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
PART TWO:
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.

Cheers!
Greg

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

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.

Description:
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.
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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 🙂

Noir De Dottignies by Brouwerij De Ranke

542549_10101006082434700_1736660231_n 602841_10101006082524520_237501492_nRating: 4.8/5

Noir De Dottignies by Brouwerij De Ranke is a 9% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale. A pretty rare beer made in a Belgian Brewery that is in West Flanders known of some of the many that do not export or hardly export their products. This beer is known to be heavily hopped. 

Label:
Bottle: Unfiltered.
Ingredients: Water; Barley malt; Hops; Candi-sugar; Yeast.
The heaviest ale on our menu with a very rich taste, coming from the six different kinds of malt we use. These malts also give it that rich, dark, nearly black colour. The royal doses of Challenger and Saaz hops bring the typical balance between sweet and bitter.

The De Rank brewery was founded by two good friends; Nino Bacelle & Guido Devose. Their story is a classic in Belgium, where the very best craft brewing usually begins as a passionately pursued hobby, not an occupation. For Nino and Guido, brewing is literally a weekend obsession. For a few hours on Friday and Saturday, every week, the marvelous turn-of-the-century Deca Brewery in West Flanders is turned over to the De Ranke brewers, who make small batches of what many consider the best specialty beers of Belgium. Their beers are robust and flavorful, and famous for their massive hoppiness.
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The aromas are of raisins, cherries, figs, slight chocolate and coffee, slight rum, bread pudding, caramel, molasses, anise and spices. The flavors are of mocha, dulce de leche caramel, candi sugar, raisins, cherries, raspberry pomegranate , earthy notes, slight grassy and grapefruit hops, molasses, anise, raisin bread pudding, walnuts, baker’s chocolate and rum. This beer almost reminds me of the Decadence quad but with more earthy hop bitterness. It is an awesome and must try beer. Although the hops may come overwhelmingly at times yet it still does not detract how interesting it is.