Friday, November 30, 2012

Day Three of Bastard Week - Stone Lukcy Basatrd - Gus #25

The final day of Bastard Week brings us the big boy of the Bastards.  This one started as a 13th Anniversary of Arrogant Bastard brew.  Now it is released every year on the anniversary.  It is a blended version of Arrogant Bastard, Double Bastard and Oaked Arrogant Bastard that is then dry hopped to amp everything up.  Basically it's a monster of a big brew.  I really wanted to grab a couple of these when I found them but I did show some restraint.  Here is the review of Stone's Lukcy Basatrd (Lucky Bastard.)  By the way, all of the writing on the bottle is mixed around like the name!




How it rates with others:

YouTube Review:
BeerichiTuba's (Winton) Review

ratebeer review:

Information from the website:

About the Beer:
Style:  American Strong Ale
Alcohol by Volume:  8.5%
IBUs:  Unknown
Serving:  22oz Bomber

Stone again does well with the description on the bottle.  The picture above should have some of the description in it.  Be careful, it's hard to read! ha ha

I poured this brew into my Jester King glass.




Appearance:  The brew poured much like the other Bastards.  Dark amber in color almost a red hue to it.  Carbonation was streaming up the side of the glass and it poured with about three fingers of head in the glass.  Very little alcohol legs noticeable but there was some nice lacing on the glass.  Clear as well with not haze at all in the brew.  Really had that typical Bastard look to it.  Menacing and dark almost like a red tinted barely wine.

Aroma:   Hops hit you right at the front of the nose with a mixture of tropical fruits and some pine aromas as well.  Notes of grapefruit and orange with a hint of some lemon zest and actually maybe a little lime.  There is a hint of a sweeter fruit kind of like a peach or a nectarine aroma.  It's very pleasant.  The sweet caramel malts mix in right after that but the big player to me is the peachy type aroma it has.  Really refreshing smelling.

Taste:  Really hop forward with a kick of the grapefruit tartness.  There is a sweetness in there that resembles the peach aroma.  The longer it sits the more peach comes out really.  Then there are other tropical fruits like mango in there as well.  The malt comes forward with the flavor of caramel but more of a caramelized sugar flavor.  Little hints of vanilla from the Oaked Arrogant Bastard I'm sure.  Medium mouthfeel with a perfect amount of carbonation.  Aftertaste is more of the hop bitterness that cleans itself off the palate really well.  All the great qualities of each individual brew just amped up with the dry hopping.  Super easy drinkable with not hints of alcohol at all.

Verdict:  Out of all of the Bastard Ales I've had, I haven't had Oaked by itself yet, this is my favorite.  The dry hopping really sets this one apart but then the amazing malt background blends right in perfectly.  It's well balanced like you would expect from a blended beer but it also gives you subtleties that you just don't get elsewhere.  Stone really knows what they are doing with this line of brews.  I'm going to give this one an A+.  I'll be looking forward to this release every year as long as they continue putting it out there.  Pairings for this one I'm going to say a nice blue cheese burger.  I think the blue cheese would work really well with this brew.

Thanks for following along on the Bastard Week of reviews.  I had a lot of fun comparing them and seeing what flavors were different.  Each one contained a lot of similar flavors but different parts were expressed more with each.  Comment, subscribe and follow.  Let me know what you think of these offerings from Stone.  Also let me know if you have a brew you think I should review.  Thanks for reading! 

Cheers,

Gus

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day Two of Bastard Week - Stone Double Bastard - Gus #24

Day two of Bastard Week has a double dose of the brew from day one.  This one is a seasonal or once a year release from Stone Brewing Company.  It's a double batch of the Arrogant Bastard called simply Double Bastard.  It's touted to be a big complex brew.  If one Bastard is good, two should be better, right?




How it rates with others:

YouTube review:
Joseph via Proper Hops (This review is from last year.)

ratebeer review:

Information from the brew's own website:

About the Beer:
Style:  American Strong Ale
Alcohol by Volume:  11.2% (Label picture shoes 10.0% but it changes each year.)
IBUs:  Unknown
Serving:  22oz Bomber




I poured this brew into my Jester King glass.




Appearance:  This brew pours with a solid four fingers of head.  An off white head with tight bubbles throughout.  Appears to be pretty carbonated.  It is a clear amber with some actual red hints to it.  It's a dark amber.  You can see straight through the brew and carbonation is streaming up the side of the glass.  Sticky lacing around the glass.  You do get alcohol legs along the glass as well.  It's a big beer so that is to be expected.  Menacing look to it that I like to see in an American Strong Ale.




Head retention was amazing!  The head held all the way through the first glass!

Aroma:   Hop presence is very apparent on this one.   Big pine and resiny notes with some earthy, grass aromas in there as well.  Slight citrus but nothing just huge in the citrus department.  Sweet caramel malts and little bit of some dark fruit maybe.  Some raisins and other dark sweet fruits.  It is full of different aromas.  One whiff you may get something fruity and citrusy then on the next one you seem to get more of the sweet malt and caramel or toffee type aromas.  Maybe a slight hint of alcohol in the aroma as well.  Seems to be pretty complex.  

Taste:  Again right at the front you get the hop bitterness and some of the citrus notes.  There are the pine flavors with a mix of some bitter grapefruit rind it seems.  It has a full mouthfeel and you really feel the carbonation.  Middle of the palate the hops hang on and the bitterness is still there.  As it finishes the caramel sweetness mixed with a raisin or dark fruit sweetness sets in.  There is some spice in the flavor that wasn't too big on the nose.  It's really full of all different kind of flavors.  Much like the aroma I think if different people taste this they can get different things.  For me the citrus and pine from the hops mix well with the sweet maltiness that finishes on this one.  I don't really pick up any of the alcohol in there so the 11.2% ABV is hidden well.

Verdict:  Double Bastard is a very big brew.  It's full of all different kinds of aromas and flavors that just attack your palate.  I enjoy that in a brew when that is what I'm looking for.  I really liked the Arrogant Bastard for it's drinkability while being a big brew and this one doesn't disappoint in that department at all.  I'm going to give this brew an A.  I'd like to sit on one for a while and see how it does after the hop bitterness fades, if it does.  This is a brew that would go well with pizza or something else with a good red sauce.  Maybe some spaghetti and meatballs.  I'd love to try that with them.  

Let me know what you think of the brew from day two of Bastard Week.  It's a hugely complex brew that may not be for everyone.  I do think everyone should try it at least once.  I'll leave you with the quotation from the bottle until next week...

"Ye Shall Know the Bastard, and the Bastard Shall Set You Free."

Cheers,

Gus

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day One of Bastard Week - Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale - Gus #23

Today is day one of what I have decided is "Bastard Week."  I'll be reviewing three of the Bastard Ales from Stone Brewing Co.  All of these have a reputation of being amazing brews.  For some reason I have put off having the first one for a long time.  But now that I've had it, I'm going to let you know what I think.  This is the brew review of Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale.




How it rates with others:

ratebeer review:

Information from the brew's own website:

About the Beer:
Style:  American Strong Ale
Alcohol by Volume:  7.2%
IBUs:  Unknown
Serving:  22oz Bomber

I'm not going to put what the brewery says about the brew as it's in the photo above.  But, if you didn't read it, scroll back up and take a look.  It's pretty funny and has a nice jab at some of the standard macro brews.

I poured this brew into my Jester King glass.




Appearance:  The brew poured a dark amber color with hints of copper and red when I held it to the light.  The our yielded at least three fingers of an off white head.  Multi sized bubbles but all of them packed in very tightly.  There are hints of alcohol legs along the edge of the glass mixed in with some very sticky head lacing.  Just looking at it, it really is a menacing looking ale.  One that truly isn't for the faint of heart.  There is no way you would get this confused with the standard "yellow fizzy" adjuct lagers that are out there.  Very nice looking brew.




Aroma:  Right at the front of the nose you really get those big hop aromas.  Hints of grapefruit, little bit of orange zest in there as well.  Then you get some piney notes big in this one.  Resiny and sticky smelling.  It really does have that dank hop aroma to it.  Some slight floral notes.  The sweet malt backbone comes through right after that.  Some caramel notes and some sweet honey maybe right with that.  Hints of spice right at the end.  It's a really big beer.  It's amazing what all they get in there at only 7.2% ABV.  

Taste:  First thing you notice on this brew is a hop bitterness.  Danky, sticky and resiny.  Grapefruit flavors, then some of that pine and even some grassy flavors too.  It does have a bit of a floral note to it.  Slight alcohol but really not in a bad way.  It mixes with it quite well.  Caramel and malty flavors blend in mid palate and follow it back.  Aftertaste is more of the grapefruit and floral notes.  The mixture of those sweet malts with the hop presence is really nice.  The aftertaste hangs around just long enough but doesn't over stay it's welcome.  It is a really bitter beer.  But, I'm a fan of the bitterness.  I think someone just starting out to craft beer may really be put off by it.  After they have had a few other brews it would be nice to let them come back to something like this and see what they think.

Verdict:  Very nicely done from Stone.  This beer is known all over the craft beer world as being one of the heavy weights.  I really like how this one was done.   You get the hop bitterness and other hop qualities but then the sweet caramel malts fold in perfect with it.  American Strong Ale is such an open category for beer.  It can go so many ways.  A lot of them are closely related to American Barely Wines.  This one is going to get an A from me.  Something I put off trying for a long time and I'm not sure why.  I think every time I went somewhere with Stone's brews I always ended up getting their IPA or Ruination.  I won't overlook this one anymore, I can assure you that.  Good pairings for this would be something from the grill.  Maybe a grilled pork chop or chicken breast.  Side of mashed potatoes and some grilled asparagus.  I'd eat that with this brew at least.

Let me know if you have had this brew and "deemed yourself worthy."  I'll be along later this week for some more reviews for "Bastard Week."  Until then...

Cheers,

Gus

Friday, November 23, 2012

Founders Frangelic Mountain Brown - Gus #22

The brew for today is a review from both notes and from another recent tasting.  It's one from Founders Backstage Series.  This one was more widely available than the previous brews in the series.  I love almost all releases from Founders so I was excited to try this one.  I'm not the biggest fan of brown ales usually and most tend to be weak in flavor or all the same.  Let's see what Founder's Frangelic Mountain Brown is like in the review.




How it rates with others:

YouTube Reviews:
Joseph via Proper Hops

Daniel of Beyond the Pour and Beer Geek Nation

ratebeer review:

Information from the Founders website:

http://foundersbrewing.com/latest-news/2012/frangelic-mountain-brown-is-our-next-backstage-release/


"Frangelic Mountain Brown is the quintessential taproom 'one-off' beer: Founders’ brewers created the Mountain Brown series for their taproom in Grand Rapids in 2007. Frangelic Mountain Brown is the 16th iteration in the series of popular brown ales—and it likely won’t be the last. The singular characteristic of this beer comes from the use of hazelnut coffees in the brewing process. The beer has distinct aromatics with sweet and nutty flavors beautifully balanced. Founders is known for its beers made with coffee (i.e., the Breakfast Stout series), but this is both the brewery’s first brown ale and its first beer brewed with hazelnut coffees to be bottled. It clocks in at 9% ABV."


ABV:  9.0%
IBUs: N/A
Availability:  July (Limited Bottling)

I poured this brew into my short stemmed Jester King glass.




Appearance:  The brew pours a dark brown brown with a little chill haze.  As it warmed up it became more clear.  Small one finger off white head that didn't last very long.  It had some nice thin lacing that stuck around the glass.  Moderate carbonation and a little hint of alcohol legs around the glass.  Really deep, dark brown almost mahogany in color.  That is something I have always liked about brown ales, the color.

Aroma:  They really weren't joking when they said they used hazelnut coffee in the brewing process.  The first thing you get is the hazelnut and mild coffee notes.  There is a sweet caramel hint to it as well.  Slight toffee with maybe a slight hint of a syrup aroma as well.  The big players really are the hazelnut followed by the coffee.  Really pleasant aroma (if you are a fan of hazelnut.)  It reminds me of the sweet aromas that come from a hazelnut liqueur.  

Taste:  Just like the aroma.  Right at the front of the tongue you get the coffee bitterness.  That's immediately taken over by the hazelnut flavors.  Sweet, nutty and malty.  Some caramel sweetness mixed with toffee and a little bit of vanilla.  Good carbonation in the mouth with a medium-light mouthfeel.  Some of those syrup flavors are in there as well.  Big hazelnut coffee flavors just as expected.  It's sweet though just like you poured some hazelnut liqueur into some fresh coffee.  The sweetness of it mixes well with the elements of the coffee and the brown ale.

Verdict:  You really do have to like hazelnut to enjoy this brew.  I am a fan of hazelnut and coffee.  I had a feeling I would like this brew.  The hazelnut is almost overpowering in this one.  I feel like if it was a little more tame it would be better.  The first time I had this brew I was overwhelmed by it.  The second time I was ready for it and really appreciated it more.  That being said it's going to get an A- from me.  It's amazing they were able to do this with a brew.  I'd love to have some more of this when the weather snaps and turns super cool.  it seems like it would be a great sipper on those cold nights.  There are a few things I'd like to see done different with it but it's in my top brown ales for sure.  For pairings I'd love to have this with some homemade sugar cookies or possibly some fresh banana bread.  Those would pair nicely.  One thing to note the hazelnut piles on more and more as you drink it.  It's almost a palate wrecker.  So, make this the last brew you will have if you are having others or save it for last during a bottle share.

Let me know if you have had this one and what you thought about it.  It is limited availability and was only brewed once.  I was able to get two bottles of it in a trade.  It really is a brew that many may not like.  You have to be a fan of hazelnut and a brown ale.  Remember to comment, subscribe and follow!  Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Gus

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lips Of Faith - Super India Pale Ale (Alpine Collaboration) - Tom #3

Hello everyone, I am finally back with a review. I have been super busy with school as of lately and unable to get a review up. So with that said I would like to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy and safe Thanksgiving and spread the thanks to everyone who has been viewing our blog and keeping our hopes, dreams and passion alive! Gus and I spread our warm and fuzzy thanks to you all! Have a happy and safe holiday weekend and make sure you all eat good and don't forget to pair it with a great brew! 
        
So for this review today we are going to dive into a very interesting brew none other than New Belgium's Super IPA which is part of their Lips of Faith series which was brewed in August, 2012. This beer is part of a collaboration with Alpine Beer Company out of California which makes some highly rated brews. This has to be considered a rare beer for me residing in New Jersey as New Belgium doesn't distribute here nor does Alpine really out of the San Diego area. So I have to take a moment to thank my cousin Matt for picking me this bottle up while out on a business trip to Illinois. I have only had two other brews by New Belgium which were relatively good and this being label a Super IPA I had a high interest in this particular brew that's loaded with four big hop varieties! So how did this brew hold up against my taste buds? Read on and find out! 


How it rates with others: 

BeerAdvocate

Ratebeer

New Belgium's Info

About the Beer:
Style:
American Double / Imperial IPA
Alcohol by Volume:
9%
IBUs:
99
Serving:
  22oz Bomber
Malt:
Pale, C-80, Melanoidin, Acidulated, Carapils
Hops:
Columbus, Simcoe, Amarillo, Centennial

 I poured this brew into a Harpoon tulip glass




Appearance: This brew poured a hazy golden and copper color. Poured a solid finger of pure white head which dissipated to half a finger which had great retention for a higher ABV brew. The head gave way after a few minutes to nice thin layer of bubble retention floating around which hung around basically the entire time. There was good lacing throughout the glass all the way through.


Aroma: From the pop of the cap on this bottle I could instantly smell the hop aroma that wizzed straight up my nose, what a great start! Besides the hop dominance, there was a sweet aroma of tangerine and orange peel whirling about. Overall it was a sweet smell that was backed with a slight maltyness. There was a slight bready smell to it as well with a few piney notes mixed in. Surprisingly there wasn't any alcohol present. But all around this was one of the most fantastic smelling IPA's!


Taste: So here is where the fun begins, well the aroma was fun, but this is the great part! The flavor really follows the aroma well. Obviously the hop presence was extremely strong in this hence why they call it "Super IPA." If you are a hop head like myself this is a must have. Brew definitely had a bitter taste to it which wasn't too overpowering.  Everything was blended so well in this brew with a great balance in the citrus and hop department. There was a strong grapefruit and orange taste to it. It has a good resiny back to it throughout with a semi-dry finish. The malt was clean through out from start to finish. The only thing that differed from the aroma was the boozy mouth-feel and boy does that 9% shine in this bottle! 

Verdict: This is definitely a great edition of the style. The Super prefix definitely lives up to its name with a strong hop dominance that leaves you with a boozy bitter finish that warms your pallet well. The hops do seam a bit oily at times, but than again I went about drinking this entire bottle myself paired with a buffalo chicken cheese-steak. If I were to pop another bottle of this I would definitely share it rather than indulging in it all myself. So I'm about to give this a solid A. This a great DIPA and overall balance superbly. But if you are not used to this particular style of beer it would definitely be a sipper for most. If this wasn't a limited brew and distributed to my home state it is something I wouldn't think twice about trying again. 

So as always feel free to comment or subscribe. Or let me know your thoughts on this brew or any others you think we should try next. Thanks for reading and again special thanks to Matt for grabbing this bottle for me. 

From Gus and I again, have a Happy Thanksgiving and holiday weekend. Stay safe and remember to enjoy some great brews with your meal. But always remember, don't drink and drive!

Cheers,
  Tom



 

 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Knee Deep Brewing Co. Hop Shortage 3X IPA - Gus #21

Here we are with another brew review on Wednesday of Thanksgiving week.  Monday I went with a brew from California that really blew me away with how good it was.  Today I'm going to review the sister brew to that one.  Knee Dee Brewing Co.'s Simtra 3X IPA was brewed solely with Simcoe and Citra hops.  Well those hops are very popular in the craft beer world right now and like all other hops are only available certain times of the year.  When they were starting to brew another batch of Simtra they weren't able to find any or enough of these hops.  So they change hops all together and went with Centennial and Chinook hops.   The resulting brew was named Hop Shortage because of the difficult to find the other hop varieties.  Will this be a stand alone great brew?  Or is it just a "fill in" brew by them?  Knowing what I know and having the couple of brews I've had from them, I have some high hopes.




How it rates with others:

YouTube review:
Review of Hop Shortage by The Beer Heads

ratebeer review:

Information from the website:
(Not a whole lot listed on there for this one either.)
About the Beer:
Style:  Imperial/Double IPA (It says triple IPA on there but that really isn't a style.)
Alcohol by Volume:  11.3% (Another big ABV IPA!)
IBUs:  131
Serving:  22oz Bomber
Malt:  N/A
Hops:  Centennial and Chinook

"The cousin of Simtra, but brewed with only Centennial and Chinook hops. Need we say more?"

I poured this brew into the same glass I used for Simtra, the Jester King short stemmed glass.




Appearance:  Light amber with some orange-ish hues on this one.  Slight haze but still able to see your hand on the other side of the glass.  Poured with two fingers of off white sticky head.  Multiple sized bubbles and some sticky lacing as well.  Very apparent alcohol legs as this is a big ABV beer.  The lacing hangs on the glass very well.  Head gave way after a bit to a few islands and a ring around the edge of the glass.




Aroma:  Big, big tropical and citrus notes right off the get go.  Then you can pick up the malt backbone as well.  Really big grapefruit, more of the sweet ruby red over the bitter white grapefruit.  Big orange, tangelo and even some sweet tangerine mixed in with other aromas.  It really favors an orange "Kool-Aid" aroma.  Then I start to get some of the other tropical fruits, mango and little bit of peach and pineapple. There are some pine notes mixed in as well.  Slight hints of some spice right in the end.  No alcohol aromas present.  The citrus hops just hide it so well.

Taste: The flavors really follow the nose.  Big orange and other citrus flavors.  Really get that sweet tangerine and maybe even nectarine hints.  Some other tropical fruits or some peach flavors too.  There is a slight hop bitterness with a spicy note.  Really big sweet fresh squeezed orange juice is what I get out of this one.  More orange than grapefruit but the grapefruit is there.  Little bit of mango sweetness but it's subtle.  Really amazing, again, how they hide the alcohol.  I don't taste it at all.  It is slightly warming in the belly and the back of the throat but nothing at all unpleasant.  It's only slightly there.  

Verdict:  I really thought I was going to like the Simtra more than this one from them.  But after having them both it's pretty much a dead tie.  They both are some phenomenal brews.  They really know what they are doing with hops.  But you can't hide the fact that they have great malt backbones in both of these brews. I'm going to give this one an A+ just like the Simtra.  Such a solid brew.  I'd love to have this on a beach day or something like that.  If not that I think it would pair really well with a blackened fish sandwich and some good crispy home made fries.  It would even do great with a blackened chicken sandwich too.  Either one would be amazing I believe.

Remember to comment below and tell me what you think, if you have had this brew.  Also subscribe or follow and let me know if there is a brew out there you want me to review.  Thanks for reading.

Cheers and again, thanks to Winton for grabbing yet another phenomenal brew for me, Kanpai!

Gus

Monday, November 19, 2012

Knee Deep Brewing Co. Simtra 3X IPA - Gus #20

Today's beer review is very exciting for me.  It has one of my absolute favorite hop varieties.  Well I guess you could say two of them.  Two rather young strains of hops, I might add.  Citra is a hop that has become very popular in big IPAs and some Pale Ales since it was introduced.  Known for it's big citrus qualities as well as tropical fruit aromas and tastes.  That, paired with my favorite hop, Simcoe, can bring nothing but amazingness right?  Simcoe is also known to have big citrus and grapefruit flavors/aromas but also pine characteristics.  They should mix very well to create something rather tasty.  Being as those are the only two hops in this brew, Knee Deep has chosen to take a play at that with the name, Simtra 3X IPA.




How it rates with others:

Winton's review of Knee Deep Simtra 3X IPA
(Remember to check out his other reviews!)

ratebeer review:

Information from the website:
(Not a whole lot listed on there really.)
About the Beer:
Style:  Imperial/Double IPA (It says triple IPA on there but that really isn't a style.)
Alcohol by Volume:  11.25% (One of the big boys in IPA land!)
IBUs:  131
Serving:  22oz Bomber
Malt:  N/A
Hops:  Simcoe and Citra

"Simtra Triple IPA delivers a punch in the face with its very danky hop aroma derived from Simcoe and Citra hops.  You wanted more hops you got them."

I poured this brew somewhat aggressive into a Jester King glass.




Appearance:  Right off on the pour you notice the typical colors for an IPA.  Really dark orange almost a copper tint to it.  Pour yields an off white, tight bubble, fluffy head.  Somewhat soapy in appearance with a few larger bubbles mixed in.  Really sticky head lacing and very noticeable alcohol legs.  Good amount of carbonation running in lines up the sides of the glass.  Pretty decent head retention for such a high ABV brew.  It did finally give way to a thing layer on the top with a right around the sides of the glass.






Aroma:  HUGE aroma on this one.  When I popped the cap off I instantly got the big citrus notes.  Getting a nose on it you pick up the orange peel, grapefruit and other citrus notes.  Smells extremely juicy.  Almost like fresh squeezed orange juice.  Good sweet malt character, little bit of honey mixed in.  Really has that classic big IPA aroma, just really amped up a good bit.  Pick of some of that piney, resiny hints from the Simcoe.  But the combination of the Simcoe and Citra make this thing a huge citrus bomb.  Take some orange juice and ruby red grapefruit juice, throw them in a blender and add a drop of lemon juice and maybe a hint of fruit punch and you get this brew.  Hints of mango and maybe even some peach in there.  I could smell this brew all day.  Don't really pick up any of the alcohol at all.  Definitely hidden well.

Taste:   Wow.  Instantly get the ruby red grapefruit juice flavors.  Orange zest mixed with some sweet orange juice.  Mango and pineapple really come through as well.  Really nice bitterness mixed in with the sweetness.  More bitterness on the back end but in a super pleasant way.  Really do not get any alcohol at all in the mouth.  You can feel it a little bit in your belly but nothing bad.  Slight warmth on the throat after a couple drinks.  But again this is nothing unpleasant at all. Really drinkable for such a high ABV brew.  Medium mouthfeel on it with good carbonation as well.  Aftertaste gives big fruity notes.  Maybe even something like a strawberry hint in the sweetness. 

Verdict:  Really just an amazing brew.  It's everything you I look for in an IPA just amplified even more.  They call it a triple IPA.  I'm not sure that is even a style but, it is a very big double/imperial IPA.  From popping the cap to sipping the last drop, this thing was excellent.  They really take two of my favorite hops and blend them well with just the right amount of malt backbone.  For a score it's going to be a straight up A+.  I can't give it anything less.  Knee Deep is really putting out some great brews.  Their Hoptologist was a very good double IPA and I have their Hop Shortage left to taste and review.  If you can find this, I highly recommend picking it up.  If you can't pick it up local, it is worth trading for.

Pairing this I would definitely go for something spicy.  Like maybe some jerk chicken or some kind of hot wings.  I'd love to have this with something cooked with curry as well.  I think it would really bring a good balance between the two.

Remember to comment below and tell me what you think, if you have had this brew.  Also subscribe and let me know if there is a brew out there you want me to review.  Thanks for reading.

Cheers and again, thanks to Winton for grabbing this amazing brew for me, Kanpai!

Gus

Friday, November 16, 2012

Three Floyds Broo Doo - Gus #19

Friday's edition of what turned into "Wet/Fresh Hop Brew Week" brings another brew from the highly touted Three Floyds Brewing out of Munster, Indiana.  They really know what they are doing with their hoppy brews so I don't expect anything less from their version of a Wet Hop Ale.  I'm sure they know what they are doing with the fresh whole cone hops as well.  Theirs even has a pretty crazy label. Why wouldn't it?  it's Three Floyds!  Here is the review for Three Floyds Broo Doo.




How it rates with others:

Daniel from Beyond the Pour
Check him out at beyondthepour.com.  Daniel has a really well put together podcasts as well.  Look up Beyond the Pour on iTunes or click the link on is website.

ratebeer review:

Information from the website:
About the Beer:
Style:  Wet Hop Ale
Alcohol by Volume:  7.0%
IBUs:  80

"This beer is brewed during the hop harvest with a portion of unkilned or "wet" hops fresh off the vine.  Apricot in color, Broo Doo's nose has dominant orange, pine sap and floral notes, balanced by a glazed nut and toffee malt body.  This celebration of the hop harvest has intense tropical fruit, citrus and spicy accents that showcase the complexity of the hops we all love.  October release."

I poured this brew into my Jester King glass by pouring it right down the middle.  I really wanted to aggravate the aromas in there.





Appearance:  Pours a light copper color.  Almost like a burnt orange.  Three fingers of an off white head and tons of carbonation streaming up from all sides of the glass.  Mixture of all size of bubbles in the head.  Pretty clear brew, definitely looks to be filtered.  Decent head retention but it did finally give way to a thick ring and an island of bubbles in the middle.  Sticky lacing on this one all the way down.  Little trace of alochol legs.  Really nice looking brew for sure.







Aroma:  The aroma on this one just started to fill the room.  As soon as I popped the top you could tell this was a fresh bottle made with fresh wet hops.  Really a big hop dankness.  Sweet ruby ready grapefruit aromas.  Oranges, but really sweet almost like a tangerine over and orange.  Mango and papaya with some hints of a tart candy in there as well.  It kind of has a confection sugar type sweetness to it.  Some pine and floral notes but mostly the tropical fruits come into play here.  Super fruity and sweet with a hint of spice.  Smells juicy and dank for sure.

Taste:  Big citrus right up front, with some tartness mixed in.  It has an effervescent mouthfeel up front from the carbonation.  Oily and sticky on the back of the throat but, nothing lingering too long  Really has a big sweet malt flavor that I wasn't expecting.  Some of the tropical fruit flavors from the aroma.  Then some of the spice from the hops come in after it right at the back of the palate.  The citrus flavors are there but not as big as they were on the nose.  It's still really juicy and a super easy drinker.  No hints of alcohol at all.  I do get some of the orange juice and slight grapefruit characters as the glass warms up a little bit.

Verdict:  Overall this is a really solid brew.  Very well done from one of the best out there.  It's not my favorite of the Fresh/Wet Hop Ales but it is still really good.  For a score I'm going to give this one a B+.  I really was looking forward to some of the aromas to shine through more on the taste.  It was a little too carbonated for my liking as well, even though that didn't really hurt the brew too much.  If I had gotten more of the tropical fruits on the taste I think it would be a sold A.  Pairings for this, I'm going to say a really nice burger with some spicy barbecue sauce on it.  Something spicy and rich to work with the complexity of the brew.  

Let me know your thoughts, comments and opinions on this years harvest ales.  If you haven't tried any of the Fresh/Wet Hop Ales, give them a try.  I really enjoy them and wish they could be all year round.  At least it gives us something to look forward to!  I may have one more review of this years batch of harvest ales before I move on to something else.  We'll see.  Until the next review, thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Gus

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Founders Harvest Ale - Gus #18

In keeping with the fresh or wet hopped IPA theme that I've just decided to do this week, I'm going to review Founders Harvest Ale today.  This is a brew that they take fresh whole-cone hops and use them to add aroma and flavor.  They do this as apposed to dry or pellet hops.  It really brings in the freshness aspect even more to the brews.  I've become a big fan of this style and look for them, as long as they are fresh, anywhere I go.  This is a pretty highly touted example from one of my favorite breweries.  Let's see how it does in today's review.




How it rates with others:

YouTube Review:
Joseph via Proper Hops

ratebeer review:

Information from the Founders website:
"This liquid dream pours a hazy golden straw color with a white, two-finger head.  Your first sip rewards you with a super juicy hop presence bursting with fresh citrus, then finishes to introduce toasted malt undertones."

ABV:  6.5%
IBUs:  70
Availability:  October

I poured this brew into my stemmed Jester King glass.  This is a new glass for me and I really like it for IPAs/Pale Ales and Stouts.




Appearance:  A good, solid finger of a bright white head came from the pour.  Mostly small bubbles but some larger ones mixed in to give it that fizzy, soapy look.  It does have some haze to it.  Clear around the edges with the haze covering the body.  Golden in color almost the straw yellow color.  Really light in color for an IPA.  Not a ton of carbonation streaming up the glass but there is a little bit.  Decent lacing but nothing really heavy.  All-in-all a good looking brew.




Aroma:   First initial sniff yielded really piney notes.  Like fresh pine needles or a fresh green pine cone.  Citrus notes followed after, mostly grapefruit with a little lemon zest.  Starts to give off some of those dank, wet grass type aromas.  Some other earthy/grassy notes in there too.  This brew is tropical, piney and earthy all in one.  Really nice aroma.  Don't really have to dig through it much.  It puts everything right out there.

Taste:  Hops hit your right in the front like you put a handful of fresh pine needles in your mouth.  Pine resin qualities just coat the mouth.  Then mid palate it brings in the citrus and juicy flavors.  Grapefruit and orange with a hint of lemon zest.  Maybe something like lemon grass.  You do get kind of that wet grass earthy taste in there as well.  Malt sweetness comes through with a little bit of caramel and it really has a cracker type flavor to it.  Very similar to Victory's Hop Devil in that aspect.  Good carbonation in the mouth with a medium mouthfeel.  Aftertaste is more hop bitterness that fades into a solid sweetness just before it disappears.  Super drinkable and refreshing.

Verdict:  Really one of the most refreshing IPAs I've had in a long time.  I could drink this one as a session beer I'm pretty sure.  I'm really starting to like these fresh/wet hop brews.  This one just has every aspect of an IPA nailed down.  Then the wet hopping gives it a super big juiciness that is amazingly good.  It's not very dry finishing but it's not too sticky in the mouth either.  If you can get this one I'd say pick it up and give it a try.  The fresher the better.  End of November it may start to fade some but still worth a try if for some reason it is still sitting on the shelf.  I'm going to give Founders Harvest Ale an A.  It's super solid and holds it's own.  For pairings I'm going to say this would be perfect to pour yourself after you have finished that last yard day for the year.  Maybe fix some Cajun seasoned fish with some steamed vegetables.  That would go together nicely.  Really anything spicy would work well.

Let me know if you have had this one from Founders.  It is limited in availability as far as distribution and only being available for one month..  It's also a great one to try if you haven't had a wet/fresh hopped IPA yet.  Remember to comment, subscribe and follow!  Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Gus

Monday, November 12, 2012

Deschutes Chasin' Freshies Fresh Hop IPA - Gus #17

The first brew of my hoppy week this week is from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon.  The folks in this brewery are known to be hop masters.  They definitely don't distribute to MS so I had to get this one from a buddy.  Winton, also known as BeerichiTuba on YouTube, sent me this and a few more for me to try.  Those will be up for review as well.  Check out Winton's YouTube channel.  He does some very good video reviews of a lot of great beers.  I have a placed a link in the "How It Rates with Others" section.  He had previously reviewed this same brew.  Now let's get into the review of Deschutes Chasin' Freshies.  This is a very unique brew.  It's brewed with pilsner malt and even some flaked oats.  I really didn't know what to expect.




How it rates with others:

BeerichiTuba (Winton):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp0Wfuirejk&list=UU36g_74M01etf8o7CIuzb4g&index=2&feature=plcp
(Check out all of his other reviews.  He does a really great job! Super nice guy!)

ratebeer review:

Information from the website:
About the Beer:
Style:  IPA, Fresh Hop
Alcohol by Volume:  7.4%
IBUs:  60
Serving:  22oz Bomber
Malt:  Pilsner Malt, Flaked Oats
Hops:  Bravo, Fresh Heirloom Cascades

"Like fresh powder, it's a seize-the-moment thing.  At harvest, we rush Goschie Farms' Cascade hops fresh from the vine to kettle.  Not any Cascades, mind you, but an heirloom strain, from a single field, restored from the original rhizome.  Hope you're as hopped us as we are."

Pairings
Spicy Red Fish Stew
Green Chile Cheeseburger
Herbed Crepes with Smoked Salmon and Radishes
Farmer's Cheese and Raisin Filo Strudel


I poured this brew straight up (pretty aggressively) into a 12oz Raise Your Pints tulip glass.




Appearance:  Pours pretty clear, vibrant yellow.  Almost straw-like in color.  Two fingers of soapy, white head.  Multiple sizes of bubbles in there.  Tight small bubbles with big soapy looking bubbles mixed in.  Very good carbonation.  Streams of bubbles are running up the glass.  Very good head lacing and pretty good retention.  Not too many signs of alcohol legs.  Does have a little bit of haze to it.  I'm sure that's more of a cold haze.  The beer looks to be filtered.  Super clean otherwise.  It's crazy seeing an IPA this color.  It really has the look of a pilsner or American Adjuct Lager almost.  Really light and refreshing looking.






Aroma:  First thing I noticed was a big dank hoppiness.  Smells really juicy.  Citrus with a bit of grapefruit, orange zest and a lot of lemon zest from the Cascade hops.  Fruity and floral from the other hops, Bravo, they use.  Some sweetness from the pilsner malt.  Tiny bit of sweetness from the pilsner malt.  Lemon is really big on the nose for me on this brew.  Slight fruit punch hints there too maybe.  Really hop forward as expected.  I do really like the dank qualities this brew features.




Taste:  Very creamy mouthfeel on this one.  Good carbonation on the tongue.  Really floral with some hoppy dankness in their again.  Juicy with a mixture of the citrus, like grapefruit and lemons.  Almost an orange zest flavor in there.  Oats give it another layer.  They play a big part in getting the smooth mouthfeel I'm sure.  Getting some dried tropical fruits, maybe some dried bits of pineapple in there.  Almost that fruit punch hint to it sometimes.  In the middle it has a little bit of a tartness in there.  Nothing really that bitter.  I was expecting a bit more bitterness from the Bravo hops.  Cascade really shines through on this one with the citrus.  The major players are there with the grapefruit, lemon and orange flavors.  As it warms I do get a touch more bitterness in the aftertaste.  But really get a big orange juice sweetness with the warmth as well.  

Verdict:  Really nice offering from Deschutes.  I can only compare it to other wet hop ales I've had since I haven't had anything else from them.  For a rating, this brew really blurs the line of B and A.  It's right there at an A but there was just a few things missing for me.  Definitely nothing bad about the brew, but it really didn't have the bitterness I like in an IPA.  The sweetness shined through and really kicked up when it warmed up.  So I'm going to go with a B+/A- on this one.  It really could go either way.  It's a very good brew and would love to have access to it here.  Very easy to drink.  For pairings, I think this would go great with some fajitas.  The light mouthfeel would suit it perfectly.  Substitute your "Mexican" lager with one of these and it would make the meal a lot better.  I did notice that as it warmed up it really cleared.  All the haze left and it was really almost like looking at a pilsner or light lager.

I'll leave you with something pretty cool they did under the cap of this brew.  





I think it's pretty cool when breweries do things like that.  It's almost like it's a hidden message for you to get. They may put this on every cap but this was my first brew from them so I don't know for sure.  Either way it's a neat thing they do.  Magic Hat is a brewery that does caps with messages like that.

Remember to comment below and tell me what you think, if you have had this brew.  Also subscribe and let me know if there is a brew out there you want me to review.  Thanks for reading.

Cheers and again thanks to Winton for getting me this brew, Kanpai!

Gus

Friday, November 9, 2012

Three Floyds Black Sun Stout - Gus #16

Friday's brew is one brought to us by Three Floyds Brewing out of Munster, Indiana.  I really don't see much from them unless it's through a trade.  Thanks JC!  They don't have a wide distribution.  But, most of their stuff is raved about.  Almost every beer nerd has heard of the Dark Lord Stout.  Well this review is not on Dark Lord, as I haven't gotten my hands on it..... yet.  But it is on another stout of theirs.  A style of stout that really doesn't get much attention in the craft beer world.  At least I don't see that much of it around.  This is the review for Three Floyds Black Sun Stout.




How it rates with others:

ratebeer review:

Information from the website:
About the Beer:
Style:  Irish Stout
Alcohol by Volume:  6.5%
IBUs:  50

"Black Sun has a nose of coffee, roasted malts and piney hops.  This medium bodied stout has a broad depth of maltiness and a clean dry finish.  December release."

I poured this brew into a 10oz snifter glass.  Kind of a middle of the road pour.  Not aggressive or conservative really.





Appearance:  Pours a very dark brown almost black in appearance.  A cola-esque brown tint around the edges and bottom of the glass when held up to the light.  The pour yielded a khaki head of about a finger that dissipated to a thing layer just on top of the brew.  Tons of lacing on the glass.  Minimal alcohol legs if any at all.  The appearance is just what I would look for in a dry stout like this.  If I could get my home brew dry stout to look this way I would be very happy.


Aroma:  At first smell you actually pick up a good bit of hop presence.  Some of that bitterness mixed with a hint of pine.  Then there is a roasted coffee aroma.  It's like a very nice coffee blend.  Slight bit of malty sweetness but mostly the roasted notes stands out.  Digging in there is a slight hint of caramel but definitely piney notes from the hops.  Really nice to get the hops mixed in well with the malts.  After a few sniffs there is a dark chocolate hint to it.

Taste:  Lighter body than I expected on this, in a good way.  Also very dry on the finish.  Good hop bitterness up front followed by the roasted coffee notes.  Mid palate there is a good caramel backbone that gives way to that dry finish.  Aftertaste is more of that roasted coffee flavor.  Extremely smooth drinker.  Hints of some toffee and dark chocolate notes but, those are very subtle after the hops and sweetness of the caramel start to fade off your palate.  Good clean aftertaste.  It doesn't stick around too long at all.

Verdict:  I really enjoyed this brew.  I'm a fan of dry stouts.  Something that is easy to sit around and sip on with friends or even with a meal.  I think this would go great with some sort of stew. Or maybe you could go Irish with it and have it with some bangers and mash.  Yup, I just made myself hungry.  Rather low ABV, compared to what a lot of brews are now days, at 6.5%.  This is a seasonal bottle from Three Floyds.  Hoping I can score some more of it and have throughout the winter.  I'm going to give this brew an A.  Just really clean and well done for this seemingly over looked style.  Not a lot of breweries putting out Irish dry stouts.

Remember to comment below and tell me what you think, if you have had this brew.  Also subscribe and let me know if there is a brew out there you want me to review.  Thanks for reading.

Cheers,

Gus

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Samuel Adams Thirteenth Hour (Barrel Room Collection) - Gus #15

Happy day before National Stout Day to everyone!  Today's review comes from a very large craft brewery out of Massachusetts   The Boston Beer Company has put out tons of different beers throughout the years and have many rotating seasonals.  This brew is a little different.  It come's from a separate batch if you will.  Today's beer review is of Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection: Thirteenth Hour.




How it rates with others:

ratebeer review:
Information from their website:

Samuel Adams Thirteenth Hour

"The thirteenth hour is the witching hour and refers to the mysterious combination of flavors in this brew.  We've combined the roasted chocolate and coffee flavors of a stout with the spicy character of a Belgian ale aged in oak.

The combination of 7 different malts creates a brilliant black brew that's full bodied and smooth with rich notes of coffee, chocolate, and dark fruits like raisins and plums.  The dark, roasty, and slightly sweet flavors of a stout are blended with the unique, spicy and sour character of our Kosmic Mother Funk (KMF), an ale that's been aged in oak tuns for up to a year.  The KMF gives the beer an added complexity with notes of black pepper, oak, vanilla, and a hint of acidity.

Enjoy this beer now or age it to further develop unique flavors."

There is a ton more info about the history and brewing of the brew.  Check those out on the website.  Here is a bit more information about the brew.

Flavor:  A combination of chocolate with raisin, rum, and oak and notes of spice and dark fruit.
Color:  Brilliant black, 70 SRM
Original Gravity:  21 degrees Plato
Alcohol by Vol/Wt:  9.0%ABV-7.0%ABW
Calories/12 oz.:  290
IBUs:  17
Malt Varieties:  Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend, Caramel 60, Munich 10, Special B, and Carafa III
Hop Variety:  Hallertau Mittlefrueh Noble hops
Special Ingredients:  Two brewing sugars and Kosmic Mother Funk
Yeast Strain:  Belgian-style ale yeast and bottle condition with champagne yeast
Availability:  Year round
First Brewed:  2011

I poured this brew from a cork and caged 750ml wine bottle into a long stem wine glass.




Appearance:  Very dark pour with a  big two finger tan head.  Larger bubbles in the head but that probably comes from the bottle conditioning with the champagne yeast.  The brew isn't completely black.  There are some reddish hues on the edge of the glass.  Maybe hints of some dark mahogany or brown as well.  Very good carbonation.  Bubbles racing up the sides of the glass.  Actually, the cork flew across the room when I popped the top.  Very surprising ha ha.  Head retention was pretty good for a 9% ABV brew. Decent head lacing and some hints of alcohol legs as well.




Aroma:  Fruity esters big on the nose.  Right off the bat you get the hints of dark fruits.  Raisins, black cherries and prunes, and then maybe a hint of fig in there.  Definitely has a breadiness to it.  Some of the spices starting to mix in there too.  Very little bit of like a coffee bitterness.  Not too much chocolate.  At the end there is an oak-y aromas in there with it all.

Taste:  At the front of the tongue, on the first sip, I did pick up some of the coffee.  Then hints of spice and the dark fruits start to come out.  Really noticed the carbonation as it felt like a light mouthfeel.  Same to match the aroma big notes of dark pitted fruits, some raisins, more of that fig flavor in the taste than in the aroma.  On the back end there is a dark chocolate flavor mixing in.  Some oakiness that almost gives way to a smokiness as well.  Really getting a lot of those Belgian characteristics from this.

Verdict:  It really is like there are two different brews in there entirely.  The stout maybe overshadowed by the Belgian ale a bit.  But you do get some solid stout characteristics out of it.  I really enjoyed the lighter mouthfeel with all the big flavors it had to offer.  If you are not a fan of Belgian style ales I don't know if you would like it.  But if you are a fan of them and looking for a little stout hint mixed in, definitely give this one a try.  It really is more of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale than anything.  I'm going to give it an A.  I enjoyed it a lot.  And you have to give credit to Sam Adams as they have so many lines and produce so many beers.  They keep them all rather constant.  That is a huge challenge to overcome.  This is a solid take on a not very popular style of brew.  It's not bad priced either, I think I got this one for less than $10.  Pairings for this are kind of tough.  I'm gonna say a nice steak.  Right off the grill would be really good.  Maybe for dessert you could have it with cheesecake topped with raspberries or possibly even strawberry cheesecake.  I'm on a cheesecake kick lately.  May be a sign I need to have some.  Anyway....

Remember to comment below and tell me what you think, if you have had this brew.  Also subscribe and let me know if there is a brew out there you want me to review.  Thanks for reading.

Cheers,

Gus

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Unibroue Trois Pistoles - Tom #2


So for my second review I’m going to be sticking with a Unibroue brew. That brew is none other than, Trois Pistoles which is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. So the story about this bottle is, I was over my cousin’s house this past weekend for dinner and he broke this puppy out to pair with our dinner. The dinner, was a fabulous dish put together by his girlfriend which was a sausage based baked ziti dish made with a blend of ricotta cheese and spinach, boy did this pair well with the brew! Anyways about the brew, the bottle actually had a “best before” date of 05-05-12 and the consumption date was 11-02-12. We were able to date this bottle to be a five year vintage. So boy do we have a great review ahead of us! So sit back, relax, enjoy and carry on!

Fellow Ratings 



About the brew 
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
ABV%: 9
IBU: 16

 Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass 

Appearance: So my cousin poured me a glass and handed it off to me with about two and a half fingers of a very bubbly head. The beer poured a very deep dark brown color without much of any light shining through. The head hung around for a minute or two till it dissipated to a bare minimum. There was a decent amount of lacing that occurs throughout that should be noted.  A beautiful looking brew overall.

Aroma: So from the moment my nostrils laid their senses on the glass they were over whelmed with a slew of scents ranging from some great dark fruit note smells primarily raisins and a great combination of chocolate and caramel mixture that blended so well. While all this occurred there was a subtle scent of deep spices which provided a great backing scent to all that superb aroma floating around.

Taste: From first sight of this bottle and to the sweet sound of the cork popping, this was the part I was eagerly awaiting to get to and boy was I in for a treat. Just as a reminder this was a vintage bottle so it’s key that fact remains in the back of your mind as it has definitely aged and settled a bit. Upon first sip my senses went wild, absolutely wild! My taste buds went into overload with a crazy amount of flavors soaring about my pallet. The first thing picked up is the sweet richness that was backed by great dark fruit tastes. There was a lot of raisins prevalent in the initial taste which lead to a great subtle roasted malt blended so well with rich cocoa. It all wrapped together with a great caramel and slight bready finish that was definitely the cherry on top for this brew. Unibroue also states on the bottle that this particular brew has a smooth finish that closely resembles a port wine. Well I have a fond liking for port wines and this can definitely be noted to this beer. There are a lot of similarities that resemble this. Overall the brew was very calm as it has aged quite a bit and with very little carbonation, I was left with such a smooth easy drinking brew.

Verdict: So I know you may be thinking I’m a Unibroue fan boy or something due to this being my second review. But that’s hardly the case. I just happened to be treated to this brew the other night and absolutely fell in love with its vintage mouth feel and complexity that I figured it would be great to keep the Unibroue review going. So overall I was completely one hundred percent satisfied with this brew. Everything it consisted of was absolutely marvelous. From its complexity of its aroma to it's vast taste, it was the ideal basis of what a Belgian strong dark ale should consist of. So over all I couldn’t give this anything less than another A+ for another Unibroue brew. I am curious to seek out a fresh bottle of this relatively soon to pop open to see how it holds up against a five year sibling so keep an eye out for that review to possibly be popping up in the near future. But in my opinion this is definitely a must have for anyone to have in their cellar collection to sit on for a couple years! Thanks to my cousin Matt for sharing this bottle with me!

Make sure to check back soon for another review from Gus or I and don’t hesitate to suggest a brew or comment!

Cheers,
 Tom