Sunday, 31 December 2006

Review: Saxo

Saxo from Brasserie Caracole
Rating: B+

Appearance: Pours light golden in color, huge white head that sticks around for a long time. Some lacing. Cute label.

Smell: Lots of Belgian yeast aroma, with citrus, some spice and fruit. Rather more citrusy than other BPAs.

Taste: Much like the aroma. For an 8% beer the alcohol is fairly well hidden. A bit rough around the edges, rather more "in your face" than others.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, carbonation on the high side.

Drinkability: Okay, but not quite "good" - glad I split the bottle. La Fin or Duvel win out any day.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-31-2006 19:33:10

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Review: The Czar

The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
Rating: B+

Appearance: Poured out of a bottle indicating 2006 production. Very dark, with purple highlights. Some head, with limited retention and lacing.

Smell: Dark fruits, alcohol, a bit of molasses or caramel, maybe. A bit medicinal, however.

Taste: Slightly medicinal with some anise notes. Alcohol is present, but I wouldn't have guessed over 12%. Dark fruits and some spicy hops.

Mouthfeel: A big bodied beer. Carbonation on the lighter side, as expected in the style.

Drinkability: Good, but I think would probably benefit from cellaring. I dislike anise and liquorice, and I found those flavors present here. Maybe next time I'll set a bottle away instead of drinking immediately, and see if those fade with age.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-28-2006 23:48:39

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Review: Organic Münster Alt

Organic Münster Alt from Brauerei Pinkus Mueller
Rating: B-

Interesting... Definitely not what I was expecting, from beginning to end.

Appearance: Color is lighter than I expect in an alt, more of a gold or straw than the amber to dark brown specified on the style page. Somewhat hazy. Good head and some lacing.

Smell: Grainy, citric, with some ale fruitiness. Not as much malt, and not as mellow as I'd expected...

Taste: Grainy, acidic citrus, not as highly hopped as the last alt I had.. Some fruitiness. Nothing in the way of caramel malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: Acidic, on the lighter side.

Drinkability: This seems like a weird altbier to me... Acidity seemed a little much and hurts drinkability. Not bad, but I won't buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-20-2006 21:49:35

Saturday, 16 December 2006

Review: Fresh Hop Pale Ale

Fresh Hop Pale Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
Rating: A

This is one delicious beer. I've been wanting to try a harvest ale for a while, and it didn't disappoint.

Appearance: Looks like the kind of color you expect from an APA or IPA , a rich coppery orange color with a good head that thanks to lots of hops leaves lots of lacing.

Smell: Hops hops and more hops - the fresh kind, resiny and oily. Very intense and lasting - can't wait to taste!

Taste: Taste is a bit surprising. With the huge hop aroma, I was expecting something more bitter, but checking the label I see this is only 55 IBU's - an APA, not an IPA then. For what it is, absolutely delicious. Tons of hop flavor, but well balanced. I wouldn't have minded some more bitterness, but I can't possibly complain about what I got. Not harsh at all, intensely flavorful.

Mouthfeel: Hop flavor sticks to the inside of your mouth. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: I could drink this all night. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-16-2006 19:19:45

Review: Midas Touch Golden Elixir

Midas Touch Golden Elixir from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Rating: B-

This is an odd beer...

Appearance: Described as "Ayers rock"-colored, slightly hazy. Nice head and some lacing. This is the most normal part of this beer...

Smell: Has a very different aroma. There's a character there that's very tough to describe. Honey and vinuous grapes are present in the nose, but there's something else in the background - maybe that's the saffron?

Taste: Again, very different. Almost savory on some level - again, perhaps the saffron? Honey and fruity grapes again... Not much in the way of hops, which I guess is no surprise.

Mouthfeel: Good, no complaints at all.

Drinkability: Maybe I'd grow used to it after a couple more bottles, but too different to want to buy again. Glad I've tried it, though!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-16-2006 19:12:55

Friday, 15 December 2006

Review: Wild Hop Organic Amber Lager

Wild Hop Organic Amber Lager from Green Valley Brewing Company (Crooked Creek)
Rating: C+

My dad picked this up thinking he had something new and interesting on his hands - I felt bad telling him it was an AB product and that I'd heard it wasn't too good... Tricky tricky, the label even says Green Valley is based in California, not St. Louis. That said, I'm NOT an across the board BMC hater - if they brew something good, I will gladly buy it without worrying how it affects the "craft beer scene" - ultimately, people buying good beer is good for craft beer, no matter who makes it. Anyway...

Appearance: Golden honey color, two finger head, actually leaves some lacing. Not bad looking at all. A little on the light side for a Vienna lager perhaps?

Smell: Aroma is... almost totally absent. Very mild, what is there suggests sweetness. Definitely a lager yeast.

Taste: Nothing objectionable, but bland. Not enough flavor! Some toasted malt that's pleasant, mildly hopped, not wildly.

Mouthfeel: No complaints regarding carbonation or mouthfeel. Seem right for the style.

Drinkability: As my dad put it: "expensive football beer." It's not bad, and it goes down easy like you might want a beer to while you're watching football, but for the amount you're paying, buy something with flavor. Luckily, the juicy steak we ate with this had enough flavor to compensate!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-15-2006 01:25:17

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Review: St. Bernardus Prior 8

St. Bernardus Prior 8 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Rating: A-

Appearance: Kind of leathery brown in color, fair head with some good lacing. Clear.

Smell: Nutty, dark fruit, some Belgian yeast and caramel. Not as strong an aroma as I'd hoped, but might improve as it warms.

Taste: Slightly acidic, hint of bubblegum on the hint of the tongue at first but that fades quickly to other flavors. Nice and crisp. Some spice and dark fruit as well. Tasty.

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp. Carbonation on the high side.

Drinkability: Good, but not exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-13-2006 04:40:37

Monday, 11 December 2006

Review: Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Our Special Ale 2006 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
Rating: B

Appearance: Rich garnet color, impressive off-white head that leaves a good bit of lacing. Fairly clear. Unfortunately, the rest of the beer never quite lives up to its appearance in the glass.

Smell: Pine, caramel malt, roast, spice, and an herbal character that reminds me a bit of the aroma of the gruits from that brewery in Scotland.

Taste: Pine resinyness is the first thing to hit the tongue, with spices galore, a hint of anise, some roast in the finish... It seems like there's just too much going on here. Judging from the reviews, it looks like many will disagree, but I think this beer winds up seeming unfocused, like they threw a bunch of holiday-related things in hoping the flavors would jive, and they didn't quite make it. Maybe it would mellow with some age, although with an ABV of only 5.5%, it's not likely.

Mouthfeel: Big rich body, prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-11-2006 23:25:27

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Review: Bison Organic Chocolate Stout

Bison Organic Chocolate Stout from Bison Brewing Co.
Rating: B

Very dark, with some garnet and orange highlights. A rough pour produces a nice head, but pouring "properly" will produce little-to-none. Nothing in the way of lacing.

Smell: Lots of cocoa powder, with dark chocolate and coffee notes. Smells good.

Taste: Something of a let-down after the aroma. Do not serve this one cold! It will improve greatly the closer to room temperature it gets. Initially sweet chocolate up front, but then... nothing, very light flavor on the middle, before a swallow and a bitter chocolate aftertaste. As it warms, the flavor stretches out and becomes much more balanced, and other characteristics start to make themselves known, like roast and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Thinner than it needed to be, perhaps, but not bad.

Drinkability: When cold? Low. When room temp? Good. Not a chocolate beer to give to a chocolate lover and expect them to like it, though.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-07-2006 18:10:35

Friday, 1 December 2006

Review: McEwan's India Pale Ale

McEwan's India Pale Ale from Scottish Courage Ltd.
Rating: B-

Somewhat orange tinted garnet in color, very clear. Nice head and impressive lacing.

Smell: Fair bit of diacetyl in the nose. Hop character is mild and earthy. Not what I've come to expect in an IPA, but this is the British version after all.

Taste: Diacetyl is present, but not to the point of distraction. Hint of smoke, especially in the finish. Aftertaste described by a friend as vinous. Some bitterness, but not much in the way of hop flavor at all. I know not to expect lots of hops in an EIPA, but I expect more than this, at least.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than one would expect, given the amount of malt flavor present. Light-medium body, lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability: On its own, easy to drink but not exceptional and not a great example of the style. Paired with some Irish porter cheese it worked pretty well, though - keeping it gaelic here.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-01-2006 21:19:44

Thursday, 30 November 2006

Review: Santa's Private Reserve Ale

Santa's Private Reserve Ale from Rogue Ales Brewery / Brewer's on the Bay
Rating: B+

Appearance: Brownish garnet in color, pretty clear. Good head and lacing. Attractive-looking.

Smell: Aroma is hoppy at first, but after the glass has warmed it's definitely more malty, with sweet caramel and grain notes.

Taste: APA levels of hoppiness, nice malt character as well. Hops are citrusy, and a touch harsh. Finishes nice and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-body, clings to the palate.

Drinkability: Went well with a homemade chicken quesadilla (even the tortillas were homemade!)

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-30-2006 01:10:34

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Review: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery
Rating: A-

Appearance: very black in color, some head but not much in the way of lacing.

Smell: Appealing. Lots of chocolate in the nose - I think I got some up my nose I was trying to sniff so hard.

Taste: Too bitter and "not enough chocolate" for the relatives I shared it with at Thanksgiving, but their loss - it's delicious. Lots of dark chocolate flavor, some espresso in the background, and a not-insignificant amount of hops bitterness - you can tell that the bitterness comes from hops, not burnt grain, which I always appreciate.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy. Good.

Drinkability: Solid RIS, although a bit less hop character than there could be. A good dessert beer (for someone who's already a beer drinker), but not an introductory beer.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-29-2006 23:34:30

Review: Scarecrow Ale

Scarecrow Ale from Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd
Rating: C

Appearance: Paler in color than I was expecting from something classified as an English Pale Ale on BA - looks almost like a Kolsch, very golden in color. Looks very boring.

Smell: Aroma is light, hints of English hops and a little ale fruitiness, but not much. Weak.

Taste: I found this department a bit surprising - more bitter than I expected (expectations were low, granted) and with some flavor. English hops, some diacetyl, and some pear flavors present. Bitterness might be a touch harsh - perhaps because only Target (a high alpha variety) was used.

Mouthfeel: Light, but not quite to the point of watery.

Drinkability: Not bad, but either mis-classified or not to-style, in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-29-2006 06:10:18

Review: Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA

Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Rating: B

Solid example of an English IPA

Appearance: Surprisingly large quantities of floaties, despite not being particularly disturbed.

Smell & Taste: Some citrusy hops, slight diacetyl in the aroma. Flavor is along the same lines - some earthiness I associate with English ales. Not bad, and distinctly an English version of the IPA.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Medium body, slightly slick. Good drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-29-2006 04:53:48

Thursday, 9 November 2006

Review: Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel

Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel from Brasserie d'Achouffe
Rating: A

Appearance: Pale gold in color, not crystal clear but I'll attribute that to pouring into three glasses and dropping the bottle the previous day. The head is absolutely stunning. It's as if someone spooned meringue onto the beer in the glass. After finishing it, there was still another spoonful-worth of head stuck to the bottom of the glass, so sticky it wouldn't drop despite holding the glass upside down. Lacing is an understatement: there's a line of lace for every sip I took along the side of the glass. Most impressive head I've ever seen, including Duvel.

Smell: Hops and Belgian yeast, in about equal proportions. Since I love the aroma of both individually, it's no big surprise to love the combination. Hops are citrusy, yeast is... yeasty.

Taste: Triple, saison, or IPA? Much more bitter than your typical Belgian golden ale, but not AIPA levels by any stretch of the imagination. Some fruit, along with citrusy hops. The Belgian yeast plays well with the sweetness, while the hops give it enough backbone to make this one incredibly drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body, perfectly carbonated, good finish.

Drinkability: This one is a real gem. I have to brew something like this soon. Dobbelen IPA Tripel? A British ale style, with Belgian yeast, and American and Czech hops? Who'd have thought?

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-09-2006 15:24:54

Review: Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams)
Rating: B

On the whole, seems more like a doppelbock than a winter warmer.

Appearance: Beautiful garnet in color, moderate head, and little to no lacing. Points for such a nice color, though.

Smell: Very much like a doppelbock. Malty, lager-clean, with a hint of spice.

Taste: Caramel notes, some spice in the background. Doesn't taste as good as it smells. Very little in the way of hop character. Hard to pick out individual spices - restrained usage.

Mouthfeel: Good body for a lager, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Decent, but not exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-09-2006 06:02:04

Thursday, 2 November 2006

Review: Maudite

Maudite from Unibroue
Rating: A-

Appearance: Rich brown color, with some gold. Attractive one or two finger head. Fairly clear. Retention and lacing, however, are both unremarkable.

Smell: Very nice aroma: more Belgian spice than Belgian funk. Apple. Darker fruits as it warms. A hint of citrus.

Taste: Great, impressive flavor. Nice malt flavor (caramel?), apples and oranges. Distinct herbal character as well. Alcohol is very well hidden. Dry, acidic finish, almost like a dry white wine if the flavors weren't completely different - very nice.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation. Pleasant lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability: Very good drinkability, although I'd imagine the 8% abv could creep up on you.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 11-02-2006 18:32:45

Beer Store Review: Gator Beverage

Gator Beverage in Gainesville, FL
Rating: B+

This place is practically across the street from the parking lot I use to go to class every day, so it's real convenient to stop at on the way home and pick up something new.

Selection is better than anywhere else I've been in Gainesville, with the exception of Ward's. All the standards: Unibroue, Flying Dog, Sierra Nevada, full selection of Rogue, Ommegang. Some DFH, but not all, and lots of Belgians and British beers (Samuel Smith, etc.), including some gift cases: for example, the St. Bernardus pack of 4 that includes a chalice. Lots of other random stuff, as well.

The behind-the-counter help has never been particularly interested/helpful, but I've spoken to the manager a couple of times about stuff they don't have. Both times, the answer has been "if I can get it, I'll get it soon."

I did get a Saison Dupont here that I suspect might have been skunked, but since it's the only one I've had I can't be sure.

Prices are reasonable.

Reviewed on: 11-02-2006 18:43:58

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Review: Aventinus

Aventinus from Private Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH
Rating: A-

Split a bottle of this one with my dad last night.

Appearance: Nice head, tawny in color with purple highlights. Little in the way of lacing, however.

Smell: Smells like a maltier, darker hefeweizen. Bubblegum aromas in particular stood out, along with caramel malt and a bit of tanginess.

Taste: Lots of weizen-like phenolics, but enough malt character to keep them in check. Hops balance, but don't play much of a flavor role themselves. Alcohol is obviously higher than average.

Mouthfeel: Body is rather thick, along with the bubble gum flavors makes it seem a bit medicinal.

Drinkability: Good, but not exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-31-2006 19:57:52

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Review: Struis

Struis from Brouwerij 't IJ
Rating: B+

Appearance: From the uninformative label, I had no idea what this was when I poured it, and I hadn't yet checked it out on BA. Turns out to be brown/red in color with a big head and ridiculous amounts of lacing - more like sheets - clinging to the glass. Nice looking.

Smell: Aroma is of spice and dark fruits, but with a tangy, sour undertone. Reminds me a bit of a kriek lambic.

Taste: Some Belgian yeast spice, dark fruit and red grape flavors, but again with a bit of sourness as well. I really had no idea what style this was before checking on BA, other than obviously being Belgian. I'm actually curious whether my bottle might have been contaminated, since none of the other reviews mention any sourness, but it wasn't bad, so hey I'll review anyway. Whoa, this is 9% ABV??? Would not have guessed from the flavor.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Medium body, somewhat slick on the tongue. Drinkability is mediocre, though. Not something I'll pick up.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-26-2006 03:39:02

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Review: Pendle Witches Brew

Pendle Witches Brew from Moorhouse's Brewery (Burnley) Ltd
Rating: B

Appearance: Nice presentation - witch on the bottle reminds me of a homebrew label I made. Pours lighter than expected in the glass, amber with a medium head that leaves good lacing.

Smell: Aroma really draws you in to figure it out. Good amount of hop presence, with some caramel/butterscotch as well.

Taste: Good! Hoppier than I was expecting. Bready, with some caramel as well. Goldings in the finish?

Mouthfeel: A bit of diacetyl slickness, which is to be expected for the style. Good carbonation. Medium body.

Drinkability: I'd buy this - good beer, good drinkability. Diacetyl is present, but not distracting. Well-hopped, no complaints.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-24-2006 23:51:56

Review: Newcastle Brown Ale

Newcastle Brown Ale from Newcastle Breweries Ltd.
Rating: B-

Appearance: Brown, almost red in color when held up to a bright light. Nice head, some lacing.

Smell: When cold, smells strangely like a pilsner - maybe it's the hops used? When it warms, sweet molasses & caramel notes come to the forefront.

Taste: Molasses definitely the dominant flavor. Very light hop presence. Rather sweet. Alcohol comes through more than it should for the abv, but nothing objectionable.

Mouthfeel: On the thinner side of medium, carbonation good.

Drinkability: An accessible beer, especially for those with a sweet tooth, but unremarkable.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-24-2006 23:44:17

Thursday, 19 October 2006

Review: Delirium Tremens

Delirium Tremens from Brouwerij Huyghe
Rating: B+

Appearance: Pale gold in color, big head (though not as big as Duvel). Some nice lace (but again, not as nice as Duvel). I appreciated that it was served in the appropriate glass, pink elephants and all, at Stubbie in Gainesville.

Smell: Belgian yeast and spice are the dominant aromas, with fruit and alcohol playing backup.

Taste: Flavor profile is very similar to the aroma: Belgian phenolics, spice, with some malt sweetness, fruit, and alcohol warming.

Mouthfeel: Medium-body, well-carbonated.

Drinkability: Good.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-19-2006 19:08:30

Monday, 16 October 2006

Review: Catch Her In The Rye

Catch Her In The Rye from Olde Auburn Ale House
Rating: B

Garnet in appearance, small head with little retention. Aroma is fairly subdued, I was expecting more rye character. Instead I get a good bit of malt, with a touch of rye "sharpness," if that's the way to describe it. Taste is surprising, considering I was told by waitress it was "kind of like an IPA." I was expecting something like a He'brew's Lenny Bruce Double RyePA, but this is more like a brown ale with rye added. It's still good, just not what I was expecting. Well-balanced with a good amount of E.K. Goldings, but certainly not at IPA levels. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 10-15-2006 23:05:29

Sunday, 15 October 2006

Review: Wildman Steve's Hemp Ale

Wildman Steve's Hemp Ale from Olde Auburn Ale House
Rating: B-

Brown in color with a somewhat purple tint. Good, lasting head. Smells more or less like you expect a brown ale too, but earthier. Taste is malty, with enough hops to balance and an herbal finish that I'd imagine can be attributed to the hemp. I was getting some citrusy hops notes, but I was told they use E.K. Goldings. Not bad. Mouthfeel is fine. Above average drinkability. The novelty makes it worth ordering, otherwise probably a pass.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 10-15-2006 22:58:15

Thursday, 12 October 2006

Review: Alba Scots Pine Ale

Alba Scots Pine Ale from Heather Ale Ltd. / The Brewery Craigmill
Rating: B

Served as recommended, at room temperature in a goblet.

Appearance: Pours an attractive orangey-amber-garnet with a smaller than average head.

Smell: Surprisingly caramel-y, but reminiscent of the others in the set. Not as piney as I was expecting, at all. There is a bit of tingle in the nose that I can't place, and a hint of red apple.

Taste: This is the last one in the set - I'd been setting it aside because I didn't have the highest of expectations. A little pine, but not as much as I was expecting - some caramel and red apple. Drying effect from the pine needles. A cooling effect in the mouth vaguely like menthol, but then some alcohol warming as you swallow.

Mouthfeel: creamy, rather than crisp, perhaps partly attributable to serving at room temperature. Carbonation rather on the low side.

Drinkability: Probably won't be buying this one again. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't what I look for in a beer.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-12-2006 02:40:36

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Review: India Pale Ale (IPA)

India Pale Ale (IPA) from Avery Brewing Company
Rating: B+

Appearance: Nice label, with an old map on it. Pours a pale orange, perhaps a little bit lighter than expected. Head retentino is good, lacing is very good.

Smell: Citrusy hop aroma prevails, nice smelling, but not much else going on.

Taste: I wouldn't have been surprised to see this one labeled as an APA. The malt base has backbone. Hops are dominant, but not overwhelming.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: No complaints about mouthfeel, drinkability is high.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-10-2006 02:10:35

Review: Grolsch Premium Lager

Grolsch Premium Lager from Grolsche Bierbrouwerij N.V.
Rating: C+

Since this is one of my dad's preferred beers, it's shocking it has taken me so long to review it. I'm reviewing this out of the capped bottle, not the flip-top.

Appearance: Very clear, golden in color. Good head, but lacing isn't notable.

Smell: Smells like an import lager, grainy with a hint of German hops.

Taste: Crisp and bitter, I don't think it's skunked. Bitterness continues through to the aftertaste. Not much of a malt presence at all.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Not watery, but light. Good carbonation. As for drinkability, better than BMC and better than Heineken, but not great.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-10-2006 02:06:45

Review: Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen

Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen from Paulaner Salvator Thomasbraeu AG
Rating: B+

Appearance: Pours on the darker side of amber, good head. Head retention and lacing are just "okay"

Smell: Aroma is predominantly malty and toasty. The hop characteristics that come through are distinctly German.

Taste: Toasty, malty, distinctive German hop flavor. Well-balanced and smooth, tastes better than I remember. Could be a bit stronger in the flavor department, though.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, carbonation might be a bit on the low side.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable, very smooth.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-09-2006 23:56:16

Saturday, 7 October 2006

Review: St. Bernardus Tripel

St. Bernardus Tripel from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Rating: A-

This is quite a beer!

Appearance: Looks a bit like pineapple juice in the glass, not very clear and a kind of off-yellow color Good head, some lace.

Smell: Belgian smelling, good bit of phenols going on. Some alcohol present in the nose.

Taste: Very nice! Apricot, spice, and Belgian yeastiness. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, melts in your mouth.

Drinkability: I could drink this all night, if I could afford it.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-07-2006 13:34:06

Review: Colt 45 Malt Liquor

Colt 45 Malt Liquor from Pabst Brewing Company / G. Heileman Brewing Co.
Rating: C-

Drove to Georgia yesterday with some friends to buy a bunch of these, since 40's aren't sold in Florida. Am I ashamed? No, it's a football weekend.

It seems absurd to review this in the normal format though: Appearance was piss yellow, no lacing, poor retention. Smells like corn. Tastes like bitter, alcoholic corn. That said, it goes down easily enough, especially when cold. Wouldn't want to attempt the feat when it's just cool. Mouthfeel a little slick, but carbonation is good. As far as malt liquor goes, it gets a lot worse than this one here. Taking style into account, it's not bad. Overall, yes it is.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-07-2006 13:29:45

Review: Salvator Doppel Bock

Salvator Doppel Bock from Paulaner Salvator Thomasbraeu AG
Rating: A-

Appearance: Possibly the reddest-looking beer I've had. Good head with good retention and lacing. Very nice.

Smell: This is probably the weak point, if there is one. Lager yeast and not a lot of hops, so the aroma is fairly subdued. Some caramel malts, but not much.

Taste: Good bit of caramel presence. Biscuity finish that accompanies some alcohol warming. I like it. None of the smokiness of Celebrator, but I'm surprised to see they're so far apart in terms of ratings. This one is just as good, if different.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, with good carbonation.

Drinkability: This was a very good beer, I was pleased. Underrated.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-07-2006 13:23:44

Thursday, 5 October 2006

Review: Total Eclipse Black Ale

Total Eclipse Black Ale from Hoppy Brewing Co.
Rating: B

I'm over-amused by the "Hoppy Brewing Co.'s" name, here.

Appearance: Dark ruby in color, not quite opaque and fairly clear. Good bit of head that leaves nice lace.

Smell: Big roasted malt aroma. Roast, roast and more roast. Some coffee notes, too, but bordering on "burnt" Not a whole lot of complexity here.

Taste: Taste is along the same lines. Lots of coffee flavor notes, roasty, chocolate seems like it's trying to get out there but not quite managing it. Not a whole lot in the way of hop flavor. What's there isn't bad, but a little lacking in depth.

Mouthfeel: Lighter and more highly carbonated than I would have anticipated from the appearance or the taste.

Drinkability: Not bad, but not great either. Glad I split the bomber.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-05-2006 01:33:04

Review: YuleSmith

YuleSmith from AleSmith Brewing Company
Rating: A-

Appearance: A good bit of sediment floating around, but that's probably because I was trying to get every bit out of the bottle. Reddish orange in color, good two finger head that leaves exceptional lacing. Nice looking IPA!

Smell: Aroma is definitely on the sweeter side, definitely a double IPA. As far as hops go, citrus fruit aromas, but surprisingly malt sweetness seems to be in the foreground as far as aroma goes.

Taste: Big caramel taste, with lots of hops bitterness backing it up. Juicy citrus hops flavors, with a good bit of alcohol warming present as well. I think I prefer DFH 90, on the whole....

Mouthfeel: A little on the syrupy side of things, as I tend to find most DIPA's, but good. Carbonation worked well enough.

Drinkability: An excellent beer, but perhaps a tiny bit overrated. Maybe I should have waited until winter to try this holiday ale =) Thanks to intriqken for giving me the opportunity to try this one! I had really been looking forward to it!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-05-2006 01:24:32

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Review: Big Eye IPA

Big Eye IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Rating: A-

Appearance: Bright orange, pours very clear. Big rocky head with good retention that leaves a ridiculous amount of lace. Just how you expect an IPA to look.

Smell: Huge aroma I can smell from a couple of feet away. Sweet citrusy hop smells, like tangerine, apricot and pineapple. As it warms malts become more present.

Taste: Tart but fairly lifeless at first, but then a wave of bitterness washes over your mouth. Caramel sweetness. Taste is decidedly more grapefruit-y than the aroma. Slight toastiness to the finish. Finish is dry. Interesting and unique taste.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Carbonation is just on the low side of medium. As for drinkability, each component was decent, but the whole falls short, somehow.
Thanks to intriqken for shipping this one my way.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-04-2006 03:28:23

Monday, 2 October 2006

Review: Mortality Stout

Mortality Stout from ReaperAle
Rating: B+

Absolutely opaque, not a hint of light shines through. Dark head, two fingers, exceptional head and leaves exceptional lacing.

Smell: Good bit of chocolate, cafe mocha perhaps. I think there's a hint of hops in there too, but in the background. As it warms, roasty/burnt aromas come out a bit.

Taste: Lots and lots of chocolate character. Some dark fruit becomes apparent once the glass has warmed up a bit. The alcohol is well-hidden. Aftertaste seems a little watery, actually, without more of a hop presence to give it bite.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation seemed a little high at first, but halfway through the bomber was just perfect. A little thinner than I might have expected from the color of the head.

Drinkability: Good. Thanks to intriqken for the opportunity to try this one!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-01-2006 23:09:55

Review: Mocha Porter

Mocha Porter from Rogue Ales Brewery / Brewer's on the Bay
Rating: B+

Appearance: Very dark, but not quite opaque. Some ruby highlights are visible when held up to the light. Head is meager, but leaves some lace.

Smell: More hop character than typical for the style. Coffee as expected. Probably poured a little colder than I should have.

Taste: Roasty coffee and bitter chocolate flavors. Slightly burnt aftertaste. A little bit more on the burnt/bitter side than I prefer.

Mouthfeel: On the thicker side,carbonation seems a little high.

Drinkability: Good, not great.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 10-01-2006 23:00:04

Friday, 29 September 2006

Review: Anchor Liberty Ale

Anchor Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company
Rating: A-

Appearance: Pale amber in color, good head with some lacing.

Smell: Crisp smelling, good hint of hops.

Taste: Lighter on the hops than many APA's, but it works very nicely.

Mouthfeel &
Drinkability: Crisp, with a light body. Good mouthfeel. Drinkability is high. Good session beer.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-29-2006 02:21:30

Review: Fuller's London Porter

Fuller's London Porter from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Rating: B+

Appearance: Mahogany brown in the glass, good head and lacing.

Smell: Molasses and brown sugar in the nose. I had a bad experience with an awful molasses-y beer recently, but the brown sugar is alluring.

Taste: Good bit of molasses flavor, with a distinct mocha finish. Very little in the way of hops character.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Mouthfeel is a little on the rich side. Drinkability is limited for the same reason. I liked it, but I have to call it overrated.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-29-2006 02:16:24

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Review: Hopsickle Imperial India Pale Ale

Hopsickle Imperial India Pale Ale from Moylan's Brewery
Rating: A-

Thanks to intriqken for sending me this one in a trade.

Appearance: A very nice looking beer, the color is a peach-tinted orange, clear, with a nice head and lacing.

Smell: As soon as the first drop hits the bottom of the glass, the aroma permeates the room. Lots of citrusy hops characfter in this one (the label cites Cascade and Centennial), but there's also an underlying DIPA malt sweetness.

Taste: Hop character isn't *quite* as strong as I anticipated it to be, given the aroma, but still very tasty. The middle is sweet and juicy, exactly the kind of malt profile you expect in a DIPA. Didn't improve with warming up in my hand. The sweetness was a little much, but the nice finish makes up for it.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Slightly syrupy, good carbonation. Drinkability is good, but not exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-26-2006 13:44:04

Monday, 25 September 2006

Review: Raison D'etre

Raison D'etre from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Rating: B

Appearance: Smaller than expected head that disappeared rapidly. Just on the red side of cola in the color.

Smell: Raisin and caramel malts, with some alcohol presence. Not the distinctive Belgian yeast aroma that I was expecting.

Taste: There's a lot going on, on the palate, but whether there's a rhyme or reason to it isn't clear. Caramel/toffee at the front, Belgian sugar in the middle. A hint of raisin throughout, but not the same dark fruitiness that I expect in the style. Finishes dry, despite the sweet-ish flavors that predominate. Good for what it is, but not as Belgian-tasting as I had expected.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, carbonation on the low side.

Drinkability: Goes down surprisingly well for the alcohol content. As another reviewer put it, this is definitely an "off-centred ale." I kind of wish I'd gotten a single instead of a sixer, though.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-25-2006 22:58:06

Review: Hurricane Reef Pale Ale

Hurricane Reef Pale Ale from Florida Beer Company
Rating: B

Apearance: Orange amber color with a smallish white head that exhibits nice lacing. Carbonation seems to fade quickly.

Smell: Fairly mild aroma, maybe it needs to warm up... Even after warming, there's just not much there.

Taste: Crisp fruit flavors, very clean. Somewhat soapy. Hops are understated for an APA. Finishes dry.

Mouthfeel: Crisp is definitely the word. Body is on the lighter side.

Drinkability: Not great, but at least it's local. Might be a good beer to cook with.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-25-2006 19:27:11

Thursday, 21 September 2006

Review: Stone Smoked Porter

Stone Smoked Porter from Stone Brewing Company
Rating: A-

Thanks to intriqken for the opportunity to try this one.

Appearance: very dark, small tan head with good retention, some lacing.

Smell: more roasty/malty than smoky, but the smoke is definitely present. Not overwhelming, subtle.

Taste: Not as subtle as the smell, but it still works nicely. Smoke is up front on the palate, but the finish is all chocolate malt. Interesting, because I would have expected smoke to show up more in the finish/aftertaste than chocolate flavors. Enough hops to balance, but their flavor doesn't come through. With it finishing on a chocolate note instead of smoke, it's easy to forget this is a smoked beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick but creamy, very nice. Smooth.

Drinkability: Good.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-21-2006 18:36:31

Review: Laurentina Clara

Laurentina Clara from Cervejas De Moçambique
Rating: C-

Appearance: Pale gold, moderate head, no lace, very average looking

Smell: Very corn-smelling, with some hops in the background.

Taste: More bitter than I expected (granted, expectatins were low) but the corn flavor is very much apparent.

Mouthfeel: Watery, aftertaste is weird but hard to place - vaguely adjunct-y.

Drinkability: Just one of the many indistinguishable macro lagers that make up the bulk of available African beers. I'd still say it's better than Castle, but that might be partly due to this being my first beer from Mozambique!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-21-2006 13:21:11

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Review: Imperial Stout

Imperial Stout from Rogue Ales Brewery / Brewer's on the Bay
Rating: A

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle dated 2002. Jet black, with garnet highlights when held up against the light. Small head without much retention, but some lacing. Aroma has lots of dark fruit, chocolate and some hops. Taste is much the same. A very well-made beer. Alcohol is present, but there's enough flavor going on that it doesn't dominate. Full bodied, appropriately carbonated. Drank it slow, but because it could be savored. Good drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-14-2006 03:32:50

Review: Chicory Stout

Chicory Stout from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Rating: B

I found this one fairly disappointing, having enjoyed so many of the other Dogfish Head beers that I've tried. Appearance is jet-black, with a one-finger head that is anything than the "bone white" described on the label - definitely more tan in color. Some lacing. Smell was weak at first, but improved as it warmed: roasted coffee, chocolate, and a hint of smoke. Taste is predominantly roasty, little in the way of hop character, with a distinctly smoky character that a friend said reminded him of bacon - not a descriptor you often hear for beer! As for mouthfeel, full body and good carb for style. Drinkability was moderate.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-14-2006 03:26:40

Review: Old Crustacean

Old Crustacean from Rogue Ales Brewery / Brewer's on the Bay
Rating: B+

Four years old at sampling, but still quite an intense beer here. Color is garnet, with decent head but little lacing - we'll blame that on the high alcohol content. Smell is quintissentially barleywine: lots of dark fruit, hops, alcohol, and sweet malts. Taste is very similar, but with a certain harshness in the finish, could be from roasted malt or perhaps from the hops (120 IBU's!). Smells better than it tastes, I think. Mouthfeel is smooth but syrupy, good carbonation for the style. Drinkability isn't great - harsh finish and high alcohol make this a special occasion beer, and I think I prefer Bigfoot, regardless.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-14-2006 03:21:38

Review: Pumpkinhead Ale

Pumpkinhead Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
Rating: C+

Appearance is very light orange in color, head and lacing aren't impressive. Smell promises pumpkin, ginger and spice, with some hops in the background. The first sip's taste is very much the same profile: mild pumpkin, ginger, and nutmeg dominant. No hops flavor to speak of, bitterness low. After you get through about half the bottle, you adapt to the spiciness and it just tastes like light beer. Mouthfeel is thin and highly carbonated. As for drinkability, I have to say I enjoyed it quite a bit for the first few sips, but it got more and more insipid as I drank.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-14-2006 03:16:21

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Review: Shakespeare Stout

Shakespeare Stout from Rogue Ales Brewery / Brewer's on the Bay
Rating: A

Split this bottle with my dad tonight before dinner.

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark brown/black, with a head that's surprisingly light in color. Nice looking head, good retention, some lacing.

Smell: A very nice smelling beer. Lots of complexity here. Cocoa, roast, coffee, and some earthy hops in the background.

Taste: Much like it smells, although not quite as good I don't think. I think I'm starting to get a feel for what Pacman yeast tastes like, and this is quintissentially, Rogue. Aftertaste has a good bit of bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation. Nice.

Drinkability: A well-balanced American stout. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-12-2006 00:16:02

Review: Hoptoberfest

Hoptoberfest from Hops Grillhouse & Brewery
Rating: B-

I should note that I spoke with the new brewer at the location, and he indicated that the beers currently on tap were not "up to spec" and he was replacing the old brewer fr that reason.

Appearance: Much lighter in color than I'd expect from an Octoberfest. More golden than anything else. Very small head, but that may be due to the pour.

Smell: Very little in the way of aroma. Some malt presence as you'd expect, but very mild.

Taste: Crisp, but very mild.
Taste: Some caramel and toast flavors present, very mild hops. Very light in the flavor department, disappointing.

Mouthfeel: Light body, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Easy-drinking, but not something I'll order again.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 09-12-2006 00:04:39

Review: Alligator Ale

Alligator Ale from Hops Grillhouse & Brewery
Rating: B-

The brewer described this, so that's what I'm listing it as, even though the corporate list has it categorized as an English Brown Ale. I should note that I spoke with the new brewer at the location, and he indicated that the beers currently on tap were not "up to spec" and he was replacing the old brewer fr that reason.

Appearance: Dark brown with ruby highlights, little in the way of head or lacing, but that might be due to the pour.

Smell: Coffee and caramel aroma.

Taste: Cola (caramel, I suppose), coffee, and a chocolate aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: surprisingly light, too light for a porter. Carbonation is good.

Drinkability: It's light in flavor, but clearly intentionally so, accessibility being an important consideration for this kind of brewpub. I had this and the Hoptoberfest, and I preferred the Alligator.

Serving type: on-tap

Reviewed on: 09-11-2006 23:57:57

Sunday, 10 September 2006

Review: Kulmbacher Reichelbrau Eisbock

Kulmbacher Reichelbrau Eisbock from Kulmbacher Brauerei AG
Rating: B-

Sampled at Stubbie in Gainesville, my first eisbock.

Appearance: Very dark in the glass, with some purple highlights. Moderate head without much retention or lacing.

Smell: Alcohol and malt, obviously, but there's something else there that's a bit weird. A friend described it as "fishy," but "oily" might be a better descriptor. Dark fruit and caramel in the background.

Taste: No attempt to conceal alcohol, although I suppose that should be expected in this style. Malty, caramel, but also with lots more dark fruit than I would expect coming from lager yeast.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, and a slick mouthfeel.

Drinkability: It took me a while to put this one down, I don't know if it's the style or this one in particular, but I wasn't a big fan.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-10-2006 15:21:58

Review: Punkin' Ale

Punkin' Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Rating: B

I bottled my homebrew pumpkin ale the same day that I tried this, so I was very curious to see how the sample I had at bottling time compared with this, the first commercial pumpkin beer I've tried.

Appearance: Pours a fairly orange color, clearer than I expected (much clearer than my homebrew pumpkin ale, anyway). Minor white head and lacing.

Smell: Acidic-smelling, if that makes sense, pumpkin and spice are present.

Taste: The flavor profile is surprisingly similar to what I had earlier in the day, which is obviously pleasing. Pumpkin is there, but not in an in-your-face pumpkin pie kind of way. Spices are more present than hops, which are scarcely detectable as far as flavor goes, but balance the sweetness well.

Mouthfeel: light body, good carbonation. I'd like to try a thick pumpkin beer sometime, that's a bit more like "pumpkin pie in a glass"

Drinkability: It's obviously not an every-day beer, but for an off-beat beer it's pretty accessible and there's enough complexity to appeal to serious beer drinkers, as well.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-10-2006 15:14:56

Saturday, 9 September 2006

Review: Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale

Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale from Heather Ale Ltd. / The Brewery Craigmill
Rating: B+

Appearance: Very dark russet brown in appearance with a nice two-finger head. Surprisingly rocky head, good retention, and minor lacing.

Smell: Malty aroma, with some oats and a dark, fruity sweetness in the background.

Taste: Surprisingly roasty, which for me at least became the dominant flavor, with the berries in the background. Finishes dry. Reminiscent of a porter, with bitter chocolate and a touch of coffee flavor present. Woody, tannic aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Rather slick, carbonation seems right.

Drinkability: This is my favorite of the pack so far (only the Alba remains). I'd buy this again, if it was available on its own. I did think the elderberry would be more prominent, though.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-08-2006 23:25:53

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Review: St. Bernardus Abt 12

St. Bernardus Abt 12 from Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Rating: A

Appearance: Dark, ruddy brown. It had been sitting in my fridge long enough that it was fairly clear. Big head that lasted forever, with beautiful lacing. Exceptional.

Smell: Bubble gum, dark fruit, earthy grassiness, and alcohol.

Taste: Dark fruit, bubble gum. Alcohol better covered in the taste than it is in the aroma. Doesn't finish too sweet. Very good.

Mouthfeel: Silky mouthfeel, good carbonation.

Drinkability: High! I wish I hadn't split this 750 ml bottle four-ways, and saved it all for me instead. Goes down very easy for 10% abv. Drank this while brewing - next time I'll try it when I'm not so busy and enjoy it a bit more.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-07-2006 02:42:13

Monday, 4 September 2006

Review: Fraoch Heather Ale

Fraoch Heather Ale from Heather Ale Ltd. / The Brewery Craigmill
Rating: B+

Appearance: pours a very pretty golden honey color, with a small head. Nothing great about retention or lacing.

Smell: Floral, with some sweet caramel and a smoky earthiness which at first I thought was left over from barbecueing yesterday. I wish I had a better idea of what heather smells like so I could look for it here, but it's not jumping right out at me.

Taste: Crisp, floral (I don't make a habit of eating flowers, but if I did I'm sure this is what heather would taste like). Some herbal character as well, that binds it together with an earthy malt base. Finishes dry. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, carbonation is a bit high but I think it works well for what this beer is - very crisp!

Drinkability: High, I like this one quite a bit.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-04-2006 18:30:11

Saturday, 2 September 2006

Review: Titan IPA

Titan IPA from Great Divide Brewing Company
Rating: A-

Had this one at Stubbie in Gainesville.

Appearance is fairly typical of an IPA, orangey color with good head. Some lacing. Smell is of fresh hops on top of a malt base, as you'd expect. For whatever reason, I found this to be maltier-tasting than the Hercules, surprising because this is the AIPA while Hercules is the DIPA. It's all about balance, I suppose, and I think Hercules struck it better. Not that this wasn't good, mind you. Good mouthfeel and carbonation, drinkability is good as well, although not as good as the Hercules.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-02-2006 06:44:49

Review: Hercules Double IPA

Hercules Double IPA from Great Divide Brewing Company
Rating: A-

Had this one at Stubbie in Gainesville.

Typical color for a DIPA, kind of a dark orange. Decent head, with good retention. Smell is massive hops, with a sweet malt base. Taste is juicy hops, straight up. Malt is present, but in the background. For a double IPA, I found this one to strike the right balance. A better balanced brew than DFH 90 min, I think. Mouthfeel is somewhat lighter than some DIPA's, but still medium bodied. Good carbonation. As far as drinkability, I drank it somewhat slow, but because I wanted to savor it and I was paying for it, not because it wasn't highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-02-2006 06:40:12

Friday, 1 September 2006

Review: Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Samuel Adams Octoberfest from Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams)
Rating: B

Appearance: Nice looking beer, hard to determine whether it's more red or orange in the glass, very clear. Decent head, but lackluster retention and lacing. I find the color striking.

Smell: Some malt and nutmeg aromas, but fairly clean as a lager, with some noble hops in the background.

Taste: At first my friend and I were surprised at how little flavor we were getting out of this one. It tasted almost watery - after warming in the glass for a bit, though, flavor finally started to come out and continued to improve down to the bottom of the glass. Definitely don't serve this one at refrigerator temperatures. Malt is the big stand out, of course, with some earthiness, and a very clean finish. Somewhat toasty, with enough hops to balance the malts.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light mouthfeel, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty high, but not my favorite of the Sam Adams lineup. Didn't meet my expectations, at least.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 09-01-2006 04:11:53

Thursday, 31 August 2006

Review: Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock from Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei Aying
Rating: A

Appearance: Pours a beautiful dark garnet color, with a great big tan head that exhibits very nice retention. Fairly clear. Some lacing. A fine looking beer.

Smell: Caramel, biscuit, and a touch of smoke.

Taste: An explosion of flavor on the tongue. Malt dominates, but it's something to celebrate. Molasses, toast, and a hint of smoke at the swallow. Finishes very clean - lager yeast at work. Spicy hops aftertaste. Alcohol fairly well hidden, I think.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Very smooth.

Drinkability: A very good beer, no doubt about it. Now to decide what to do with the white goat thing that came with it.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-31-2006 00:27:55

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Review: Grozet Gooseberry & Wheat Ale

Grozet Gooseberry & Wheat Ale from Heather Ale Ltd. / The Brewery Craigmill
Rating: B

Appearance: No idea what to expect when I pour it... Pours a fairly normal color for an ale, kind of a honey color, very clear... Below average head, but good retention.

Smell: I had kind of assumed this was a pure gruit, without any hops, but as soon as it was poured into the glass, I could detect a hint of hops aroma, and sure enough it's listed as an ingredient. Aroma is fruity, with a hint of promised acidity - vinous? Fairly reminiscent of more mainstream wheat beers. With some caramel malt, as well, I think.

Taste: Slight berry flavor on the tip of the tongue, with the light flavor of wheat, and an herbal finish that I can't exactly place (label indicates bogmyrtle and meadowsweet, whatever those are). Earthiness and acidity can be noted as well, maybe tea-like tannins? Whether it's the hops or one of the other herbs, it's enough to balance the sweetness of the malt and berries. Finishes nicely dry.

Mouthfeel: "Soft" mouthfeel, if that makes sense, with a light-medium body. Carbonation seems just about right.

Drinkability: Surprisingly drinkable. A tad on the light side perhaps, but it's still flavorful and interesting, so the lightness helps drinkability if anything.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-29-2006 22:04:42

Monday, 28 August 2006

Review: Trappistes Rochefort 6

Trappistes Rochefort 6 from Brasserie de Rochefort (Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy)
Rating: A-

This is the first of the Rochefort flight that I've been able to try.

Appearance: Pretty dark brown, with orange highlights. Moderate head, with exceptional retention.

Smell: Lots of fruit in the nose, both dark (fig, raisin) and tropical. A little bit of sourness towards the tail end of the aroma that makes me think of lambics. Slight alcohol and hops presences as well.

Taste: Yum. Dark fruit, maltiness that is reminiscent of a dubbel, followed by some spice character. A little biscuit in the finish, with a slightly acidic aftertaste. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, but with fairly high carbonation that cuts it nicely.

Drinkability: Very high.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-28-2006 21:44:24

Sunday, 27 August 2006

Review: Yeti Imperial Stout

Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide Brewing Company
Rating: A-

Appearance: Absolutely opaque, darkest head I think I've ever seen. Pretty big head,

Smell: Some dark fruits, definitely. Raisin and fig characteristics are evident, along with some hops in the background.

Taste: Bitterness is a lot more assertive than I'd expected, and maybe even more than I might have prefered. Dark chocolate and dark fruits as well. Quite an intense beer. Alcohol is fairly present.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Fairly light in the way of carbonation, but in a way that seems fitting for the style.

Drinkability: This wasn't a favorite when I shared it with the neighbors - "too bitter!" went the refrain. I liked it, but that said I drank it slowly, and probably a little bit more than I would have prefered. "Intense" is the word.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-27-2006 02:31:52

Review: Young's Double Chocolate Stout

Young's Double Chocolate Stout from Young & Co's Brewery PLC
Rating: B+

This one was just okay for me, but my none-beer-drinking neighbors all seemed to like it a lot - more than they liked Yeti Imperial Stout ("too bitter" or Rogue Chocolate Stout ("too beery" - which surprised me, I love that one)

Appearance: Opaque black in the glass, tan head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Nice looking beer.

Smell: Nice and malty aroma, with dark chocolate undertones.

Taste: Roastiness is the predominant flavor, but there is some dark chocolate in the background. Bitterness is light.

Mouthfeel: Fairly creamy mouthfeel. Light-Medium body.

Drinkability: Everyone else seemed to like it more than I did, but definitely not bad.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-27-2006 02:11:25

Review: Silver Jubilee

Silver Jubilee from North Coast Brewing Co.
Rating: B+

My mom picked this one up for me - nice coincidence, because I've had several saisons lately and I'm trying to evaluate how I like the style.

Appearance: somewhat cloudy honey color, big head that leaves nice lacing. appears to be highly carbonated.

Smell: some citrus and grass, along with a distinctive Belgian yeast aroma.

Taste: Lots of spice going on, some citrus background. Not as "funky" as Dupont, more along the lines of Hennepin. Bitterness shows up right after the swallow - well balanced. Alcohol is pretty well-hidden.

Mouthfeel: Fairly highly carbonated, but by the end of the bottle less so. Body is fairly light.

Drinkability: Fairly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-27-2006 00:04:27

Saturday, 26 August 2006

Review: Butte Creek Organic India Pale Ale

Butte Creek Organic India Pale Ale from Butte Creek Brewing Company
Rating: B

I wasn't sure what to expect in an "organic" beer, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

Appearance: Nice amber color, good head and lacing. Pretty clear.

Smell: Citrusy hops, but quite a bit of malt coming through in the nose, making me expect something more like an APA than a real IPA.

Taste: The taste isn't as malty as the nose. Citrusy hops, toasty finish. Some caramel malt in the aftertaste. Alcohol is well hidden, I wouldn't have guessed this was over 7%.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, good carbonation.

Drinkability: I liked this one. Not sure the "organicness" had any impact on flavor at all, it tasted just fine to me.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-26-2006 21:21:36

Friday, 25 August 2006

Review: Snake Dog IPA

Snake Dog IPA from Flying Dog Brewery
Rating: B

Appearance: Pours a particularly orange color. Good head and lacing. A nice looking beer.

Smell: A good amount of citrus hops aroma.

Taste: Tastes pretty good to me, some biscuity malts and a good amount of bitter hop character.

Mouthfeel: Good body and carbonation, no complaints to be heard here.

Drinkability: A drinkable IPA, but I think I prefer Flying Dog's APA.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-25-2006 01:12:22

Review: Pipers Pale Ale

Pipers Pale Ale from Dunedin Brewery
Rating: B

Appearance: Orange amber color, decent head with some lacing but not much. Comes in a nice 16 oz brown bottle that I'll be sure to reuse for homebrew.

Smell: pine hops on a biscuity malt base, with some mineral character as well

Taste: A good malt base that makes me think this is APA is jsut leaning to the APA side of the amber/APA divide, but that might be because I thoughtlessly preceded this with an IPA. Hops are perhaps a touch harsh.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light body, good carbonation, but for me by the end of the 16 oz bottle it was a little light in that respect.

Drinkability: Not a bad APA, my dad stopped by the brewery and picked up a four-pack and a glass for me, so it's got good associations.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-25-2006 00:45:49

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Review: Kingfisher Lager

Kingfisher Lager from United Breweries - UB Group
Rating: D+

Appearance: Typical macro lager color, with a small head that leaves no lacing. Not great looking.

Smell: Vaguely adjuncty, with some straw and malt notes

Taste: Malt is definitely dominant here, with not enough hops to balance. The hops that are present are kind of skunky, I guess the green bottle is to blame. As it warms up, rice flavors definitely show up.

Mouthfeel: Lower than usual carbonation for the style - it could have used more. Body is a little heftier than typical for the style.

Drinkability: I'll pass, thanks. I've had three Indian beers now and none of them have been at all impressive - for the sake of the subcontinent, I hope it's just that the good stuff isn't being imported.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-24-2006 00:23:43

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Review: Chocolate Stout

Chocolate Stout from Rogue Ales Brewery / Brewer's on the Bay
Rating: A

Split four ways, a big bottle of this disappeared pretty quickly.

Appearance: One of the darkest beers I've seen, absolutely opaque. Off-white head, good lacing.

Smell: Smells like the cocoa powder used in baking. Lots and lots of chocolate aroma, from beginning to end. Hard to pick out anything else, though.

Taste: Chocolatey and malty. As if Ovaltine had been stirred into the glass. The label cites "natural chocolate flavoring," I'm curious exactly what they used. Bitterness shows up at the swallow, where it finishes dry. Surprisingly not a "sweet" beer, despite all the chocolate flavor.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is tame, as it should be for the style. Creamy mouthfeel, with medium body.

Drinkability: This would be a great dessert, but it worked well as a mid-afternoon snack too. Dry finish helps drinkability a lot.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-22-2006 20:27:41

Review: Hennepin (Farmhouse Saison)

Hennepin (Farmhouse Saison) from Brewery Ommegang
Rating: A

What a great beer, this is definitely going to be a regular purchase.

Appearance: Gold in color, not particularly clear. Good head and lace.

Smell: Earthy aroma, with some citrus and spicy hops.

Taste: So good, so balanced. Complex without being busy. I was expecting to find the "farmhouse" flavors to be a little more assertive, and that it would make this style more of an acquired taste, but I didn't find that to be true at all. It's not too sweet, like many Belgians tend to be. My new favorite Belgian-style ale, for sure.

Mouthfeel: Light body, not at all syrupy. Good carbonation. Finishes dry.

Drinkability: Paired with a meal of chicken, sauteed mushrooms, homemade creamed spinach, and gnocchi in a gorgonzola cream sauce, this was delightful. More please.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-22-2006 20:16:51

Review: Mojo IPA

Mojo IPA from Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
Rating: A-

Appearance: Typical IPA kind of color, orangey amber, slightly hazy. Good head and lacing.

Smell: Lots of aromatic hoppiness in the nose, lots of citrus.

Taste: Big blast of hop flavor and bitterness. Lots of citrus and resiny hop character in the taste. Hops are obviously the star of the show, butseems pretty well balanced on the whole. The bitterness isn't harsh.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light body, good carbonation. Finishes dry.

Drinkability: High! Session IPA? Definitely.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-22-2006 20:05:06

Review: Duchesse De Bourgogne

Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
Rating: B+

"Interesting" is the word that seems to fit this beer best. It's the first really sour beer I've had, so comparison is tough, but I'll do my best. Pours an interesting garnet brown color, little head, fairly clear. Aroma is interesting: dark fruit and vinegar. Not particularly sweet in the nose, which is promising. Taste upholds that conclusion - not overly sweet. Every sip is puckering, but not to the point where it's not enjoyable. Lots of character: tart, fruit and wood, but nothing is too dominant. Mouthfeel is good, not syrupy at all. Carbonation seemed right. Drinkability is the tough part. I enjoyed it, but I'm glad I was splitting a bottle because I probably wouldn't have wanted to drink the rest of it on my own. Maybe it'll grow on me.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-22-2006 19:54:41

Saturday, 19 August 2006

Review: Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale

Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale from Flying Dog Brewery
Rating: B+

Appearance: Pours an attractive orange/amber color with a decent head with good retention.

Smell: Lots of citrus hops aroma, hard to pick up much else.

Taste: A well balanced APA, in my opinion. Hops are dominant, quite resiny and citrusy. Definitely dry-hopped. Finishes nice and dry, something I always appreciate.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, with good carbonation. No complaints at all.

Drinkability: Definitely sessionable, quite a good APA.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-19-2006 22:35:44

Review: Warsteiner Premium Verum

Warsteiner Premium Verum from Warsteiner Brauerei
Rating: B-

Pale gold color, with good head and some lacing. Not much in the way of smell, just some random hints of malt and hops. Taste is pretty nondescript. Nothing at all objecitonable. Slightly grassy and citrusy hops on a malt base. Mouthfeel is fairly light, with pretty good carbonation. Drinkability is moderate. I'd take it over an AML any day, but probably not something I would pick up in the store.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-19-2006 22:23:14

Review: Young's Old Nick Barley Wine Ale

Young's Old Nick Barley Wine Ale from Young & Co's Brewery PLC
Rating: B

Appearance: garnet in color, small head with little retention and little lacing.Not much in the way of head is expected for the style, though, so good marks.

Smell: Raisin and caramel aroma, with a hint of alcohol in the background.

Taste: semi-sweet, raisins, caramel malts, licorice and bitter hops with a fig finish. Some alcohol present, as well. Finishes dry, which I like.

Mouthfeel: medium body. good carbonation for the style.

Drinkability: not my favorite barleywine, but not bad. it took me longer than I'd anticipated to get through the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 08-19-2006 03:36:07

Friday, 18 August 2006

Review: Old Milwaukee Beer

Old Milwaukee Beer from Pabst Brewing Company / G. Heileman Brewing Co.
Rating: D+

Appearance: Pours a very very pale gold color, with a big dense head that shows good retention and surprisingly good lacing.

Smell: not appealing at all, macro-y in the worst sense. Adjuncts, a hint of hops.

Taste: Watery at the front of the palate. Harsh bitterness in the middle. Cloyingly sweet at the finish. Bad aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Watery, but with less than typical carbonation for the style that doesn't make up for it.

Drinkability: Do I have to finish the glass? Tastes better when chugged - that says something.

Serving type: can

Reviewed on: 08-18-2006 00:14:21