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03-25-00

Beer Review #321 Wake Up Dead Nitro

03-25-02Left Hand Brewing Company has just started to be carried again at my local beer store so I have been trying a whole bunch of their stuff recently. I love their Milk Stout and their Nitro Milk Stout. I saw Wake Up Dead Nitro the other day and I grabbed it quickly. It’s a Russian Imperial Stout that comes in at 10.2% ABV.

Wake Up Dead Nitro pours a jet black color and comes with a thin tan head. The bubbles are super small thanks to the nitrogen carbonation. The nose is pretty blank. I really struggled to get anything from this one. Generally you expect some chocolates and roast and maybe even some hops, but I didn’t even get a hint of caramel off of this one. Weird.

On the first taste I was blown away by the malt flavor. There are lots of dark chocolates and roast going on. Some heat comes into the mix as the drink moves to the halfway portion. I also got some raisins and cherries which added a nice layer of complexity. There are some dark fruits that mix in at the end along with the return of the dark chocolate and the bitterness that it brings.

I very much liked this beer. It has a nice, complex malt and is everything that an Imperial Russian Stout should be. I wish it had a bit more on the nose, but I don’t know if that’s do to the nitro carbonation. If you are looking for a solid stout that has some ( a lot) of strength, this one is for you. (more…)

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…)

Beer Review #284 Grand Cru Dark Ale

04-14-03One of the most random style categories out there is Grand Cru. Most beer categories have a set range of numbers, color, and other things that are pretty specific, but Grand Cru is wide open. I’ve have everything from sour to peppery. Green Flash Brewing Company makes a Grand Cru and that’s what we are looking at today. Let’s see what direction they decided to go with this open style.

Grand Cru Dark Ale pours a dark ruby color. You can’t see through it as first glance, but when held up to the light you can see that it is clear and changes the source of the light beautifully as it travels through the liquid. The head is a light tan color and soon fades into the beer below.The nose starts with a good malty, caramel base. It then morphs into a nice helping of dark fruits, most notably fig and plum. It ends on a slightly spicy note.

On the first taste the first thing I noticed was the drop of heat. This beer comes in an at a massive 9.1% ABV so it’s not surprising that alcohol shows up. The caramel smells follow through to the flavor and add a nice splash of sticky sweetness. A nice raisin flavor develops in the caramel and carries through until the end of the sip. Grand Cru Dark Ale has a spicy Belgian finish that has a bit of clove on the end.

This is yet another Grand Cru that is different from what I have had in the past. It is nice and smooth. It’s a little sweet but overall it’s pretty well balanced. This is a style that I want to explore more as I love the variety and combinations of flavors that different breweries put into it. (more…)

Beer Review #259 The Beast

01-10-02I’m a bit of a roller coaster nerd and when I saw the name of this beer, my mind immediately went the Beast at Kings Island, the World’s longest wooden roller coaster. Much like the roller coaster, this beer takes a long time to go through as it comes in at 16%! The Beast is brewed by Avery Brewing Company and is an “ale with raisins, dates, molasses and honey.” Holy balls. And yes, that is Ticket to Ride in the picture. If you haven’t played it, you should.

The Beast pours a reddish copper color and it is perfectly clear. It has a light tan head that fades away very quickly thanks to the high alcohol. The nose is packed with dark fruits and a surprising amount of sweetness. There are not any hops to make note of. You can tell this beer is strong after a quick whiff, but there isn’t any heat on the nose. It’s a truly amazing feat as alcohol at this percentage begs to have its presence known.

As the nose promised, there are lots of dark fruits on the first sip. The use of dates and raisins are evident when sampling. There is a little bit of sweetness upfront. It never really goes away, but it becomes less of a key player as the drink progresses. On the back end you get some aged hop flavors that balance the beer out. The beer really warms you up all the way down. It’s very nice.

I’m shocked at how smooth a big beer like this is. Unlike a lot of big beers, this one isn’t chewy. It has real beer characteristics and it makes for a really enjoyable drink. If you can find it, grab it. I’m generally not a huge fan of big, big beers, but this one is good. Really good. (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…)