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Beer Review #283 Rhizing Bines

04-10-03I have yet another collaboration beer for review today. This time it is the return of Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada with Rhizing Bines. This is actually their second collaboration beer with Life and Limb being the first. According to the bottle this is “an Indian Pale Ale brewed with Bravo + 644 hops.” I had no idea what 644 hops were but apparently they are an experimental strain that doesn’t have a name yet, just 644. This bad boy comes in at 8% and has some attributes of both breweries. As another note, this beer uses Sierra Nevada’s torpedo dry hopping technique in addition to Dogfish Head’s continual hopping.

This beer pours a clear light orange color with an ample, slightly off-white, head. The nose is decidedly hoppy. The hops are bright and clean and just smell awesome. I don’t know if the Bravo hops or the 644 hops contribute to the aroma more, but whatever it is, I dig it.

A slight caramel flavor kicks off the first sip. A clean hop profile comes in that adds a good dose of bitterness, but not a punch. For a beer that has bright hops, this beer isn’t as hoppy as the nose would make you think. It is hoppy, but it says in balance with the malt body. The hops are this beer are really nice. This is a unique flavor that comes out of them that I just can’t put my finger on.

This is a very nice IPA. The hops are kept in check but allowed to exhibit their unique qualities. I enjoyed this one a great deal. I hope these two breweries keep up the collaborations as the beers have been darn good. (more…)

Beer Review #262 Birra Etrusca Bronze Ale

01-20-02Dogfish Head recently rolled out a new beer in their Ancient Ale series of beers; Birra Etrusca Bronze Ale. I usually have a hard time saying no to a new beer from Dogfish Head. They do such a great job of making you want their beer. The results are usually pretty good but there have been a few clunkers in there. According to the bottle this beer is “an ancient ale brewed with honey, hazelnut flour, heirloom wheat, myrrh, gentian root, raisins, pomegranate juice, and pomegranates.” It also comes in at 8.5% ABV. I have no idea what the majority of those things taste like, but it does sound interesting.

Birra Etrusca Bronze Ale pours a copper color with a reddish hue. It has a giant off-white head on the initial pour that quickly fades down to just a thin layer. The nose is very sweet. There isn’t an heat to be found but there are lots of fruits. The raisins and pomegranates that are listed in the ingredient list come out big time in the nose. I find that a lot of these ancient ales tend to have similar noses as grapes/raisins are a typical ingredient.

The sweetness found in the nose continues through to the taste. This beer is very sweet upfront. It is then followed by a slight spicy flavor that fades into the fruit flavors found in the nose. There is a wheaty characteristic that flows through the whole beer. This ale ends on a bready, earthy note. I was really surprised that I didn’t get any heat in this beer. Usually at 8.5% you start to get a hint that the beer is high alcohol when it warms, but not in this beer.

This is one of the beer beers that Dogfish Head has put out in awhile. It has solid flavors and is very balanced. I really thought that it was going to be over the top sweet, but it came down and ended up being very nice. I really like beers that capture an earthy quality and this beer has it. I’m not going to be grabbing another one of these as the price tag ($15) is a bit too high for me, but it is a super enjoyable beer. (more…)

Beer Review #256 Indian Brown Ale

12-28-03The year is quickly coming to a close and I have yet another Dogfish Head beer to add to my list for the year. It’s been a long time since I had Indian Brown Ale as it’s not a super common one to see at the stores compared to some of their other beers, but a friend recently brought over a few to try (he’s new into craft beer!). This beer was actually one of my first Dogfish beers and my first introduction into high alcohol beers. It comes in at 7.2% which isn’t much compared to some other beers that I have on a regular basis, but when I first tried this on out, it was a real ass kicker.

Indian Brown Ale pours a nice clear brown and has a thin off-white head. It doesn’t leave any lacing while being consumed. The nose is nice and malty. There is a good helping a caramel and roasted malt. I didn’t really get any hops which leads me to believe that this bottle was a bit older. The label says, “a clean, well-hopped brown ale brewed with caramelized sugar and hopped liberally and often.” The hops from the nose of this beer did not match the description. FYI: Hop aroma is one of the first things to break down in a beer as it ages. If you have two of the same IPAs, one old and one new, the newer one will taste and smell hoppier.

On the first taste the roasted malt flavor was on full show. Some sweetness then clicks in and gets cleaned up by bits of coffee bitterness. The hops make their presence shown as the caramel sweetness amps up, but both the sweetness and hops and cleaned away by the roastiness in the beer.

This is a very nice beer. It is full of flavor and well balanced. I’m glad that this was one of my first introductions to Dogfish Head beer. I think it is a prefect representation of what they do. If you have never had it before I suggest that you go back and try it and if you are like me and haven’t had it in awhile, it’s worth redrinking. (more…)

Beer Review #230 Positive Contact

I have yet another Dogfish Head brew for today’s review. Seriously is there a time that they don’t have a new beer out? Positive Contact is on of their many weird beers. According to the bottle this one rocks in at 9% ABV and is an “ale brewed with apple cider and spices. A positive combination of Fuji cider, slow roasted farro, a bit of cayenne, and fresh cilantro.” Holy shit I don’t even know what to say. DFH has this to say about the creation of this beer:

This beer part of our Music Series of beers… this one is an amalgamation of hip-hop, beer, cider and a DIY culinary experience! Sam and Dan the Automator of Deltron 3030 teamed up to create Positive Contact, based on Dan’s favorite ingredients and Dogfish Head’s innovative brewing practices.

Positive Contact pours a straw orange color and has a solid white head. The nose is a bit spicy and just a touch on the Belgian side of things. There is some slight heat, from the alcohol not the cayenne, and a slight apple odor. I was really expecting this one to pack a punch in the nose, but I just didn’t get that from this ale.

There isn’t a lot on the front end of this beer. I didn’t get any distinct malt flavor, it was just carbonated and cold. I did let it warm and tired it again for those of you wondering and I still didn’t get much. The backend of this beer is where everything happens. There are a bunch of different spices that bounce all over the place. Some heat comes in and then a very nice aftertaste filters through.

This is another one of those weird Dogfish Head beers that has a great story, but I’m not sure if it delivers. Sure it is a good beer but I have come to expect more from them and this one is more about the story than the beer in my eyes. (more…)

Beer Review #216 Urkontinent

Today I have a new limited release beer from Dogfish Head called Urkontinent. To make this beer DFH asked people what ingredients they would like to see used in a beer. They then narrowed down the choices to five. The bottle has this to say about the beer, “ale brewed with wattle seed, amaranth, rooibos, myrica gale, and honey.” I have no idea what any of those things taste like except for honey so this review is going to be fun. O yeah, I forgot to mention that this beer comes in at 8% ABV.

Urkontinent pours a nice brownish color with hints of ruby near the light. It has a medium tan head that quickly collapses on itself leaving just a hit of what was there. The nose is very malty with a lot going on. To be honest, I couldn’t identify all of the smells, but a nice malt sweetness was the big winner with some nice deep dark chocolates in the background. I love trying new and different beers but I hate when I hit a roadblock on describing flavors and smells. DFH does a good job of confusing my tastebuds.

On the first taste I thought this one was a little strange. There is a slight fruitness to the beer along with some heat. The chocolates from the nose are well mixed into the background. There was a slight “Belgian grape” flavor that ran throughout this beer. One thing that kind of threw me off about this beer was how thin it was compared to the ABV. I was expecting something thicker, but this one was water thin. I wish it had a bit more chew to it, but I did find it refreshing.

I apologize for not properly describing this beer, but I just don’t know how to react to it. There are a number of subtle flavors that a better tongue could identify, but I just can’t. I do know that I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure if I enjoyed the taste or the experience/challenge more. I guess this is one that you have to try for yourself.