Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hoppin' Frog Silk Porter

Perhaps best known for B.O.R.I.S. and D.O.R.I.S., don't overlook the other fine brews from Hoppin' Frog, like the Silk Porter.

While it is an Ohio brewery, Hoppin' Frog can be hard to find in this part of the state. And it's kind of a shame, because I've been very impressed with everything of theirs I have had.

Silk Porter pours just like a porter should; inky black and just a trace of head. Full nose lets you know you need to get ready for an assault of flavor. Lots of roasted and toasted malt, some bittersweet chocolate. Even a bit past roasted into charred. A dry, chalky, woody finish. Is that chicory?

The name, I think, is a bit misleading. It's not as creamy and silky as other porters. In fact, it's more harsh than most. Mind you, that's not a bad thing. Very solid beer, here

Grade: B

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chimay Red

Those Monks sure do know their beers! As my delightful trial of a beer from every Trappist brewery continues (I will have had 5 of the 7 by the end of the week), I'm trying Chimay Red.

Hazy light brown color with a pillowy head that hangs around for a bit. The flavor features big, full malt, a hint of hops to cut through the sweetness, and some apricot in the finish. Starts creamy and ends dry. Very interesting sensation. As it warms, I'm getting butterscotch and some pepper.

Overall, a sensational beer. Big flavors, great texture, complex, and balanced.

Grade: A

Friday, August 26, 2011

Unibroue Maudite

Unibroue Maudite is nothing if not gorgeous. Deep amber color and a big fluffy head that will not give up! Mostly yeast in the nose. Leads to some lightly toasted malt and a bit of a crisp hop kick. Some hints of clove, banana, and citrus in there, too.

Complex, and well balanced, but not very assertive. The flavors from the yeast are the most pronounced I'm getting.

Grade: B

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Heavy Seas Peg Leg Imperial Stout

When I want something big, brash, and bold, I usually reach for Imperial Stouts. Will Heavy Seas Peg Leg Imperial Stout plunder my wont for a huge, tasty beer?

The color is right on, but the head doesn't compare to most others of the style. Very smooth. Might be the lightest bodied imperial stout I've had. There's a hint of coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and some dark fruit. Late bitterness from the hops.

It's not bad, but it's just not doing anything for me. Very tame and I wanted something more audacious.

Grade: C

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

North Coast Old Stock Ale

Barley Wine is a style that's been growing on me. If I had the patience to age, these would be the style to age. However, I am not blessed with that virtue when it comes to beer!

This is North Coast's Old Stock Ale, 2010 version. Deep mahogany color with loads of roasted butterscotch and some wood in the nose. That butterscotch flavor absolutely coats the mouth with a bit of sour tang in the finish. Hops add a welcome kick and some bitterness, but don't get in the way of anything. Picking up some grapes and late chocolate as it warms. It's a heavy hitter at more than 11% ABV, but the alcohol is just a pleasant warmth.

Outstanding! My impatience has been rewarded

Grade: A

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale

After a run of authentic Trappist ales recently, I'm interested in an American taken on the version with Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale.

The color is lighter than I expected for a Belgian Trippel. The fluffy white heads deflates rather quickly, but it is sticking around with tenacity. Lots of banana and sour malt in the nose. Similar flavors with more of the slightly sour malt and some clove and spice in the finish. Very smooth and crisp. Not even a hint of the powerful 8.5% ABV. Very little hop presence.

It tastes good, it's easy to drink, but I think I'd rather have a Rochefort 10 or La Trappe Quad anytime.

Grade: B

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Life and Limb - Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada collaboration

Clearly, every craft brewery wants to sell tons of beer and make huge profits, but there is a sense of camaraderie amongst craft brewers in a love of great beer. That love is displayed here with the Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada collaboration brew, Life and Limb. Heck, it even is its own website!

The expectations are high here and the beer starts off big with a huge off white head and deep mahogany color. Lots of spice and dark fruit in the smell. Tons of sweet malt, maple syrup, some smokiness, anise, followed by a long, dry finish. The hops eventually give a bit of a kick along with some cherries.

Big, complex, well balanced. There's some boozy warmth, but I wouldn't guess it is 10%. Delicious and a great of example of a beer brewed with passion, knowledge, and love. Get it

Grade: A+

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Founders Porter

This is one I've been trying to get my hands on for a while, because whenever I tell people porter is my favorite style, the next question is if I have had Founders Porter. So I must admit, even before the first sip, the bar is set very high.

Pour is just what I like; inky black and there's not even color around the edges. It's solid black with a thin head that doesn't last long. Inviting roasty smell. The roast carries on into the flavor, but it doesn't over power the smooth chocolate. The chocolate notes here are not as bitter as other porters. More of a milk chocolate. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Hops and toasted bread come out more as it warms. Long finish that's dry with just a hint of bitterness.

Nothing not to like about this one!

Grade: A

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout

The intoxicating and inviting aromas of South Tier Creme Brulee Stout draw you in the second you pop the top. Tons of toffee, butterscotch, and milk in the nose and a gorgeous dark tan head floating on a sea of black.

Sweet sugar with a little bit of char to go along with the butterscotch and warm milk and a very creamy texture. There's also a hop bite at the back end to remind you it's a beer. Never having had creme brulee (I know, how bourgeois of me) I can't say how close it is to Creme Brulee in a bottle, but gosh is it tasty. Might be too sweet for some, but I think it's delicious. The burnt flavor lingers more than anything, but it goes very well with the sweetness. Not even a hint of the whopping 9.6% ABV

Excellent brew!

Grade: A

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bard's Beer

I'm rather intrigued by Bard's Beer, as this is will be my first gluten free beer. I certainly feel for those who have celiac disease and can't eat or drink anything with wheat or barley (so I assume they can have Bud Light), as I suffer from a similar disorder.

The color is nice, there isn't much head, but the smell isn't giving me a lot of promise. The flavor is...not especially pleasant. I can't even figure out how to describe it. I knew not to expect anything like other light amber ales, but all I am getting is what I assume is the sorghum. No other kind of hops or nuances.

I really wanted to like this beer, but I just don't. I think making an IPA out of this and masking the flavor the malt would be a good direction. I don't think it's badly brewed, I just think I don't dig on sorghum. Unfortunate.

Grade: D

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian IPA

With my final IPA for the day, it's Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian IPA.

I'm curious what will make this Belgian, but the look is similar to the other two from earlier in the evening, though the color is a bit more light orange and the head is both bigger and sticking around longer.

The smell is both hoppy and yeasty. Lots of orange and coriander before the hops come in. Not a ton of malt here. But a very bitter finish. Outstanding lacing. I'm getting more Belgian than IPA, but I like this. I believe I'm a fan of these kind of hybrids in general.

Overall, a pretty tasty brew, and it's nice to see some innovation in the style.

Grade: B

P.S. I have only been listening to songs with Bitch in the title while writing this. Let's dig on some Stones together, shall we?

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

The IPA Day celebration continues with Great Divide's Hercules Double IPA.

A nice start with a hazy bronze color and big fluffy white head. Smells like piney hops and a bit of wood. Big round malt flavor followed by a hit of hops. Extremely well balanced. Long and intensely bitter finish. Very creamy texture and a lot of the hop hit comes in the finish rather than while you first drink it. Noticing quite a bit of orange in this brew.

I like it. Good balance not only between malt and hops, but among the different hops, too. Fantastic mouthfeel, as well.

Grade: A

Dogfishead 90 Minute IPA

Happy IPA Day! Going to start today's celebration with the ubiquitous Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.

I really like the light brown color with an inviting haze. Lots of citrusy hops in the nose. Starts off with a lot of sweet caramel followed by a big hop punch. The hops are there, don't worry about that, but they aren't blowing out everything else like I expected.

This is my kind of IPA. Huge hop notes, big bitter finish, but it's got some malt to go along with it. It's not like you're drinking hop juice (which I haven't been able to get my hands on yet.) The 9% ABV warms on the way down, but doesn't have much presence other than that.

Big fan of this one!

Grade: A

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche

That's not a typo. It's German! Now, I don't sprechen sie deutsch, but I did notice, in English, doppelbock and oak smoke. I'm in.

Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche pours lighter than I expected, but it's a nice amber with a big head, though that may be a function of the bottle neck. The smell is smoke, and a ton of it, with some meat. The smoke is by far the dominating and overpowering flavor, but I do get some pork and there is a bit of sweet malt, too. It's like liquid bacon. Goes down quite easily, and there is no hint of the 8% ABV.

This is unlike any doppelbock I've had. So if you think you'll be getting something like Celebrator or Salvator, you're not. It is firmly a Rauchbier.

Overall, it's pretty tasty, but the smoke really is a lot to handle. Be ready!

Grade: B