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Beer Review #256 Indian Brown Ale

12-28-03The year is quickly coming to a close and I have yet another Dogfish Head beer to add to my list for the year. It’s been a long time since I had Indian Brown Ale as it’s not a super common one to see at the stores compared to some of their other beers, but a friend recently brought over a few to try (he’s new into craft beer!). This beer was actually one of my first Dogfish beers and my first introduction into high alcohol beers. It comes in at 7.2% which isn’t much compared to some other beers that I have on a regular basis, but when I first tried this on out, it was a real ass kicker.

Indian Brown Ale pours a nice clear brown and has a thin off-white head. It doesn’t leave any lacing while being consumed. The nose is nice and malty. There is a good helping a caramel and roasted malt. I didn’t really get any hops which leads me to believe that this bottle was a bit older. The label says, “a clean, well-hopped brown ale brewed with caramelized sugar and hopped liberally and often.” The hops from the nose of this beer did not match the description. FYI: Hop aroma is one of the first things to break down in a beer as it ages. If you have two of the same IPAs, one old and one new, the newer one will taste and smell hoppier.

On the first taste the roasted malt flavor was on full show. Some sweetness then clicks in and gets cleaned up by bits of coffee bitterness. The hops make their presence shown as the caramel sweetness amps up, but both the sweetness and hops and cleaned away by the roastiness in the beer.

This is a very nice beer. It is full of flavor and well balanced. I’m glad that this was one of my first introductions to Dogfish Head beer. I think it is a prefect representation of what they do. If you have never had it before I suggest that you go back and try it and if you are like me and haven’t had it in awhile, it’s worth redrinking. (more…)

Beer Review #211 Brekle’s Brown

I know it seems like I just reviewed a beer from Anchor Brewing Company (and you are correct), but they had two new beers (to me) when I went to the store! Today’s beer is a brown ale that is an “all malt single hop brown ale.” As a homebrewer I am intrigued by single hop beers as they can really allow you to get the full flavor and aroma profile of a hop. Now in a brown ale, the aroma might not be fully complete, but you can learn a lot about hops by single hop brewing. For those of you not familiar with homebrewing, there are generally two additions of hops in a beer; one for bittering and another for aroma. Brewers usually have a mix of hops to use in their beers to get different qualities from each hop. In single hop brewing, only one variety of hop is used for the bittering and aroma hop (and any other) hop additions.

Getting back to the review, this one pours a nice ruby to deep copper color and comes with a light tan head. The nose is loaded with caramels. There is a really nice array of different caramel flavors. They start light and then come in heavy. A slight chocolate note then presents itself. I also got some slight toasted notes, but not a single aroma of hops. This beer is brewed with cirta hops, one of my personal favorites, and I’m suprised that I didn’t get any hint of it on the nose.

As with the nose, the first taste is loaded with lots of caramel. There is some great roasty and chocolate flavors on the backend of this one. On my first few sips I got very few hops, but as it warmed the hops came alive. They are nice and citrus and really add an interesting mix to the sweet and chocolate flavors going on. While the hops add a nice punch of brightness to the beer, they don’t dry it out very much and this one stays pretty sweet.

I enjoyed this beer but I would like to see just a touch more of hops added to this beer to help cut the sweetness a bit more. As with anything in the beer industry, I’m a sucker for marketing. Brekle’s Brown is named for Gottlieb Brekle who bought a saloon in 1871 which later turned into a brewery and then Anchor. With that story, I would happily share this beer with some friends to enjoy during those chilly spring nights. (more…)

Beer #68 Tumbler

Generally fall beers drop into one of two categories; pumpkin or Oktoberfest. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of Chico, Ca decided to mix things up a bit, and go with a brown ale. They describe it as an “Autumn Brown Ale.” The year 2010 was clearly marked on bottle. I’m not sure if this is the first year that Sierra Nevada has produced this beer or if it follows with their other seasonal beers.

Tumbler pours a clear brown color and has a slightly off-white head. The nose is pretty malty, as you would expect with this style. There are also some nice roasty notes in there that we stronger than what I had expected. The smell and taste go hand in hand. Lots of malty components followed by some robust roast. The nice thing is that there was a hop bite at the end that did not come through in the nose. The hops really sit on the tongue and they are slightly piney. I generally don’t care for piney flavored hops, but this one really fit the beer nicely.

I think you can really tell that this is a Sierra Nevada beer. The hop profiles are very similar to their other beers, just toned down a bit. There is nothing super complex but it was drinkable. I think this beer would be wonderful on a cold, windy fall day. As I said before it was a nice alternative to the normal fall beers and I hope that other breweries explore other avenues of fall beers. I’m not sure if brown ale is the perfect fit, but it was a nice change. (more…)

09-05-21-02

Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre Beer Review

09-05-21-02I’ve had my fair share of Dogfish Head beers before, their brewery is only two hours away from my house, but they still make me happy. I had the pleasure of finding Raison D’Etre in the local six pack store the other day and I had to buy it. It was one of the few mass produced beers that I have not really had a chance to try. The reading on the bottle makes you want to drink it was well. It says, “a deep mahogany ale brewed with Belgian beet sugars, green raisins and a sense of purpose.” Sounded interesting so I went for it.

09-05-21-04Dogfish Heads website claims that this beer is as complex as a fine red wine. I could put quite a few beers in that leauge, but the statement holds true for this beer. It comes in a 8% ABV and 25 IBUs. Raison D’Etre pours a dark red and it is nice and clear. There is a light head, but nothing to write home about. On the nose you get a bit of raisins, wood, and lots of malt.

The first sip was filled with different flavors. There is a lot of malt with notes of wood, some hops, and I got a bit of smoke. The hops were not overpowering at all, just a bit of an accent. The Belgian yeast used on the beer gives a nice little spice on the backend as well. For a higher alochol beer, it is light in mouthfeel and very drinkable. It is also very crisp and refreshing. I enjoyed this beer and would recommend it to anyone who likes interesting beers. Dogfish Head might not be everyone’s’ cup of tea, but I sure did enjoy this example. (more…)