2017 System of a Stout by Beachwood brewing

 

Rating: 6/6

2017 System of a Stout by Beachwood brewing is an 11.2% ABV World Class Armenian Imperial Stout brewed in the Armenian Coffee way with cardamom, molasses and Portola Coffee beans aged in oak brandy barrels.

Label:
System of a Stout incorporates the ingredients of a traditional cup of Armenian-style coffee: cardamom, molasses, and a massive infusion of coffee from our good friends at Portola Coffee Lab in Costa Mesa, CA. This robust and flavorful brew is then oak aged, adding even more layers of complexity. Enjoy fresh or cellar at 45-55°.

==Introduction==

An awesome release that I haven’t tried in a while made in tribute to System of a Down. The last time I had it, it was very limited as you could only get it at the brewery. This year, many locations were able to receive this beer. Essentially, the public can now get the brew. I wanted to bring this one back since it was one of my favorite and well in the theme of System of the Down, I wanted to rock while drinking this one. There isn’t many beers made with Armenian ingredients and it is awesome to see that type of tribute many times as well. Let’s see how this one is this year, cheers!

Aromas:
Dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, milk chocolate, Belgian chocolate, mocha, dark espresso, java, cappuccino, Irish cream, roasted coffee, fancy coffee, anise, molasses, rye bread, toasted coconut, marshmallows, brandy, tiramisu, fruit cake and pecan pie.

Flavors:
Dark espresso, java, mocha, cappuccino, Irish cream, roasted coffee, fancy coffee, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, oak, brandy notes, dark fruit cherries, plums, raisins, figs, cardamom, dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, milk chocolate, Belgian chocolate, pecan pie, flan, almonds, chocolate cake, bananas, anise, molasses, rye bread, toasted coconut, marshmallows, earthy spices, piloncillo sugar cone, rocky road ice cream, tiramasu, fruit cake, sweetened condensed milk, steamed milk, malted chocolate and Cadbury chocolate eggs.

Aftertaste:
Finishing with fancy coffee, marshmallows, dark chocolate dark fruits, dark cherry, caramel, vanilla, oak, brandy and earthy spicy notes. No alcohol in the taste, Dark abyss full body, smooth, chewy, creamy and syrupy mouthfeel and sipping drinkability.

Overall:
A supremely exceptional brew as before. Full of complex flavors, rich chocolate, coffee, oak, brandy and much much more. The kind that will definitely age for many years. I’m glad they started releasing this one again and this time to more hands than before. I just hope one day they release it more frequently. I highly recommend you get this one.

Anime Corner:
Marceline from Adventure Time as well as Raven/Rachel Roth and Starfire/Koriand’r were chosen for this pairing for many reasons. Marceline mainly since I used her in the original pairing to represent the rock and dark theme of System of a Down. This time, I brought Raven and Starfire using a pairing artwork from Sakimichan which goes well with the label. You can see how the blue sky and upper mountains are raven and the land and dessert are starfire. It was definitely something I really loved.

Sources:
http://artgerm.deviantart.com/art/Marceline-466739861
http://dandonfuga.deviantart.com/art/Marceline-648391984
http://en-so.deviantart.com/art/Marceline-the-Vampire-Queen-386640262
http://sakimichan.deviantart.com/art/Raven-Starfire-684968674

 

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Raspberry Quadrupel by Mikkeller Brewing

13528152_10103365160288770_1660472654980753854_oRating: 6.25/7

Raspberry Quadrupel by Mikkeller Brewing is a 13% Belgian Quadrupel brewed with Lactose & Raspberries & aged in Brandy Barrels

Label:

None.

==Introduction==
13558818_10103365160303740_6579540454066824589_o

I obtained this brew at craftshack.com. I have previously tried Mikkeller’s Raspberry Tripplebock but when I saw they made a Raspberry Belgian Quadrupel, I had to get it. I do have a crazy sweet tooth for these types of fruit beers especially raspberries. While still in a small bottle like the other one, it is a very strong ABV wise beer. Belgian Quads are my favorite style of beer along with the barrel aged beers. So I think if this is awesome, I might actually consider using fruit in some future Quadrupel homebrews. Let’s see how this beer is.

Aromas:

Dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, candied sugar, burnt sugar, pecan pie, almond joy chocolate, marshmallows, tart raspberries, dark fruit raisins, figs, plums, currants, prunes, cranberries, dark cherries, blueberries, pomegranates, dark chocolate covered raspberries, raspberry Chambord, milk chocolate, jelly doughnuts, yogurt, brown sugar, toasted rye bread with raspberry and tangerine preserves, molasses, sweetened condensed milk, clove spice and bananas.

Flavors:

Super rich Raspberries, dark fruit raisins, figs, plums, currants, prunes, cranberries, dark cherries, blueberries, pomegranates, candied sugar, burnt sugar, raspberry cheese cake, vanilla, oak, brandy, lactose milk, raspberry milkshake, rock candy, dulce de leche caramel, pecan pie, almond joy chocolate, marshmallows, tart raspberry skins, kiwi fruit, strawberries, capirotada bread pudding with raspberries, sweetened condensed milk, clove spice, bananas, dark chocolate covered raspberries, raspberry Chambord, milk chocolate, jelly doughnuts, yogurt, brown sugar, toasted rye bread with raspberry and tangerine preserves, molasses, leathery notes, Belgian candi sugar, crème brulee, honey, dark candi sugar, floral hibiscus, dried stone fruit peaches and strawberry shortcake.

Aftertaste:

Finishing with a rich tart and sweet raspberry marmalade, complex dark fruits, stone fruits, dulce de leche caramel, brandy, oak, chocolate, candi sugar, pecan pie, clove hints and bananas. Slight boozyness in the taste not detracting from the flavors of the beer. Dark brown full body, syrupy, smooth and velvety mouthfeel along with a sipping drinkability.

Overall:

Reminiscent of one of my favorite raspberry beers, Dogfish Head Forte, this is definitely up there with one of the best raspberry beers I have ever had. From the Ragging Passion Lactus Raspear Dragons I made to even the basic Raspberry brown I have had, the use of Raspberries in a quad and especially made with Mikkeller brewing processes, it makes this beer super ridiculously awesome. Now if this was ever barrel aged, it would have to become a bucket lister as it is already going into that bucket lister category anyways. I definitely will recommend you try this one if you love fruit beers and Belgian Quadrupels.

Anime Corner:

Jinx from Teen Titans was used in this pairing as I wanted to go with the colors of raspberry but also the whole aspect of cloaks as it relates to both monks and witches. Quads are mainly a Belgian Abbey or Trappist monk beers but even since the origins of beer, witches have been the ones making beer since the old days. Anyways, I figure since Jinx kind has that witch look about her, she was perfect to go with this beer pairing in my mind.
13510778_10103365160318710_7057546960350670943_n

Sources:
http://i.imgur.com/YcWbpop.jpg

http://cdn.9cloud.us/images/Zego21/209/lusciousnet_lusciousnet_6c82ac64168fcf7e3f4c8073d8af0_647951920.png

https://66.media.tumblr.com/1d69616164fafc5d0db21a7da7f6a4f0/tumblr_nv1gcn3ghL1qfh7p5o1_1280.jpg

St. Bernardus Abt 12 Oak Aged by Brouwerij St. Bernardus

1979163_10102669026925610_227415077313366870_oRating: 7/5 * A bucket list beer, just saying 😛

St. Bernardus Abt 12 Oak Aged by Brouwerij St. Bernardus is an 11% ABV Belgian Quadrupel Aged in Oak Calvados (Apple Brandy) Barrels

Label:
Brewery St. Bernardus was founded in 1946 in Watou, Province of West Flanders in Belgium.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 is Brewery St. Bernardus’ flagship and is considered as one the best beers in the world. The Abt 12 is brewed following the original recipe from 1946.

This St. Bernardus Abt 12 Oak Aged is brewed using the same recipe and then matured for 6 months in oak Calvados barrels before it is bottle coditioned. This maturation in oak kegs gives the beer a deeper and richer taste, leaving the palate remarkbly satisfied and thirsty for more.

“Bringing Heavenly nectar within reach”

Serve this noble and wonderfully balanced brown ale at 53-56° F in a goblet glass to best enjoy its delicate bouquet.

==Introduction==

Never did I ever think that St. Bernardus would step up their game and release a barrel aged version of their Quad. Not just any barrel either, but the Calvados Apple Brandy barrel. Beers that usually are aged in these barrel jump 100 times the price of the original beer. Good thing this one just doubled the price. By that I mean it is still pricey as hell ranging anywhere from 25-30$ for a 750ml bottle. I didn’t care. I just just didn’t care as unlike any beer from the past, the St. Bernardus is a beer that always held a special place in my heart as it was my favorite when I first started trying different beers as early as 2010 and to this day I can always go back and say it is still my favorite despite the fact that there are others like the Weekday Bruery beers that are levels above it, it still don’t matter. Even after trying the Heady Toppers, the Dark Lords, even the Westvleteren 12… still didn’t matter… Abt 12 was my beer along with Trois Pistoles and Three Philosophers and others… So you can see the fact that this exist must be testament to my resolve not only as a reviewer but for myself and what I truly love and even to my first quadruple that I personally made… Cheers from this is like Cheers of the Heavens!

Aromas:
Rich Dulce de leche caramel Apple pie, Brandy oak, vanilla, Goat milk caramel, marshmallows, Dark fruit plums, raisins, prunes, cherries, figs, dates, wine grapes, raspberry chambord, tamarind, stone fruit peaches, apricots, peach cobbler, mango, pie crust, Dark Candi sugars, Belgian Bread, Danish cream, Rock Candy, figgy pudding, piloncillo sugar cone,Bananas, plantains, clove spice, bubble gum notes, raisin bread pudding, rice pudding, cinnamon, flan, Mexican sweetened condensed milk, Red Apples, Golden Apples, Caramel apples, hazelnut nectar, pecan pie, cherry pie and burnt brown sugar.

Flavors:
Dulce de leche caramel, Goat milk Caramel, piloncillo sugar cone, vanilla, oak, marshmallows, Dark fruit plums, raisins, prunes, cherries, figs, dates, wine grapes, raspberry chambord, tamarind, Bananas, plantains, clove spice, bubble gum notes, raisin bread pudding, rice pudding, cinnamon, flan, Mexican sweetened condensed milk, Red Apples, Golden Apples, Caramel apples, Brandy, Port wine, chardonay, stone fruit peaches, apricots, peach cobbler, pie crust, hazelnut nectar, pecan pie, cherry pie, dragon fruit, passion fruit, old mangoes, honey dew melon, butterscotch, chocolate notes, tangerine preserves, tobacco, leather, anise, grilled funnel caramel cake, Dark Candi sugars, Belgian Bread, Danish cream, Rock Candy, figgy pudding, Rich caramel Apple Pie goodness with vanilla cake and more.

Aftertaste:
Lingering Apple Pie, dark fruits, stone fruits, dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, flan, sweetened condensed milk, Apple brandy, port wine, Danish cream, leather, rye and mild chocolate lingers. No alcohol in the taste, smooth, silky, syrupy and creamy mouthfeel, Dark Golden Brown medium body and a moderate to sipping drinkability.

Overall:
No surprise why this version of one of my favorite (commonly available) beers in the world is simply another one I needed to add to my bucket list of beers. The original St. Bernardus was my inspiration for making the original quad I made a couple of months back as it was one of my favorites in the world while started trying different craft beers along with Trois Pistoles, Three Philosphers and many delicious others. This version is something that really took it above the heaven into that “Ambrosia of the Gods” status. I really didn’t care about the price, I really wanted to bring this one for a review ever since its announcement and I finally did it! I think the whole Calvados/Apple Brandy aspect is what really did it here taking this liquid caramel into an Apple Pie beer goodness. Who knows what will happen to this in … 15 years!

Anime Corner:
Temari Sabakuno from Naruto, Kos-Mos from Xenosaga, Ryuko Matoi from Kill La Kill, Yoruichi Shihouin from Bleach as being my favorite anime characters always get the best pairings in some of the beers I truly feel are deserving of that ‘Heavenly and Godly Ambrosia’ Liquid status as with many of the beers I have tried, I have used them in the previous St. Bernardus Abt 12 review except with the introduction of my recent favorite girl, Ryuko Matoi. Like I said before, the original version of this beer was my world favorite, my desire, my love and passion that became my favorite style of beer and today, the fruit of my labor with my homebrew ‘Las Quad-tro Monjas’. Yes indeed, I don’t have to explain much about this and long time readers can already infer why I choose them. The greatest of the greats.

System of a Stout by Beachwood brewing

10556441_10101935648057740_6808822718300916755_n 10532943_10101935649380090_6744576644527777012_nRating: 5.75/5

System of a Stout by Beachwood brewing is an 11.2% ABV World Class Armenian Imperial Stout aged in oak brandy barrels.

Label:
System of a Stout incorporates the ingredients of a traditional cup of Armenian-style coffee: cardamom, molasses, and a massive infusion of coffee from our good friends at Portola Coffee Lab in Costa Mesa, CA. This robust and flavorful brew is then oak aged, adding even more layers of complexity. Enjoy fresh or cellar at 45-55°.
___

What a beer, named after the System of a Down in reference to being a beer made in the Armenian style of coffee. Definitely traveled far and wide to Long Beach California where I had to pick this one up before it was gone. That and the fact that the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals and Anime Expo in downtown Los Angeles were going on all at the same time. That day was totally worth it and the fact that I was able to bring this for a review for you may hopefully make you decide to seek this one out for yourself. Let us see why this one is so, ‘World Class’!

Aromas:
Immediate rush of dark and rich espresso coffee fragrances, dark chocolate, dark fruit notes, molasses, brown sugar, dulce de leche caramel, cinnamon, flan hints, oak, brandy, dark cherries, chocolate cake, bananas, flan, almonds, pecan pie and vanilla ice cream.

Flavors:
Rich Dark Espresso coffee, Vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, oak, brandy, dark cherries, toffee, rye, earthy hop notes, dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, milk chocolate, rocky road ice cream, cinnamon, brown sugar, dark fruits like raisins and plums, cardamom spice, molasses, anise, pecan pie, flan, almonds, banana and chocolate cake.

Aftertaste:
Lingering coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, oak, brandy, cherry hints and earthy spicy notes. No alcohol in the taste, drinks smooth yet syrupy mouthfeel. Dark full body with no trace of light in site.

Overall:
Exceptionally awesome! This is my favorite beer from Beachwood so far aside from the Mrs. Stoutfire collaboration they did with the Bruery. This beer is pretty close to Mocha Wednesday but misses the super complexity of that one. It is way delicious and up there with the greatest of the the great and the Brandy oak aging definitely takes it to that next level. I highly recommend getting this one as it is freaking amazing and close to one of the best coffee stouts in the world for sure!

Anime Corner:
Ellie from the Last of Us and Marceline from Adventure Time were used in this pairing for many reasons involving the dark aspects of the flavors and tribute to System of a Down. In the art work from Ellie it actually reminds me of the song B.Y.O.B video where it shows an army of soldiers in suits marching forward. The soldiers in the artwork you can say represent those soldiers from the video. The Marceline artwork just represent overall rock and basically the darkness of this beer and System of a Down as a Rock Band.

Sources:
http://artgerm.deviantart.com/art/Marceline-466739861
http://blogs-images.forbes.com/andyrobertson/files/2014/05/The-Last-of-Us-concept-art.jpg
System of a Down: B.Y.O B https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUzd9KyIDrM

Brandy Barrel Bois (5th Anniversary ale) by The Bruery

10154900_10101867879731010_6459360768481902051_nRating: 6/5

Brandy Barrel Bois (5th Anniversary ale) by The Bruery is a 15% ABV World Class Old Ale aged in Brandy Barrels.

Commercial Description:
The traditional fifth anniversary gift is something made of wood, or “Bois” in French.

Bois is our fifth anniversary ale, loosely brewed in the English-style Old Ale tradition using our house Belgian yeast strain and then blended using the solera method. A portion of each of our anniversary ales is saved in our barrels and blended in with the next year’s production, providing more complexity and depth of character that comes with age. Layered with complex flavors of dark fruit,vanilla, oak, and burnt sugar, Bois is a robust ale, surely the perfect beer to mark this major milestone.

This variant of the Bruery’s 5th anniversary beer has been sitting around for about a year aging. This variant is aged in Brandy barrels, the whole dynamics of the original Bois are either enlightened more or possibly stays just as delicious as when I first tried Bois last year. So here it is, Brandy Barrel aged Bois for your reading pleasure.

Here is the original review of the Bourbon Barrel one: (https://brewerianimelogs.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/bois-5th-anniversary-by-the-bruery/)

Aromas:
Rich dark fruits, dates, bananas, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, toasted coconut, dark chocolate, pecan pie, cherry cordial, dark cherry ice cream, vanilla ice cream, Flan, crème brulee, Tres Leches, wine grapes, brandy, oak, apples, Leche Nestle sweetened condensed milk, toffee, marshmallows, brown sugar, raspberries, maple, molasses, sherry and port wine.

Flavors:
More dark fruit like prunes, raisins and figs forward than the original, brandy barrel, wine grapes, raspberries, cherry cordial chocolates, oak, apples, Tres Leches, dulce de leche caramel, marshmallows, toffee, coconut, macaroons, apples, dark cherry yogurt hints, flan, vanilla ice cream, dark cherry ice cream, crème brulee, wine grapes, port wine, sherry, molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, leather, black berries and blueberries.

Aftertaste:
The Brandy with the wine like tangy notes linger along with the sweet caramel, flan, vanilla, dark cherry, coconut hints, and chocolate port linger for a little but dry up. No alcohol in the taste. Smooth yet sipping beer. Full to syrupy mouth feel.

Overall:
Simply outstanding!! Somehow, Brandy always something very amazing to beers that Bourbon does not. Each spirit barrel adds an additional component that really makes the beers vary. With Bois, it is like taking an already over the top beer and modifying it into new ways it was maybe never meant to go before. This one I got directly from the Bruery. If you go there, you should definitely get this one, I highly recommend it!!

Anime Corner:
Rei Ayanami was used in last year’s Bois and I brought Asuka Langley Sohryu Shikinami from the previous beer (Fruet) to represent the addition of the Brandy barrel to Bois. They are from Neon Genesis Evangelion. In this picture they sit holding each other like really close friends. They are both very powerful in the series. The addition of brandy adds more fruit to the beer, like in the Fruet represented by Asuka. Her colors also represent the Red Wax addition to Bois.

Sources:
http://i.imgur.com/1fkIfXE.jpg

Sexy Betty by Nebraska Brewing

1471826_10101542532604260_786362468_n 1424582_10101542532998470_1049321028_n 1460225_10101542533148170_2067768172_nRating: 5.4/5

Sexy Betty by Nebraska Brewing is a 10% ABV Russian Imperial Stout aged in 50 year old American Brandy Barrels

Label:
A sweet nose greets the adventurous in this marriage of our Black Betty Russian Imperial Stout and 50 year old American Brandy barrels. An elegantly pleasant surprise wakes the palate which migrates from a hint of Brandy into the wonderfully lingering roasted malt character.
___

This is the first time I try a beer from Nebraska brewing. One of the main reasons is because they are pretty pricey brewery. Lots of the beer sold ranging into $20 or more per bottle. Since I have always over looked them, I decided to pick one up to see how worth the money they are. When looking t the label, I realized why they are so expensive. Aging beer in 50 year old barrels is no joke. That has got to be a very delicate process. This beer came out last year as the Inception series #3 which was aged in cognac, but this year, in brandy barrels, 

Aromas:
Roasted coffee, earthy hops, dark chocolate, like Old Rasputin, oak, vanilla, licorice, molasses, vanilla, light toffee, light marshmallows and rich dark fruits

Flavors:
The flavors are a lot like Old Rasputin if it was aged in Brandy, dark fruit, cherries, raisins, grape notes, plums, dark chocolate, roasted coffee, earthy hops, mocha and Kahlua. As it warms up there are underlying tropical fruit hints, bakers chocolate, flan, crème brulee, caramel, vanilla, oak, raisin bread pudding, figs, dark cherry yogurt hints, port wine notes and raspberry Chambord hints.

Aftertaste:
The sweet dark fruits, dark chocolate, brandy and coffee linger for a bit in the aftertaste. A sipper for sure but the best part is that you cannot taste the alcohol

Overall:
It is a great beer. Just let it warm up to the proper temperature and then you will see what the 50 year old Brandy really has to offer, lots of magic!! At first it was more like Old Rasputin, then, it changed and became more pleasant and delicious. Would I recommend this? Only if you can afford it really. If you cannot there are some other, and to a very good extent, Imperial Russian stouts that scream epic and exceed expectations more than this one. Although, this one is freaking great and worth trying even if once. So there you have it, expensive but it will be your choice, take her or leave her. Although she is calling your name 

Anime Corner:
Meiya Mitsurugi from the series Muv luv Alternative Total Eclipse is used in this pairing to show some of the label colors. The strength of the 50 year old Brandy and the ABV can be best represented by her armor, weapon and strength. The colors of her armor and looks also compliment the label. She is a Sexy looking girl in cybernetic armor.  If that still did not compliment the Sexy Betty part, I added Evelynn from League of Legends to compliment more.

Figgy Pudding (2 year aged) by Block 15 brewing

1460991_10101539123790550_1482820932_n1424532_10101540492447750_1758508559_nRating: 5.75/5

Figgy Pudding (2 year aged) by Block 15 brewing is an 11% ABV English Strong Ale brewed with molasses and matured in Brandy Barrels with figs and spice

Label: 
Our holiday offering brewed with English pale and specialty malts and molasses. Matured in freshly emptied brandy barrels and conditioned with mission figs. Gently spiced with the world’s finest Ceylon cinnamon and whole nutmeg. ‘Now, bring us some figgy pudding!’ the carolers demand. We are pretty sure this ale is what they mean though you will will want to keep some for yourself.

Our brewers are dedicated in bringing beer enthusiasts traditional, unique, and challenging bottle conditioned ales brewed with the finest ingredients from our region and around the world. Drop by our brewpub and enjoy over 13 hand crafted ales and lagers in our historic downtown location. View our bottle our aging journal , real-time tap list, menus, and events at Block15.com
___

As the Christmas song goes, wishing people a Merry Christmas then goes to saying, bring some Figgy Pudding and a cup of good cheer! I think this beer suffices as to everything that is Christmas. I was able to find this beer online at mybeercellar.com. If you are lucky, you will find it for a good price. Yes, it is quite the pricey one, but in order to bring forth what this beer is like, some chances are taken. So think of it as a gift from me to you. If you like the beer review, then seek it.

Aromas:
Rich reminiscence of the Lost Abbey’s Sede Vacante, Brandy, vanilla, prunes, rich figs, raisins, sugar plums, nutmeg, fruit cake, cinnamon, ginger bread, apples, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, cherries, black berry preserves on rye bread, hazelnut notes and oak

Flavors:
Rich Raisins, Figs, Plums, prunes, Brandy, dark cherries, chocolate notes, caramel, oak, vanilla, rich fruit cake, toffee, cherries, red velvet cake, apples, apricot, butterscotch, blackberry preserves, ginger bread, cinnamon, apples, pear notes, nutmeg, molasses, rye bread, raisin bread pudding, pecan pie notes, wine like sangria and communion wine

Aftertaste:
The aftertaste is rich with raisins, caramel, raisin bread pudding, fruit cake, oak and some brandy hints . There is no alcohol present in the taste from what I can tell. It is a big sipper never the less.

Overall:
Exceptionally awesome. Reminded me a lot of the Lost Abbey Sede Vacante in the flavor and smell. The only difference is that it was not as strong or super complex as that one but anything that can match it close enough is definitely worth the extra credit and my attention. If you can find this one, give it a try. It sure is cellaring pretty nicely and the 11% ABV is hard to find. If this is true Christmas in a bottle then they did a damn good job of representing it

Anime Corner:
Ignis from Jingai Makyou is used in this pairing to represent a more laid back feel to sitting down and enjoying a glass of ale. Although, even if it looks like wine, the glass she is drinking could be represented by figgy pudding as some of the brandy and rich flavors do also include some wine and dark fruit characters. She fits the label perfectly as the person on the label and her raise the glass to toast the holidays. The strength in the alcohol comes in her strength of fighting demons. She is a kind and friendly woman which is represented in the sweet figgy and dark fruit flavors. Are there any other things you can find from this pairing?

Firestone XVII Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker

1477982_10101531821254890_1963810206_n 1472989_10101531821145110_108429905_n 1470280_10101531821185030_808038373_n 579314_10101531821195010_287334108_nRating: 5.79/5* (Just like last years version, more difficult to explain. Strategy guide included)

Firestone XVII Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker is a 13.3% ABV Strong Multi-liquor Barrel Aged Style Hybrid Blend Ale

Description: 
“We blended together 220 oak barrels and seven different beers creating something truly complex and exceptional.” – Brewmaster Matt Brynildson
Bravo / Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels / 30% of Final Blend
-Imperial Brown Ale

Sticky Monkey / Aged in Bourbon and Whiskey Barrels / 25% of Final Blend
-English Barley Wine Brewed with Mexican Turbinado (brown) Sugar

Velvet Merkin / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 15% of Final Blend
-Traditional Oatmeal Stout

Parabola / Aged in Bourbon Barrels / 15% of Final Blend
-Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout

Double DBA / Aged in retired Firestone Union Barrels / 8% of Final Blend
-Double strength English Pale Ale

Helldorado / Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels / 4% of Final Blend
-Blonde Barley Wine Brewed with Buckwheat Honey

Wookey Jack / 100% Stainless Steel / 3% of Final Blend
-Black Rye India Pale Ale

XVII ABV: 13.3%
___

This year’s batch is very special using. The strategy guide is even longer since they had winemakers assist with the project to get the right types of blends in constructing this beer. Holy shit is all I can say about the information of how much work and effort it took to make this. 

Aromas:
Chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, brandy, port wine notes, dark cherry, raspberry, coconut, oak, caramel, toffee, oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies, banana notes, marshmallow, rocky road ice cream, Mexican piloncillo, pecans, hazelnut, raisin bread chocolate pudding, flan, bourbon, rich brandy, candied apples, smoked wood, hint of tropics but very small and other complex fragrances. Crazy part is that it kept changing as the beer got warmer. 

Flavors:
Big Vanilla, toasted coconut, almond joy, toffee, caramel, dark chocolate, espresso, Barley wine, rye bread, flan, hazelnut, pecan pie whiskey, brandy, bourbon, chocolate, rich chocolate chip cookies on rocky road ice cream with cherries, strawberries, hazelnut, ferro rocher chocolate, pecan pie, special oak wood, oatmeal, maple, peach notes, pear, anise, mint, rich rye bread, butterscotch, brown sugar, marshmallows, tropical notes as it got warmer, and lots of other complex flavors. Damn, I ran out of lives, gonna have to start at the last save point.

Aftertaste:
Finishing off with like nice chocolate, port wine, maple syrupy notes, dark fruit oatmeal chocolate chips, marshmallows and oaky vanilla. Boozy notes here an there but everything plays well with the flavors

Overall:
Every year much more complex, much more exceptional. Does it beat out it’s predecessor XVI? Well, yes and no. By that I mean, let is age for a while. You see, the early XVI did not but damn, XVI 1 year later was doing complex virtuoso rock solos around my palette. Do not let that fool you though finding the complexities is difficult even if you have Tequila added like when XVI had PNC, “holy shit nice” is what I was tasting. Parabola by itself wins over all of them only because of the extra chocolate push into into the 6/5 range for extra credit for me. XVII was able to get super close to XVI 1 year later and actually beat the younger age one especially because of the Velvet Merkin complexities to have a hug back up. Magic maybe the bloodstream of the universe like Merkin is the bloodstream of this powerhouse beer. Longer strategy guide and all, this beer still kicking your ass .

Anime Corner:
Yui Takamura from the series Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipe is used in this pairing to show the hard work and dedication that was used to make this beer. Also, the colors of her armor are close to the colors of the beer label and box. Along with her companions, they represent the selections of individual beers that were selected in order to bring this beer blend into fruition. The colors may also be used to represent the dark fruit flavors, brandy, bourbon, chocolate and others. The Strength of the alcohol and the hard work are also represented by the Bushido code she follows as a samurai.

Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine by Almanac Brewing

IMAG5181Rating: 5.4/5

Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine by Almanac Brewing is a 12% ABV Barleywine brewed 50% with pumpkins aged in Brandy Barrels and 50% brewed with spices.

Label: 
This is a beer made with real pumpkins. We hand-roasted over 500lbs of heirloom pumpkins from La Tercera Farms in Bodega Bay. The caramelized gourds were then added to our velvety American Barleywine and aged in brandy barrels for a year. Finally, we blended the barrel-aged beer with freshly brewed ale and added a delicate hint of pumpkin pie spices to round out this decadent autumn sipper.
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Another fine pick up from Ramirez Liquor in Boyle Heights. This came out recently but it may not last long. This is quite the conundrum of a beer. I have had pumpkin ale hybrids, like pumpkin porters, stouts, barrel aged pumpkin beers and even a pumpkin lambic. Never, have I seen a pumpkin barley wine. The should make this in a 22oz bottle instead. Oh well.

Aromas are of pumpkin in a lot of rye bread, candied sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, toffee, pumpkin pie, brandy, toasted barley, ginger bread, caramel, banana, cloves, oak, apricot, coriander, orange, honey, molasses and oatmeal. It smells very good. Almost like the Surly Seviin.

Flavors are of pumpkin, pumpkin flesh, pumpkin seeds, ginger, brandy, candied sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, toffee, pumpkin pie, rye bread, toasted barley, banana, phenol yeast, cloves, ginger bread, coriander, Candied oranges, dried apricots, oak, oatmeal, maple, pecans, molasses, sweet yams, apples, apple pie, brown sugar, pecan pie and Tamed Bastard (Arrogant Bastard with Apple Cider)

Aftertaste is of rye bread, caramel, maple, pumpkin pie and pecans. A sipping bear with the alcohol present but not too crazy harsh.

Overall, it was definitely an unexpectedly very delicious beer. It is definitely like if they took Seviin and brewed it with pumpkins. Freaking delicious rye, caramel, brandy, spicy pumpkin tasting beer. A definite second place to Rumpkin so far this year. While I do believe the barrel aging or hybridism of the styles with pumpkin may outclass the average pumpkin beer, let us not forget, the reason they are higher than the average pumpkin beer is because of that help. If we take a look at regular pumpkin beers, I still think, Good Gourd, La Parcela, Smashed Pumpkins and Pumpkins are still the winners of originality. Anyways, this incredibly delicious Pumpkin Barleywine is a must get an a very delicious one at that.

Capricho Oscuro Batch 5 by Cigar City Brewing

1383159_10101428773358700_1514628837_nRating: 6/5

Capricho Oscuro Batch 5 by Cigar City Brewing is a ??% ABV World Class American Strong Ale

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION (Ratebeer.com)
This beer is a blend of at least five different beers, including Hot Blooded Foreign Stout, Puppy’s Breath Robust Porter, and several vintages of Warmer Winter Winter Warmer. These beers were aged in some cognac and brandy barrels before being blended together.
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Hard to come by, looked and looked for this piece of barrel aged treasure all over. Hard to get. Impossibly rare? Maybe, not as much as other but still it was hard to come by. This beer seems very good but very evil and mysterious. Without an ABV to gauge it, I am pretty much lost in the dark as to how strong this one is that it is kind of scary. Perfect art pairing with Majora from Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask. Anyway, if you manage to find this one, choose wisely.

Aromas are of rich dark fruits like raisins, prunes, figs, dates, dark cherries, raspberries, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, toasted hazelnuts, pecans, coconuts, vanilla, cognac, brandy, notes of Hunnapu like the spiciness of it, caramel flan, chocolate cake, dessert wine, port wine, rocky road ice cream, almond joy and maple

The flavors are of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, brandy, cognac, dark cherries, raisins, figs, prunes, toasted coconut, hazelnuts, pecan pie, flan, port wine, rocky road ice cream notes, almond joy notes, caramel, vanilla, toffee, raspberries, maple, molasses, anise, slight smokiness, leather, tobacco, bourbon, Cordial Cherries and chocolate covered raspberries

The aftertaste is pretty complex leaving trails of sweet caramel, chocolate, oak, brandy, cognac, dark fruits and a bit of port wine. This beer is a definite sipper. The alcohol is noticeable but very pleasant and warming. The alcohol only brings the rich flavors above and it is nothing harsh. 

Overall this is an amazingly delicious beer, exceeding exceptions. I cannot guess the ABV from the taste which is scary but also good that it comes in a small bottle to sample. Definitely like some of the best beers in the world. Close to Melange 3, close to Black Tuesday, Grey Monday and even some of the other Bruery anniversary ales. What can I say about CCB, other than it is “The Bruery of the East Coast” making some of the best beers in the world possible like many champions. If you can find this, definitely get it.

Holy Sheet Heavy Seas Uncharted Series 2013 by Clipper City Brewing

934683_10101327425635350_1681737459_n 999123_10101327426977660_1777526877_n 1098173_10101327426463690_1603637619_n 543858_10101327426423770_332987039_nRating: 5/5

Holy Sheet Heavy Seas Uncharted Series 2013 by Clipper City Brewing is a 9% ABV Belgian Abbey Dubbel aged in Brady Barrels

Label: 
Rich, complex and unique. Abbey style ales are transcendent, and ours stands proudly in the ranks. Aged in brandy barrels, Holy Sheet is a mahogany ale brewed with Belgian Abbey yeast, candi sucre, and unique crystal malts. Rounded, spicy caramel flavors mixed with vinous notes and oak overtones, this ale pairs well with quiet contemplation…

Uncharted Waters explores the unique changes that happen to beer when exposed to wood. Each beer showcases a robust style, carefully matched with a wood treatment to showcase a range of complex flavors. Vintage dating encourages further exploration on the aging process. As much about the voyage as the destination we hope you enjoy these beers in the spirit in which they were brewed.
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Been looking for this beer since I first heard of it. It was not an easy find at all since many of the Heave Seas Beers aren’t normally sold around in the west coast. Thank goodness for online stores.

Aromas are of dark fruits and caramel like cherries, raisins, figs, dates, grapes, preserves, some vanilla and toffee notes, apple, white wine notes, banana, coconut, brandy, oak, rye and biscuit bread.

Flavors are of coconut, dark cherry preserves, rich dulce de leche caramel spread on raisin bread pudding, biscuit, vanilla, toffee, raisins, dates, figs, oak, brandy, candi sugars, banana phenolic notes, marshmallows, grapes, minor white wine notes and chocolate on rye bread

The aftertaste leave sweet and slightly boozy but not too boozy. This works very well as the alcohol is hardly present overall and is very pleasant. This makes it quite the moderately drinkable beer at that.

Overall Holy Shit I mean Sheet is very fucking delicious. This is my second Heavy Seas beer and already I love the beers I have reviewed so far. Definitely recommended for those that love Barrel Aged beers but also Belgian beers.