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01-27-00

Beer Review #314 Holy Sheet

01-27-04Maybe 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. (more…)

01-20-00

Beer Review #313 Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Style Ale

01-20-03Since I haven’t been posting too much in the past few months thanks to life, I have a solid backlog of beer reviews to get up. This beer goes back to the early fall, while the leaves were still on the trees and I remembered what warmth felt like. Seriously, this winter is brutal. Today’s beer review comes from my favorite up and coming (although they may have arrived at this point) brewery, Evolution Craft Brewing Company. They have a Migration Series of beers that are always interesting. When I saw a year old bottle of Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Style Ale at the beer store, I grabbed it up. I was lucky too, because before I left the store they were out. Such is the life and luck of a beer drinker.

This beer pours a nice burnt orange color with a slightly off-white head. Despite what my pictures show, this beer is clear. The nose is full of wine aromas. It is dry and “wine-grapy.” There is a slight heat to it which caught me off guard as this beer comes in at only 7.2%. I didn’t get a lot of barrel character on the nose nor did I get any bugs. The bottle says “a Belgian style ale aged in oak chardonnay barrels with brettanomyces.” I did get a few muted Belgian spices on the last whiff.

On the first taste I was hit by lots of Belgian flavors. There are some nice peppery notes along with the typical helping of Belgian spices. There is a great sweetness to this beer. It’s sweet, almost candy-like, in how it presents itself. As the sweetness comes in the wine character from the barrels comes in. It has a strong chardonnay flavor that dries out things nicely. The beer ends on a mix of Belgian spices and white wine.

This is a really interesting beer that I’m not sure if I dig or dislike. It reminds me a bit of my initial feelings on White Monkey. I only had one 750 ml of this beer and I feel that I would really begin to appreciate it after a second bottle. Looking back at my notes, it’s clear that I enjoyed this beer, but was caught off guard with it. I’m not a wine guy by any means and this beer strongly features something that I’m not familiar with. I’m a big fan of the Migration Series from Evo and I will continue to enjoy their experiments. (more…)

01-15-00

Beer Review #312 American Beauty

01-15-01Dogfish Head always seems to have a new beer out with some type of gimmick attached. Their beers can be hit or miss for me, especially when it comes to their “special release” beers. I haven’t been in love with some of their past releases but for some reason, when I see a new bottle on the store shelves, I go for it. In this case, American Beauty called to me. It has great bottle art and a quick read of the label really made me want to try this one out. It says, “an imperial pale ale with granola and all-American hops.” I really can’t say that I’ve ever had a beer with granola, so I bought it. It came in at a hefty $17.99, but at 9% ABV I didn’t feel too terrible (but I did feel a little terrible).

The beer pours a wonderful orange color and comes with a thick off-white head. It is perfectly clear and as you can see by the images in this review, it looks really cool with lights behind it and a short F-Stop. The nose starts with a nice hit of hops. They are mainly citrus but some sticky pine hides out in there as well. I got a few sweet malt notes, but the hops are the main star on this one. I also didn’t get any granola, which isn’t surprising I guess.

On the first sip I was hit by a complex array of flavors. It starts with a soft sweetness that rounds out nicely and leads into a tropical hop taste. Along with the sweetness are some of the normal malt flavors of oats and biscuits. As the transition from sweetness to fruity hops starts, there is a punch of candy that I really liked. The hops are super tropical and have a load of citrus that gives way to pine hops at the end. This beer struck me as being earthy and hoppy. There are some really nice malt flavors that meld into the hops but the piney finish really cleans everything up and gives a great showcase for various hop flavors.

I liked this one. I wish it was a bit on the cheaper side but I can live with it. This beer was a sipper for me while I listened to the fireplace crackle. You can say what you want about Dogfish Head but this beer is solid all of the way around. It’s not my favorite imperial IPA, but it does a good job of living up to what it says. (more…)

12-18-00

Beer Review #311 G-Thing

12-18-03The good folks over at Magic Hat Brewing Company recently sent me a few samples of their winter beers. The first was a return to the line-up in Heart of Darkness. I still really enjoy that beer and I’ve actually gone to seek out more on my own accord. Today’s beer is named G-Thing. When I read the label my first thought was “that’s an awesome gingerbread man” and my second though, well more of a song, was Dr.Dre and Snoop Dogg’s Ain’t Nothing But A G Thang. Yup, I went there.

G-Thing pours a nice deep dark brown that I half expected in a winter beer. There is a slight tan-ish head, but not a ton going on. The note of this beer is really interesting. You obviously get some ginger, and a good dose of it. Being the ginger there are some really nice bready notes. This beer surprised me in it’s ability to capture as much malt as it did. I wasn’t expecting that much malt to come through when compared to the ginger.

On the first taste I was very open to the malt flavors. They flowed in nicely and exhibited some nice dark caramels and bread notes. The ginger spice comes in about halfway through the drink and makes for a wonderful addition. I will full admit that I’m not much of a ginger fan, but this beer stays in balance. I didn’t get much in the way of hops but the beer finishes dry. It reminds me of an English style beer in that the malt and body are there until the end.

It was pretty easy to drink this beer quickly. It was refreshing and had a nice mix of flavors to stay interesting as it warmed. With the holidays quickly approaching this beer would make for a nice drinker during a holiday party. With the cold weather that we have had here on the east coast, I have found myself turning to this style of beer. I think it fits the season nicely and fulfills the goals of a seasonal beer.

11-05-05

Beer Review #310 Coffee Ale

11-05-05I’m not a coffee drinker in the slightest, but I love coffee beer. Odd right? Some say that coffee is an acquired tasted, like beer, but I often find it to be to harshly bitter and not suitable to my palate. When I saw Boulevard Brewing Company’s Coffee Ale on the shelves I knew that I had to try it. This beer is part of their Smokestack Series and the label proudly reads, “malt beverage brewed with coffee.” It also comes in at 9.3% for a bit of an extra kick.

The coffee ale pours a dark brown and has a nice tan head. I was expecting a black colored beer, but brown is okay with me. The beer pours very creamy and the head sits solid, but only goes to a medium thickness in the glass. The nose is rocked with strong coffee odors. I didn’t get any hops or heat in the aroma but a touch of sweetness can be found.

The taste, like the nose, is packed with coffee. It’s strong, in charge, and yells “Coffee BEER!” Outside of the dominating coffee there is a slight caramel sweetness but nothing else to make note of. Instead of hop bitterness, this beer relies on the coffee to do the job. And it does it well.

The mouthfeel is very light and not nearly as creamy as the pour suggested. As far as coffee beers go, this is one of the stronger coffee flavors that I have found. I still found it very drinkable and packed with flavor. I’m no coffee nut, but there is a nice bouquet of coffee flavors that really add interest to this one. I’m not versed in coffee enough to explain the flavors, but I found them enjoyable and not over the top. This is a good one to try if you like coffee beers. (more…)