Skip to main content
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…)

06-14-03

Beer Review #296 Blind Faith

06-14-03Along with Elder Betty and HiCü, Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me Blind Faith, an IPA that comes in at 6.2% ABV. Magic Hat puts out a lot of IPAs as part of their IPA tour and this is one that I’ve had the chance to try before. I’m on a bit of a IPA kick right now so a free IPA made me super excited.

Blind Faith pours a deep orange color. It is perfectly clear and has a thin off-white head. The nose has a good amount of hops. The hops are pretty grapefruity with other citrus flavors in there. I guess the best way to describe them is floral and bright. I didn’t get much in the way of malt; just hops.

On the first sip I was really to find that this beer has a malt backbone. There are some light caramel flavors to begin with that lead into some bready flavors. A light hop flavor of citrus comes in and reminds you that you are drinking an IPA. The citrus is light and really warms the beer up and then a good smack of pine flavor comes in at the end to clean it all up and assert the IPAness of the beer.

I’m always a fan of a balanced beer and this one fits the bill. The hops are clean and bright and pack a good helping of flavor. The malt balance is spot on as well. While I’ve had better IPAs before, this is solid and could be a staple of some other breweries. (more…)

Beer Review #254 Angel’s Share Ale

12-18-03I figured that the end of the World is just a few days away so I might want to drink a beer that has some special properties. Angel’s Share Ale by The Lost Abbey, also known as Port Brewing Company, fits the bill. It’s a “malt beverage aged in oak barrels” and comes in at 12.5% ABV. It get’s its name from the fact that distillers call the loss of liquor during barrel conditioning the “angle’s share.” I call it evaporation as the liquid soaks into the wood, but long ago, they didn’t totally get that whole concept. In the end it makes for a nice story, and a good name for a beer that is barrel aged.

Angle’s Share pours a nice ruby/brown color and has a light tan head. The nose has a slight caramel at the start that then goes into a good bit of oak. There is plenty of heat in the mix to let you know this beer has a high alcohol percentage if you didn’t read the bottle. I also got a slight twang in the nose that I couldn’t fully identify. It wasn’t sour, but it kind of was at the same time.

On the first taste the heat just smacks you in the mouth. As you get used to the heat the oak and woody flavors that oak brings with it really start to come out. There are some dark caramel flavors that come out along with some dark fruits. They don’t show up much as the oak and heat are strong in this beer but they are there. It almost doesn’t taste like beer, but an old watered down liquor.

This is a very different beer but it is tasty. I would classify this one as a big boy beer. This is not for the casual craft beer drinker. The flavors are bold and distinct. It’s unlike most beers that I have ever had and puts a new level to barrel aged, high alcohol beers for me. (more…)

Beer Review #232 Hex Ourtoberfest

Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample

The other beer that Magic Hat Brewing Company sent to me in the sampler was an Oktoberfest, or as they call it an Ourtoberfest. I really dig Oktoberfest beers as they fit so perfectly in the fall chill that begins to take over the Northeast. I’ve reviewed a almost two dozen Oktoberfest beers since this site started and except for a few exceptions, I really dig these beers.

Hex Ourtoberfest pours a nice clear amber color with a slight off-white head protecting the liquid below. All in all, it looks like an American Oktoberfest. I have generally found traditional German Oktoberfest beers to be lighter in color and lighter in caramel flavor compared to their American counterparts. Hex is decidedly in the American range of Oktoberfest beers. The nose is exactly what I hoped it would be, bready, malty, and solid caramels. In addition to the malt there is a slight hop spiciness that trickles through the whole nose.

I was really excited to try Hex Ourtoberfest on my first sip and I wasn’t disappointed. Everything in the nose comes out right away in the beer. The caramels with hints of toffee flow through the beer as do the bread flavors. I often find a lot of Oktoberfest beers to be too far on the sweet side but this one is very balanced. The spicy hops that were in the nose are present in the flavor of the beer as well. The are solid in there with a slight pine component. They provide a nice counterpart to the vast array of malt flavors.

This beer comes in at 5.4% which I consider sessionable. I thought that this one was pretty good. The slight pine flavor on the hops wasn’t something that I was expecting, but it didn’t take away from the beer at all. If you are a fan of American Oktoberfests this one will float your boat. (more…)

Beer Review #228 Inlet IPA

16 Mile Brewing Company has been on the local beer store’s shelves for a little over a year now and, until recently, I haven’t seen anything new. The last time I went to the store I was happy to find two new beers from them. They also stopped bottling beers in 16 oz. aluminum bottles and went to the typical 12 oz. glass bottles. 16 Mile Brewing Company is in the small down of Georgetown, DE, which is not terribly far from Dogfish Head. I’m always happy to help out a small local brewery so I picked up a few more bottle than what I normally would have.

Inlet IPA is an English-style IPA that comes in 6.1%. Unlike American IPAs which are all about the hops, English IPA take greater pride in the subtle complexities that malt can offer. This ale pours a nice clear orangy amber color white a medium density white head. The nose has a slight bit of hops, but nothing like a “typical” IPA would offer. There was a nice sweetness coming through and the hops had a caramel flavor attached to them which I really enjoyed.

The nose really offered some serious hints to what this beer was going to taste like. There were some nice strong caramel flavors upfront that were quickly followed by some English ale esters. I really enjoyed the complexity that the esters added to the beer. The hops are there, but, again, not like a typical IPA. Instead of being biting, these hops form a great backbone to the beer that meshes up very nicely with the malt.

I found this beer to be very drinkable, but I think it would really shine on a colder day. The malt is sweet and it sticks to you all the way down. I’m going to be getting this one again once the fall hits to really enjoy it fully. If you like malt forward beers this one might be a good one to try. It will obviously be hoppier compared to most malt forward beers, but I don’t think that you will be disappointed. (more…)