Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: Ovila Abbey Quad

Ovila Abbey Quad
(collaboration with Sierra Nevada and the Abbey of New Clairvaux)
10.2% ABV
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA
12.7 oz btl
Served in St. Bernardus chalice glass
No date on bottle
Reviewed on 2/16/14


This quadruple ale pours a dark amberish brown color with a decent beige head that has okay retention. Good lacing.

Smell consists of plums, dark fruit accents such as cherry and raisin, malt, slight caramel, floral/herbal notes, slight leather, slight tobacco.

Taste consists of thick dark fruit with dominant plum, cherry, and raisin flavors, some caramel, touch of vanilla, alcohol, floral and herbal notes, notes of tobacco and leather.

Mouthfeel is thick on the palate with some decent lingering bitterness. Touch of dryness.

Overall, this is a nice tasting quad that's heavy on the dark fruit flavors.  Plum, cherry, and raisin flavors are quite evident, with some decent accents such as caramel, vanilla, and even tobacco and leather coming through. This might not stack up to the renowned Belgian quads, but it definitely has some good flavor and a unique profile.  Comes in a nice looking bottle as well.

My score: 91

Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: Ommegang Three Philosophers Quadrupel Ale

Ommegang Three Philosophers Quadrupel Ale
9.7% ABV
Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY
12 oz btl
Served in Duvel tulip glass
No date on bottle
Reviewed on 3/1/14


This quadruple ale pours a hazy amber-brown color with a good light beige head that has decent retention. Decent lacing.

Smell consists of malt, caramel, hops, dark fruit, sugary candy, hint of vanilla, touch of spice.

Taste consists of smooth dark fruit (particularly cherry), mild alcohol, raisin, malt, caramel, some hops, brown sugar.

Mouthfeel, at first, is quite smooth on the palate, then some decent texture kicks in.

Overall, this is a nice quad with some significant dark fruit/cherry flavors happening, giving it some good barleywine and even lambic qualities. Nice earthiness presents after it warms up some.  Mellow and tasty, it's worth sipping and savoring even as your taste buds want to drink it faster.

My score: 93

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review: Maine Beer Company Lunch IPA

Maine Beer Company Lunch IPA
7.0% ABV
Maine Beer Company, Portland, ME
16.9oz btl
Served in Duvel tulip glass
Date on bottle: Bottled on 1/14/14
Reviewed on 1/26/14


This IPA pours a hazy golden color with a somewhat amber tint and an off-white bubbly head that has decent retention.  Quite good lacing.

Smell consists of hops, grapefruit, citrus, fresh herbs and flowers, pine, slight woody flavor.

Taste consists of strong bitter hops, grapefruit, pine, smooth herbs and flowers, citrus, slight wheat, hint of yeast.

Mouthfeel is bitter on the palate at the start, mellowing to a nice smoothness.  Somewhat dry but not overly so.

Overall, this is a strong tasting IPA that has many of the classic IPA flavors while also having a good mellow smoothness. Only days old when reviewed, it tastes quite fresh, revealing the best of hops, grapefruit, pine, and floral flavors. A top-notch IPA that compares well to Heady Topper and the West Coast style IPAs.  Expensive but worth it if you can find it.


My score: 97

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Review: Firestone Walker 17th Anniversary Ale

Firestone Walker 17th Anniversary Ale
13.3% ABV
Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles, CA
22 oz btl
Served in Dogfish Head signature glass
No date on bottle (2013 edition of this annual ale)
Reviewed on 2/15/14

This strong ale pours a dark brownish-reddish color with a decent ivory-colored head that dissipates quickly. Good lacing.

Smell consists of malt, hops, dark fruit including raisin and cherry, vanilla, some bourbon, some tobacco, some wood.

Taste consists of cherry, vanilla, bourbon, malt, raisin, caramel, some hops, touch of chocolate, woodiness.

Mouthfeel is fairly smooth on the palate with some bitterness on the back end.

Overall, this is a tasty, smooth strong ale that masks its high ABV quite well. Cherry, vanilla, and bourbon flavors hit the palate immediately. Caramel, wood, and chocolate flavors provide pleasant accents. This one goes in various directions--strong ale, barleywine, and even stout. I'm a broken record on this--this is another high quality product from Firestone Walker.

My score: 96

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review: Full Tilt Berger Cookie Chocolate Stout

Full Tilt Berger Cookie Chocolate Stout
6.0% ABV
Peabody Heights Brewery, Baltimore, MD
12 oz btl
Served in Dogfish Head signature glass
No date on bottle
Reviewed on 1/30/14

This stout pours a dark brown color with a good bubbly beige head that has decent retention. Nice lacing.

Smell consists of malt, chocolate, sugar, slight coffee, some vanilla, touch of hops.

Taste consists of malt, chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla.  A touch thin, but reminiscent of Berger's cookies.

Mouthfeel is somewhat bitter on the palate with some thinness coming through.

Overall, this is a decent chocolate tasting stout that is fairly reminiscent of the locally famous Berger cookie. Chocolate, coffee, and vanilla like flavors come through, though overall it's a bit thin.  It's not too much different than typical chocolate stout, but for someone from Baltimore with memories of the delicious cookies, it's a neat novelty.

My score: 89

Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout (2013)

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout (2013)
14.2% ABV
Goose Island Brewing Co.,Chicago, IL
12 oz btl
Served in Dogfish Head signature glass
Date on bottle: Bottled on 8/20/13
Reviewed on 12/12/13

This imperial stout pours a thick dark brown color with a bubbly toasty beige head that has decent retention. Nice lacing.

Smell consists of bitter chocolate, coffee, malt, oak, whiskey, slight hops, alcohol, slight soy, touch of spice.

Taste consists of bitter dark chocolate, malt, smooth coffee, alcohol, some hops, oak, whiskey notes, slight soy, touch of spice.

Mouthfeel is bitter with some dryness, yet quite thick and even velvety on the palate.  Some alcohol harshness, yet relatively muted given the ABV.

Overall, this is a strong tasting imperial stout with strong flavors of chocolate, coffee, and malt, with ample accents of alcohol, oak, whiskey, and even a bit of spiciness. As it warms up, the flavors come together even more, bringing out prominent bitterness and alcohol taste, but they never take over and seem to be balanced out, bringing together a good flavor harmony. This can be a difficult seasonal to find, but it's worth seeking out and paying the somewhat expensive price if you're into bold flavored stouts.

My score: 98

Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: Goose Island Backyard Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout

Goose Island Backyard Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout
12.7% ABV
Goose Island Brewing Co.,Chicago, IL
22 oz btl
Served in Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter
Date on bottle: Bottled on 11/20/13
Reviewed on 2/21/14

This imperial stout pours a thick dark brown color with a toasty beige, slightly red head that dissipates quickly. Decent lacing.

Smell consists of strong dark fruit, alcohol, whiskey, malt, chocolate, some coffee, wood, soy, sugary cherry, vanilla.

Taste consists of strong flavors of cherry and berries, muted alcohol, wood, vanilla, whiskey, slight chocolate, coffee, malt, touch of caramel.

Mouthfeel is smooth and syrupy on the apalte with some muted through noticeable bitterness.

Overall, this is a strong tasting imperial stout with prominent flavors of berries and dark fruit. Alcohol is prominent on the nose, but takes to the background on the palate. Vanilla, whiskey, chocolate, and wood flavors provide solid flavorful accents.  This one compares quite well to the other Bourbon County Brand offerings.  Quite tasty and worth savoring, though it's far too easy to drink quickly.

My score: 97