042715_00

Schlafly Golden Ale Beer Review

042715_01I came across a Schlafly special release beer at the beer store yesterday and I grabbed a six pack to try it out. Schlafly Golden Ale, brewed by the Saint Louis Brewery, is a Belgian Style golden ale that hits at a surprisingly high 7% ABV. This is their spring/early summer release beer and this style of beer ties in nicely with the changing of the season. I’ve been a big fan of Schlafly beers in the past which is by I purchased this beer over several other worthy competitors.

Schlafly Golden Ale pours a beautiful golden color. It is perfectly clear and has about one finger of white head that collapses relatively quickly. You really can’t get a nicer looking Belgian golden ale than this beer. It’s very photogenic and I may have spent too much time grabbing pictures of this one. The nose is full of Belgian esters, mainly banana and fruit. There is a little malt in there and some heat but the main thing that shines though are the esters. This beer smells like a Belgian ale in all of the best ways. It’s clean, round, and full.

The beer is nicely carbonated. I noticed a tickle on my tongue on when taking my first sip. The Belgian esters flow right from the aroma to the taste. They give the beer a great flavor that is fruity and estery at the same time. The beer gains a nice peppery flavor as well which really adds some complexity.  There are some light biscuit and wheat flavors that the malt offers up to help add to the beer. This golden ale ends on a grassy, spicy hop note that cleans out the beer and makes it finish with all of the right things. The aftertaste left behind is wonderful. It’s fruit, spicy, and slightly sweet.

I enjoyed this beer a great deal. My only complaint would be that I would like to have just a bit more body. It seemed slightly watery to me, but that could just be my preference in a golden ale coming through. I really liked this beer from start to finish. It’s super drinkable and would be easy drinking in the late spring, early summer timeframe.

Read More

041315_00

Dirt Wolf Beer Review

It’s been awhile and a lot has happened over the past few months but more on that another time. Today I have Dirt Wolf from Victory Brewing Company. This bad boy rocks in at 8.7% ABV and falls under a double IPA classification.

Dirt Wolf
Victory Brewing Company’s Dirt Wolf

Dirt Wolf pours orange with a thin white head. A strong citrus and grapefruit hop aroma hits you right in the face. This isn’t a subtle beer, it means business. There is a slight pine but it is edged out by the other hop smells. There are some biscuit and malt aromas that you can find as the beer warms and/or you become used to the hop smell. The big take away from this one is hops. The hops are fresh, bright, and round. I love the smell of this beer.

On the first taste I was surprised that a mild malt flavor with light biscuit and bread lead the way. It was quickly followed by strong citrus hops and a round hop flavor from front to back. The hops don’t punch but build and bite, which is a really nice way of building an interesting hop flavor.  The hops end on a spicy note. I wouldn’t call the ending grassy, but it approaches that field. The most outstanding part of this beer, other than the hops, is that there isn’t any heat to speak of. The beer comes off feeling very balanced and drinkable. For better or worse, that’s what this thing does.

Really, really nice DIPA. Very clean and full flavored. Hops are solid and malt supports the hops. No heat anywhere to be found. Hops are bright, clean, and fully flavored. Outstanding DIPA

Read More

08-20-00

DuClaw Hell on Wood Beer Review

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for barrel aged barleywines. I seriously love them. A local brewery that doesn’t get enough praise is DuClaw Brewing Company. They make some wonderful beer and when I saw Hell on Wood, I grabbed a few bottles. The bottle says that it is a barleywine style ale that is aged in bourbon barrels. It also rocks in at 10.6% ABV. A true sipper.

Hell on Wood pours a nice reddish brown color with a slight haze.  The head is light tan and thin, but doesn’t fade quickly. The nose is wonderful and full. It starts with a deep, dark, almost burnt caramel aroma. The caramel is surrounded by some “traditional sweetness” that really rounds out the malt character. A good helping of bourbon, oak, and vanilla follow though. I didn’t much if any hops which is generally how I like my barleywines.

Hell on WoodThe taste generally follows the nose. It begins with some strong caramel notes. Bourbon hits next. It’s a clean and spicy bourbon that cuts through the sweetness of the malt. A really solid, but not overpowering, oak flavor comes in next and really adds a great layer of complexity and depth. There is some heat towards the end of the taste. Surprisingly, it’s a balanced heat if there is such a thing, and it makes for a great flavor note. Hell on Wood finishes with a nice earthy/piney hop flavor that adds a touch of bitterness.

This beer stays a lightly sweet throughout but it’s enjoyable and still close to a perfect balance. It drinks thick and chewy; like I said, a sipper. I rather enjoyed this barleywine. It has a great combination of flavor, complexity, and aromas that make a barleywine an enjoyable drinking experience.

Read More

08-17-00

North Coast Acme California Pale Ale Beer Review

My dad was nice enough to pick up a bottle of this beer for me on his way home from work one night. I’ve only had a handful of North Coast Brewing Company beers before; all good experiences. I was super excited to get another chance to try their beers. This one is a nice little pale ale that comes in at 5% ABV and a low 21 IBUs.

Acme California Pale Ale pours a nice orange color. It is perfectly clear, as any pale ale should be, and has a thin white head. The thing that impressed me about the nose was that the hops didn’t hit right off of the bat. The first thing I noticed was a great round caramel aroma that promised a flavorful beer was inside. The hops come into smell after that and provide a nice pine and tropical fruit mix. The hops are sticky sweet and really balance out the malt odors.

Acme California Pale AleOn the first taste I found that the nose didn’t lie, this beer has some great malt flavor. A solid, but light caramel and sweetness flavor show themselves first followed by a wonderful biscuit and bread flavor. The hops come in and provide a nice light hop punch with a slightly piny ending. The beer finishes dry which only makes you want to take another sip. As I drank this beer the hops changed over time. I found that they provided a nice earthy hop flavor to the beer, which I rather enjoyed.

This is a really good pale ale. It is much more of  an English style pale ale than an American one, but that’s not a bad thing. The hops and malt are in such good balance that this beer makes you want to keep drinking it.

Read More

08-10-00

Dogfish Head Immort Ale Beer Review

I review a lot of Dogfish Head beers. I generally like their style, love their willingness to do something different, and I’ve met the owner. With all of that said, I would’ve picked up this beer if it was brewed by anyone. The label beckons, ” Vast in character, luscious and complex, this smooth, full-bodies ale reveals interwoven notes of maple, vanilla and oak.” It also comes in at a hefty 11% ABV, which means that it’s a sipper. There’s something special about slowly drinking a beer and having it change over time. It also means that you don’t have to get up as often. Score.

Immort Ale pours a nice ruby color. It has a thin off-white head that quickly fades. There a several small bodies suspended in the beer which I can only attribute to yeast. The nose has a bit of heat along a wonderful aroma of woody earth. This beer is barrel aged but it strikes a nice cord of oak and earth flavor that you usually find in some funkier beers. A slight bit of sweetness can be found in the recesses of the nose. Finally, a nice aged hop flavor comes forward to round out an already nice odor.

08-10-03The nose on this beer is super complex and lovely and the taste is right along the same lines. It starts with a sweet upfront flavor that I would describe as grainy caramel. The oak flavor comes in and provides a solid contribution and future background flavor. There is a slight bit of vanilla to be found but I would have expected a bit more with vanilla mentioned on the label. The hops do not deliver a super crazy bitterness but instead provide a nice spicy bitterness that really round this beer out.

This beer stays earthy throughout with lots of great flavor and complexity. I really like this beer overall. It has great characteristics that make it easy drinking (for an experienced craft beer drinker) but rich and flavorful. I really enjoyed this one and I can’t wait to age a few bottles and see how it transforms over time. I’m really hoping that it loses a bit of the heat.

 

Read More