Skip to main content
04-21-00

Beer Review #325 Milk Stout Nitro

Left Hand Brewing Company has been having fun putting their excellent stouts in bottles with nitrogen carbonation. My last example was reviewed here. I’ve seen very few breweries going the nitro route as it can be difficult and expensive. In most cases, nitrogen carbonated beers are done in a can with a widget, but not Left Hand.

Their normal Milk Stout is one of my favorites. It strikes all of the right balances and really shines as a example of the style. When I saw the nitro version of their Milk Stout, I bought a case, a rarity for me. The beer pours a smooth black. There is very little head what the resulting head is tan in color. The nose is sweet but chocolatly. The major chocolate note that I get is dark chocolate with some hints of milk chocolate. I didn’t get a lot of roast and there was no hop aroma to speak of.

04-21-02On the first taste I was overwhelmed with how smooth this beer drinks. From start to finish this is a complete beer. A nice caramel and milk chocolate sweetness starts off the beer and then flows into a chocolate and roast explosion. The roast isn’t overly bitter, but it’s there and helps balance the beer. The chocolate is also bitter, the way dark chocolate is, and provides some great flavor. I love the progression of flavor in this beer. It leaves on a slightly sweet note with bits of dark chocolate bitterness hanging on. It’s a complete drink, plain and simple.

I love Left Hand’s regular version of this beer, but the nitro version kicks it up a notice. It has great flavor, balance, and drinkability. For a stout, it’s not overly thick or filling. It sits right in the sweet-spot of beers for me. I highly, highly suggest this beer.

 

03-13-00

Beer Review #318 Old Horizontal

03-13-02It’s no secret that I am a big supporter of Victory Brewing Company. They are one of my local favorites and I genuinely enjoy the vast majority of their beers.  They are in the process of opening up a second brewery as they cannot expand anymore at their current spot and they also have been releasing some new beers. Today’s beer is not new, but it has returned to production after missing the last year because of capacity issues, Old Horizontal. I have previously reviewed the oaked version of this beer, Oak Horizontal. Let’s see how the original stacks up.

Old Horizontal, get name, is a barelywine ale that comes in at 11%. For some reason my bottle is a 22oz and not a more responsible 12 oz. The beer pours a nice burnt orange color with a light tan head. The beer is perfectly clear and looks great through the light. The nose is complex and deep. The first thing that I got was a nice malt sweetness. The malt quickly gives way to an array of hops. They are piney and earthy in smell and hit the nose hard. It’s not IPA hoppy, but it’s hoppy for a barelywine. I don’t get any heat on the nose.

The taste starts light but finishes with a punch. The malt is present in this beer with a nice caramel and biscuit flavor that is distinct  and enjoyable. A heavy hand of hops comes in and knocks out any malt sweetness whatsoever. The hops are bright and pungent. I mainly get pine from them along with some pine sap flavors. There are some dark fruits hidden in the back but the hops really mask them. I also get a good dose of heat mixed in with the hops. This beer lets you know that it is in charge and lives up to its name. (more…)

03-06-00

Beer Review #316 Blithering Idiot

03-06-03As 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.  (more…)

03-03-00

Beer Review #315 Olde School

03-03-02With 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.  (more…)

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…)