Archive for September, 2011

Back to Stouts

I guess I’m alternating between stouts and sours now. Oh well, as it starts to get colder I will probably shy away from sours and focus on the darker stuff. Here’s to a good start…

Beer: Creme Brulee

Brewery: Southern Tier

Style:Milk Stout

ABV: 9.6%

Location: Lakewood, NY

Appearance: Black, with half a finger of coffee colored head. Looks promising.

Aroma: Whoa! This beer smells like some sort of coffee-based dessert. Coffee, chocolate, sugar, and vanilla really come through in the nose. Smells absolutely fantastic

Taste: Awwww…….if only the beer tasted similar to how it smelled. Lots of caramel, some butterscotch, vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. The smell was sweet but manageable, but the way this thing tastes is just cloyingly sweet. Way to much for any normal person to handle

Mouthfeel: Sticky, medium/heavy bodied with moderate carbonation.It feels so sticky, you can still tell that you’ve recently had this beer 3 to 4 minutes after drinking it. It lingers that long

Drinkability: I had a bomber, but a single 12oz glass is more than enough. Maybe stick a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it or something.

Beer Advocate Grade: B+

My Grade: B

I Lied….

Back to another sour beer. I’ll do another stout tomorrow to make up for it! I promise!

Description:Is it beer, or is it wine? “Aged in fresh oak wine barrels with distinct characteristics of fruit and subtle oak: sounds more like a description of wine than beer. But, of course, Temptation is indeed beer. Actually, Temptation is a blonde ale, after the primary fermentation it is aged in used fresh oak chardonnay barrels. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout the barrel aging. During this time, a secondary fermentation occurs using a yeast strain disliked by most brewers and winemakers called Brettanomyces. The addition of “Brett” along with two good bacterias gives Temptation intriguing characteristics and a pleasant sourness. Temptation is refermented in this bottle to create carbonation- a process commonly used to make fine champagne and sparkling wine. Spent yeast forms a thin layer of sediment in the bottle, adding yet another layer of complexity and flavors. Pour slowly as to allow the natural yeast sediment to remain in the bottle.

Beer: Temptation (batch 23)

Brewery: Russian River

Style: Wild Ale

ABV: 7.25%

Location: Santa Rosa, CA

Appearance: Gold. No head to speak of, none. I do see bubbles streaming from the bottom of the glass though

Aroma: Lactic sour, with a little bit of funk followed up by apple?

Taste: Sour, some funk, white wine, and oak

Mouthfeel: light and fizzy, finishes pretty dry

Drinkability: Due to it’s lightness, you could drink two bottles without much trouble.

Beer Advocate Grade: A

My Grade: B+

Consecration is still my favorite Russian River sour. This one is just way to similar to white wine for me.

Growler Sessions are Fun

My friend Mark was down in Corvallis recently and brought up a growler from Block 15 brewery to split with me over while we watched Senna.

Beer: Nebula Oatmeal Stout

Brewery: Block 15

Style: Oatmeal Stout

ABV: 6.8%

Location: Corvallis, OR

Appearance: Black, with only a tiny bit of light let through around the edges. No head to speak of, but that was my fault with the pour.

Aroma: A little bit of chocolate, but a ton of fresh roasted coffee. The only beer that smells more like coffee is Terrapin’s Wake n Bake.

Taste: Coffee, chocolate, and maybe some honey. Well executed

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Matches the flavor profile very well

Drinkability: Very drinkable, but it needs to get a little colder outside before I start crushing growlers of stouts.

Beer Advocate Grade: A-

My Grade: A-

Stout Season is a Coming

Immediately after having that La Parcela from Jolly Pumpkin, I realized that I said I was going to take a break from sours for a while. Since I failed on that front, I decided to make up for it by trying a big barrel-aged stout. Being at Beermongers, I simply walked over to the coolers, grabbed a Mikkeller Black Hole Cognac Edition, and got to work.

Beer: Black Hole Barrel Aged Edition Cognac

Brewery: Mikkeller

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

ABV: 13%

Location: Denmark

Appearance: Black on black on black on black. Also a half finger of coffee colored head.

Aroma: Lots of cognac, holy crap. I was so caught up with the cognac that I almost forgot to notice the coffee, chocolate, and vanilla notes

Taste: Really god damn delicious, people need to age their beer in cognac barrels more. This is a boozy beer, not unlike Bourbon Brand County Stout, but sweet chocolate, vanilla, and mild coffee bitterness more than make up for it.

Mouthfeel: Sticky, and super heavy.

Drinkability: Not that drinkable, I ended up splitting part of the bottle with some of the people at Beermongers

Beer Advocate Grade: A

My Grade: A

This beer is part of a big series of Black Hole Barrel-Aged beers. The others include  bourbon, whiskey, red wine, white wine, rum, and tequila.

I’ve tried the bourbon which was delicious, and the tequila which was not.

Avoid the tequila.

Break is Over.

Beer: La Parcela

Brewery: Jolly Pumpkin

Style: Pumpkin Ale

ABV: 6%

Location: Dexter, MI

Appearance: Deep orange with some brown highlights in it. Half a finger of egg white colored head, but the bubbles are the smallest I’ve ever seen in a beer. I can’t even see the size of the bubbles, it’s incredible

Aroma: Tart, funky, pumpkin pie

Taste: Tart, some funk, and just a tiny whiff of pumpkin and the associated spices.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, and I simply can’t tell how carbonated it is because the size of the bubbles just made the beer feel super silky. This beer is worth trying for the bubbles alone. BUBBLES!

Drinkability: A glass was enough for me

Beer Advocate Grade: B+

My Grade: B

A Short Break From Sours

I’ve been having only sours over for a little while now, so when I broke it off with the Fresh Hop Mirror Pond, I decided to avoid sours for the next beer as well. I “discovered” that I had another saison in the fridge, so I promptly opened it…

Beer: Five

Brewery: Upright Brewing

Style: Saison

ABV: 5.5%

Location: Portland, OR

Appearance: Deep gold/amber with a finger of frothy white head that leaves a moderate amount of lacing

Aroma: Funk, earthy, grassy, with some clove and yeast.

Taste: Funk, tart, flowery.

Mouthfeel: light with light carbonation. Very crisp and refreshing

Drinkability: Easy to drink, but not bold enough to drink more than a 750ml bottle before getting bored

Beer Advocate Grade: B+

My Grade: B

Unmitigated Disaster

I will be honest, despite the fact that I rarely have rogue beers now that I’m back in Portland, I was really pumped for this beer. I was planning to go down to voodoo donuts, get some bacon maple bars, and then make my way to the Rogue Pub to snag a bottle or two of bacon maple porter to see what’s what. Unfortunately, a few days before the release Rogue pulls some Pennsylvania shit out of its and says that you can only buy the beer by the case, for $156 dollars. That is equivalent to $13 dollars a bottle.

I personally think that the brewers at Rogue tried the beer and decided that it was a complete disaster for a beer and should be put back into Pandora’s box. On the other hand, why not sell the beer in cases only so that they can get rid of the beer faster? Release an overpriced probably shitty beer to a population of beer geeks? Sounds like a flawless plan.

To make things worse, they really didn’t distribute any bottles to the press so there are only one or two reviews. When a beer is bad, I gratuitously pour hate onto it in the efforts that none of my friends will share the same horrible experience as me. But when a newspaper does the same thing, it can have disastrous consequences. Willamette Week called the beer a “foul abomination”, and the quotes that are included in the article might possibly be made from solid gold. They are that entertaining.

So, as a result no one has really purchased any of this beer, with 0 reviews on BeerAdvocate when there should be a fair number of reviews for a beer hyped this heavily.

Well Rogue, the ball is in your court, and it smells like shit. Sell the beer in single bottles for $5 so we can all try your beer and tell you how shitty it is.

It is Time

For FRESH HOP SEASON!!!!!!!!! Since the pacific northwest grows a huge percentage of the nation’s hops, we are naturally very good at this style because it takes much less time for local breweries to get their hands on the freshly picked hops in comparison to breweries located elsewhere.

Description: This noble, fresh hop version of our classic american pale ale arose from a single plot of heirloom cascade hops. Revived by our brewers from the original rootstock developed at Oregon State University, grown by Goshie Farms in Oregon, this very limited release is just for you.

Beer: Fresh Hop Mirror Pond

Brewery: Deschutes

Style: American Pale Ale

ABV: 5.5%

Location: Bend, OR

Appearance: Amber, with a little bit of head that leaves wonderful lacing. Darker than the normal mirror pond i think

Aroma: Pine, citrus, and apricot. Not much malt smell

Taste: Low on hop bitterness, high on hop flavor, with pine, orange peel, and some floral hop notes coming through. I can also taste some sweet malts as well, but I have to look for it to find it.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, medium carbonation. Very smooth

Drinkability: Super drinkable, you really don’t realize how quickly the bomber goes till it’s gone.

Beer Advocate Grade: A

My Grade: A+

A lot of people think that this is the best fresh hop beer from deschutes if not the best fresh hop beer out there. It’s very good, but I want to try this year’s hop trip before I pass final judgement.

Can’t Get Enough Sour

After my Supplication from Russian River last night, I was craving some more sour. Luckily for me, Cascade Barrel House taps a new barrel of sour beer every week, so it can be guaranteed that there will be a beer I have yet to try there every week. As a result my friend Mark and I went over to see what all the fuss was about.

Description: This live barrel of NW-style sour ale is a one-off from the blenders. This red ale was barrel aged for seven months, then aged an additional month on 150 lbs of fresh blueberries. The aroma of dark, earthy, rich blueberries greets you in the nose. A smooth, rich fresh blueberry presence on the palate leads to a finish of tart berries with a lingering dry finish.

Beer: Blueberry on Red

Brewery: Cascade Brewing

Style: Wild Ale

ABV: 7.5%

Location: Portland, OR

Appearance: Dark red with some blue mixed into it. Very little head and no lacing.

Aroma: Funky, sour, some cherries, and a little wine aroma. Just a tad of blueberries as well

Taste: Tartness, cherries, and funk up front, with a kick of blueberries on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Very light, moderate carbonation, with a dry finish. Extremely refreshing

Drinkability: Sooo good, I didn’t realize i had finished my glass until i was staring through the bottom of my glass into the table.

Beer Advocate Grade: N/A

My Grade: A

Description: This NW-style sour is what happens to a wit beer after we get ahold of it. Bright lemon and dusty grains greet you in the nose. A blend of sweet wheat and grains rolls across the palate, while hints of spice and lemon zest give way to a tart, lingering finish.

This beer was extremely similar to the Upright Pure Wit I reviewed a little while ago. Less lemon puckering, with more tartness. Don’t know which one I like more though….

I Can Has Sour?

Russian River, one of my favorite breweries, is well known for it’s belgians, IPAs, and sours. I’ve covered their belgians and IPAs so far, so of course I have to finish the set. Also watching the premiere of How I Met Your Mother, which is a great show that everyone should watch.

Beer: Supplication

Brewery: Russian River

Style: Wild Ale

ABV: 7%

Location: Santa Rosa, CA

Appearance: Very, very red, with a quarter finger of head that sits around for a while. No lacing to speak of.

Aroma: It smells like sour, and maybe a little vinegar. The smell is not this beer’s strong point.

Taste: Now this is more like it! Sour cherries, funk, and tons of oak are in this beer. Not really complex like Sang Royal or the Dissident, but the 3 flavors it does have are really prominent.

Mouthfeel: Super tingly and light, much lighter than its taste would suggest

Drinkability: I really wish this beer came in bigger bottles….Curse Russian River and their small bottles for sour beer!

Beer Advocate Grade: A+

My Grade: A