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Beer Review #177 Schlafly Christmas Ale

This will be my last “post-Christmas beer” until November or December. Schlafly Christmas Ale is brewed by the Saint Louis Brewery of St. Louis, Missouri. I find it interesting that Schlafly is the brand name of the beers made by the brewery. I don’t know if they have plans in the future to produce other lines of beer, but they are currently only producing the Schlafly brand of beers. Their Christmas Ale means business and comes in at 8.0% ABV. According to the bottle it is “brewed with orange peel and cloves.”

With the wording on the bottle, I was expecting a Belgian-like ale as those two ingredients are often used in Belgian-style beers. Upon further investigation, I found that this beer has a few other ingredients in it that would knock it out of Belgian contention. In addition to the ingredients listed above it also has juniper berries, ginger root, and cardamom as adjuncts into the beer. Needless to say, I was looking forward to tasting this one as it sounds like there is a lot going on.

The nose is very herbal, with cloves dominating most of the smells. There is some slight caramel and toffee peeking though along with some slight bitter orange odors. After my first taste I was surprised by how light the malt flavor was in this ale. The orange peel is in there towards the end of the malt flavors but the clove is really the strongest component to this beer. There is a lot happening before the cloves come in, but I honestly couldn’t place my finger on what all was happening.

I thought this beer had a nice mix of flavors, even if I couldn’t identify them all. The cloves are strong, but they really do a nice job of substituting for any hop flavor that would normally be in the beer. I liked, but not loved this one. If you dig cloves in your beer, this one is for you. (more…)

Beer Review #76 Imperial Pumpkin Ale

This week will feature another series of backlogged post, pumpkin beers. I was at the beer store this weekend and I was surprise at how many pumpkin beers were still around, so some of these beers might still be out there for the season. Our first beer comes from Easton, PA out of the Weyerbacher Brewing Company. Their Imperial Pumpkin Ale has gained a bit of a following. I love the label art, crying pumpkins in the background made me giggle a little.

Weyerbacher’s brew pours a burnt amber color. It is perfectly clear and has a thin, off-white head. The nose is slightly caramely, with lots of pumpkin meat. The pumpkin spices are in there as well. The label says that cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, and cloves are all present in the beer. I have no idea what cardamon is, but I know what to expect from the other beers. For a beer that comes in at 8% ABV, I didn’t get any heat. I believe that the spices help hid the odor. On my first taste, I noticed how much this beer comes in stages. The front is malty, the middle carries some pumpkin flavor, and the end is spicy. There is a bit of heat in there as well.

This is a thick beer. Generally a 8% beer is going to be a little thick, but not the way this is. This beer almost has a syrupy quality to it. It is pretty drinkable though. Most 8% beers I can’t drink a ton of, but this is enjoyable enough to have a few. While there is some heat in there, it isn’t overwhelming like some “imperial” ales seem to be. (more…)

Beer Review #36 La Fin Du Monde

12-04-02We have yet another brew from Unibroue up for review today. The last beer I had from their brewery was excellent, and I’m not going to hold my opinion of La Fin Du Monde till the end; this one is also excellent. La Fin Du Monde stands for “The end of the World” and was launched in 1994. This beer took 18 months to develop before it was ever released. It falls under the Belgian Triple classification and with good reason.

La Fin Du Monde pours a dirty straw color with a slightly off-white head. The head is large and fluffy as this is a highly carbonated beer (as most Belgians are). The aroma coming from this beer was apparent from just pouring it into the glass. With most beers I generally stick my face into the glass to get a full helping of what is all in there. This beer however gave lots of hints right off of the bat. The first thing is the spicy yeast, with odors of cloves and coriander. Some bready smells can also be found mixed in with a touch of malt sweetness. The final thing that stands out is the alcohol present on the nose.

12-04-04The taste is wonderful. There is a good bit of sweet malt upfront, which is quickly followed by the  Belgian spice. The ever present alcohol is also in the flavor profile. The Belgian spice, that comes from the yeast, is more peppery then most. There are a few fruity notes in there as well, but those also come from the Belgian yeast.  La Fin Du Monde is a medium bodied beer that has tons of carbonation.

As I said at the beginning, I love this beer. You will have to enjoy Belgian beers and Belgian beer flavors to enjoy this beer though. It comes in at 9% ABV and comes in 4 packs or 750 ml corked bottles. I opted to go for the 4 pack since you get more beer for the same price. It cost be about $12.99 for the four pack. There is a thin head that lasts all the way through the beer and I noticed that the beer is lighter in color until the end of the bottle when the yeast sediment gets dumped in. Some people don’t put it into their beer, I enjoy the flavor that it adds. The bottle also says that the beer is triple fermented, what that tells me is that it is a bottle conditioned beer. Unibroue hits a home run with this beer! (more…)

09-24-02

Left Hank Brewing Company Haystack Wheat Beer Review

09-24-02As I said before my wife has been on a wheat beer kick for awhile now. Haystack Wheat from Left Hand Brewing Company is the next wheat beer to add to the collection. I’ve had a few other Left Hand products before and I have enjoyed them for the most part. In particular I think their Milk Stout is amazing. With that said, let’s move onto the beer.

We finally got a wheat beer that looks like a wheat beer. It is straw in color, which shouldn’t be surprising with its name, and has a fluffy, off-white head. It is super cloudy and looks like what you would expect a wheat beer to be. The nose was wheaty (surprise!), sweet, and some nutmeg or clove type smell. There is a little yeasty smell on the back of the nose as well. I also got a little banana of further smells.

09-24-04The taste was light on the malty flavor, cloves and nutmeg, wheat, and lots of banana. Haystack Wheat is well balanced as there is no component that really outshines the other. All of the flavors mesh well and compliment each other. It is light to medium in the mouthfeel and goes down extremely easy. It is very drinkable and refreshing. Left Hand Brewing Company made a good summer thirst quenching beer.

A few other things I noticed is that the beer is bottle conditioned which means that it was either re-fermented in the bottle to provide for carbonation or alcohol, or that the yeast is present in the bottle. In this case there is lots of yeast in the bottle. There is a nice layer of yeast at the bottom which I swirled to mix back into the beer. Overall Haystack Wheat is a pretty good beer and delivers on what you would expect from a lightly colored German wheat beer. (more…)