2015 F.U.N Series No. 012 Trigavé by Karbach brewing

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Rating: 6/6

2015 F.U.N Series No. 012 Trigavé by Karbach brewing is a 10% ABV Belgian Tripel aged in pre-red wine aged Tequila Barrels.

Label:
What exactly is Trigavé? This elixir is unlike anything else you might have tried before. So unique that that real words simply cannot describe. Trigavé is what happens when the trinity of wine, ale and spirits collide.

This Belgian-style Tripel was aged for 6 months in Extra Añejo barrels which, prior to the spirit, held red wine from Napa Valley. Spicy phenolics from Belgian yeast meld together with a distinct Americna oak profile. Golden in color with aromatics of fruit, tequila and a touch of honey, this ale is a luxurious as it is complex. Enjoy in a tulip or snifter style glass at 45-50°F.”

==Introduction==

14566215_10103598638900760_319928908110719238_o
A special tequila barrel aged brew straight out of Texas. Thanks to my friend Aaron Mendiola of BeerMetalDude.com for sending me this one. The reason I get to bring you guys great beers from Texas breweries such as Karbach is because of him. I don’t think I have seen any of their stuff outside of Texas and every time I try their stuff, thanks to Aaron, it is always awesome. They really know how to make great beers. Especially their barrel aged ones. This one today is one that is aged using wine and tequila in different phases using a Belgian Tripel as its base. Using a combination of wine, spirits and ale usually brings out a very special summon of an alcohol beverage like none other. Let’s see how this one is. Cheers!

Aromas:
Citrus blossom honey, agave nectar, tequila, oak, chardonay, cherries, wine grapes, bananas, clove spice, tropical fruit guava, pineapple, papaya, lychee fruit, dragon fruit, passion fruit, cane sugar, stone fruit peach, apricot, mango, floral notes of lavender, hibiscus, chamomile, bubblegum, sweetened condensed milk, flan, biscuit bread, rich wafflecone, Belgian waffles, vanilla and caramel.

Flavors:
Rich honey, waffle cone, agave nectar, Sangria, wine grapes, stone fruit peach, apricot, mango, floral notes of lavender, hibiscus, bananas, clove spice, grilled plantains, phenolic notes, tropical fruit guava, pineapple, papaya, lychee fruit , dragon fruit, passion fruit, cane sugar, oak, tequila, mezcal, mazapan, oranges, tangerines, vanilla, bubblegum, sweetened condensed milk, flan, biscuit bread, raw as the sun orange juice, pears, sour apples, chamomile, dulce de leche caramel, rock candy, Belgian clear candi sugar, salty notes, limes, limeade, lemon peel, cherries, champagne, and concorde grapes,

Aftertaste:
Finishes with rich notes of agave, honey, waffle cone, tequila, wine, chardonay, stone fruit, honeysuckle, peppercorn, flowers, vanilla, caramel, oranges and tropical fruit. No alcohol in the taste despite the ABV strength, Golden light body, smooth, silky, creamy, velvety and refreshing mouthfeel with a moderate to sipping drinkability.

Overall:
I’m a sucker for Tequila barrel aged beers and this one went into another level with the barrels being previously aged in wine. You really want be careful not to drink the whole bottle on one chug. This one is so damn worthy though. So much honey, agave, sangria like notes, stone fruits, tequila, grapes and much much more. I feel despite its strength in terms of ABV and not its taste, I could drink this all day. Although I would be one very hammered person. Regardless to say, this one is a very huge recommendation from me if you can get it.
14543818_10103598638875810_2717735078319259142_o
Anime Corner:
Celes Chere from Final Fantasy 6 (FF3 in the U.S.) was used in this pairing to get close to the colors of the label but also the colors of the Agave plant and the origin of Tequila. I have not used Celes in a beer for a while so the timing was damn right and I felt that this would be the right choice. Celes was a very important character that helped saved the world after Kefka dropped an entire continent back down onto earth almost killing the population. Celes was there to rise up to the challenge, searched for her friends and together they all defeated evil. It was a great story and this beer just being that awesome complements her in so many ways.

Sources:
http://pds26.egloos.com/pds/201508/27/61/d0052261_55decf644cd2c.jpg
http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=14354115
http://fdzeta.com/data/MetaMirrorCache/_data___celes_chere_final_fantasy_and_final_fantasy_vi_drawn_bb59076609d7f7a5080af75a56ee51ab0.jpg

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Tropical Platypus by Almanac Brewing

13559112_10103365060887970_4783664572929258138_oRating: 5.5/6

Tropical Platypus by Almanac Brewing is 6% ABV American Wild Ale Dry-Hopped Sour Ale Aged in Wine Barrels with Kiwi, Mango, Lime and Passion Fruit.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION

This special tropical ale is brewed in celebration of City Beer Store’s 10th Anniversary. Inspired by their adorable Platypus mascot, this equatorial sour blonde ale is aged in used wine barrels and oak foeders with an array of tropical fruits. We selected barrels with fruit-forward characters, and amplified those notes with the addition of kiwi, mango, lime and passionfruit. We tied the whole blend together with the addition of aromatic Galaxy hops from New Zealand. The finished beer is a tropical explosion, worthy of our duck-billed inspiration. Pair with celebratory anniversaries, pupu platters and white sand beaches.

When Almanac was in its infancy, City Beer Store was already a craft beer institution in San Francisco. They constantly fought for the craft beer industry and provided a home for new breweries looking to make a mark. In fact, they were the first to sell Almanac’s beer. This beer honors 10 years of providing a home for craft beer.

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==Introduction==

Obtained this one from Craftshack.com along with other great beers. This one intrigued me because I made a tropical IPA with similar ingredients and trying this may give me an incite as to what to expect. The brew is a small bottle as with many of Almanacs delicious beers but with that being said, I will be taking my time analyze this one as I do with others but more importantly, try to take some flavors that may relate to my homebrew that will be ready in sometime in July 2016. The mix of fruits sounds so damn delicious but as a sour, I will have to see if it can compare to other sours I have had in the past. Let’s take a look. Cheers!

Aromas:

Tropical fruit kiwi, pineapple, mango, guava, dragon fruit, margarita notes, lime peel, lemons, limes, white wine grapes, passion fruit, stone fruit peaches, apricots, banana hints, clove hints, coriander hints, vanilla, oak, floral hop notes, lavender, cane sugar, chardonnay, peppercorn and wine grapes.

Flavors:

Rich Stone fruit peaches, apricots, sour apples, tropical fruit kiwi, pineapple, mango, passion fruit, dragon fruit, margarita notes, lime peel, lemons, limes, white wine grapes, concorde grapes, chardonay, peppercorns, waffle cone, cranberries, dark cherries, citrus, grapefruit, grassy, mild pine, floral and earthy hops, tangerine gummies, vanilla, oak, caramel, banana hints, clove hints, coriander hints, lavender, hibiscus hints, guavas.

Aftertaste:

Finishes dry with minor hints of tropics, limes, lemons, stone fruit, wine grapes, grapefruit, citrus and dank hops and sour funky notes. No alcohol in the taste. Hazy Pale Straw body, Crisp, refreshing and effervescent mouth feel with an easy drinkability.

Overall:

A very awesome and very exceptional sour showcasing so much tropical goodness. This is one of the best sours up there with the great ones I really love. The beer does shows a lot of flavors which I would definitely wanna see in my beer as it is supposed to be a tropical fruit IPA. However, this being a sour and oak aged is super well balanced and made. The balance of tart and sweet comes together very nicely. I highly recommend it if you love sours and especially dry hopped tropical sours.
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Anime Corner:

Marino from Megaman X Command Mission was chosen in this pairing as I could not find a platypus but her colors represent all the tropical flavors of the beer. Even though she is not a platypus, her hair is long like the platypus tail and the holder that holds her sword is almost like a platypus bill. It is a stretch but I think the pairing works well.

Sources:
http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/12/127136/1753558-marino_perspective_cged_by_liline.png

http://img00.deviantart.net/09ea/i/2014/289/8/8/marino_by_wing_maiden-d830zf1.jpg

http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb209/redninja4/Megaman/1234659355039.jpg

Points Unknown IPA collaboration by Stone, Ecliptic and Wicked Weed brewing companies

10842149_10102637064628310_7666711505277713039_oRating: 5.25/5

Points Unknown IPA collaboration by Stone, Ecliptic and Wicked Weed brewing companies is a 9.5% ABV Double India Pale Ale blended with a Belgian Tripel that was aged in barrels that had wine and then had tequila in them for 4 months.

Label:
In creating our latest collaboration beer, It wasn’t easy deciding how best to pool the resources of brewers from three spatially distant points within the brewing universe: Portland, Oregon brewing legend and Ecliptic Brewing founder John Danis, and Luke and Walt Dickinson, the hop-and-funk brewmaster duo behind Asheville, North Carolina’s Wicked Weed Brewing. It seemed no single beer could adequately convey all that they and Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele bring to the brewhouse. So, this veritable triad of power opted to brew TWO beers: a traditional Belgian-style tripel and a West Coast imperial IPA. Doing so allowed them to work within the parameters of all styles while taking things in interesting directions, adding a touch of Southern Califomia style and petting into the spirit! The tripel was transferred into barrels that originally housed red wine before finding a second life as vessels for aging tequila. Four months later,that beer was excavated, then blended at a one-fifth to four-fifths ratio with the freshly brewed double IPA to create the beer you now hold: a hind of the traditional and the new, presenting a variety of diverse flavors that coalesce into something more unique than any one beer our trio could have conceived. Its eventual flavors were a mystery to even the group of master brewers who created it, but now they await the palates of those thirsting to venture to points unknown within the rapidly expanding craft beer galaxy. In other words: You.

“It’s been sweet to work with these fine brewers and take this beer out of sight!”
John Harris // Founder & Brewmaster, Ecliptic Brewing Co.

“Creativity is at the core of how my brother and I approach craft beer John and Mitch have been laying this foundation for years, and getting the chance to work with them has been truly inspirational.”
Walt Dickinson // Co-Founder & Brewer, Wicked Weed Brewing

“What a great experience, combining two of my favorite beer styles while brewing with two of my favorite breweries!”
Mitch Steele // Brewmaster, Stone Brewing Co.

==Introduction==

Another interesting release that will see national distribution. Based on the information given, this is probably some IPA that came by to visit this reality from like the 9th dimension of craft beer existence. It really intrigued me especially since it is a Belgian Tripel IPA but also aged in wine and Tequila. Go figure the complexity. Either way, Lets hope we can make it back to this reality at hand as it seems this buzz trip is headed where no palates have gone before. It’s On! Cheers!

Aromas:
Citrus, phenolic, Belgian candi sugar, grapefruit, herbal, grassy and floral hops, Peppercorns, wine, tequila, mezcal hints, stone fruits like peaches, apricots, mango hints, exotic fruits like passion and dragon, oak , vanilla, caramel, strawberries, caramel, vanilla, lemon peel, pear, honey dew and Danish cream.

Flavors:
Citrus, grapefruit, herbal, grassy and floral hops, Peppercorns, Wine grapes, tequila mezcal hints, oak, Belgian Candi sugar, Stone fruit peaches, apricots, mango hints, dragon fruit, passion fruit, apples, starburst candy, caramel, vanilla, lemon peel, pear, peaches, banana notes, pineapple, honey dew melon, biscuit bread, honey, raspberries, strawberries, white grapes, Danish cream, bubble gum, rum hints, clove spice and tangerines.

Aftertaste:
Tequila mezcal, sangria hints, wine hints, citrus, stone fruit peaches, herbal and floral hops peppercorns and candi sugar linger. No alcohol in the taste, golden brown clear body, moderate to sipping drinkability, crisp, refreshing smooth yet creamy.

Overall:
An exceptional IPA that pretty much takes what you believe an IPA should be (Hoppy) and turns it into so many different flavors that it is all over the and yet supremely enjoyable and reminding you that the hops it does have are different for sure. It seems to be more of a tripel than it is an IPA but still an IPA and the Tequila and Wine…. damn it was a mission to cover this beer. Very enjoyable and something beyond a regular IPA. Find this one!

Anime Corner:
Hikoujouki, Senkanseiki and Wo-Class from Kancolle/ Kantai Collection were used in this pairing as the points unknown as not only represent three freaky creatures but also the colors work with the beer artwork. First, the girl on the left is Ecliptic as her hair curves with the phases of the moon. Stone in the back with the girl having horns is synonymous of Stone’s gargoyle and finally, Wicked Weed on the right having a big bug. Bugs live in weeds. Anyways, they are wicked (As in Awesome). Yeah they totally look like they aren’t of this world, complimenting the beer perfectly.

Sources:
http://e-shuushuu.net/image/?image_id=621596

2014 Black Xantus by Humboldt Brewing

11080913_10102466688727980_8375289657211814382_n 11083643_10102466689281870_2841524481416130756_n 11053261_10102466690105220_3833739091349103959_oRating: 6/5

2014 Black Xantus ((SPECIAL BIRTHDAY REVIEW)) by Humboldt Brewing is an 11% ABV Imperial Stout brewed with Mexican Jobella Coffee Beans and aged in Bourbon and Wine oak barrels.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION:
Black Xantus is a rare bird and the first new release from Nectar Ales in Years. It is the First ever “big-beer” to be released under the Nectar Ales line. Barrel aged for 6 months in combination of Bourbon, retired Firestone Union and wine barrels and Infused with fair-trade, organic coffee from local roaster Jobella. Rich bourbon and coffee aromas greet the senses. Complex chocolate and tobacco flavors fill the palate. This beer displays a full-bodied mouth-feel and an overall balanced presentation. It would be a perfect pairing to rich chocolate desserts.
Style: Imperial Java Stout IBUs: 50 Color: Black ABV: 11%

==Introduction==

As with my birthday from last year, I saved a newer bottle of Black Xantus jut for the occasion. Black Xantus is one of my favorite beers that got me into trying different craft beers. I would explain the story behind this beer but it is better explained in my last years birthday review: https://animebeers.com/2014/03/22/2010-black-xantus-special-birthday-re-review-by-humboldt-brewing-brewed-at-firestone-walker/ . So rather than break down into details, let us see what the 2014 version of one of my most favorite beers has turned out to be. Another birthday has come and hope for many years of anime beers! Cheers!

Aromas:
Rich dark fruits like dark cherries, raisins, plums, blackberries, Rich mocha coffee, dulce de leche caramel, coconut, vanilla, oak bourbon, flan, choco flan, dark chocolate, Kahlua, roasty notes, milkshake, port wine notes, hazelnut, marshmallow smores, fudge cake, rocky road ice cream, sweetened condensed milk on bananas, pecan pie, brown sugars, chocolate chip cookies and almond joy.

Flavors:
Rich Black Cherries, Black Cherry yogurt, dark fruits like raisins, plums, dates, blackberries, Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate milk shake,roasted coffee grains, mocha, espresso, chocolate abuelita hints, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dulce de leche caramel, port wine, coconut, marshmallows, graham crackers, roasted coffee grains, mocha, espresso, chocolate abuelita hints, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dulce de leche caramel, port wine, coconut, marshmallows, graham crackers, molasses. Sweetened condensed milk, Tres Leches cake, anise and mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Aftertaste:
Dark fruits linger along with roasted coffee mocha, vanilla, dulce de leche, flan, bourbon, Black cherry yogurt, dark chocolate and an earthy like finish. No alcohol in the taste even if 11% ABV. Smooth, creamy, syrupy and silky mouthfeel, pitch black Center of a Black Hole dark body and sipping drinkability.

Overall:
Should already be in the World Class category! Next to the best coffee beers in the world, this is outstanding and in many categories, simply dominating. This beer can age forever or drink fresh. It seems fresh you get more of the fresh cherry and chocolate forward while the older version is more dark fruit and oak goodness. With its new label, still the same Black Xantus that I fell for long long ago. These are the types of beers I always go back to, like Trois Pistoles and St. Bernardus Abt 12. Also, this is was beer that made start doing anime beer pairings so if the crazy idea didn’t come from taking pictures, I probably wouldn’t be writing about anime and beers in general. Well, hope we have many more pairings and many more years to go. Cheers everyone!

Anime Corner:
Asmodeus from Shinrabansho is the daughter of Asutarotto from that same card series. Though she may be a demon, she is of pure heart, but though evil women be, this can be said for even the utmost good. She was used in the first pairing of art work that made me try out different beers. Her main relation to Black Xantus has to do with her colors which pair with the Black Xantus background of the Blue Moon and the blue night sky. Xantus, being the humming bird, she rises to impart the great flavors of complex dark fruits, cherries, coffee, chocolate, bourbon and more into the beer. In this pairing she is kicking back and relaxing. That is pretty much what happens after 4 years of just laying down. She gazes into the soul of those who court her and while she may seem seductive and sweet in nature (Like a Rose which the Xantus drinks) she will bring forth a dangerous smite! But… only because she loves you… So basically, be careful with Asmodeus, take her in a sip at a time and don’t take her head on, cuz she may come back with vengeance. Cheers!

Sources:
http://asset-7.soup.io/asset/7112/6946_709f_960.png
http://pic02.nijie.info/nijie_picture/140_20121031015616.jpg

Endymion by Freetail Brewing

10983555_10102420651886180_1051554185873177108_oRating: 5.35/5

Endymion by Freetail Brewing is an 8.2% ABV American Wild Ale aged in Wine Barrels.

Label:
In Greek mythology, Endymion was an astronomer who Pliney the Elder (the man, not the beer) credits as the first human to observe the movements of the moon. As the lover and companion of Selene, the goddess of the moon. Endymion was granted eternal sleep as to never age or die. In the same spirit we have created this wild ale, made from a pseudo-Solera process in which a barrel is never completely emptied, but rather topped off with fresh base beer whenever aged beer is extracted. While constantly evolving, the resulting blend is one that is granted in its own eternal sleep so it may live forever.

==Introduction==

Sent to me thanks to my friend Aaron Mendiola of www.beermetaldude.com. This is the second Wine barrel aged beer that I received from my friend along with Makaria. This one is not so much evil but emphasizes the ale to live forever. Freetail makes some really good beers from the many I have tried. Makaria was a similar beer to what this may turn out be. So let us see how different this one is. Cheers!

Aromas:
Lots of Dark fruits like dark cherries, raisins, prunes, strawberries, raspberries, musty wine grape notes, oak, hibiscus flowers, lavender, yogurt, vanilla, dulce de leche caramel, pecan pie, blueberry muffins, flan hints, grape jelly, Guava hints, mango hints, molasses, leather and brown sugar.

Flavors:
Tart Dark Cherries, Rich Dark fruits like raisins, prunes, currants, dark chocolate notes, strawberries, slight wine grape notes, raspberries, vanilla, raspberry yogurt, oak, funky must hints, farmhouse hints, lemon peel, orange, hibiscus flowers, lavender, molasses, pecan pie, blueberry muffins, flan notes, guava notes, mango notes, grape jelly on rye bread, sourdough bread, concorde grapes, raspberry cheesecake, strawberry preserves, leather, brown sugar and candi sugar.

Aftertaste:
Lots of dark cherry, tart raspberries, earthy notes, flowers, oak, musty notes, wine grapes and tropical fruit hints. No alcohol in the taste, a dark body, moderate drinkability and moderate mouthfeel.

Overall:
A very delicious sour like Makaria but I think a slight nudge better since this one had more fruity flavors that worked well with the tart sour. While Makaria had a great amount of other complexities, this one has a fruitier complexity. They both have their own differences and the best part is trying to find out which one is better. You might like this one or the other better but either way, they are both great!

Anime Corner:
Remilia Scarlet from the Touhou Project was used in this pairing just like Makaria but as you can see, she is not the same person. Like the story of Endymion, Scarlet represents here the movement of the stars and moon (Seen on the wingd and the skeleton represents the death that never took place which granted Emdymion life eternal. The colors work well with the label and the representation of the dark fruits as well.

Sources:
http://anime-pictures.net/pictures/get_image/344783-1983×1000-touhou-remilia+scarlet-stari+%28artist%29-single-short+hair-wide+image.jpg

Makaria by Freetail Brewing

1911202_10102418552792780_1817744933193795030_oRating: 5.25/5

Makaria by Freetail Brewing is a 5.7% ABV American Wild Ale aged in Wine Barrels.

Label:
Makaria is the daughter of Hades and represents a merciful death as opposed to one of misery and utter destruction. This black wild ale shares its genesis with#Ananke, a sour-mashed witbier left to evolve in a wooden tomb. This batch was brewed on Christmas Eve 2013 for release the following spring on Ananke Day 2014. Thank you all for your support of over the years and we look forward to the next step in our barrel program’s evolution at the new brewery.

==Introduction==

An awesome thank you for my friend Aaron Mendiola of www.beermetaldude.com for providing this my way for the site. Many of the Freetail beers I have had before have been super awesome an wonderful. From La Muerta to Old Bat Rastard. They are some of the best beers out there in Texas. This one along with Endymion were given to me to show on the website for review. Specifically for Makaria, I will later see how it compares to Endymion. Cheers!

Aromas:
Dark fruit raisins, figs, plums, plums, currants, tart raspberries, wine grapes, coffee, black tea, brettanomyces, stone fruit apricots, peach skins, tart cherries, funky must, rye bread, strawberry notes, oak, flowers, earthy notes, berry yogurt, vinegary notes, lemon peel, farmhouse hints, coriander, brown sugar, chocolate notes and lavender.

Flavors:
Tart raspberries, tart dark cherry skins, Dark fruit raisins, currants, plums, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, tart wine grapes, funky must, coriander, farmhouse, lots of the oak barrel, lemon peel, berry yogurt, rye bread, strawberry cheese cake, earthy notes, flowers, concorde grapes, lavender, port wine, molasses, dark chocolate, milk chocolate hints, strawberry notes, blueberry muffins and pecan pie hints.

Aftertaste:
Good amount of dark tart fruits, oak, musty notes, floral hints, hibiscus flowers and earthy notes. No alcohol in the taste, a dark body, moderate mouth feel and a moderate drinkability.

Overall:
A very deliciously awesome sour having a lot of tart notes and complexity than overall sweetness. This beer reminds me of a sour with lots of complexity like tart of darkness or in some cases, some of the Jolly Pumpkin beers. This one is definitely for the sour beer lovers for sure. If you like sours, this one is great!

Anime Corner:
Remilia Scarlet from the Touhou Project was used in this pairing since I wanted to fit something that defines the description in the label. Evil and tart, sour but delicious. The aspect of Hades, swift and merciful death instead of agonizing is one that is delivered in this case. The art pairs great with the bats, the colors of the flavor profiles and complexity of the beer. An in your face tart experience that is sweet and forgiving.

Sources:
http://media.animevice.com/uploads/3/39328/764098-touhou_remilia_scarlet_anime_wide.jpg

2014 Reserve Mirror Mirror by Deschutes Brewing

10246499_10101827664822010_2300171710950327608_nRating: 5.85/5

2014 Reserve Mirror Mirror by Deschutes Brewing is an 11.2% ABV World Class English Barleywine with 50% aged in wine barrels.

Label:
The Reserve Series romance all began with our first release of this limited-edition brew. Mirror Mirror, born of a double batch of Mirror Pond Pale Ale, is an inspired, barrel-aged barley wine layered with intriguing nuances. Explore this latest incarnation and enjoy its delicious complexity in every sip.

Malt: Pale, Victory, Crystal, Maris Otter, Cara-Pils
Hops: Millennium, Cascade
Barrel-Aging: (50%) 10 Months in Oregon Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, and Malbec Barrels
___

Picked this one up at Uncle Henry’s deli. I have been passing this one up for the longest time and after trying the NOT the Stoic, I wanted to see what this one was all about as I heard great things about this one. Pick this one up if you can find it. Deschutes makes some bad ass beers that are very coveted. Like I said, I missed this one by like a sliver and lucky for me Uncle Henry’s in Downey California had this one in stock.

Aromas:
Dulce de leche caramel, dark fruit raisins, figs, plums, cherries, toffee, molasses, maple, earthy notes, oak, port wine, old mango, leather, anise, blackberry and grape preserves, dark chocolate notes, vanilla and cinnamon grilled apples.

Flavors:
Lots of dark fruit raisins, figs, cherries, plums, lots dulce de leche caramel, oak, wine grapes, earthy hop notes, papaya, grilled pineapple,coconut, old mangoes, papaya, dragon fruits, molasses, grape marmalade of rye bread, toffee, grapefruit, butterscotch, clove spice, brown sugar, cinnamon apple pie, pecan pie, pralines, maple syrup and French vanilla ice cream.

Aftertaste:
Earthy hops, rye bread, grape marmalade, leather notes, oak, caramel, toffee, dark fruits and maple lingers but then has a semi dry finish. Well hidden alcohol, none in the taste, a sipping yet smooth beer. Syrupy and deadly!

Overall:
Well…Damn…. Needless to say, this is pretty damn fantastic. It is definitely on top notch with some of the best Barleywines in the world. The addition of the wine barrel aging gives this one a semi barrel age feel that is freaking delicious and is responsible for that semi dry finish. Now you are drinking a closer to wine beer. Highly recommended for those that can find this beauty.

Anime Corner:
Reaper Angel original artwork by artist unknown (Please let me know who this belongs to) was used in this review to show case the aspect of mirror mirror. Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all. Beauty is only skin deep and this pairing goes to show that no matter how beautiful one is on the outside, it is what is on the inside that counts. We all have to answer to the reaper in the end and the duality of the beer making half be aged in wine barrels is showcased by the reaper side. So either way, enjoy life, take it one step at a time, have some beers and realize that perspective of the world can be an interesting when you look at both sides of the coin.

2010 Black Xantus ((SPECIAL BIRTHDAY RE-REVIEW)) by Humboldt Brewing, brewed at Firestone Walker

10013941_10101721214614080_1221267500_n
10151411_10101721219968350_1741906109_nRating: 6/5* One of my first gateway beers, certainly one of my top favorites. 

2010 Black Xantus ((SPECIAL BIRTHDAY RE-REVIEW)) by Humboldt Brewing, brewed at Firestone Walker, is an 11% ABV Imperial Stout brewed with Mexican Jobella Coffee Beans and aged in Bourbon and Wine barrels. Cellared for 4 years.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION:
Black Xantus is a rare bird and the first new release from Nectar Ales in Years. It is the First ever “big-beer” to be released under the Nectar Ales line. Barrel aged for 6 months in combination of Bourbon, retired Firestone Union and wine barrels and Infused with fair-trade, organic coffee from local roaster Jobella. Rich bourbon and coffee aromas greet the senses. Complex chocolate and tobacco flavors fill the palate. This beer displays a full-bodied mouth-feel and an overall balanced presentation. It would be a perfect pairing to rich chocolate desserts. 
Style: Imperial Java Stout IBUs: 50 Color: Black ABV: 11%
___

Today is my birthday and as a special treat, I wanted to do a re-review the first blog post I did long ago. Black Xantus is one of my favorite beers that got me into trying different craft beers (Aside from Lost Abbey and Arrogant Bastard) and was one which also got me into collecting beer labels. The first time I tried it was Christmas eve in 2010 after I had saved the this beer for about 1 year and was one that was told to be paired with chocolate dessert. I had saved it in remembrance of my departed mother. Back then when I tried it, it was so damn rich and paired so well with chocolate cheesecake that I knocked out for a bit. Even before the days of Black Tuesdays, Grey Mondays, super barrel aged chocolate beers, this one was one of my special ones. Hence the reason it sits to this day in the center of my beer bottle collection in the wall. I did not know much about barrel aged beers back then but after trying so many different beers but this was still my most favorite. So today, I bring here a bottle, aged for 4 years, to remember my mom and the day she gave birth to me. Today I am 31 years old, the age at which my mom had me. So bringing this beer out makes this even more the special occasion. 

Cheers!!

Aromas:
Rich coffee mocha, dulce de leche caramel, coconut, dark cherries, dark raisins, plums, blackberries, vanilla, oak bourbon, flan, choco flan, dark chocolate, milkshake, port wine notes, hazelnut, marshmallow smores, fudge cake, rocky road ice cream, sweetened condensed milk on bananas, pecan pie, brown sugars, chocolate chip cookies, Kahlua, roasty notes and almond joy. 

Flavors:
Cherries, Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate milk shake, roasted coffee grains, mocha, espresso, chocolate abuelita hints, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dulce de leche caramel, port wine, coconut, marshmallows, graham crackers, dark fruits like dark cherries, raisins, plums, choco flan, crème brulee, hazelnut nectar, pecan pie, rocky road ice cream, sweetened condensed milk, almond joy, banana notes, reminiscent of chocolate cheesecake, fudge cake, Kahlua, brown sugar and mild anise.

Aftertaste:
Roasty coffee lingers along with the sweet vanilla and caramel bourbon with the cherry and chocolate and finishing earthiness. No alcohol in the despite this thing is probably at 15% ABV after 4 years. A sense of smoothness with a sipping quality a thick almost syrupy mouth feel. Excellent!

Overall:
Right next to Mocha Wednesday is what this is, one of the best mocha chocolate coffee beers out there. After 4 years, it still grew into some great complex stuff. There was no doubt in my mind why this was my favorite in 2010 and the other years I tried it and certainly no doubt why even today, it doesn’t fail to amaze me. Sometimes, when it comes to beers, it is always best to remember where you started. I started trying different beers back then and if it wasn’t for this and beers like Trois Pistoles and St. Bernardus 12abt, I might as well have missed out on Beer, the lost treasure of taste and art!!

Anime Corner:
Asmodeus from Shinrabansho is the daughter of Asutarotto from that same card series. Though she may be a demon, she is of pure heart, but though evil women be, this can be said for even the utmost good. She was used in the first pairing of art work that made me try out different beers. Her main relation to Black Xantus has to do with her colors which pair with the Black Xantus background of the Blue Moon and the blue night sky. Xantus, being the humming bird, she rises to impart the great flavors of complex dark fruits, cherries, coffee, chocolate, bourbon and more into the beer. In this pairing she is kicking back and relaxing. That is pretty much what happens after 4 years of just laying down. She gazes into the soul of those who court her and while she may seem seductive and sweet in nature (Like a Rose which the Xantus drinks) she will bring forth a dangerous smite! But… only because she loves you… So basically, be careful with Asmodeus, take her in a sip at a time and don’t take her head on, cuz after 4 years she may come back with vengeance. Cheers!

Dulcis Succubus by Le Trou Du Diable

64860_10101284538940630_830920379_n 943629_10101284537972570_671423545_n 74650_10101284541340820_893619856_n 1001522_10101284539793920_1115042580_nRating: 5/5

Dulcis Succubus by Le Trou Du Diable of Canada is a 7% ABV Saison/Wild Farmhouse Ale aged in Wine Barrels

Label: 
The beer is fermented with wild yeast and aged for six months in French oak barrels that previously held botrytized California white wine, creating a complex aroma of honey, vanilla, apricot and leather. The abundant flavor is bittersweet with notes of peach and American hops. Carpe fermentum!
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Translated as Sweet Succubus by The Devil’s Hole Brewing is a beer that was not easy to find. Had to place myself on a waiting list. I guess people do seek this one. Right now, Klwines.com has this one for a hefty price, however, if you love sours and saisons or even wine, this might be up your alley. Carpe fermentum!? = Seize the beer 

Aromas of funky funky bready yeast with wine and grape must fragrances came out of the bottle. Other notes I gathered were of vanilla, peach, oak, good fancy cheese, earthy and floral hops, pepper corn, honey, apple, pineapple and cider.

The flavors a lot like that of the Jolly Pumpkin but mainly like the Saisons from Fantome in Belgium. Flavors are of Honey, biscuits, lemon peel, white wine, vanilla oak, peach, apricot, wine grapes, dessert wine, floral and earthy hops, spices like coriander, peppercorns, lemons, leather, apples, biscuit bread and some nice fancy cheese.

Leaves like a nice fancy cheese aftertaste. Not bad at all. We are dealing with “living” brettanomyces in the beer afterall. Love these living ales. The sourness does not come in as strong. There is a good amount of funkyness and some sourness to make it appealing but also giving way to sweeter flavor with some hop bitterness. Overall it is really funky and reminiscent of those great saisons from Stillwater and Fantome. Hell even some of the Stone aged beers might be similar. Awesome stuff. I would think that this would fit the bill as a during dinner or after dinner type of beer. Wine aged beers seem that way 

All these fancy wine aged beers have something in comparison. They give off this funky cheese notes, even if minor. This is very good stuff though. Here is how I would compare this beer to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Etm-qfx3Gok 

Before I forget, the label was an awesome design made by aditya777 (http://aditya777.deviantart.com/art/Succubus-156780762 )

Cheers 😀

Ichigo Highway Collaboration by The Bruery and Hangar 24

553030_10101141403914370_1642886230_n 417922_10101141398265690_237214155_nRating: 4.6/5

Ichigo Highway Collaboration by The Bruery and Hangar 24 is a 5.5% ABV American Wild Red Ale aged in red wine barrels with strawberries.

Label: 
The Bruery & Hangar 24 are divided by the 15 Highway, but brought together by a shared love of experimental brews. Ichigo, meaning both “strawberry” and the numbers 1 and 5 in Japanese, is a complex, sour red ale aged with strawberries picked from the fields next to Hangar 24’s brewery. Ichigo Highway is best enjoyed fresh due to the fleeting aroma and flavor of strawberries. Best stored and cellared around 55 degrees F (13 degrees C). Ideal serving temperature is 50 degress F (10 degrees C). Best served in a tulip or wine glass.

DESCRIPTION:
Ichigo Highway is a collaborative beer that we created with Hangar 24 Brewing from Redlands, CA. The base style is a sessionable sour red ale that we aged in oak barrels along with a whopping amount of strawberries, most of which were picked from the fields besides Hangar 24’s brewery. Aged for approximately 8 months, this beer has developed a pleasant funk and a delightful acidity that is balanced by the intensely sweet aroma and flavor of the strawberries as well as a unique dryness achieved by using a sake yeast along with our house strain along with souring bacteria. Available in November. 5.5% ABV, Best enjoyed fresh due to the fleeting aroma and flavor of the strawberries
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Being an anime fan and a big fan of the show “Bleach”, I anticipated this review for a long time ago since the beer released way back when. A very hard to find beer unless you are a member of the Reserve or Hoarders Society. I was able to trade for this brew in order to bring Ichigo, the shinigami here to the stage. One of the things to note about the fragrances about this beer, is that there is alof of strong ripe strawberry aromas but also the grape wine aromas are there too as well as this sugary scent of strawberry preserves. You can also sense the funkyness and citrus like many sour beers. Some grapefruit, apricots, apples and cinnamon as well. While still tart and sour to the smell, it is also very floral too. Like hibiscus and roses. The flavors are very much sour as expected. A ton of bitter ripe strawberries, apricot, apples, sour wine grapes, lemon, grapefruit, slight cinnamon spice, wine oak funkyness, and a bit of sake and tea like flavors . You will only like this beer if you enjoy sours, let’s put it that way. I happen to enjoy some sour beers like Jolly pumpkin for example. The sweeter flavors actually start to come out as the beer warms up. Yep, aside from the name being Ichigo, if you do not like sours even if your a fan of the “Bleach” show, you may not like this one. Which then I assume that only people that like sours will like this one. It is a very good sour. It happens to be a bonus for me as I enjoy craft beers, sours, anime and “Bleach” 8)

Bran Reserva by Birrificio Grado Plato Montigioco

546426_10100965798843340_465557322_nRating: 5/5

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

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

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