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08-09-02

Beer Review #307 Single Hop Citra Imperial IPA

08-09-04It’s been a long time since I reviewed a Flying Dog Brewery beer. I’ve been in a real hop mood lately (as you can probably tell from recent reviews) and when I came across this beer at the store, I grabbed immediately. Citra is one of my favorite hop varietals and Imperial IPA screams “Drink Me!” This beer also comes in at a drink and fall asleep(™) 10% ABV.

This Imperial IPA pours a light orange and has a nice white head. It is perfectly clear and looks great with light passing through it. The nose is full of rich hops. Citra is clearly the hop at play in this beer. If you ever want to find out what a particular hop smells and tastes like, finding a single hop style of beer is the way to go. Homebrewing makes this task a bit easier. Citra has notes of citrus (duh), grapefruit, and other tropical fruits. The hops are bright and round. I really love everything about how this beer smells. Even more impressive than the fresh hop aroma is the lack of any trace of alcohol.

On a first tasting a slight malt sweetness with light caramel can be found. After that the flood gates of hops open and the hop flavors flow in fast and wonderfully. All of the flavors mentioned in the aroma are present in the flavor of this beer. The hops are solidly biting and slightly grassy. This beer leaves your mouth while making your inhale a bit to counteract the bitterness. The body on this beer is nice and creamy as well which helps the sipper crowd out there.

This is an excellent example of how a brewery can showcase an ingredient. If you don’t know what Citra is or what it tastes like, this beer will give you an education. Everything from the aroma to the flavor is covered with Citra. It’s truly a wonderful beer that I will be drinking often. (more…)

06-30-02

Beer Review #298 3Beans

06-30-02I’ve been a big fan of Sixpoint Brewery for awhile. Ever since I first sampled their beer at the Good Beer Festival I’ve been wanting to try more of their stuff. My father-in-law generally keeps me well supplied with Resin when I visit but luckily, my local beer store recently started carrying a better selection of Sixpoint beers. Today’s beer, 3Bean, is an “ale brewed with natural flavors and with coffee added.” The three beans that give name to this beer are wheat, barley, and coffee. O, and it comes in at 10%.

3Beans pours a brownish black color with a light tan head that quickly fades. No telling if this one is clear or not. The nose has a slight coffee roast to it but not much else. I didn’t get any heat or hop flavor. I really didn’t even get any malt. I was expecting a bigger nose to a 10% beer. In my experience, big beers without a big nose, mean big trouble in terms of how easy to drink they are.

The taste starts with a slight roast flavor that then gives way to a good caramel. The roast in this case is not from the coffee, but it is decidedly a malt roast flavor. A little big of coffee squeaks in at the end to help round out the flavor and give some needed bitterness. Again, I got not hops in this one and I couldn’t detect any alcohol flavors in the slightest.

3Beans drinks very creamy and smooth. The flavor transition are gentle and it doesn’t smack you over the head with any one flavor. It is dangerously drinkable. I would call this beer reserved but balanced. They probably could have gone crazier with the coffee and malt flavor but the restraint that Sixpoint showed was very nice and keeps this as one of the easiest drinking big beers that I’ve ever had. Summer might not be the best time for this type of beer, but football season is only 10 weeks away!

Beer Review #255 KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

12-26-03I have one of those “mystical” craft beers for today’s review. It is a hard beer to get and is highly regraded my many in the industry. Founders Brewing Company made a massive imperial stout (11.2% ABV) and then aged it oak bourbon barrels for a year before bottling this bad boy. The amount of time and effort that goes into making a beer like this is impressive. Finding one to actually try is equally as impressive. A special thanks to my buddy Mike who got this beer for me.

KBS pours a jet black color and has a tan head that quickly fades into the inky liquid below. The nose is packed with lots of chocolate and a bit of roast. There is bourbon present, but it’s not a crazy amount of bourbon like Victory’s Dark Intrigue. I didn’t get any hops on this one which was a slight surprise as it comes in at 70 IBUs.

On the first taste I got blown away by the amount of dark chocolate flavors being thrown at my mouth. There is a good amount of bitter baker’s chocolate followed by a slight roast on the end. There is some bourbon flavor, but it is rather muted and adds a nice depth of flavor to the beer. As the beer warms up the heat comes out more, but it is by no means a negative in the beer. All of the flavors really sing together and meld in the most wonderful of ways.

As expected for an imperial stout, this beer is very thick and creamy in the mouth. It’s a wonderful sipping beer that you can enjoy for long stretches. This beer is strong, bold, and balanced. I can really see why this beer is so loved and I will buy it at any chance that I have to get it. (more…)

Beer Review #241 Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout

I’m not a fan of coffee as a hot drink but I do enjoy the occasional iced coffee from time to time. It should come as no surprise that I love coffee beers. Kujo Imperial Coffee Stout from Flying Dog Brewery is a new coffee beer to me and I believe it is my first imperial one. Imperial Stouts tend to be hit or miss in my eyes. Sometimes the heat over powers everything else going on and you also get those beers that are too “dark.” The roasted malt levels become so high that they don’t produce a favorable flavors. When you get an Imperial Stout right, it’s a very nice, magical moment.

Kujo pours a dark, thick, black with a thin tan head. One of my friends refers to beers that pour like this as “sludge from the tap.” This one came from a bottle but you get the idea. The nose has a rich coffee odor that is mixed with some chocolate notes. There is some caramel in there as well which helps add to the richness. I didn’t notice any heat on this one but it did remind me of what an iced coffee and a stout would smell like if mixed. Point Flying Dog.

There are some super roasty notes that appear right off the bat with this one that then go into a healthy dose of caramel. Some bittersweet chocolate mixes in there as well once the sweetness has a chance to fade away. A hint of heat makes an appearance but is quickly masked by coffee notes. The whole flavor progression is very nice and surprisingly smooth. I was worried that the roasted notes at the beginning of the beer would fall victim to the problems I previously talked about but the large amount of sweetness ensured that this did not happen. Coffee does a really nice job of cleaning out this beer as I didn’t get anything on the hop end of this one.

The bottle says a “stout with coffee added.” If it were my label, I would have just put Imperial Coffee Stout in every spot possible as this beer really screams it. It has a large creamy mouthfeel, much like other Imperial Stouts. When drinking this beer I put “rich and loud” at the end of my notes. This beer rocks in at 8.9% so it’s no slouch. With winter coming (insert Game of Thrones joke) I highly suggest this one. (more…)

Beer Review #227 Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout

Today’s beer review may seem like an odd choice, considering that it is summer and that the mercury is already in the mid eighties before noon. It is an odd choice, but I’m also an odd beer drinker. I like have big beers in the summer. I know a lot of people reserve stouts for the fall and winter, but I like them year round. They are one of the few styles that agrees with me all of the time. Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout, say that five times fast, is brewed by Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. I’ve never been a giant Leinenkugel fan, but I do like that they put an a vast array of beer styles and, like Sam Adams, they generally have something new to try each time I visit the beer store.

This imperial stout pours a jet black color with a creamy, but fading tan head. It pretty much fits the mold of every imperial stout that I have ever had appearance wise. The nose has a bit of heat which should be expected for a beer that comes in at 9.5%^ ABV. There are some nice notes of chocolate and roast in there was well. According to the bottle this beer was brewed with 11 different malts and 3 different hops. I didn’t get any hops in the nose and I was surprised at how many malts go into this one. As a homebrewer I’m a fan of KISS, and keeping my malt bill as simple as possible. I find that my beers tend to get a bit “muddy” tasting when I use to many ingredients. I was really looking forward to trying this one to see if my own bias was correct or not.

The first thing you notice when tasting this beer is a good helping of chocolate and roasty flavors. There is some heat that falls into the beer about halfway through. A spicy hop character then enters and finishes out the beer on the backend. I didn’t notice any particular muddiness to this one and it tasted along the lines of most imperial stouts that I have had. I didn’t get any caramels or strong sweetness that I was expecting and the hops were toned down to reflect this lack of sweetness. Also, like most imperial stouts that I have had, this one is thick and creamy in the moutfeel department.

Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout is pretty decent and smooth. For a style that is really open to interpretation, this one sits on the tamer end of things. I found it to be presentable but not aggressive in any particular area. I would be trilled to brew something like this and I think this beer is a great introduction to what a Russian imperial stout should be. (more…)