance the beer and not try and detract from the amazing chocolate flavor. It is all natural beer which totally tells any form that is not chocolate tasting to take a hike. This is so good and the only reason it has not reached chocolate rain is because even if it is rich in chocolate, it is not ultra mega sugary boozy epicness like chocolate rain. It is just to let you know look, you are looking at beer that when it says it taste like true chocolate, you better believe its gonna be chocolate. Also it is a 5.0%ABV so that is even more amazing. Doesn’t have to be super strong to pull some amazing flavor. You know what else is 5.0%ABV? Budweiser, and this is way way better than that. This has become another chocolate favorite beer of mine and is a must try..

Velvet Merlin by Firestone Walker

184485_10100950627002830_2109471633_nRating: 4.8/5

Velvet Merlin by Firestone Walker is a 5.5%ABV Oatmeal Stout. This is the second time I try this beer so I figure I give it another review.

Label:

A decadent Oatmeal Stout brimming with cocoa and espresso aromas. This beer features a rich, dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavor with a creamy mouth feel and wonderfully dry finish. The addition of U.S. grown fuggles hops contributes the perfect amount of bitterness to this exceptionally balanced beer.
—–

Velvet Merlin is a pretty good stout. The fragrances of this beers are anywhere from dark and milk chocolate to Espresso and coffee aromas. There is also some nice roasty notes as well. The flavors of this one are of sweet coffee, mocha, milk and dark chocolate, sweet biscuit, some caramel and toffee are strong along with of that malt o meal or oatmeal grain feel. The beer feels sorta buttery, smooth and creamy which is is nice. I guess hence the name, velvet. The after taste leaves dry but sweet. It is a different type of sweetness though. Still more like actual oatmeal with coffee and chocolate. Breakfast in a bottle. It is amazing as this is a 5.5%ABV beer. Very drinkable and quite delicious. People that like stouts will fin this one to be not as overwhelming or complex but yet still full of a lot of flavor. Definitely worth the second round.

2011 Review:
A nice stout that is not too overwhelming with flavor allowing more than one bottle…emphasis on coffee flavors as well as other magical flavors only merlin can provide…lol

Side Project Volume 18 Liquid Bliss by Terrapin Brewing

479761_10100946381361130_1573686614_nRating: 4.95/5

Side Project Volume 18 Liquid Bliss by Terrapin Brewing is a 6.7% ABV Peanut Butter Chocolate Porter dry-hopped with Georgia peanuts. Been meaning to find this one as people keep saying it is like a Reese’s Peanut butter cup in a bottle.

Label:

Melt into another dimension with Terrapin’s newest Side Project… “Liquid Bliss”. This chocolate, peanut-butter porter concoction flows like a river of self-indulgent righteousness deep into the depths of your innermost childhood memory. Turn on, tune in, and drop out of this world for a tongue tripping experience of flavors never before so eloquently combined in a liquid or solid form.
—–

The fragrance is of chocolate and coffee like normal porters. Some nutty roasted peanut smell but alittle bit. The flavors are of or roasted peanuts, milk chocolate, butterscotch, some caramel, vanilla, chocolate peanut butter cookies. The beer is not overwhelming and is very drinkable. Also because it is dry hopped, it balances out all the sweetness so you don’t get an overly sweet beer but also not too complex. Yet it is still buttery and the chocolate peanut butter notes are like that of a Reese’s peanut-butter cup but with mocha added :P. Simply on those type of notes its really good. Let it warm up and you will start to see more sweet notes. It would definitely pair up with some nice dessert :D.

Liquid Breadfruit collaboration by Dogfish Head and Maui Brewing

18900_10100946427408850_986867253_nRating: 4.8/5

Liquid Breadfruit collaboration by Dogfish Head and Maui Brewing is a 8.2% ABV ale brewed with breadfruit and papaya seeds. 

Label:

Millions of Delaware natives lusting fro tropic climes cannot be wrong. We isolated a unique yeast strain on a peach farm near dogfish head brewery. We mapped its DNA, brewed with it, and instantly fell in love with the fruity aromatics the yeast threw down. It immediately reminded me of Hawaii and Hawaii immediately reminded me of my pal Garrett at Maui Brewing Co. A collaborative brew seemed like a fun way to use this tropical yeast. – Sam. 

Breadfruit has been a staple crop f0r 3000 years. It’s very versatile and extremely tasty. My buddy Sam and I thought it’d be fun to brew with. Why not push the limits of beer a bit further? After all, beer has been called “liquid bread” for centuries, right? So liquid breadfruit’s time has come – Garrett. 

I’m down with the idea of adding Hawaii’s native breadfruit into the mix. To amplify the tropic thunderstorm that’s brewing in the recipe let’s hop this puppy with calypso hops which throw a lot of pear and apple notes adding bitterness and aroma – SAM

Sounds great, Let’s use some toasted papaya seeds, it’s a great spice to balance the breadfruit and compliment the fruitiness of Calypso hops and tropical notes lent by the philandering Delawarians, it was no small task to harvest all these seeds and fruit by hand…. But it sure beats chewing purple corn for weeks on end… -Garrett

It certainly does, Garrett, Let’s do this! – Sam
————–

I have had papaya before and to be honest it is a bit of an off fruit. A bit pungent lol. I can smell alittle bit of it in this beer bit what really comes out is some peach, mango, orange, bready grains, some what floral like a saison with a bit of botanical notes. The flavors are of that, papaya, mango, orange, peach, pear, some apple cider, sweet biscuits, caramel, bit of coconut and some peppercorns like that of Allagash Fluxus. I have never had bread fruit but this is pretty tropical type of beer. So I would think it definitely goes along with those tropical fruits I tried before. I would almost say that this also feels like a Tropical Tripel for those that love Belgian beers. Pretty awesome beer in a can :P.

Stone Vertical Epic 12.12.12

531830_10100945227872730_1355826940_n 537715_10100945228366740_800225002_n 222227_10100945226934610_1338416443_nRating: 4.85/5

Stone Vertical Epic 12.12.12 is a 9% ABV Belgian Strong Ale brewed with Spices. It is the Final release of Stone’s Epic Series. I have only had a chance to try 10, 11 and 12 but that is still cool to be part of something. Today is 12.12.12 so I figured this would be the right time.

Label:

The Final Chapter in an “Epic” Series

As with any good epic, herein lies the promise of larger-than-life experiences, heroics, and twists and turns as the adventure unfolds. This bottle-conditioned ale is chapter eleven. Now is the time to enjoy it in a “vertical” tasting side by side with its ten Stone Vertival Epic Ale brethren! Each one unique to its year of release. Each with its own “twist & turn” in the plot line. Each one released one year, one month and one day from the previous year’s edition.

This year’s Stone Vertical Epic Ale is the very last one. Yep, this is it. The final chapter. Or as they say on the last slide in some old films: “Fin.” No worries though: this edition is particularly well-suited for prolonging the experience, as it’s as cellarable as any in the series, or more. In this, the final edition, you can expect a perfectly balance *womp* of spices: cinnamon, ginger, allspice, sweet orange peel, clove (only a little!) and rosehips, all in the context of a dark Belgian style abbey-ish beer…but not as sweet. Dry even. Stone style. Thanks for coming on this Epic Stone-style journey with us! You can rest assured there will be new adventures to come…

The fragrances of this beer are pretty phenomenal. Starting with some banana, raisin and plum notes, mint, coffee, licorice, almost like a Black Saison smoke, sugar and cinnamon cookies, flowers, chocolate, caramel biscuit and toffee. The taste of this goes into different places. Flavors of chocolate, coffee, banana, caramel, cinnamon, dark fruit, smokey flavors almost like a BBQ ribs so its smokey but sugary, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, flowers like roses, biscuit bread and ginger bread, herbs and other spices. The after taste is of chocolate, banana, mint and some earthy and citrus bitterness with some more graham cracker, sugar or ginger cookies. Not sure if they tried to combine all the beers together or something but they try to hit on many flavor aspects here. Belgian and somewhat Porter or Stout like blend with a lot of what seem to be some holiday spices. It is quite good and I think specifically brewed for the holidays and the last week before the so called end of the world. Anyways, for being the last beer it surely fits and I am sure a year from now, this will probably taste very wonderful so I will leave it room for some improvement and save one for 13 13 13…lol well 12.12.2013 🙂

Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11

77040_10100945064719690_1558588846_nRating: 5/5 (Aged since 2011 to be drank 12.12.12)Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11 is a 9.4% ABV Belgian Strong Ale Brewed with Anaheim Chiles & Cinnamon. This is the second to last series of the Stone’s long run Vertical Epic Series started in 2002. I aged this in the dark for exactly one year to be drunk on 12-12-12. I also included my last year’s review for comparison so we can see how it has mat

ured 😛Label:
“As with any good epic, herein lies the promise of larger-than-life experiences, heroics and twists & turns as the adventure unfolds. This bottle-conditioned ale is chapter ten, and is specifically designed to be aged until sometime after December 12th, 2012. Provided you can wait that long. At that time, enjoy it in a “vertical” tasting along with its ten Stone Vertical Epic Ale brethren. Each one unique to its year of release. Each with its own “twist & turn” in the plot line. Each one release one year, one month, and one day from the previous year’s edition.

This year’s Stone Vertical Epic Ale might justifiably be considered the non-sequitor edition. We somehow came to the conclusion that adding Anaheim chilies from New Mexico’s Hatch Valley, plus whole cinnamon sticks, to an amber-hued brew fermented with Belgian Flanders Golden Ale yeast (which provides fairly invest character, with lots of clove & banana overtones) would create a very tasty result. And we believe it does! The Anaheim chili is known for its rich flavor more than endorphin-inducing heat, and the cinnamon adds a nice twist… part of the promise behind the Vertical Epic Ale series itself. As with any epic, remember that it is not just the destination, but the journey!”
—-

When I first had this beer back then I enjoyed it a lot since it was a blend of a Belgian bread and carmel beer with Chile spices. After opening the bottle, you can definitely tell it has fermented well. There are dark plum and raisin notes in the aroma which are stronger than before with more sweet caramel and bread. I can kinda smell the chiles in there but it probably is not as heat spicy as last year. This is nice because you can get a sense of how well beers age that it feels like maybe the ABV shot up but the fermentation is way more complex. Upon tasting this beer, I can feel that the chiles somehow gave way to like a caramelized pumpkin and tamarind taste. You definitely do not get anymore heat but the pepper is there in small notes. This is very good. It is so complex with its rich sweet bread and caramel flavor like that of like St. Bernardus as well. There are some sweet matured citrus like a orange candy . There are some notes of bananas, cloves and cinnamon. Some herbs and spices are in the after taste along with tamarind. Even after warming up into room temperature, there is a lot of sweet Belgian beer goodness and some tamarind.

A couple of sips and the beer starts to kick in. This thing had to have increase from a 9.4 to like maybe a 11 or 12. In it’s prime, this beer tasted a lot like I explained it below. If you were more into the pepper spice you won’t find it here unfortunately. But if you were looking for the Belgian beer experience here than this is the beer for sure.

2011 Review:
Banana and Chile Bitterness beer. Damn it Stone…Y you gotta be so good every year and surprising :P. Last years was manzanilla sweetness (10.10.10) lol . This is this years release of the Stone Vertical Epic (11.11.11). Yeah crazy number and crazy time to release such a beer. What if…JUST….what if they ever released a Belgian type of beer that could be made with chiles…Mexico meets Belgium kinda thing. Well here you have it. Breath taking and delicious. HELL even when I first took the first whiff off the bottle I’m like this is gonna be DAMN GOOD!!!. Damn….haven’t been stoked since the last time I found the best beer in the world. LOL well.. yeah… I know good beer when I smell it, taste and see it. Although there is not a lot of intriguing art to this beer, seeing is not always believing when it comes to stone beers and other beers with less appealing labels. Yes, even the best beers in the world don’t have a label at all (Ahem…Westy12)… Anyways…how to I begin to commemorate this beer. I have tried some chile beers but not one that told me hey…dude….capsaicin…chile flavor…here!!…It is not that its super spicy but for those that enjoy good chile not for the heat and know the flavors of chiles they know it anywhere they taste it. Hell even me and my dad who are super big fans of heat and chiles know how the flavors tastes. No doubt it is definitely in here. But also banana. Ahh yes that sweet banana flavor from the Belgian yeast, but this is specifically Belgian Golden Flanders yeast. Also the other thing that adds to the beer is the cinnamon…great compliment to tone the chile flavor. AHHH its so damn goods this beer,.. recommended…for sure..maybe its just the weird number 11.11.11 but they hit it dead on. LOL also the thing with chiles when you lick your lips you usually get a great heat. I never had a beer that reactivates the chile when you lick your lips…Surely they knew what they were doing with this masterpiece. Thanks again stone for an awesome brew and hope to have more …until 12.12.12 my friends 😛

The Abyss 2009 Vintage Reserve by Deschutes Brewing

537623_10100942762423510_1398929182_nRating: 5.55/5

The Abyss 2009 Vintage Reserve by Deschutes Brewing is an 11% Imperial Stout brewed with Licorice and Molases with 33% aged in French oak and Bourbon Barrels. This version has been cellared for at least 3 years and now it is time to unleash it’s fury…of flavor ofcourse…I assume that the ABV is probably higher as it has risen over time. Like a 12 or 13% maybe higher. 

Label:

The Abyss: Stout brewed with licorice and molasses with 33% aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels. It’s dark. It’s deep. It’s mysterious. Aged in French Oak and Bourbon barrels, this special brew has immeasureable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich, complex profile. The flavor of molasses and licorice draw you in further and further with each sip. The Abyss beckons. Enjoy the journey.
====Upon getting the first aromatic notes of this ale I immediately thought of Madrugada Obscura a.k.a Dark Dawn from Jolly Pumpkin. The fragrance is like a funky sour wine mixed in with an imperial stout like Madrugada Obscura was but less sour. Although a sour Imperial Stout is pretty awesome. Lots of rich dark chocolate, roasted coffee, vanilla, grapes, molasses, licorice, milk chocolate, barley wine caramel, graham crackers, almonds and some other spicy aromas that are just nice but not sure I can name 😛 . What a challenge :D. The flavors are going all over the place. As I figured, just because it smells as good as Madrugada Obscura, doesn’t mean it taste like it. The flavors are much much more complex. We have sweetness of dark and milk chocolate, espresso and mocha, raisins, cherry and plums but still allowing some roasted and smokey notes from the coffee to develop. The sweetness bitters up into a earthy hops with notes of citrus and pine. Some tangy wine and oaky wood flavor follow and are complemented by the vanilla, bourbon, almond, coconut and caramel on the way out. The beer actually gets better in flavor as it warms up. This beer is crazy as the alcohol notes are still pushed back to let the flavors go through so it finishes smooth and dry which many may find nice as it may not be too overwhelming. Yes, even if it does have a lot to offer, the flavors don’t stay forever and the alcohol will have it’s wrath simply because you don’t really feel that it is there. It will creep into your soul O.O. The beer is definitely setup for you to keep exploring more and more. A rollercoaster of flavor in a bottle.

Crazy how one beer can do a lot in one. I have had several of the best beers in the world and to some that have exceeded my expectations usually fly because of their caramel or chocolate sweetness or just some crazy flavor that is so awesome and overwhelming. This one exceeds my expectations because you get a variety of many aspects of beer(bitter, sweet, sour, smokey, tangy, fruity and hoppy) and they are all balanced, delicious not too overwhelming. No wonder for people, this is once of the best Imperial stouts in the world and well, damn hard to find. It is definitely up there with the Founders KBS, Bourbon County Stout and others. Although Chocolate Rain is the major bad ass for me simply because it is pure chocolate in a bottle. But this definitely in great world class league and can still compete. As it warms ups it goes up to more chocolate covered raisins and vanilla flavors 😉

Johnny Cask/75 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head

302859_10100940997590250_1777288784_nRating: 4.75/5

Johnny Cask/75 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head is a 7.5% ABV India Pale Ale made with maple syrup. So here’s the thing, the original intention of DFH was to put Johnny Cash in the label for their 75 minute IPA but due to legal reason they had to “slightly modify” the original label. Either way, that is still Johnny Cash as you can see from their website here: (http://www.dogfish.com/community/news/press-releases/dogfish-announces-75-minute-ipa-simul-cask.htm) Also, it is the same beer too just one from a cask and the other bottled. 

Label (Johnny Cask): 
Johnny Cask has entered the building! We’ve retrofitted a 15 barrel tank to perfectly produce a very special cask conditioned ale (so, we have a little time to play around during winters at the Delaware coast). This beer, known as Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA is a blend of 60 and 90 Minute IPAs with a special whole leaf cascade dry-hopping session. Post-hopping the beer gest transferred into firkins and dosed with fresh yeast and maple syrup from the ole family homestead (actually the first batch will be re-fermented with maple syrup from the farm up the road from ours since ours won’t be ready until late March. 

New label:
There are some situations when 90 is too much. There are other situations when 60 is too little. There are many situations when 75is juuuust riight. Bottle-Conditioned with pure maple syrup for complexity and dry-hopped out the bejeezum boards.
—-
The fragrance of the Johnny Cash/Cask beer is kind of piney and hoppy but there is some biscuit bread and caramel notes in the smell. Some orange and roasted peanut aromas as well. The flavors are pretty good. Biscuit bread, caramel, minor herbs and spices, grassy, floral hops, grapefruit, orange (but slight, not like the 90 minute gummy bears orange), slight tangerine, some maple, oak wood and grape. Not at the lowest of bitterness as 90 minute IPA, yet still alittle bit bitter. The truth is when it comes to how bitter and sweet this beer is, it is quite balanced. Not too extreme like the 90 minute or the 120 minute which is not for unprepared palates, but just right in the middle. Sweet and bitter still get along so you still get a bit of both flavors. Not quite a double IPA and not quite an IPA but an IPA and a half. Still pretty awesome stuff.

Artisanal Reserve The Saint by Crispin Cider

577986_10100941019471400_1378749172_nRating: 5/5 *Cider wise, cant really compare to a beer rating other wise it would be lower, yet, delicious and actually bit of complexity to it 😀

Artisanal Reserve The Saint by Crispin Cider Company is a 6.9%ABV Natural Hard Apple Cider made with Belgian Trappist Yeast and Organic Maple Syrup.

Label:

Experience a sweetly floral to herbal aromatic bouquet and an elegant yeasty flavor with a sustained mouth-feel that develops complexity on the palate. Naturally fermented with Belgian Trappist yeasts using a premium apple juice blend, not from concentrate, with no added malt, spirit or grape alcohol. The Saint’s artisanal Cloudy Filtration style uses racked unfiltered apple wine smoothed with pure organic maple syrup, a touch of apple juice, no added sugar, colorants or sorbate or benzoate preservatives, and is filtered cold for bold, crisp refreshment.

So, I don’t often review ciders. The last time I did it was by the same company. Which was fantastic!! Even if it was made under registration Tenth and Blake Beer Co. – MillerCoors. I guess when it comes to ciders, it is in a whole different category. I have had some pretty awesome ciders in the past and got to review maybe 2. This is the third although the first one I need to pick it up agai to pair it with some nice anime artwork :). One of the best ciders I had long ago was the Black Currant Cider by Fox Barrel Ciders although they don’t make that anymore. They make a cinnamon and black currant once so I’ll probably review that one. Anyway, on to the review :). Fragrance coming off the cider is that of champagne or like a warm sake, some bread, cinnamon apple crisp and honey. The flavors are pretty good. Craft beers use basic ingredients to create flavors that make you guess. This actually uses the apple cider with the Belgian yeast to do something similar and extravagant. The immediate flavor I get is apple pie full of brown sugar crisp, caramel, raisin, alittle bit of banana esters (yes, that’s the Heavenly hand of God here [Trappist yeast at work]), maple, wood, candi sugars and overall just a apple pie aftertaste. Damn, this must be what it’s like to have an apple pie in a bottle. Just really good. You won’t have to look for awesome flavors here, it is easier to find them, although, complexity in other flavors will show up as you go along…lol not really craft beer but a craft cider to make it just that more enjoyable for the overall population. Belgian Trappist yeast inspired…hard to go wrong there.

Quadrophenia by Black Market Brewing

556706_10100940989097270_1345948295_nRating: 4.75/5

Quadrophenia by Black Market Brewing is a 11% ABV Quadrupel ale.

Label:

Quadrophenia is a Belgian style quadruple ale. Trappist ale yeast adds the spicy , phenolic flavors sometimes mistaken for added spices. The caramel come from the Coconut Palm Sugar added to the brew to lighten the body. The smoothness of Quadrophenia is deceptive, but make no mistake, it’s 11%ABV. Enjoy Quadrophenia in a chalice or tulip style glass.

Quadrupels are some of my favorite beers in the world. Each one more sweet than others. This is the first beer I try from this brewery so I’ll see how it is. Fragrance of the beer starts off with a nice scent ot that banana esters, caramel, dulce de leche bread, candi sugars and dark fruits. Some slight citrus off fragrance as well. The flavors are just like that of the quadrupel ales that I enjoy. Banana and raisin bread, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, plums, candi sugar, slight chocolate, toffee and spices. Some oakyness in there is in the aftertaste but the sugar is still dominant. It is not like some of the other Belgian Quads that have that Mexican cajeta (caramel) flavors but minor oak is there . The most interesting part about this beer is its drink ability. It goes down pretty smooth. The alcohol is not harsh for being 11% ABV. Well done with the balance of flavors as well. Quadrupel and Belgian beer lovers may like this one. It is delicious but it still missing that authenticity of Belgian that could only be produce with the strictest of ingredients. Having sugar added might not make it as authentic although the Trappist yeast does. Regardless, it is still a great beer worthy of the try. It goes down so well and not too overwhelming. It hits those quad notes for me for sure. LOL Although it is harder to find than let’s say..oh St. Bernadus 12 abt 😉

Pumpkin Patch Ale by Rogue brewing

526732_10100937582194730_518164744_nRating: 4.8/5

Pumpkin Patch Ale by Rogue brewing is part of their Chatoe Rogue series. It is a 5.6% ABV ale brewed with Rogue Farms Pumpkins.

Label:

Created with pumpkins grown on Rogue’s Micro hop and pumpkin yard in Independence Oregon. Fresh pumpkins are picked, loaded into our truck, driven immediately 77 miles to our brewery in Newport, Oregon, quickly roasted, and pitched into the brew kettle.

13 Ingredients:
Rogue Farms Pumpkins, Great Western 2-Row, Carawheat, Weyermann Carafe Malts, Rogue Micro Hopyard Rebel Hops, Ginger, Cloves, Vanilla bean, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, Free range coastal water and Pacman Yeast.

Never too late to try another pumpkin ale. This one is by Rogue. They make some of the best ales ..well pretty much ever lol. This ale is quite the nice beer. The fragrance of this beer is like caramel, actual pumpkin gourd and spices. The flavors of this beer are of true pumpkin flesh, cinnamon, caramel, rich pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, vanilla, capirotada (sweet mexican raisin bread), almonds, raisins, nuts, bread, nutmeg and cloves. If I had not known any better, I would say this would be the exact way a pumpkin would taste like if it was boiled in pilloncillo (Mexican sugar cone) and cinnamon like my mom used to make. Like the Smashed pumpkin beer except for the fact that it actually tasted like pumpkin flesh. Just simply amazing beer by Rogue 😀

19th Birthday Suit by Uinta Brewing

487041_10100937574624900_1936739112_nRating: 3.5/5

19th Birthday Suit by Uinta Brewing is a 5.7% ABV Wild Sour Ale brewed with Cherries. 

Label:

In the beginning, cherry trees shaded the beer garden. Resisting temptation no longer, we picked the fruit and let it ferment into a pleasingly sour and subtly sweet ale to mark Uinta’s 19th Birthday. A sinful pleasure for the experienced and adventurous palate.

This bottle was bottled on 3/20/2012, only 2 days before my birthday. What a coincidence ;). This pours pink, orange, red and purple. Quite interesting for a beer like this. The fragrance of this ale is quite pilsnery with notes of cherry and grape. Hmm.. I thought it would be mind blowing sour ale like Jolly Pumpkin. The sourness is quite mild. The bitterness is like a lager at best. Yet the flavors are like that of cherry tart, pilsner, cereal grain, wine grapes, citrus, ginger ale spice, vanilla hints and raspberries. It is crisp and refreshing. Craft beginners and lovers of the yellow fizzy beers might actually like this if they don’t mind sweet beers a la raspberry shocktop for example. Yet the only thing that would be a bother would be the sourness yet this is quite mild in comparison to other beers *ahem true craft beer drinkers ahem*

Robert Johnson’s Hellhound on my Ale by Dogfish Head

556710_10100937538113070_1163956106_nRating: 4.75/5

Robert Johnson’s Hellhound on my Ale by Dogfish Head is 10% ABV Double India Pale Ale Brewed with Lemons

Label:

2011 marks the 100th birthday of Mississippi Delta bluesman Robert Johnson who, according to legend, sold his soul down at the crossroads in a midnight bargain and changed music forever. Dogfish Head pays tribute to this blues legend by gettin’ the hellhounds off his trail and into this finely-crafted ale.

Hellhound is a super-hoppy ale that hits 100 IBUs in the brewhouse, 10.0 ABV, 10.0 SRM in color, and dry-hopped with 100% centennial hops at a rate of 100 kilos per 100 barrel brew-length. To accentuate and magnify the citrusy notes of the centennial hops (and as a shout out to Robert Johnson’s mentor Blind Lemon Jefferson) we add dried lemon peel and flesh to the whirlpool. To read more about Robert Johnson go to www.robertjohnsonhellhoundale.com
—-

Been searching far and wide for this one. I gave up on the search a while back until I had happened to find a bottle of this bottle recently. The fragrance of the beer is more floral and maltier than super hoppy and piney. Citrus is there but it is quite light. More caramel and breadiness in the smell . The flavors of this beer are of caramel, lemon, grape, orange, mango, bready, oak wood, some earthy and piney notes which provide the bitterness. Although it seems like the malts hide the bitterness of the 100 IBU flavors. While this is still a great ale, do not expect a lot of bitterness and hoppy flavors.

XX Bitch Creek 2012 Edition by Grand Teton Brewing

59616_10100937535692920_2058746042_nRating: 4.8/5

XX Bitch Creek 2012 Edition by Grand Teton Brewing is a 7.5% ABV Double Extra Special/Strong Bitter Ale.

Label:

Bitch Creek ESB was first brewed in 2003, and perfectly balances big malt sweetness and robust hop flavor for a full-bodied mahogany ale. It has quickly become our best-selling beer, as well as our most-critically acclaimed, having won medals-including two golds— at four out of the past five Great American Beer Festivals. 

XX Bitch Creek Double ESB is all that and more. We took the Bitch Creek recipe and doubled everything: double the malt, double the hops, twice the flavor. 

ESB ales are made to create a very balanced style of beer where the flavors are not too over powering specifically with hops and alcohol. This ale smells and drinks like an Amber ale but more potent. Especially for this ale, being a double ESB. The beer smells like toffee, honey on toast and biscuit bread, caramel, peanuts, molasses and a bit of pine. The flavors are biscuit, peanut butter on toast, caramel, maple, toffee, slight pine, earthy and grassy flavors as well as some grapefruit in brown sugar. There are some slight chocolate and cherry flavors in there as well. The after taste is like that of caramel, maple and nuts but with sweetness toned down. The beer is not super sugary but even the sweet and bitterness is also balanced nicely. I think people that love amber ales or know about ESBs will love this one.

Bitter Monk by Anchorage Brewing

549533_10100936371396180_197145515_nRating: 5/5

Bitter Monk by Anchorage Brewing is a 9%ABV, 100IBU’s, Belgian Double India Pale Ale Brewed with Brettanomyces and aged in French oak Chardonnay Barrels. Yes, this is fancy as hell. Considered to be the best Belgian Pale Ale in the world by BeerAdv and RateBeer. Well let’s see what all the fuss is about.

Label: Ale brewed with Apollo and Citra hops. Dry hopped in the barrel with Citra hops. Triple Fermented – First in French oak loudres with a Belgian yeast, second in French oak Chardonnay barrels with brett, and finally in the bottle with a third yeast for natural carbonation.

“Deep within the tortured aberrations of a monk’s mind there lay a concept of a Holy Grail of beer — a beer oft imagined but never tasted, strived for but never achieved. It’s Belgian heritage manifested in its yeasty complexity, softened and rounded in its cooperage Francais and made to sparkle like the stars first seen by his distant predecessor, Dom Perignon.

Bitter Monk Belgian Double IPA is such a beer. Redolent of citrusy hop bittering and massive malt infusion, this is a beer to ponder, to sip, and, even for a monk, to dream. Why then is the monk so bitter? What provokes that sly smile? What is he wearing under that flowing robe? A triple-fermented beer gives three times the mystery. Remember, anything worth doing is worth over doing. Nothing exceeds like excess. Even for the cloistered. And what rough monk, his hour come round last, slinks slowly toward Brussels to be reborn.”

First of all, you have Emperor Palpatine on the label….LMAO!!…Only thing I can find to pair this with is Stocking’s Darkside (From Panty and Stocking Anime, Angel turned Demon) to reflect the sinfulness of the monk/Sith Lord over here. 

Immediately from the fragrance, no holds bar. This was the Stillwater As Follows take to another unholy level. Even that beers is scary as hell :S (https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/as-follows-eschatological-ale-by-stillwater-artisanal/) There are fragrances of hops, citrus, banana, musty hay, like a Saison a la Stillwater, flowers, hibiscus, roses and pine. The flavor is much more wilder than “As follows”. Much, much more, wilder. Lime, lemon meringue pie, herbs, spices, grapes, wine, chardonnay, some tart and Jolly pumpkin funk but not to make this a sour ale at all, hints of peach, apple, mango pineapple and other tropical fruit but it is only hints because they do not overwhelm like the regular DIPAs go. Grassy, pine and grapefruit bitterness are hinted but covered up by the Belgian yeast. Flowers like Roses, Hibiscus and honey as in the flavor of Love Buzz (https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/love-buzz-saison-ale-by-anchrage/). I would assume if you take Stillwater’s of Love and Regret and mixed it in with As Follows and aged it you would have this. This is truly another level of Belgian IPA. This is crazy evil beer. Goes to prove a beer doesn’t have to be dark (appearance) to prove that it is evil. Saison, BPA and wild ale lovers will like this one.

Chimay Peres Trappistes Grand Reserve 2012 by Bières de Chimay

484273_10100936358691640_1190877036_nRating: 5/5

Chimay Peres Trappistes Grand Reserve 2012 by Bières de Chimay S.A. is a 10.0%ABV Belgian Strong Dark Trappist Ale. This is exactly the same as the Chimay Blue except for the fact that it has been aged and the ABV is 10% vs. the 9% of the Chimay Blue. I have already done the Review on the original Chimay Blue in the past: (https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/chimay-grand-reserve-ale-by-s-a-bieres-de-chimay/)

Label:
In 2012, the Chimay Trappist brewery will be celebrating its 150th birthday. To mark this occasion, the Chimay Grande Reserve (Chimay Blue Cap) will be adorned by a decoration inspired by its long term tradition.

No doubt in my mind, hands down, Belgian Trappist beers are just simply some of the best in the world. Some of them are Dark Belgian ales while some maybe quadruples. There is a major difference between them. While the some quads taste like Dark Belgian beers, not all Dark Belgian beers are quads (Trois Pistoles example with its port wine taste). Trappist beers, as far as I have had them though, are as close to a dessert made with candy sugar, caramel/dulce de leche bread, dark fruits like raisins, plums, figs and sometimes others like cherries, blackberries, and blue berries. Chimay brings it further by introducing hoppy flavors like those of a BPA (grass or earthy pine) but only to a minor level but detectable and enjoyable. The fragrance brings about somewhat hoppy and pilsner like smells but the real secret is in the flavor. As the beer sits close and closer to room temperature it brings about those richer candy,sweet bread, waffle cone, graham cracker, banana clove and spicy flavors. The difference between this and the regular is somewhat uncanny. I dig for some oaky or boozy flavors but they are very faint. If I sit this one next to the regular Chimay blue, I would find it hard to tell the difference. However, if you let it sit for a bit, you start to get some vanilla and possibly pecan flavor. By this time, the hops have faded away. Still, very awesome Belgian beer. I would choose the Chimay Blue since it is not as expensive though but your choice :). Bevmo has this for a limited time.

Dragonstooth by Elysian Brewing

75199_10100933726197180_1390636216_nRating: 4.8/5

Dragonstooth by Elysian Brewing is a 7.5% BV Oatmeal Stout. Oatmeal stouts are the type of stouts that provide that smooth taste as well as are responsible for a little bit of extra sweetness not found in other stouts even for being full bodied. Oatmeal Stouts differ in the sense that they are are stouts with smoother and richer taste.

Label:

A smooth and sturdy stout, made with 10% rolled oats, roasted barley and chocolate malt. The name is referential to the founders of Thebes, warriors who sprang from the earth when the teeth of a slain dragon were sown by Cadmus. Bittered with Chinook; finished with Cascade and Columbus hops.

This beer has strong aromas of sweet chocolate, bakers chocolate and dark chocolate along with coffee bread and mocha. The flavors are balanced as there is still some coffee roasted notes to balance out the sweetness. This is a very good and sweet beer. Not to the ultimate chocolate level but close. Coffee caramel cake dipped in Rich dark, sweet, and bakers chocolate (like the chocolate oak aged Yeti) with roasted bitterness that only works to balance and not to make the stout bitter. Other flavors I can tell is like a creamy oatmeal with cinnamon but only notes of it are there. It is a smooth beer for being a rich and heavy stout. The after taste is only as bitter as a small amount of coffee beans go but the sweetness of the oatmeal lingers. I am not sure if they decided to give me an older beer (Possibly aged) as this one is the older label. The new one is different. If it was aged, it aged very well and therefore the review is right on.

Elysian Mortis Sour Persimmon Ale

27898_10100933685269200_1297530019_nRating: 4/5

This is a series from Elysian, The 12 Beers of the Apocalypse. “The End is Beer”
Beer#11 (November) Mortis is a 6% ABV Sour Persimmon Wild Ale.

Mortis or Death is in reference to the final apocalyptic event before the ultimate judgment (after death). Regardless of what ever apocalyptic event that was stated would happen in the previous theories (Elysian Apocalypse beer reviews) of the end of the world, this is the final aftermath of those events. Ultimate annihilation, the last horseman of the of apocalypse. The event of Death befalling all mankind, animals, plants, you name it. Ultimately, whether anything happens in 12-21-2012 or whenever the true end of the world is, one thing is certain. We are all mortal and are destined to pass away at some point in time. Regardless, it doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of what time we have so far :P. I tried to match the artwork with the beer artwork as best I could. I would assume the representation of death is personified in the clutches of the serpent. LOL or you can see it as as the clutches of original sin. Whatever works, it is still bad ass pieces of art here. 

Upon opening this beer, you get a lot of the fragrance that reminds you of a saison. Some Belgian yeast, peaches, lime, orange zest, some plum and banana. The flavor is quite interesting. Starts off like a saison with like a bread and peach cobbler flavor and fades into like pilsner flavor. Persimmons tend to be a sweet fruit that leaves sorta dry with a tangy flavor. I assume that the pilsnery cereal but fruity after taste is part of the fruit. The Persimmon looks like an orange tomato but taste like a peach and orange almost but leaves the mouth dry. This beer also has some grape and vinous flavors but they are not as strong as like a Jolly Pumpkin Sour/Funky Ale. This beer tries to be more of a Brettanomyces ale (Like New Belgium Brett Beer) brewed with Persimmons. It gets better as the beer warms up. It is a pretty good beer if you enjoy Belgian or Saison beers but not to the level of Wild Ales, although some Wild Ales when made right (a la Jolly Pumpkin) can be pretty awesome.

Guava Grove by Cigar City Brewing

319643_10100930284768830_14959730_nRating: 5/5

Guava Grove by Cigar City Brewing is an 8%ABV Saison brewed with Guava or Guayabas

Label:

Guava Grove is a farmhouse ale that sees a secondary fermentation on one of Tampa’s flavored fruits, guava. Pairs well with fresh fish, mussels, fresh tropical fruits, and earthy cheese.
There is a lot of carbonation on this one so if you open it, open it over a sink just in case. This beer is very rich in floral fragrance. There is a lot of saison bready aromas, peppercorn, flowers, pineapple, peach, ripe mango, maybe a fresh vegetable fragrance but not too much. That’s just the aromas, it smells good. Lots of tropical fruit. The flavor are pretty exquisite. Belgian yeast bread made with guavas, peaches, mango, tangerine, pineapple, orange peel, lime and white grapes . The guavas are not felt until later in the taste. Almost like Guayabate which is the Mexican Guava jelly membrane block. Very sweet. The after taste that lingers is quite fruity with vanilla, caramel, toffee and biscuit. Wow, just amazing. If I was ever looking for a pure tropical fruit beer, this would be it right here. It is very hard to notice the alcohol too which is quite pleasing as many people might like it. The only strong thing about this beer is just the tropical sweetness and bready guava goodness. Yeah a definite keeper