Monday, November 29, 2010

North Coast Brewing Old Rasputin Imperial Stout

Before I get to the review of Old Rasputin, I want to talk about Imperial Stouts as a style. First, they are some of my favorites! They were first brewed in the 1700s by English brewers in an attempt to win over Catherine The Great of Russia. Indeed, a royal beer. Imperial stouts, for lack of a better adjective, are huge in every way. Flavor, color, texture, ABV, all of it.

Old Rasputin pours black as onyx and is completely opaque with a huge, rocky, dark beige head. Jim Koch talks about being able to float a bottle cap on Sam Adams Boston Lager. You might be able to float the entire bottle on this head! The flavor is massive and complex. Lots of roasted and bitter notes with a little bit of expected coffee and chocolate. I also got some dark fruits, like currants. The finish is long, lingering, dry, and woody. Damn, is this beer amazing! Just know what you're getting yourself into.

There is some Cyrillic writing on the label, but I haven't been able to find the translation. I sure am curious, though!

Grade: A+

Friday, November 26, 2010

Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown

The 20 beers in 10 days challenge is complete! I have the shirt to prove it. One of my favorites was Leinenkugel's Fireside Nut Brown. There were notes of hazelnut and smoke, rich caramel. The mouthfeel was think and full. There was a late, light sweet finish and after it warmed even some background cinnamon and clove. I thought it was delicious! However, after reading several other reviews, it turns out I am one of the few who loved this beer. I had this on draft, so maybe that made a difference. And it wasn't my first beer of the evening, so that could have changed things, too. But I loved it. I took notes about it on the back of a receipt, if that tells you anything

Grade: A

Friday, November 19, 2010

20 Beers in 10 Days

I have decided to start Beer Barrel's 20 beers in 10 days challenge. And while a few of the beers are macros, this shouldn't be an issue AND I'll get a t-shirt!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

O'Fallon Smoked Porter

I love porters and I like smokiness so I thought I'd give O'Fallon Smoked Porter a try. It certainly pours just like a porter should. It is bitter, smoky, and there is a bit of nuttiness and even oak in there. The finish is a bit different than most porters (however I didn't write down why. Sorry.) But it's late, dry, and there's a hint of bacon! Mmmmm, bacon.

I certainly get the smoke, but it isn't overpowering. I could have gone for a bit more smoke flavor.

Grade: B

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Before After Beer

This is Before-After beer. It's Lithuanian. I must admit, I'll go after a beer just because of the label and name. Combine those with the 12% ABV and I had to try this. Yes, 12% ABV. For comparison, Bud Light as 4.2% ABV. So if you're looking for more punch from your beer, here you go.

I knew with a beer like this to expect something different and it certainly is. The color is crisp, clear, and orange. The taste was totally unexpected. Like red hot candies, a little bit of caramel, and oak. The finish even has some chile heat to it. It's incredibly complex, but I was a big fan. Even with that high of an ABV, I didn't think the alcohol was overpowering.

As a side note, it was nearly impossible to find any other reviews on this beer. Guess there aren't a lot of Lithuanian beers here!

Grade: A

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sierra Nevada Tumbler Review

Since Sierra Nevada is following me on twitter now (and you can too), I figure it was time to review one of their beers. Here is one of their fall offerings, Sierra Nevada Tumbler. It pours a dark brown color with hints of orange. Nothing really stands out in the taste. There are some hints of nuts, some roast, and some caramel. But it's full, earthy, easy to drink, and delicious. Perfect for a day of watching football. There are times where I just want a beer to taste good and I don't seek out all the nuances. This is one of them. Get it while you can!

Grade: A

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale

My appreciation for Sam Adams is growing (though, I will still never go near Cherry Wheat again, thank you). The Harvest Pumpkin Ale is a perfect fall beer. A gorgeous orange and tan color and delicious spices. While I did taste some pumpkin, it was mostly in the background. But those warm, delectable pumpkin pie spices were right up front. Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, they're all there. It was still refreshing and crisp, too. And even though it is heavily spiced, it is fantastically well balanced. I can't think of a better fall beer.

Grade: A+

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bluegrass Bourbon Barrel Stout Review

After trying, and loving, a couple of bourbon barrel styles, I am now picking up all I can find. This is Bluegrass Brewing's Bourbon Barrel Stout. The appearance certainly is what you would expect from a stout. It's black, thick, and smooth with a huge, creamy tan head. It was excessively carbonated and took a couple of pours to get it in the glass. The color had me instantly wondering something that unfortunately was true of this beer. Because of the stout characteristics including the roasted, smokey, nutty flavors, the bourbon was really hard to pick up. There were some late woody and vanilla notes, but the bourbon was not as prominent as I would have liked. I liked this beer, but I would not go for it if I was in the mood for a bourbon ale. It's kinda like a Porsche Boxter. I mean, yeah, it's a Porsche, but you should probably go for the 997.

Grade: B