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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…)

Beer Review #287 H.E.R.O 2012 Chocolate Chipotle Stout

04-22-01My wife actually picked today’s beer out and we ended up splitting the 22 oz bomber that it came it. H.E.R.O is brewed by DuClaw Brewing Company and this beer is brewed for charity. The H.E.R.O (really annoying to type that out) stands for Honest, Excellent, Robust, and Original. The proceeds of this beer may go to charity, but the creation of it is thanks to a homebrew contest that DuClaw holds. This beer comes in at a respectable 7.5% and, as you can see by the name, it has some stuff going on.

H.E.R.O 2012 Chocolate Chipotle Stout pours a nice deep black with a tan head. The nose first hits you with good bits of chocolate and a bit of sweetness. I didn’t get any chipotle component when smelling this beer nor did I get any hops.

On the first taste you really get wowed by the chocolate and caramel combination. The two flavors just play nicely together and create a rich, fulfilling sip. A slight roast creeps in at the end to remind you that this is a dark beer. The chipotle flavor comes in at the end. It’s hard to notice at first but as you drink the beer sip by sip, the chipotle flavor increases nicely.

This is a pretty nice beer. It’s something different and balanced. I’ve had chocolate and spice beers before but I’ve never had one that has this much restraint in the spice. Some might not like it for that reason but I find it enjoyable. The spice isn’t a star, it adds complexity and interest. This is a nice beer and a great cause, or as some call it a win-win.

Beer Review #265 Narwhal Imperial Stout

01-26-03We had a nice bit of snow here in northern Delaware last night and I was sipping on an imperial stout as the flakes came down. We only ended up with a tease of a 1/2 inch, but the beer at least measured up. Narwhal Imperial Stout is brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. This imperial stout comes in at a nice high 10.2%.

Like most imperial stouts this beer pours an inky black. It doesn’t pour as thick as some imperial stouts that I have had in the past. There is a decent tan head that stays longer than expected but eventually fades away to just a thin surface floating layer. I had no idea if this one was clear or not because this is one dark beer. Ever the thin layers near the edges yielded no light. The nose is packed with roasted malt. There is some slight chocolate in there as well. I didn’t notice anything on the hop front nor did I get any heat. Impressive. This beer just smells big. Maybe I have had too many imperial stouts in my day, but you can just tell this beer is big by the smell.

The roasted flavors of the nose carry through to the flavor. The roast is clean and enjoyable and not to “bitey” as other beers of this style that I have had. A nice bitter bakers chocolate flavor edges out the roast halfway though. A sight hop flavor comes in at the end. The hops was a bit piney but I honestly could get more descriptive then that as the malt bitterness ruled this beer. While I didn’t describe a lot of flavors, the interaction of the flavors really makes this beer complex. As the balance changes from roast to bitter chocolate to hops the beer shows itself fully.

I really, really dig this one. I’m usually split on liking/hating imperial stouts. They never seem to be able to achieve a true balance and any complexity that they do have gets overshadowed by roast or hops. This one stays complex and in balance. I really liked it and I’m going to be getting some of this beer to age in the basement for some time. (more…)

Beer Review #248 Sixth Glass Quadrupel Ale

I previously posted about Boulevard Brewing Company’s Smokestack Series coming to my local beer store. I’ve enjoyed most of their beers but until I had a Smokestack Series beer, I wouldn’t have gone back to them for much. That all changed when I had a chance to try some of their “special” beers. Sixth Glass Quadrupel Ale comes in at a wonderful 10.5% ABV and I hoped that it would fill my need to find a quality go-to quad.

This Belgian inspired beer pours a nice caramel brown with hints of orange coming through when held up to the light. The off-white head quickly dissolves back into the beer as expected of a beer with this amount of alcohol. The first thing I got off of the nose is heat. There is some light caramels in there along with a slight Belgian spice with fruit and melon. I was expected a bit more out of the nose but I also poured this one colder than it should have been, so some of the odors might have been masked.

The taste is really nice on this one. Smooth and dangerously drinkable. There is a fair amount of heat, but if you can get around it the Belgian spices sing and are wonderfully balanced. There is a lot of complexity to this beer. I went on a progression of heat and raisin to bready, yeasty notes.

I enjoyed this one a good bit. I’m not sure if I can call it a go-to quad, but it is pretty close. The flavor progression is very nice but the beer needs to be a little warmer for you to get the full offering of flavors. The balance was dead on. I can see myself getting this one again.