Trois Pistoles by Unibroue

392735_10101113207505200_2137198974_nRating: 6/5 *This and St. Bernardus are my top favorites in the world, so please advise as it maybe bias or ambiguous to your decisions… never the less, this one still world class and a common beer at that.

Trois Pistoles by Unibroue of Canada is a 9%ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale. The ultimate in best beers in the world at a very common distribution.

Trois-Pistoles is a remarkably mellow dark ale. To complement its aroma of ripe fruits, it has a pleasant aftertaste that lingers on like old port wine

Enough said, this has been one of my favorite beers ever since I started this hobby. I’ve had this beer over and over again. In fact, this beer can age for at least 7 to 9 years. So definitely will do another review then.

The aromas are of Dulce de leche caramel, Belgian bread, dark cherries, figs, plums, raisins, pears, apples, apricots, chocolate port wine, grapes, vanilla, pecans pie, candi sugar, almost like a coca cola scent, rum, earthy, brown sugar, and whole sugar cone. The flavors are just epic!!… A major rush plum, cherry, raisins, dark and sweet chocolate, port wine, raisin bread pudding, dulce de leche caramel, Belgian bread sweetness, candi sugars, rum and some maple notes. The ale is almost like a Rum and coke but if they were baked in a chocolate cake with fruits and lots of caramel all over and ofcourse the cake batter was made with port wine. While I have had other extremely awesome beers that are super rare and hard to find, this one never let me down, even since the beginning. That is why this beer and St. Bernardus will always have that special place in my heart. This is a world class beer, look it up its awesome!

2011& 2012 Reviews:

 About the Legend:

Trois Pistoles (Three Coins) is named after a small village of Quebec. Founded over 300 years ago, Trois Pistoles gave birth to several legends, including one about the Black Horse. It involved a local bishop who conjured up a good devil (appearing in the form of bridled black steed) to haul large brick stones to construct a new church. When someone accidentally removed the bridle, the black horse suddenly vanished just as the last remaining stone was to be set. This stone is still missing, as can be seen when visiting the local church.

Stone Cali-Belgique India Pale

8947_10101113148099250_2146186661_n 559164_10101113151492450_1823794525_n 575657_10101113150953530_1818817387_nRating: 4.8/5

Stone Cali-Belgique India Pale is 6.9%ABV Belgian India Pale Ale.

The name “Stone Cali-Belgique IPA” both begs a question, and answers it at the same time. It begs the “what exactly is that?” question, and then answers it: “Stone” designates this ale as one brewed by the Stone Brewing Co., “Cali” hints that it is a California-style IPA (which all of our IPAs are, as Stone is certainly one of the best known progenitors of the West Coast IPA style), and finally, it has an undeniable Belgian influence, indicated by the word “Belgique” (which is how Belgium’s French-speaking population say the word “Belgian”…the Dutch-speaking Belgians say “België”*). “IPA” of course stands for “India Pale Ale”—but this label is not the time nor place to delve into that storied history. Of course, there is the implicitly posed and as yet unanswered question of what exactly the Belgian/Belgique/België influence is. And “yeast” is the answer. We carefully selected a Belgian yeast strain that illuminates a fascinating new aspect of the ale that is otherwise ostensibly and simply Stone IPA. This is a yeast that showcases Stone IPA from a completely different angle. The result is both completely new and different, while still being altogether recognizable as a Stone brew, an IPA, and Stone IPA in particular. Think of it as an otherwise identical twin to Stone IPA that was raised in a Belgian culture. Literally.

Now, all grown up and standing next to each other, they look the same…yet different. We’d say the Belgian one sounds a bit funny when it talks, but yeast and ale being decidedly non-verbal (except through you), that’s not literally the case. Their aromas have some similarities, but the Stone Cali-Belgique IPA is decidedly a bit more, shall we say, aromatically funky. (No, we are not saying that Belgians smell funny…we didn’t say or imply that at all in any way…no angry cards or letters please…really, some of you people simply have too much time on your hands!) All in all, we find it all quite fascinating. But we’re brewers, and that’s the way we think. You might find it merely delicious. We, as brewers, most certainly do too, actually. And so…C’est avec le grand plaisir que nous le présentons vous! / Het is met geweldig genoegen dat wij het naar u voorstellen!

* Even though yeast cells are non-verbal, and arguably have no firm affiliation that shows preference for either the Flemish or the Walloons, we don’t want to accidentally misrepresent the little buggers. As such, approximately 50% of the Stone Cali-Belgian IPA bottles are labeled “Cali-Belgique” and the other half “Cali-België.” We at the Stone Brewing Co. respect both cultures highly and equally.

The last time I tried this beer was at a Bev and more tasting special in 2011. I thought it was awesome but I really haven’t had a chance to grab it and sit down with it. When I went to the Stone Company Store in Pasadena California I decided to grab a glass. I was very surprised because this reminded me so much of the As Follows Eschatological Ale by Stillwater Artisanal. The aromas of this beer are simple amazing. Strong Belgian sweet and honey bread fragrance with a lot of herbs, spices, peppercorns, minor grassy, piney and grapefruit hops some tropical fruit like pineapple and mango as well as oranges, cloves, and lemon. The flavors are of nice herbs, honey, pepercorns, cloves, coriander, Italian basil spice, bubblegum, orange, lemon, mango, pineapple, apricots, honey, french bread, some slight grape sourness, grapefruit, slight grassy and piney hops but mainly herbal and floral notes.This one is almost like the Saison du Buff too. The flavors are better on tap. Hence the reason I got a growler of this to go. Better as fresh as possible, but even if not, the Belgian side takes over to address even more complexity. So choose wisely 😛

The Maharaja from the Dictator Series by Avery Brewing

527753_10101113024262420_123263704_n 530107_10101113025709520_69014882_nRating: 5/5

The Maharaja from the Dictator Series by Avery Brewing is a 10.4%ABV Double India Pale Ale

Maharaja is derived from the sanskrit words mahat, – “great” and rajan – “king”. Much like its namesake, this imperial IPA is regal, intense and mighty. With hops and malts as his servants, he rules both with a heavy hand. The Maharaja flaunts his authority over a deranged amount of hops: tangy, vibrant and pungent along with an insane amount of malted barley – fashioning a dark amber hue and exquisite malt essence. This newest Avery Dictator completes the “Dictator Series” joining the likes of The Kaiser & The Czar. Be aware that The Maharaja is a limited release only available for the summer. Welcome to his kingdom! 

This is considered a world class IPA according to a lot of Reviews standing at 102 IBUs. Upon opening the bottle, there was very nice tropical fruit fragrance that overwhelmed. The aromas have a more sweet tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, peach, orange juice, and rich caramel base coming forward followed by the floral, grassy, piney and grapefruit hops, garlic and onion bread scent, but very nice along with some herbs and spices. The flavors are similar to the fragrance of this one which are of caramel, grassy, piney, floral, and grapefruit hops, some peach, pineapple, garlic and sweet onion bread, biscuit bread, toffee, strawberries, flowers, some peppers, herbs and other nice spices. It surely quite the DIPA. While it doesn’t focus all the way into the regions of tropics, it has enough to balance the other herbs, spices and strong hops allowing for a very bitter but extra sweet beer. It leaves off pretty dry which is interesting for 102 IBUs. Doesn’t leave a lot of bitterness so it allows you to take even more sweetness next time around. Surely a great DIPA to get and one that is best fresh!

Mexas Ranger (Tequila Barrel Aged) by Mikkeller

17743_10101112255557910_1242787346_n 253670_10101112258372270_2145209974_nRating: 4.8/5

Mexas Ranger (Tequila Barrel Aged) by Mikkeller is a 6.6% ABV Chile beer brewed with spices, almond milk, cocoa, chiles, black beans, avocado leaves and aged in tequila barrels.

This beer has no description hardly and if I were to guess what it might taste like, it would be close to the complexity I got in El Murcielago (

I have had other Tequila barrel aged beers like Firestone 16th ( which adds tequila barrel aged PNC and the Cupapa Tequila Barrel aged beer(

The aromas are very complex. Just like that which I remember of El Murcielago. Like having a Chicken Lime dinner plate with fragrance of avocado, lemon, tequila, chocolate, chile spices, Chile Tapatio, slight mole, frijoles, slight almond or pecan, slight tortilla, limes, tomato and oysters . The flavors are of tapatio and raw chiles if they were sweeter and a lot of less heat, tomatoes, onions, tequila, Abuelita’s dark bitter chocolate, almond joy coconut and chocolate, hazelnut, special spices, slight bitter avocado peel, lime, mole, beans, vanilla, raisins, caramel, some bitter or salty oyster like notes, herbal hops, garlic, soy sauce, agave, oak, wine grape sourness some biscuit bread and corn tortillas. I don’t know whether the label is racist or not. I don’t really care though. I am Mexican and I find this beer very intriguing. The label maybe controversial, but the beer is not controversial at all. This was similar to El Murcielago in many ways. It is still a very complex style of beer that is close to some Mexican spices as possible but still carrying the overall bitterness and chocolate with it. It is weird but deliciously awesome. A must get if you can find the Tequila version.

Vampire Slayer by Clown Shoes Brewing

480280_10101112241830420_2006912402_n 483242_10101112254080870_1771976731_nRating: 5/5

Vampire Slayer by Clown Shoes Brewing is 10% ABV American Imperial Stout, cousin of the Blaecorn Unidragon

In a world full of uncertainty, hardship, and people trying to hold us back, do we need Vampires, too? Clown Shoes says, “No! Die, monsters, die!”

Our second anniversary ale incorporates signature dark malts, holy water, and malt smoked locally with hickory, ash, and vampire killing stakes.

I have had the Blaecorn unidragon (
The Angry Beast which is essentially a blend of both Blaecorn Bourbon Barrel Aged and Vampire Slayer (This beer) (
Even the Porcine Unidragon (
However, now I complete the series by trying that Vampire Slayer

The aromas are of light coffee, dark and bakers chocolate, some soy sauce, some anise, roasted coconut notes, slight vanilla and caramel fragrances. The flavors are of Milk chocolate, coffee, smoked malt, honey glazed ham minor notes, some caramel, molasses, slight licorice, almost like oreo cookies and crème, mocha, cappuccino, vanilla, almost like a pecan or hazelnut dessert and some dark fruit notes like a raisin, cherry or currant. It gets sweeter as it warms up and the smokiness starts to fade away. That’s where this beer strikes gold, just like the Blaecorn Unidragon. I think now that I have tried this one, I think the Angry Beast was more a full hybrid of the two beers with only some bourbon notes. I understand where this one is coming from so I probably would have rated the Angry beast higher. Oh well, maybe next time 😉 . This has Holy water, so it is definitely a bonus 😛 . Those that love imperial stouts will love this one as it is a very exceptionally awesome one. Just like its cousin, it draws it’s sword to fight Vampires while its cousin fights Dragons…. so yeah….it works ^.^

Quandary by River North Brewing

299285_10101112240103880_451478671_nRating: 5/5

Quandary by River North Brewing is a 9.6%ABV Quadrupel Ale 

A dark Belgian-style ale you can’t quite put your finger on. Neirther wholly traditional nor modern. Familiar, but unidentifiably unique. An ale to slowly ponder, seldom decipher, yet always enjoy.

This beer’s name is surrounded in perplexity. First, there was no head nor lacing. At 9.6% I was concerned but at the same time intrigued as I thought that maybe this beer is strong but maybe it may hide the alcohol, or it may not. The aromas were nice of the typical quads I love. Dulce de leche caramel, dark fruits, cherries, toffee, banana bread, pecans, raisins, plums, bubble gum and spices. The flavors were where it hit reminding me of the Three Philosophers but not as heavy in terms of the rich bread and full body. However, the flavors are are pretty much there like the dark cherry, dulce de leche bread, pecan pie, bananas, bubble gum, raisins, figs, plums, chocolate notes, citrus, coriander, some pears and apples. The other crazy thing, is because this is a 9.6%, with hardly any carbonation, it is surprisingly drinkable. Alcohol is way to well hidden. I think that is what defines the perplexity in the name of the beer. It is like taking the 3 philosophers and making it lighter in terms of body and some complexity but still keeping the flavor consistency but moderate. I simple terms, it is less filling even if higher ABV. I would like to call it 3 Philosophers light but the beer is actually stronger in ABV. This is not a common beer in California but if I would find it again, I would pick it up for those days I want to just drink quads with less filling 🙂 (What is this a bud commercial? lol). Has that right amount of good flavors I love of some of the best quads in the world but not too involved. Belgian lovers will definitely hit up this one. I think even people that probably don’t like heavy quads might find this appealing. Basically take in the awesome flavors while not being too overwhelming or filling.

Belgorado by Wynkoop brewing

181017_10101110814041720_593072308_n221788_10101110814545710_1738602895_nRating: 4.45/5

Belgorado by Wynkoop brewing is a 6.7%ABV Belgian India Pale Ale

Meet our small batch Belgium-meets-Colorado thriller. It’s built with Colorado-grown malts and whole leaf hops, then fermented with a Belgian yeast. Luscious and balanced, it features pale malt flavors, layers of hops from start to finish, and spice notes.

The aromas had some very interesting bready and somewhat exotic fruit aromas. I was able sense like a mango, guava, grapefruit, biscuit bread, honey, pineapple, bubble gum, slight banana, slight grassy and hoppy notes. The flavors are mostly sweeter than hoppy. Very nice honey, mango, papaya, orange, pineapple, guava, floral, bananas, peppercorns, biscuit bread, slight grapefruit, grassy and herbal hops near the end for some bitterness. This beer is more like a Belgian Pale that is almost at the Tripel borderline. Brings for light amount of bitterness with some nice fruit and bread forward. This was definitely awesome.

Fade to Black (Volume 4 Rocky Mountain Black Ale) by Left Hand Brewing

24453_10101110813417970_374198909_nRating: 4.25/5

Fade to Black (Volume 4 Rocky Mountain Black Ale) by Left Hand Brewing is a 6.5%ABV Black Ale

Brewed on the Banks of the Mighty St. Vrain. Fade to Black. The time of the year when the light fades away. Brewed for the darkness, Fade to black speaks in Volumes. 
Like the Metallica Song, Fade to Black. This one I had to try as it looked interesting. Fragrances are of slight smokey and creamy chocolate, a little hoppy, alittle bit spicy but not too much and some slight caramel fragrance. What the smell cannot cover, the taste makes up for it. The flavors are of light bitter chocolate, slight earthy hops, some slight caramel, anise, molasses, slight Italian herb like spice but more sweeter than smokey and a chocolate cake like sweetness possibly from the yeast. Interestingly enough, for a smokey beer, it has a nice balance of sweet, bitter and smoke. The beer got better as it warmed up too. In fact, some more bakers chocolate seem to come out as it got warmer which is rather surprising as it is different from the initial taste. The bitterness and smokeyness still stays in the aftertaste so it won’t get too sweet. I now think they weren’t kidding when they say, it fades to black… of into the sweet darkness of taste experience. Definitely worth a try for sure. It is also not too overwhelming so it is easy to moderate level of drinking feel.

Imperial Stout – Bourbon Barrel Aged a.k.a Black Gold by Full Sail Brewery

580112_10101105307342190_1810699105_nRating: 4.9/5

Imperial Stout – Bourbon Barrel Aged a.k.a Black Gold by Full Sail Brewery is a 9.6% ABV Russian Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels. This is the Brewmaster Reserve 2013

A deep complex brew that is black as night with a strong roasted malt character and Full body. Brewed in December 2011, this stout was aged for 12 months in bourbon casks from Kentucky. This extended aging presents hints of vanilla and oak. Enjoy!

First thing I thought when I opened this was Old Rasputin Barrel aged and Black Xantus. The fragrance told me everything. Flan rich aromas with the caramel, vanilla, bourbon, oak, chocolate cake, coconut, bananas, chocolate, dark fruits, cherries, peaches sweetened condenced milk. The flavors are similar with the coconut, bourbon, slight anise, vanilla, oak, dulce de leche caramel, slight flan and sweetened condenced milk, slight soy sauce, molasses, chocolate chip, cookies and cream, raisin, bananas, almost like a rum aspect, slight chocolate cake, slight mocha and almost like a coca cola after taste but still bourbon strong. While it does have so many of the rich flavors like some of the awesome Bourbon Barrel aged beers I have tried before, the flavors don’t stay for too long and don’t have the same intense impact as Old Rasputin and Black Xantus. However, it is still a really great beer with awesome dessert complexity. Almost like a strong beer that tries to be close to what some of the best are but a ¼ step to half step down. Which is not bad at all. I wouldn’t say it’s easy drinking, but definitely one to take your time with. What I do like about this is the fact that you do get those awesome awesome flavors as you would with some of the higher players but the impact isn’t as mind blowing. Still pretty surprisingly good and delicious but not up to the most mind blowing, only ¾ mind blowing. If no Black Xantus or Barrel aged Old Rasputin is found, then go with this. Hell, if no other bourbon barrel aged beer is around, still get this.

Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout by Odell Brewing

253701_10101103624394830_1899937625_nRating: 5.45/5

Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout by Odell Brewing is an 8.5%ABV Milk Chocolate Stout

If you’ve ever been to our brewery, you’ve likely seen the old, beat-up truck that hauls away our spent grain. That truck belongs to Lugene, who’s been feeding his dairy cows the hearty malt for over a decade. Named in his honor, Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout is brewed with milk sugar and milk chocolate. The rich and creamy brew reminds us of a cold glass of chocolate milk and our hometown “Aggie” roots.

This beer started off really good right off of the bottle. It reminded me a lot of the Moohoo from Terrapin but this one seems to emphasize even more on chocolate. Fragrances are of Rich milk chocolate, vanilla, caramel crème, very small coffee notes and chocolate cake aroma. The flavors say a lot. I find more of a mocha flavor than a coffee flavor. There is rich flavors of milk chocolate, vanilla, caramel, vanilla crème, buttery chocolate, some dark fruits, some hazelnut and some minor chocolate bready flavors. The aftertaste lingers of chocolate and more chocolate. Carbonation is super low so it makes this one ridiculously drinkable for a 8.5% ABV. Well that and the delicious flavors. The review is a bit over my expectations as well… I am a chocolate lover and many of the beers that have past my expectations are in the realms of super chocolate or just my favorite styles like Barrel aged Belgian Quads and Stouts.

Rampant by New Belgium brewing

24295_10101103619175290_1126130040_nRating: 3.8/5

Rampant by New Belgium brewing is an 8.5%ABV Double India Pale Ale

It starts to take over. That craving for hops. The hoppier the happier. The happier the higher the IBU. The higher the IBU the higher the ABV. The larger the ABV the more we’re going to have to keep an eye on this Rampant Imperial IPA proliferating with heavy peach notes, herbal sweetness and aromatic complexity.

Upon opening this beer, out came out the nice hoppy grassy fragrances with essence of tropical fruits like a peach or a mango. There was also some herbal, floral and almost like a basil or Italian spice coming out too. The flavors were more grassy and piney but there was an absence of strong tropical fruits. Peach and mango are very slight. It has some notes of citrus and some grapefruit. However, I think with this beer, it’s main focus is the hops. There are some herbal, spicy, flowery and plant like flavors. Almost like a green tea bitterness with honey and lemon. I can sense some lemon grass as well. This one ends pretty dry and leaves more of a grassy herbal and plant after taste. It is not a bad beer. The fragrance sure was nice with tropics thought. In fact it is the kind of hoppy beer that leans not into the realm of tropical fruits in terms of flavor but more into the deep zone of herbal, spicy and flowery hops. If you enjoy IPAs and are into mainly hop side without tropics, then give this one a shot and let me know what you think.

Barrel Aged Wreck Alley by Karl Strauss

525152_10101102355587530_102859647_n 72699_10101102356311080_1016620103_n 480802_10101102356375950_906223931_nRating: 5.35/5

Barrel Aged Wreck Alley by Karl Strauss is a 10%ABV Imperial Stout brewed with Cocoa Nibs and Coffee Beans and aged in Bourbon Oak Barrels.

When we tasted the first batch of Wreck Alley Imperial Stout, we knew barrel-aged versions were in the cards. The only questions were when and how often? Batch #1 answers the first question, and as for Batch #2, you’ll just have to wait and see. Brewed with the same darkly-kilned malts, Tcho cocoa nibs, and Ethiopian coffee beans from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, Batch #1 was aged three months in American oak bourbonbarrels. The resulting brew is a dark, unblended, and richly flavored union of dark chocolate, espresso, and toasted oak. Grab a bottle while you can, this limited release won’t be around for long

Been waiting a while for the right time to get this. The fragrance of this beer is of nice dark, milk and bakers chocolate, coffee, some vanilla, some bourbon and funky oak. The flavors are very good and it was a surprise as the fragrances weren’t as complex. The flavors are of a lot Milk chocolate, vanilla, very rich dulce de caramel which is unlike many beers I have tried, a good amount of funky oak, grapes, plums, berries and creme, minor bourbon and almost like a chocolate and blueberry cheese cake flavor. This almost reminds me of the Hellshire II. The Coffee is not as strong or bitter as the smell but it is still there to lend a mocha like twist. It is highly drinkable which is very surprising. Not only is this a 10%ABV beer but the boozyness or even bourbon lends a hand only enough to make this incredible. This may not be like the utmost ABV high of dessert beers I have ever had but, simply because it is a rich and thick dessert beer with hardly any sense of alcohol that I could find offending or even attributing, I still consider this a great beer. I like it a lot. I really think it has to do with my love for rich sweet beers like chocolate rain or organic chocolate. Hell, it lends to hints of berries and crème. That’s good stuff!! Sometimes you don’t have to be highly impacting or complex to get to the sweetness that is a great beer. Some people may not find it as great because it is not a supreme bourbon bomb dessert but regardless it is still a winner and a favorite of mine now.

Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute

576232_10101102354464780_1791536487_nRating: 5/5

Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shugga Substitute is an 7.85% ABV Double India Pale Ale

AKA Holiday Ale
AKA Holiday Leftover Ale
AKA Brown Sugar Substitute 

This sad holiday season we didn’t have the brewing capacity to make our favorite seasonal brew, the widely feared BrownShugga’ Ale. You see we had a couple of really good years (thank you very much) and so heading into this season while we are awaiting the January delivery of a new brewhouse we are jammin’ along brewing 80 barrels of IPA and PILS and such every 3 hours. A couple of months back we realized that since we can only brew a mere 60 barrels of Shugga’ every 5 hours, that we were seriously screwed. For every case of Shugga’ brewed, we’d short 3 cases of our favorite daily beers. It’s a drag. This year, we brewed something that we think is also cool and brews more like our daily brews. The new brewhouse will help insure this kind of failure never happens again. It’s a mess that we can not brew our BrownShugga’ this year and we suck for not doing it. There is nothing cool about screwing this up this badly and we know it. Maybe we can sue our own sorry selves. There is no joy in our hearts this holiday and the best we can hope for is a quick and merciful end. F*@& us. This totally blows. Whatever. We freaking munch moldy donkey butt and we just want it to be all over… 
So this substitute beer is a ‘Cereal Medley’ of Barley, Rye, Wheat, and Oats…. Full of complexishness from the 4 grains, and weighing in at 7.85% abv, Then joyously dry-hopped for that big aroma and resinous hop flavor.

Many have advised that this one was a highly acclaimed IPA. I was able to find some which it is strange as some of these beers go by quick. It is seasonal and some places like Bevmo and Total Wine should have it. The aromas are really nice. Fragrances of rich tropical fruits, like mango, papaya, mandarins, pineapple, rich peach, grapes, honey, caramel, lychees, prickly pears, grapefruits, grassy, piney, floral, oily hoppy goodness, herbs and cherries. The flavors are of grapefruit, grassy and piney hops with a rich tropical sweetness like pineapples, mango, peach, lychees, dragon fruit, oranges, lemon, honey, slight bready and floral notes and some brown sugar notes. As humble as Lagunitas tries to talk about the beer, they really struck gold. This is a very fantastic IPA. One that would probably be over the top on tap and well, maybe to the pliny the younger realms? Well, regardless, it is easier to get at least for now. Also, you don’t have to stay up at 3 to 5 in the morning just to stand in line to try Pliny the Younger. Not sure if I will ever review that beer, but I have had plenty of IPAs including Heady Topper to find it hard to find a difference. Nevertheless, who knows?

Life and Limb series Rhizing Bines collaboration by Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada

733906_10101099854175380_1884044036_nRating: 4/5

Life and Limb series Rhizing Bines collaboration by Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada is an 8%ABV Double India Pale Ale with Bravo and #644 hops.

Rhizing Bines is a collaborative IPA using the best of both coasts: Carolina-grown red fife wheat and Dogfish Head’s continual-hopping from the East and Sierra Nevada’s estate-grown caramel malt and Torpedo dry-hopping from the west.

This is the second beer of the Life and Limb series I have the honor to try. The first collaboration I had was a dark ale. This one is an IPA. Upon opening this beers there was a nice honey rich and grassy hop fragrance. Some very slight breadiness, citrus, grapefruit, caramel and biscuit aromas. There are flavors of hop oil and honey. Reminds me of 120 min IPA but not as ABV strong or complex. Flavors of grapefruit, orange, coriander, lemon grass, grapes, caramel, maple, berries, slight flowers, some honey and toast bread flavor, somewhat of a barley wine note and butterscotch. Not the typical IPA. The flavor says it all. While still hoppy, it is not like a typical grassy IPA. It goes more along the lines of like an amber. There seems to be more malts in this. Not a bad thing in my opinion as I think this beer is delicious and refreshing. Just do not expect much of the bitterness or tropical flavors you would from an IPA or DIPA in this case. Still, worth getting as it is nice to taste those hops without the bitterness. Although bitterness is part of what hops are all about.

Heavenly Feijoa Tripel Lips of Faith series collaboration by New Belgium and Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

205243_10101099853232270_818041947_n 464_10101099853596540_965719373_nRating: 4/5

Heavenly Feijoa Tripel Lips of Faith series collaboration by New Belgium and Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! is a 9%ABV Abbey Tripel brewed with Feijoa and Hibiscus

Oh my God. It’s not only a reaction for drinking one of Dieu De Ciel’s beers, but a figurative translation of the Montreal brewery’s name. Just ask our brewmaster, he’s in heaven when drinking this collaborative tripel, inspired by Dieu De Ciel’s love of hibiscus and Belgians love of the obscure, hence our addition of tart feijoa fruit. Cheers!

Upon opening this beer I got this exotic fruit fragrances. Like a passion fruit but I also got this spice like a herb that would go with chicken. Upon online research I found that a Fejoia is a pineapple guave which comes from South America. I have never had it but this stuff is nice to the nose. I also get some fragrances of bread, pineapple, citrus, guava, banana, papaya, flowery hibiscus, cloves, peppercorns, honey, grapes, coriander spice, tangerines and flowers. The flavors are very good. This reminds me of like a Dogfish Head beer. Something like Midas Touch or Ta henket. It has some nice white grape flavors, honey, agave, biscuit bread, guava, orange, lemon grass, tangerines, pineapple, kumquats, , a little bit of banana and papaya, apples, some tart hibiscus flower drink (Jamaica), cloves, peach cobbler, cinnamon, peppercorns, grapefruit, and slight grassy hops. The after taste remains pretty fruity afterward. It is not as heavy as Guava Grove but it is quite refreshing with a good amount of fruit and complexity. I can only see this as a Tripel since it has those peppercorns but also because of the Belgian bready notes although the fruity portion of the beer is what really takes the cake here. Awesome and worth a try for sure. Some people might find it’s drink ability along with complexity appealing.

Winter Ale by Telegraph Brewing

64285_10101099852279180_679892906_nRating: 4.6/5

Winter Ale by Telegraph Brewing, in Santa Barbara CA, is 7.1%ABV Winter Warmer brewed with spices.

Inspired by Mexican hot chocolate. Telegraph Winter Ale warms even the coldest of nights with hints of cinnamon,allspice,and sweet ancho chilies. Using generous amounts of chocolate and caramel malts,we brew this beer in limited quantities as a special treat for our friends and families. Be sure to enjoy it cool,rather than cold to fully appreciate its complexity.

The aromas of this beer are of caramel, apples, cinnamon, sugar plums, spicy chocolate, ginger, cloves, butterscotch, brown sugar and caramel. The flavors are close to a quad but lean more toward a spicy side than a bready side. Although some raisin bread pudding can be detected. This is quite nice. The ancho chillies come out alittle bit later as it warms up but only like peppery and spicy notes rather than heat. There are also flavors of chocolate abuelita, plums, apples, slight apple pie, cocoa, cinnamon, brown sugar, ginger bread, cloves, all spice and nutmeg. The beer has a nice cinnamon after taste that lingers for a while. It is a sweeter but more spicier. This one is worth trying as it is still very good and I am sure it would be good for the holidays too. While it is not abundant in chocolate, that is still no reason to not get it. The beer shines in its ability to balance out the sweetness with it’s spicyness which is really good. Like I said I almost got some nice quad characters. Which is definitely a reason to get this again.

Nugget Nectar by Tröegs Brewing

480270_10101095687470490_1642446342_n 388897_10101095687934560_144207266_nRating: 5.45/5

Nugget Nectar by Tröegs Brewing is a 7.5%ABV Imperial Amber/ Red Ale. Considered by many, the best Amber ale in the world

Squeeze those hops for all they’re worth and prepare to pucker up: Tröegs’ newest single batch brew, Nugget Nectar Ale, will take hopheads to nirvana with a heady collection of Nugget, Warrior and Tomahawk hops. Starting with the same base ingredients of our flagship HopBack Amber Ale, Nugget Nectar intensifies the malt and hop flavors to create an explosive hop experience.

Almost missed out on this piece of gold. If you are still looking for it, Witty’s wine ( still has some. This is not a west coast beer but something that comes close to this is the Ale smith Bloody Valentine and the Evil Dead Red. The aromas are very nice. Cherries, grassy hops, nutty walnuts, rich caramel, toffee, honey, peaches, mango, grapefruit, papaya, . The flavors are reminiscent of the 120 minute IPA with is extremely rich maple and honey flavor with bleeding piney, grassy and grapefruit flavors. Although this is not 18% ABV so it goes beyond. While it does not have the focus of rich cherry and fruit punch flavor like that of the Bloody Valentine, it’s emphasis on almost barley wine like aspect with tropical fruits like mango, papaya, peaches, apricots, dragon fruit almost coconut flavor, pecan pie, vanilla in walnuts, citrus, orange juice, Christmas tree, a very minor scotch note, biscuit bread with grapefruit marmalade and sweet rich pineapples. This was just.. epic!!.. The crazier part is that it has so much flavors that you would expect from a high ABV beer but lowered into the realms of refreshing and crisp drink ability. I can only describe it as taking all the flavors you would get from like lets say for example, a beer like Chocolate rain with its strong strong flavors and super high ABV then just removing almost all the alcohol but still maintaining an extremely rich flavor profile of complexity. The balance is awesome as well. I love the way Bloody Valentine tasted but this is just super amazing. Hard to find around in the West coast but if you can find it… DO NOT MISS OUT. Amber ale lover’s dream…

Saint’s Devotion by The Lost Abbey

526927_10101095686682070_1742354079_nRating: 4.75/5

Saint’s Devotion by The Lost Abbey is a 6.66%ABV Belgian Pale Wild Ale brewed with Brettanomyces.

It’s an unassuming road leading to the priory. Here, off the corner of two intersecting roads, dedicated monks have been making beer for over 150 years. It’s always been a simple life — the kind that requires they brew only enough to sustain the activities of their monastery. In the silence of passing seasons, they pray, they brew and retire in solitary existence behind the sheltering walls. They live a most interesting life. Most likely one we couldn’t sustain.
Nearby, each summer, the trellised fields spring to life as rows of resinous green cones are trained toward the heavens. Rumor is some monks love these hops and being surrounded by budding yellow aromas and the leafy pungent fields inspired them. Since we aren’t sensible enough to locate our brewery near hop fields, we can only offer this blond ale in celebration of our Abbey brethren and their steadfast Devotion.

The last time this beer was released years ago. Way before I got into beer tasting or any thing related to craft beers. This year it was released in small batches. For those that never tried this one. I’ll admit, I have yet to try the regular Devotion, which I will be getting soon. So being a big fan of The Lost Abbey beers is no excuse. The aromas are very sweet. Cane sugar, flowers, vanilla, pilloncillo sugar cone, caramel, flowers, peaches, apples, honey, biscuit bread, orange marmalade, slight mango and herbs. The flavors are a bit different. Some vanilla, sugar cane, caramel, and honey, peaches, citrus and mango are still there. Although since this is a Pale and Wild ale, there is some hoppy, grassy, and rich grapefruit bitterness and some funky grape wine sourness as well. Nothing too detracting from the ale but balances out the sweetness. Some other flavors like peppercorns, prickly pear, papaya and banana notes. As you let the beer sit, some more grapefruit sweet, sour and bitter flavors come out. This was quite good and got way better as I let it sit. So now there is no reason to not try the regular. Although the regular may not taste like this awesome one, I am sure it will still be Holy…

Allagash Black by Allagash Brewing (1 year Aged)

486427_10101095685090260_2105219987_nRating: 5/5

Allagash Black by Allagash Brewing is a 7.5% ABV Belgian Stout. This version I aged for about a year until the right time to try it.

Allagash Black, our new Belgian style stout, is brewed with German 2 row barley, Torrified wheat and oats, balanced by a large addition of Belgian dark candi to give the Black a full and silky mouthfeel. Roasted malts give this stout its classic chocolate, toast and malty taste, and contribute to chocolate notes and a hint of roasted coffee in the aroma. The Black is fermented with a Belgian yeast strain and refermented in the bottle with the methode champenoise to make this beer truly unique. Availability: 750 ml bottles, 5.17 gal kegs ABV: 7.5% Original Gravity: 1.072 Recommended Serving Temperature: 55°F Recommended Cellaring Temperature: 55°F

This is the second time I try this beer. The first time I tried it was about a year ago. I saved a bottle to let it sit for about a year to see if the levels would intensify. Oh man did they now. Upon opening the bottle there was an immediate rush of caramel and vanilla fragrant smoked. Some aromas of chocolate coffee, mocha, some pecan and caramel bread, some minor aromas of dark fruits and apples. The flavors are of bitter dark chocolate, roasted coffee, slight smokiness, bananas, molasses, boysenberry pie, some coffee cake, dark tart cherries, plums, raisins, figs, dry apricots, some dulce de leche caramel, some vanilla, candi sugar, earthy hop and citrus taste. This beer reminds me a lot of Folklore by Stillwater Artisanal in that it is still a very good Belgian stout but with some smokey aspects to it. Although, Folklore had a little more of a dark saison aspect as well. More smokey and bitter than 13th hour Stout but it makes up for that with the rest of the flavors which are awesome. A very awesome beer and one to have many a times. The Abyss doesn’t come out all the time but I would say if this was barrel aged, you would have Deschutes The Abyss.

2012 Review:
Allagash Black, the brew that is so similar to 13th hour but more bitter chocolate than. The Belgian Style Stout is brewed with 2 Row barley, torrified wheat, oats, both roasted and chocolate malt and a generous portion of dark caramelized candy sugar. There is definitely a silky mouth feel as stated in the description. Almost like velvet Merlin. The brew has a lot of reminiscent chocolate/coffee bread taste like the 13th. There is also hints of caramel vanilla, citrus, raisins, figs, cherries and dried apricot. Even if the base overwhelmed is malty bitter sweet chocolate, as I go through this brew it definitely lets out a lot of other complex flavor due to the Belgian bready yeast here. Step into this beer…if you dare…it looks evil but very delicious and lovely and good :). Just like the pic of Midna. You never know what you will find in this brew. Also the bitterness of this beer does remind me of the Old Rasputin hoppy bitterness. Allagash does a great job of balancing the complexity of this brew with that of malty sweet, bready complex, and hoppy bitterness. Surely some one that likes Stouts, Belgian, and hoppy ales will surely, like this complex creation. Looks sorta plain and dark from the outside but they have always said, it is the inside that counts. So give this one a try and take a step into the dark…or black side of the ale world. 😛

Mint Chocolate Porter Winter Ale by Bootlegger’s Brewery

45380_10101094074163570_1328384573_nRating: 4.25/5

Mint Chocolate Porter Winter Ale by Bootlegger’s Brewery is a 6.1% ABV Porter brewed with Mint

Perhaps a mint chocolate porter sounds like an odd combination, but we like to think of it as a match made in heaven. The refreshing mint is balanced with subtle hints of dark chocolate notes, making it a complex yet exceptionally drinking winter ale. This one is perfect for sitting next to the fireplace and sharing a few pints with friends.

I have tried some really good mint porters and stouts in the past. This one is made locally here in California. It is always good to drink locally. The beers is somewhat smokey in fragrance. There is some nice sweet chocolate mint aromas along with some sweet caramel and vanilla. I am sensing little coffee in the nose though. The Flavors are of sweet and dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, vanilla, mint, black tea, herbs, somewhat of Oreo cookies and crème flavor, anise licorice and molasses. It is not as head on sweet as some of the other mint beers I have had. The after taste stays minty and chocolate sweet. Even though it smelled smokey, it was actually hard to find the smokiness in the flavor. They did a very good job there. Definitely try it out and it is also drinkable too. In fact, a lot of the bitterness like the black tea and herbs fade away as it warms up and this starts to taste more like a Klondike bar or a mint chocolate chip icecream 😛

Delirium Nocturnum by Brouwerij Huyghe

417686_10101094072122660_557008352_nRating: 4.8/5

Delirium Nocturnum by Brouwerij Huyghe is an 8.5% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Colour and sight: Dark brown-red. A compact white-yellow, stable and lacing head. Scent: Touches of caramel, mocha and chocolate. Spices such as liquorice and coriander are also present. Flavour: Initially, a very good mouthfeel of alcohol and softness. This is followed by an increasing bitterness, partially from the hop, but also from the roasted malt and chocolate malt. Towards the end a nice balance between bitterness, sour and sweet

Last time I tried this beer was at a bar near my house. It is actually quite a common beer in many of the beer shops. I figured why not, so I picked it up to do a review. The aromas are interesting. It has like a caramel sweet scent but also some what of a coca cola scent, some chocolate, apples, pears, peppercorn fragrance, raisins, some phenolic breadyness, and citrus. The flavors are close to a tripel or a farmhouse ale as I can sense the peppercorn flavor. There are some dark cherries, raisins, bread, pears, caramel, somewhat of a minor sourness but like a grape sourness but also like wild yeast floral and spicyness, champagne, wine like notes, coriander spice almost and some waffle cone with brown sugar. IT is rather interesting. It meets the expectations for being a Belgian beer for sure but also maintaining somewhat of a drink-ability aspect to it to it. Not as heavy as some of the other Belgium beers but close enough. I would think this or even the Tremmens would be good example of Belgian beer gateway for those that haven’t tried too many Belgians. Very good stuff

Oesterstout by ScheldeBrouwerij

575992_10101092848175460_1331982037_nRating: 5/5

Oesterstout by ScheldeBrouwerij is an 8.5%ABV Belgian Stout brewed with Dutch Zealand Oysters

From the Scheldebrouwerij, we bring you the expertly crafted ales of a small Belgian brewery from the Antwerp province very near the Dutch border. The Scheldebrouwerij Oesterstout is a soft yet robust stout. Dark as night, the wort from this fully malted ale is filtered over oyster shells from the Dutch Zeeland province. 

It has been a while since I have tried an Oyster stout, let alone a Belgian one. The last one I tried was delicious ( However, the Three Floyds one was awesome too ( However to be one from Belgium? This I had to experience for myself. The aromas are not fishy. Some fragrances of smoked coffee, a little bit of of saltiness, almost like an apple rum or apple note, chocolate, caramel bread, some type of dark fruit or wine grape, and some molasses. The flavors are of …oh? Very nice. It truly is a Belgian stout. In fact more over than the oysters I am able to sense. Chocolate cake, coffee, strong apples, dark fruits, minor salty notes, possibly the oysters but kind of faint sea and oyster flavor to it,vanilla, caramel, cherries, raisins, some sourness but like a grape sourness and only a little bit and lots of bread and candi sugars. As you let it sit, the somewhat oyster and sea salt comes out, but only a little bit. In fact, it is enough to make it very interesting and give it some bitterness. Seafood is my favorite so I can tell there is definitely a sea and Belgian stout quality to it. Quite the different beer for sure and now is part of my list of best Belgian Stouts ever along with Buffalo, Thirteenth Hour and some of my other favorites. Simply amazing Belgian stout. They pulled it off well.

Lips of Faith Series Cascara Quad by New Belgium

577377_10101092847541730_1773082401_nRating: 4.75/5

Lips of Faith Series Cascara Quad by New Belgium is 10%ABV Belgian Quadrupel brewed with dates and coffee cherries added

Local roasters Novo Coffee turned us onto Central America’s Cascara, the fruit or husk that surrounds coffee beans. When dried, it can be made into a tea with hints of cherry and tobacco. Blend that into a quad fermented with gorgeous malts and date sugar for a crazy complex beer to warm winter nights. 

Freaking sweet. Quads are some of my best styles out there. To know that NB brewed a quad, definitely had to get 2 of these. The aromas are somewhat apparent but still there. Chocolate, cherries, biscuit bread, vanilla, caramel, some dark fruits, a little bit of bananas and very faint oakyness or brown sugar. Flavors are almost like Three Philosophers, almost. Cherries, chocolate, dulce de leche caramel, bananas, cloves, phenolic esters, biscuit bread, coffee cake, raisin and pecan pudding, dates, toffee, tobacco, candi sugars, . In terms of flavor, that is what hits this one home. Maybe not as aromatic as other quads but the flavors are great. The balance could use a little work as you can sense the alcohol but doesn’t detract too much from the flavors of this one. I picked up 2 since I thought it would be awesome. Well, I sure was not disappointed. This is still a very good beer and would pick up again if no other quads available. Also, at 10% this is definitely a winner. Just be careful because if it warms up then the booze becomes more apparent but the complexity is still complex but not supremely complex. Some people may like this while others may not.

Aloha B’ak’tun by Maui brewing

522731_10101089985212860_2041559936_nRating: 4.45/5

Aloha B’ak’tun by Maui brewing is a 7%ABV Belgian Stout brewed with chocolate, cinnamon and chipotle.

Change is the only constant in life; and this year has been marked with exiting changes. Staff moving on, new staff joining our team and construction plans for the new brewery (Yes, still on Maui). Our final limited release of the year celebrates change and bids aloha to our friends new and old. 

This Belgian stout is brewed with chocolate, cinnamon, and chipotle. It pours deep black with ruby highlights. Layered with roasted malt character hints of bittersweet dark chocolate, clove, cinnamon and subtle peppery notes in the nose. 

The year is ending, the world is not. Raise your hand and toast with us to all the great things to come. Look forward to four new limited releases in 2013.
Mahalo Nui Loa. 

‘Okole Maluna,

Belgian Stouts are some of my favorites. So when I found this one I had to get it. The fragrances are are roasted coffee, bakers and dark chocolate, bready notes, raisins, slight peppercorns, mild pepper, tobacco, molasses and slight caramel. The flavors are mainly of coffee, dark chocolate, slight tobacco, smokey (in the glass), dulce de leche caramel (mainly when in the can), bready notes, raisins, slight chocolate covered cherries, slight peppery notes of chipotle but hardly enough to detect heat at all. I tried it both out of the glass and the can. Frankly, it taste better out of the can than in the glass. I guess like heady topper, certain things taste better when out of certain containers. Although after letting it sit for a while in the glass, the flavors like that of the can were there. All and all, an awesome beer, very good Belgian stout but kind of not as full flavor impacting like Thirteenth Hour or Buffalo Stout. Still, great pick up and one I would try again 🙂

Red Poppy Ale by The Lost Abbey

304305_10101089984459370_2002973560_nRating: 4.5/5

Red Poppy Ale by The Lost Abbey is 5%ABV Flanders Red Ale brewed with poppy seeds, cherries and aged in oak barrels.

Perhaps no country embraces the use of fruit in beers more so than Belgium. Numerous traditional as well as regional specialty ales are infused with every sort of fruit imaginable. In this way, the flavor of the fruit becomes especially prominent. 

Red Poppy Ale is a veritable celebration of Sour Cherries in an explosion of aromas and tastes. Brewed from a brown ale base and aged in our oak barrels for over 6 months, this beer is not for the faint of heart. The Golden Poppy is the state flower of California and the Red Poppy is found in Flanders Fields where our inspiration for this beer comes from.

It has been a while since I last this one. Almost like 2 years. I decided to do another go to see how it is. The fragrance is nice and sour like I remember it. Aromas of cherries, peach, some oak and coffee bread like notes, somewhat flowery, grape, raisins, some vanilla, almost chocolate scent, wine, sweet bread, brown sugar and caramel. The flavors are of immediate tart cherry, wine grapes, peach, apples, vanilla, sour tart cranberries, coffee cake, a little bit of chocolate, raisins, green apples, some slight raisin bread pudding, caramel, some citrus sour and funky notes. This beer is reminiscent of La Roja from Jolly pumpkin except this one is more focused on other different types of flavors other than wine. Sour beer lovers will like this one although for me, while it is still pretty awesome in terms of sours, I have tried other sours like those of JP and were pretty delicious. The Lost Abbey is one of my favorite breweries and their beers are definitely world class 🙂

2011 Review:
Lost abbey Red Poppy ale. Flanders Red Ale brewed with cherries. No head from the pour. Awesome fragrance of cherries, vanilla , and peach immediately overwhelm the nose. The taste is a complex mix of sour tart cherries with oak like after taste. Lost Abbey yeast is also present as usual :P. In short, like smelling and drinking a flower..LOL Red Poppy..desert like brew >:3

Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat by Anheuser-Busch, Inc.

181064_10101089983680930_1872732502_n 733939_10101089982857580_1593195364_nRating: 3.75/5

Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat by Anheuser-Busch, Inc. is a 5.8% Witbier brewed with cider and spices with natural honeycrisp apple flavor and other natural flavors.

Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat is a unique, hand crafted brewed hybrid of Belgian wheat beer and sweet cider, with natural Honeycrisp flavor added to produce an innovative new brew that is crisp, refreshing and flavorful. This unfiltered brew is the perfect beer to welcome the warming Spring days.

Other natural flavors? Hmm I wonder what it could be. Anything could be a natural flavor. Like grass or dirt. However I am sure that is not what they mean. The fragrance is very fruity all the way. Apples, Jolly ranchers green apple candy, cinnamon, slight apple pie crust, citrus, cherry fruit juice and pilsner, a good amount of pilsner. The flavors are of Green Apple and Jolly ranchers candy, slight citrus, very slight Belgian bready esters here and there like a wheat but hardly noted, some hidden grain and pilsner flavor (it is well hidden by the sweet candy apple flavor at first but it comes in later), some slight cinnamon and brown sugar, honey, good amount of cider and maybe a slight hint of peach. I’m pretty impressed. Despite how many of the other shock tops are pretty average, this is the best scoring one. It mainly swings to a cider side more than a beer side. The beer side is there to keep it alittle balanced, although it doesn’t keep it balanced well. Still, the sweetness is pretty good and lots an lots of apple flavors are noted well. I say give this a try. Who knows, you may like this one

New Albion Ale by New Albion brewing company and bottled under Samuel Adams

602003_10101089986749780_1985370367_nRating: 3.5/5

New Albion Ale by New Albion brewing company and bottled under Samuel Adams is 6%ABV reboot of the first American Pale Ale brewed in America which sparked the way for all brewing awesomeness as we see today.

Jack McAuliffe’s pioneering spirit paved the way for the American craft beer revolution. We’re rereleasing his original Pale Ale, with its distinct American hop character for the first time in 30 years in honor of Jack and his contributions to craft brewing. Cheers!

Aromas of this beer sweet honey, somewhat pilsnery, light flowery, slighty fruity and grassy and pretty much like a lager with some malty and some hop fragrances. The flavors are of slight grape, citrus, mild hoppy bitterness, some pilsnery aspects, slight honey, some grains, a touch of vanilla or caramel sweetness but very very slight. This beer is made with a 30 year old recipe and is quite historic. While it may not be on par with some of the greats of this time, I swear, it is still above some of the best lagers out there. This stuff is like borderline ale/lager. Also due to its symbolism in the craft beer movement, It gets my thumbs up and a must try even if at least once. This is how beers were back then and they were still the best alternative out there

Belgo Belgian India Pale Ale by New Belgium

601638_10101089982054190_1473596584_nRating: 4.5/5

Belgo Belgian India Pale Ale by New Belgium is a 7%ABV Belgian IPA. I have tried this several times but I finally got one to sit down and review.

Friday night and the lights are low; Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Simcoe, looking for a place to belGO. Get in on bottle condition beats and hop aroma blasts as India Pale Ale grooves with Belgian yeast.

Fragrance of this beer reminds me so much of all those delicious Belgian IPAs and Belgian Pales I have tried many times although in a lighter sense. With a mix of sweet honey, biscuit bread, citrus, floral and grassy hops, herbs, spices, rye, peppercorns, grapefruit, peach and apples. The taste is where it saves the beer. Flavors are of herbs and spices, apples, grassy and grapefruit hops, biscuit bread, a little bit of peppercorns, slight flowery flavor but to the level of Saison,citrus orange, honey, peach, slight caramel and a bit of those tripel clove esters. While a lot of the flavors of the delicious BPAs and BIPAs are there, they are not full frontal and overwhelming. Meaning it is a beer to enjoy the flavors one enjoys from the awesome Belgian Pales but without too much of a full body giving way to a beer of very good flavors but still light crisp and refreshing. They mostly sell this in a 6 pack and it is a major winner for me. From the regular stuff (not Lips of Faith series) I would call this one number 2 next to the their Abbey ale. The Abbey ale is simply world class awesome. I will review that one as soon as I get my hands on one 😀

Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout 2012 by Cigar City Brewing

576200_10101082459165120_925278613_n544111_10101082471345710_1363262627_nRating: 5.75/5

Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout 2012 by Cigar City Brewing is an 11%ABV Imperial Stout Aged on cacao nibs, ancho and pasilla chiles, cinnamon and Madagascar Vanilla Beans. This was released in March 2012 so it is almost exactly 1 year of aging.

In Mayan mythology, Hun Hunahpu was the father of the Mayan hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque. Hun Hunahpu, along with his brother Vucub Hunahpu, was tricked by the Dark Lords of the underworld and slain. Hun Hunahpu’s corpse morphed into a cacao tree, his head becoming a cacao pod, which in typically awesome mythology fashion, spit upon the hand of a young maiden named Xiquic who promptly became pregnant with the hero twins. The twins would ultimately grow up to avenge their father and uncle and defeat the Dark Lords and ascend to the heavens to become the moon and sun

We brew Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout once a year and release it only at the brewery. We will continue to do so until the end of the cycle.

Rated to be the 4th best Imperial Stout in the world. 100% world class. This version is aged almost exactly 1 year. I can only assume this is like a response to Dark Lord de Muerte from the Three Floyds as it is brewed with chiles also. Never the less, this is something special. Aromas immediately rush the nose several inches from this liquid of gods. Fragrances of Very strong Dark chocolate, Milk chocolate, Khalua, Chocolate Abuelita, chile spices from the ancho and pasilla, some vanilla, coffee, strong bourbon, vanilla, flan, cinnamon, champurrado, dulce de leche caramel, molasses, piloncillo sugar cone, oak, cherries and alittle bit of coconut. The flavors are of smokey roasted pasilla and ancho chiles but without the heat, dark chocolate, Khalua, coffee, chocolate abuelita, mole, champurrado, cherry, raisins, prunes, molasses, vanilla, small amount of earthy bitterness, cinnamon sticks, ginger bread, alittle bit of dulce de leche, piloncillo sugar cone, tamarind, oak wood and maple syrup. Initially, the chile spices would take over but then as the beer got warmer, it let a massive amount sweet chocolate flavors pull through with vanilla and cinnamon dancing all over. A delicious beer that is truly world class. While it definitely surpasses a great amount of world beers, I believe it is really preference based. While this one is very sweet and has the spiciness to cancel out the over powered sweetness, many people will find this appealing over more “Diabetes in a bottle” types like Dark Lord, Black Tuesday, Grey Monday or Chocolate rain (some of my ultimate favorites). For me I like the extra sweetness in some beers, but this has so much flavor of my culture written all over, fragrance and taste alike. In terms of Chile beer Imperial Stouts, hands down, The best in the world Chile beer right next to the Dark Lord de Muerte.

Old Guardian Oak-Smoked Odd Year Series by Stone Brewing

529697_10101081151969750_687651734_nRating: 4.8/5

Old Guardian Oak-Smoked Odd Year Series by Stone Brewing is an 11.4%ABV Barley Wine 

Label: *Note this one has a very long label description
It’s the Friday after Turkey Day. In the US anyhow. Not here in Belize, but I had turkey yesterday all the same. Raised in the Belize countryside by German Mennonites no less. It was delicious. Gotta respect those who are focused on doing things the right way, which more and more in this world often means with less technology rather than more. The bananas are better here, too. Mostly because they’re picked ripe and ready for local consumption, rather than pre-ripe and green to ship off to the US and other far-flung countries only to be ethylene-gassed once they arrive to finish off the ripening process. Sudden flashback of when we visited our friends James & Martin @Brewdog in Scotland for our collaboration beer a few years ago called bashah (don’t think I ever spilled the beans formally before that the name is an acronym for black as sin, hoppy as hell). We had dinner at a great little restaurant in Aberdeen that historically was a banana-hanging warehouse. Later, they ended up buying the place. We actually shot a really cool video: [link) Back to the moment and Belize. Just finished a Crime. Great way to start the last night here. Now, as tradition dictates for the OG label, I’m having some 2012 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine. Sitting at a beach bar & sharing w/John & Barbara Cheek from Oakhurst (Decatur, GA). They regularly enjoy Stone IPA at their local haunts, Steinbeck’s and The Marlay. Got to know them a little today as we were on the same little boat going out to snorkel with the sea turtles. Yes, a bit ‘touristy’ for me, as I typically head a little more off the beaten path, but hell, it was kinda cool swimming with them all the same. Swimming in the ocean made my hair quite scraggly lit’s still rather mucked up from the whole red-hair fundraiser we did back in August), and with the headband I picked up two days ago at a local shop, I’ve gotta admit that I’m looking a bit laughably trustafarian. It’s like I became an overnight pseudo-beach bum. Heh, if only. Not really my thing though, honestly. I’m a bit higher strung than that. The driven/agenda type. Gotta change the world, rather than watch it float by. But then you knew that. Save now. It’s been a ‘float’ week. Nice to visit the float lifestyle every once in a while, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Cracked a Stone Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA just now. That’s a beer to encourage the ‘watch the world float by” if there ever was one. The aroma is certainly suggestive of that lifestyle, now isn’t it? I’ll leave it at that. Loving it. Brought two cases of assorted 22oz & 500m1 bottles on the trip. The 12.21.12 is the next-to-last, w/Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale bringing up the rear. So to speak. It’s actually not legal to bring in beer to this country as their beer laws are rather protectionist. That serves no one, except a few. Nonetheless, I swallowed my bubbling outrage as I learned this at Customs on my way in and politely asked to speak with a supervisor. I said “Hi, I’m Greg and I own a small brewery in the US, and) like to travel w/beer to share w/people I meet. I certainly don’t mind paying a duty.” He surveyed me, then the beer, then me again and decided that my two cases “didn’t represent a commercial threat” and calc’ed out a modest duty for me to pay. I did so gladly. Now I’m at the end of the visit, and reflecting on the fact that all went quite nicely thank-you- C. very-much. Thankful for the brief respite. Time to get back to it next week. Lots to do. Lots to do.


Ingredients: Tons and tons of barley, bountiful hops, water & yeast …and an odd dose of German oak-smoked wheat malt.

This one is kind of odd. Taking 2 different sides. One side bitter, the other smokey. Clearly this one was genius. The fragrance of this beer lies some where in the realm of Bashah. Smokey and hoppy. Smells like earthy grass and campfire oak, citrus, caramel, toffee, barley, dark fruits, almost like BBQ pork and peppercorns. The flavors are very well balanced. Just tremendous. Sweet Caramel, roasted campfire oak wood, BBQ pork with basil, orange and spices, citrus, bread, barley, dark cherries, raisins, maple, honey, biscuit, toast bread, grapefruit, pine needles, earthy grass, slight peppercorns, molasses and some bacon :P. The aftertaste is consistent of a nice balance. The oak and bitter hops play well. Not too bitter, not too smokey. Just the right amount of ingredients to create an odd taste that is very delicious that it works so well. I can see a lot of people that enjoy smoke and hoppy beers or those that enjoy one more than the other, may come together and agree that this one works very well.

Shock Top Lemon Shandy by Anheuser-Busch, Inc

522506_10101081148646410_1832126437_nRating: 2.5/5

Shock Top Lemon Shandy by Anheuser-Busch, Inc is a 4.2% ABV Belgian Style Wheat beer brewed with spices and with natural lemonade flavor added.

Belgian-Style wheat beer brewed with spices and with natural lemonade flavor added.

I have only had a chance to try a small amount the shock top varieties. While some of them are liked by many, some more taste minded individuals would probably say there is better out there and not to mess with faux craft. I for one think that when there is a much more better variety out there, there will still be those alternatives that will still be available especially in the non-craft beer market. Meaning if they got nothing else other than lager, then that is when this stuff comes available. While Shock top is better on tap than on bottle, I figure I review this one as I have not had a chance to try it. I am also more open minded with just about any beer. Someones gotta do it right 🙂 Besides, beer is beer and no should say no to beer.

The aromas are lemony, citrus and pilsnery. Not a lot of wheat and bready fragrance and below some of the other shock top beers. Almost smells like grains in lemon juice. The flavor is actually better than the smell. There are is flavors of lemon, citrus, slight breadyness, lemon heads candy, slight coriander and grassy grains. The beer says summer all over but I would definitely go with another choice. While it is subpar, it is still a better beer than some of the soulless stuff out there. I like sweet stuff if someone offered while nothing else was available, definitely drink it. It is not completely bad which is pretty good. Although I would say this one taste more like a Mikes but with hardly any sugar and more bitterness from the lemons.

Belzebuth by Brasserie Grain d’ Orge

544440_10101072548785600_1010024809_nRating: 4/5

Belzebuth by Brasserie Grain d’ Orge of France is a 13%ABV Belgian Strong Blonde Ale.

Bottle (13% abv) and can (11.8%): Filtered.
Ingredients: Water, Barley Malt, Wheat, Rice, Sugar, Hops.
Alcohol content lowered in 2002 from 15% to 13% when brewery changed name from Jeanne d’Arc to Grain d’Orge.
“The dark amber coloured Belzebub offers an intense alcohol flavour with a strong supporting maltiness.”
The 11.8% version is canned in Holland.

When opening this little bottle you notices that there is definitely not a lot of beer. Exactly 8.4oz of it. This is the second time I try the beer and I have been meaning to do another review. It has been a couple years actually. The aromas are nice. Fragrances of honey, biscuit bread, citrus orange, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, boozy almost like a sweet bourbon, oak, pears, grapes, peaches and some raisins. The flavors are pretty sweet. Belgian yeast phenolic, grapes, caramel, pears, peaches, orange, grape jelly, possibly a strawberry, honey, vanilla, slight raisin bread pudding and quite a good amount of alcohol. While the beer does have some really nice flavors worth checking out, for some, the alcohol could be distracting a bit. It is not as balanced as it could be and it semi hides the alcohol. Regardless, you can still tell about the flavors in this one. Quite good, not the best, but still quite good. Besides, a 13% Belgian style ale from France, you cant go wrong there 🙂