Over two years ago now I reviewed Lancaster Brewing Company’s Milk Stout. It’s one of the best milk stout’s that I’ve come across next to Left Hand’s version, which I shockingly haven’t reviewed yet. I was at the beer store today minding my own business when the image of a cow being covered in chocolate assaulted my eyes. The words under the aforementioned cow read “Double Chocolate Milk Stout.” Naturally, I bought it.
The bottle says that this is a stout brewed with cacao nibs. It comes in at 6.8% so for a double, this isn’t on the crazy scale alcohol wise. This stout pours a pitch black with a thin tan head. I have no idea if it is clear or not as it is a dark beer. The nose is solidly chocolate with a slight malt sweetness. There are no hops or heat to be found on this one. It honestly smells like a chocolate milkshake.
On the first taste I got all chocolate. It’s not milk chocolate, chocolate, but rather dark chocolate, chocolate. It’s a mix of bitter, roasty, and odd sweetness. I say odd sweetness because you don’t expect to get a sweet flavor on something that comes off as bitter as this one. The bitterness sits on the tongue and lingers for a long time after the drink has left. I tastes like you just drank a 60% cacao chocolate bar. It’s impressive, if you like dark chocolate.
For a milk stout this one isn’t overly sweet or thick. It stays medium in mouthfeel and drinks easily. Lancaster Brewing Company really doubled down on the chocolate (dark not milk) and hit a homerun in my book. I really dig dark chocolate. The bitterness and sweetness balance nicely, but, as with most dark chocolates, the bitterness wins in the end leaving you wanting more. Well done. Continue reading
As I mentioned in my last review, I’m kind of on a barleywine kick right now. This winter is just making me crave the stuff. Today’s beer has one of the best names in all of beerdom, Blithering Idiot. I first had this beer back in college when I was first starting to get into craft beer and I loved it then, but for other reasons. At 11% you could have two of these in a night and be pretty well off. Now, I drink one of these over the course of several hours and enjoy how the beer changes as it oxidizes and warms.
Blithering Idiot is brewed by the Weyerbacher Brewing Company of Easton, PA. This beer pours a nice brown color and has a slight haze to it. There is a light tan head that quickly fades into the beer below. The nose is big and malty and filled with rich caramels. There is some roast to be found as well. I didn’t get anything on the hop or heat end of the aroma for this beer.
On the firs taste I was greeted with lots of great malt. It’s not overpowering, but you can tell that it is there and wants to be know. Unlike a lot of barelywines that can be a little sweet and simple, this beer has a lot of great malt flavors. On top of the caramels there are some nice roasted notes as well as a great biscuit flavor. The hops are there, but I would like a bit more complexity from them.
For a barelywine, I don’t think that they get more drinkable than this beer. At 11% you could easily get into trouble before you realized that the beer was this strong. The alcohol is hidden so well that you have to be careful. I really like this beer. While it’s not one of my top barelywines, it’s a good starter barelywine that provides a great introduction to the style. Continue reading
With yet another snowstorm hitting the east coast my mindset is squarely in barelywine mode. Unlike a lot of people, I love barelywines at anytime of the year, but there is something special about them as the snow is falling. They tend to be filling, warming, and just wonderful in all of the ways needed to survive the winter. Dogfish Head makes a ton of beers, but Olde School is one of my favorites. It comes in at 15% and is solidly in the “sipper category” of beers.
The beer pours a nice orange to amber color and is a bit on the cloudy side of things. It has a medium off-white head which lasts for longer than expected, being a high alcohol beer and all. The nose is complex and full, as a barelywine should be. The first thing that I get from this beer is grape and dried fruits. There is a bit of a sour funk in there, but in a big beer kind of way. If that makes sense. There is a lot of sweetness to the nose along with a slight heat. I always expect heat on a beer of this strength, but Olde School has a light touch on the nose in this respect. There are no real hops to the nose from what I can smell.
The taste is big on the malt. There is a slight roast on the end but a round caramel flavor comes in and really makes this beer chewy. The dried fruits are there along with some dark undertones to add a nice layer of complexity. There may not be a lot of heat on the nose, but it is very noticeable when tasting the beer. It’s a bit on the “too much” end of the scale, but all of the other components really draw me back. The hops make an appearance nicely in this beer. They are mixed throughout and give the beer a nice earthy flavor. They are bitter, but not over the top and help balance out the massive malt.
As I said at the beginning of this post, I really dig this beer. I think it fits in with the season and the barelywine style of beer. The bottle says “beer [that] ages with the best of ‘em” and I think that’s 100% true. I have bottles of this beer that go back 3 years and it’s interesting to see how the beer changes over time, but that’s a post for another time. Continue reading
Maybe it’s the cold, but I’ve really been in the mood for big beers that have some barrel age to them recently. My father-in-law got me a bottle of Clipper City Brewing Company’s Holy Sheet for Christmas, and I couldn’t resist drinking it. This bad boy rocks in at 9% and is part of their Heavy Seas line of beers. The bottle says a “Belgian style Abbey Ale aged in Brandy Barrels.” Wonderful!
Holy Sheet (great name BTW) pours a nice brown color with some hints of red mixed in there. It has a thin head that edges on dirty white to tan. The nose is complex but distinct at the same time. The first aroma that hit my nose was a slight heat. It’s not overly surprising for a beer aged in brandy barrels and coming in at 9% to have an alcohol smell. A lot of malt smells then hit my nose and packed in odors of raisin, dark fruit, and a slight Belgian spice. The nose was sweet with some good doses of caramel as well. I really dug the aromas wafting off of this beer.
While it was the last aroma to make its appearance, caramel was what hit me on the first taste of this beer. The beer stays sweet and some raisin components come in. The barrel aging is very apparent in this beer. There is a big dose of oak that becomes more noticeable as the beer warms. A slight toast flavor mixes in for good measure. There is no real ending to this beer, everything just mixes together and leaves. I would describe this beer as earthy in flavor with a lot of woody undertones.
This is a complex beer all of the way around. The nose was a joy to smell and the beer was great to drink. This is a great sipper for a cold day. I need to find a few more of these as I think they would age great, though they might not make it that long. Continue reading
I’m a big fan of drinking and brewing Belgian beers. Many Belgian beers require the addition of Belgian Candi Sugar. Brewers use the sugar for many reasons as it will help boost the ABV, increase fermentability, and thin the mouthfeel of the beer. As a homebrewer, I’m always looking for ways to save a buck and Belgian Candi Sugar is one of those ingredients that is super expensive. Luckily, you can easily make your own sugar without much effort. I’ve done this several times and I’ve been very happy with the results. In the steps below I will explain the process of making Belgian Candi Sugar and hopefully show you how easy it is.
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
You will need the following items in order to create your own Belgian Candi Sugar:
- Table sugar (I use five pound bags of sugar)
- Water (I use 2.5 cups of water)
- Food grade acid (lemon juice or cream of tartar are my go to’s)
- Boiling pot
- An accurate thermometer that can sit in boiling mixtures for extended times (candy, fryer, or digital thermometer with a long probe will work fine)
- Tin foil