Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: Heavy Seas Red Sky at Night

Heavy Seas Red Sky at Night
7.5% ABV
Clipper City Brewing Co., Baltimore, MD
12 oz btl
Served in Duvel tulip glass
Date on bottle: Best by 12/2013
Reviewed on 9/7/13

This saison pours a quite clear gold with a thin white head that dissipates somewhat quickly. Mild lacing. Moderate carbonation.

Smell has malt, wheat, hops, floral/herbal notes, pepper, mild fruity syrup, mild citrus.

Taste has malt, wheat, hops, light breadiness, peppery candy-like sweetness, fruity syrup, floral/herbal notes, touches of berry.  Much more defined taste than smell.

Mouthfeel is fairly smooth on the palate with perhaps a touch or two of bitterness and dryness.

Overall, this is a somewhat decent tasting saison that reveals more in its taste than its smell.  Malt, wheat, and candyish fruity syrup are the main flavors here, with some decent backing accents. It's fairly drinkable and mostly refreshing, though as saisons go, it's average.

My score: 87

Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: Lindemans Framboise

Lindemans Framboise
4.0% ABV
Brouwerij Lindemans, Vlezenbeek, Belgium
12 oz btl
Served in Boulevard tulip glass
No date on bottle
Reviewed on 9/19/13

This lambic pours a dark red color with a bubbly pink head that has decent retention.  Moderate lacing.

Smell has raspberries, slight malt, touch of floral.

Taste has raspberries, sour fruit, touch of champagne, slight malt, some citrus.  Sourness linger in the mouth.

Mouthfeel has fruity sourness that penetrates the palate.  Mild bitterness.  Mild dryness.

Overall, this is a quite fruity lambic that's substantial in fruity taste.  Raspberries and sourness dominate the flavor profile, and unlike other fruity malt beverages, this one is substantial in flavor and texture, almost like it has freshly squeezed fruit.  As far as beer goes, this is a bit of a diversion for me, as the raspberry flavor pretty much masks the traditional beer components of malt and hops.  Still, it's got good taste and is fairly refreshing.

My score: 88

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: North Coast Old Stock Ale (2013)

North Coast Old Stock Ale (2013)
11.9% ABV
North Coast Brewing Co., Fort Bragg, CA12 oz btl
Served in Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter
No date on bottle
Reviewed on 9/11/13

This old ale pours a brackish amber with a decent off-white head that dissipates quickly.  Moderate lacing.

Smell consists of malt, cherry, alcohol, dark fruit, mild hops, brown sugar, whiskey.

Taste has strong syrupy dark fruit, malt, alcohol, hops, tempered whiskey, cherry, sugar.

Mouthfeel is a touch harsh alcohol, but not overly so.  Syrupy on the palate.  Somewhat bitter.

Overall, this is a nice tasting old ale that's quite similar to a barleywine.  Strong dark fruit, malt, and alcohol flavors dominate the profile, and it's accented well with a decent whiskey-like component.  Not entirely sure what differentiates this beer from a barleywine, but really, who cares about the style if it tastes good?

My score: 93

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review: Duchesse De Bourgogne

Duchesse De Bourgogone
6.0% ABV
Brouwerij Berhoegle, Vichte, Belgium
11.2 oz btl
Served in St. Bernardus goblet
Date on bottle: Best before 2/14/15
Reviewed on 8/30/13

This Flanders red ale pours a dark reddish brown color with a thin off-white head that dissipates quickly.  Mild lacing.

Smell has berries, honey, mild malt, alcohol, citrus, sour fruit, floral and herbal notes, hint of hops.

Taste has sour berries, honey, fresh flowers, alcohol, citrus, peaches, touch of malt, touch of hops, tart fruit.

Mouthfeel is sour and bitter on the palate with good citrusy tartness on the tongue.

Overall, this is a tasty Flanders red ale that has great sour ale type flavors and overall is quite refreshing.  I've had this before on tap and it was much more lively and flavorful then, but this is till quite flavorful.  My first foray into the sour realm and it's a nice one.  Perfect for a relaxing weekend afternoon.

My score: 92

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: AleSmith Speedway Stout

AleSmith Speedway Stout
12.0% ABV
AleSmith Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
22 oz btl
Served in Dogfish Head signature glass
Date on bottle: Bottled on 4/16/13
Reviewed on 9/6/13

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

Smell has malt, chocolate, coffee, hops, caramel, vanilla extract, alcohol, sugary syrupy cherry.

Taste has malt, coffee, bitter chocolate, hops, vanilla, alcohol, cherry, raisin, caramel.

Mouthfeel is quite bitter on the palate with some decent pervasive dryness. Even with this, it feels fairly smooth going down.

Overall, this is a superior tasting imperial stout with strong flavors of malt, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and dark fruit.  The smell of this is quite intoxicating in its fullness and definition.  The taste is perhaps a touch down from this, but it's still quite great.  Bitterness and dryness are in abundance here, rounding out the finished product.  This one has a bit of everything in flavor and texture.

My score: 98

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review: Fat Head's Head Hunter IPA

Fat Head's Head Hunter IPA
7.5% ABV
Fat Head's Brewery, Middleburg Heights, OH
12 oz btl
Served in Dogfish Head signature glass
No date on bottle
Reviewed on 8/24/13 

This IPA pours a medium gold color with a nice off-white head that has decent retention. Some haziness.  Nice lacing.  Moderate carbonation.

Smell consists of hops, grapefruit, citrus, pepperiness, floral, resin, some pine.

Taste consists of deeply bitter hops, grapefruit, citrus, pine, slight malt, pepperiness, floral and herbal notes, resin.

Mouthfeel is quite dry and bitter on the palate.  The dryness and bitterness linger in the mouth.

Overall, a quite tasty, hoppy IPA that has some serious dryness and bitterness happening. Solid hoppy IPA flavors such as hops (of course), grapefruit, and pine dominate the flavor profile, with the flavors lingering long after.  It's fair to say that this one lays waste to the palate--a good thing--much like a similar beer, the aptly named Palate Wrecker (Green Flash).  It doesn't quite hit the heights of that beer, but it's still quite a good IPA.

My score: 94

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Review: New Holland Michigan Hatter

New Holland Michigan Hatter
4.8% ABV
New Holland Brewing Company, Holland, MI
12 oz bottle
Served in Duvel tulip glass
No date on bottle
Reviewed on 8/28/13

This pale ale pours a solid amber color with a good 1/2" off-white head that has nice retention.  Moderate lacing.

Smell consists of malt, hops, citrus, light grapefruit, mild breadiness, some spice, touch of brown sugar.

Taste consists of malt, hops, dry citrus, breadiness, some peppery-like spiciness, mild yeast, floral earthiness.

Mouthfeel is quite dry on the palate with some moderate bitterness.  A bit thin through the middle.

Overall, decent tasting if not overly distinctive pale ale.  Probably the most distinctive aspect of this beer is the dryness--it almost comes as a dry, hoppy IPA, but is quickly muted by decent maltiness.  Still, it's sessionable and fairly refreshing.

My score: 87

Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: Samuel Adams Wee Heavy

Samuel Adams Wee Heavy
10.0% ABV
The Boston Beer Co., Boston, MA
12 oz bottle
Served in Dogfish Head signature glass
No date on bottle
Reviewed on 8/27/13

This scotch ale pours a medium soda-like brown color with a thin beige head that dissipates quickly. Moderate lacing.

Smell consists of malt, alcohol, brown sugar, dark fruit, mild hops, cough syrup, cherry.

Taste consists of malt, syrupy cherry, alcohol, dark fruit, brown sugar, touch of hops, tobacco, burnt toast.

Mouthfeel is fairly dry and bitter on the palate.  Syrupy kind of feel making it feel like it's sticking to the mouth.

Overall, interesting Scotch ale that's full of interesting flavors even if they don't all quite mesh together.  Malt, alcohol, and a syrupy cherry flavor are the dominant tastes here, and it comes through as fairly dry and bitter.  Flavors of tobacco and burnt toast provide accents, making the whole package a bit uneven.  Uneven, though, doesn't necessarily mean bad.

My score: 90

Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: The Brew Kettle White Rajah IPA

The Brew Kettle White Rajah IPA
6.8% ABV
The Brew Kettle Production Works, Strongsville, OH
12 oz btl
Served in Duvel tulip glass
No date on bottle
Reviewed on 8/20/13 

This IPA pours an amber-tinged gold color with a good 1/2" bubbly white head.  Great lacing.

Smell consists of hops, pine, malt, grapefruit, lemon, slight pepperiness, arugula, floral.

Taste consists of hops, malt, pine, grapefruit, citrus, floral and herbal notes, resin, touch of champagne.

Mouthfeel is quite dry and bitter on the palate.  Very consistent in dryness, bitterness, and taste from beginning to end.

Overall, a superior tasting, ultra hoppy IPA very much in the West Coast style but coming from an unlikely place (Ohio).  Full West Coast IPA flavors are in abundance here with plentiful hops, pine, grapefruit, and even some pepper/arugula accents, among other flavors.  This stacks up well with the super hoppy beers of California such as Palate Wrecker and Stone Enjoy By.  Flavors are consistent throughout. 

My score: 96

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Review: Boulevard Saison-Brett

Boulevard Saison-Brett
8.5% ABV
Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City, MO
25.4 oz btl 
Served in Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter / Duvel tulip glass
Date on bottle: Best by 2015 (batch #2013-3)
Reviewed on 8/20/13 

This farmhouse ale pours an opaque bright gold with a thick bubbly white head that stays thick.  Lots of carbonation.  Heavy lacing.

Smell consists of hops, fruit citrus, some yeast, banana, spices, garden-like floral, mild malt, slight farm funk.

Taste consists of hops, banana, grapefruit, touch of grape, touch of berry, spicy breadiness, floral, dry farminess.

Mouthfeel is quite dry on the palate with a good blast of back-end bitterness.

Overall, a quite excellent farmhouse ale.  The corked bottle opened with a bit of a pressurized blast (thankfully, the beer didn't gush out)--an exciting start to this lively farmhouse ale.  It looks perfect in the glass: great color, lots of foam and bubbles, lively carbonation.  Midway through, I switched to the larger, more appropriate Duvel tulip glass to experience this beer more fully.  Great mix of flavors at work with hops, varied fruits, spices, breadiness, and a distinctive farmhouse funkiness (a good thing).  As it warms up, the dryness emerges even more, almost to champagne-like levels. 

My score: 95