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08-10-00

Dogfish Head Immort Ale Beer Review

I review a lot of Dogfish Head beers. I generally like their style, love their willingness to do something different, and I’ve met the owner. With all of that said, I would’ve picked up this beer if it was brewed by anyone. The label beckons, ” Vast in character, luscious and complex, this smooth, full-bodies ale reveals interwoven notes of maple, vanilla and oak.” It also comes in at a hefty 11% ABV, which means that it’s a sipper. There’s something special about slowly drinking a beer and having it change over time. It also means that you don’t have to get up as often. Score.

Immort Ale pours a nice ruby color. It has a thin off-white head that quickly fades. There a several small bodies suspended in the beer which I can only attribute to yeast. The nose has a bit of heat along a wonderful aroma of woody earth. This beer is barrel aged but it strikes a nice cord of oak and earth flavor that you usually find in some funkier beers. A slight bit of sweetness can be found in the recesses of the nose. Finally, a nice aged hop flavor comes forward to round out an already nice odor.

08-10-03The nose on this beer is super complex and lovely and the taste is right along the same lines. It starts with a sweet upfront flavor that I would describe as grainy caramel. The oak flavor comes in and provides a solid contribution and future background flavor. There is a slight bit of vanilla to be found but I would have expected a bit more with vanilla mentioned on the label. The hops do not deliver a super crazy bitterness but instead provide a nice spicy bitterness that really round this beer out.

This beer stays earthy throughout with lots of great flavor and complexity. I really like this beer overall. It has great characteristics that make it easy drinking (for an experienced craft beer drinker) but rich and flavorful. I really enjoyed this one and I can’t wait to age a few bottles and see how it transforms over time. I’m really hoping that it loses a bit of the heat.

 

03-20-00

Beer Review #320 Piercing Pils

03-20-02Dogfish Head is out with yet another new beer, a lager this time around. Piercing Pils is the name of the beer and it is a “Czech-style Pilsner brewed with pear juice, pear tea and Saaz hops,” because you know you can’t be Dogfish Head without throwing something weird into the mix.

Piercing Pils pours a yellow straw color and it has a bit of a haze to it. A medium white head fades into a thin white head and remains for the rest of the drink. Dogfish Head has recently gotten large enough to have it’s own branded bottles and Piercing Pils looks gorgeous coming out of their new bottles. The nose is sticky sweet with bits of sulfur. It also has a good bit of citrus that adds a nice layer to the aroma of the beer.

On the first taste I was really surprised at the amount of citrus that comes out of this beer. A lime-like flavor starts and ends the beer. There isn’t a ton of malt to talk about but there are some nice bread notes that come out as you drink the beer. I’m not a giant fan of pears but this beer allows you to experience a good pear flavor without becoming dominant. The hops really come in at the end and clean-up the beer nicely.

I really didn’t expect to like this beer as pears are just not my thing. I found myself really enjoying this beer. It’s easy to drink and it goes down very easily. Not all new Dogfish Head beers agree with me but this one does. (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…)

01-15-00

Beer Review #312 American Beauty

01-15-01Dogfish Head always seems to have a new beer out with some type of gimmick attached. Their beers can be hit or miss for me, especially when it comes to their “special release” beers. I haven’t been in love with some of their past releases but for some reason, when I see a new bottle on the store shelves, I go for it. In this case, American Beauty called to me. It has great bottle art and a quick read of the label really made me want to try this one out. It says, “an imperial pale ale with granola and all-American hops.” I really can’t say that I’ve ever had a beer with granola, so I bought it. It came in at a hefty $17.99, but at 9% ABV I didn’t feel too terrible (but I did feel a little terrible).

The beer pours a wonderful orange color and comes with a thick off-white head. It is perfectly clear and as you can see by the images in this review, it looks really cool with lights behind it and a short F-Stop. The nose starts with a nice hit of hops. They are mainly citrus but some sticky pine hides out in there as well. I got a few sweet malt notes, but the hops are the main star on this one. I also didn’t get any granola, which isn’t surprising I guess.

On the first sip I was hit by a complex array of flavors. It starts with a soft sweetness that rounds out nicely and leads into a tropical hop taste. Along with the sweetness are some of the normal malt flavors of oats and biscuits. As the transition from sweetness to fruity hops starts, there is a punch of candy that I really liked. The hops are super tropical and have a load of citrus that gives way to pine hops at the end. This beer struck me as being earthy and hoppy. There are some really nice malt flavors that meld into the hops but the piney finish really cleans everything up and gives a great showcase for various hop flavors.

I liked this one. I wish it was a bit on the cheaper side but I can live with it. This beer was a sipper for me while I listened to the fireplace crackle. You can say what you want about Dogfish Head but this beer is solid all of the way around. It’s not my favorite imperial IPA, but it does a good job of living up to what it says. (more…)

07-28-02

Beer Review #303 Sixty-One

07-28-04Dogfish Head recently added a new beer to their year-round group of beers and that beer happens to be the subject of today’s review/ Sixty-One is a “continually-hopped India Pale Ale brewed with Syrah grape must.” Dogfish certainly takes advantage of their continually hopped process at their brewery and adding grape must is an interesting addition to an IPA. This IPA comes in at a healthy 6.5% ABV.

Sixty-One pours a purplish-red and it is perfectly clear. There is a thin purplish-red head that sits on top of the liquid below. In all honesty, it looks like carbonated, watered-down wine. There is a hop nose to the beer but it isn’t sharp or overly bitter. There is some grape in the background but more than anything, a very strong earthy aroma comes out of this beer.

On the first sip I was really surprised at the amount of grape flavor that hits your tongue. The grape flavor stays through the whole drink and a hops enter at the very end. The hops are very nondescript, but come across as a bit earthy and have general bitterness. The beer finishes dry with a bit of a wine flavor.

This sure is an interesting beer, but I’m still not sure if the marriage of hops and grapes works out. The grape flavor is actually pretty nice and edges on being too powerful but the hops just don’t work for me. I would like to try a toned down version of this beer but as it sits currently, this is not one that I’ll be getting again. (more…)