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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…)

01-27-00

Beer Review #314 Holy Sheet

01-27-04Maybe it’s the cold, but I’ve really been in the mood for big beers that have some barrel age to them recently. My father-in-law got me a bottle of Clipper City Brewing Company’s Holy Sheet for Christmas, and I couldn’t resist drinking it. This bad boy rocks in at 9% and is part of their Heavy Seas line of beers. The bottle says a “Belgian style Abbey Ale aged in Brandy Barrels.” Wonderful!

Holy Sheet (great name BTW) pours a nice brown color with some hints of red mixed in there. It has a thin head that edges on dirty white to tan. The nose is complex but distinct at the same time. The first aroma that hit my nose was a slight heat. It’s not overly surprising for a beer aged in brandy barrels and coming in at 9% to have an alcohol smell. A lot of malt smells then hit my nose and packed in odors of raisin, dark fruit, and a slight Belgian spice. The nose was sweet with some good doses of caramel as well. I really dug the aromas wafting off of this beer.

While it was the last aroma to make its appearance, caramel was what hit me on the first taste of this beer. The beer stays sweet and some raisin components come in. The barrel aging is very apparent in this beer. There is a big dose of oak that becomes more noticeable as the beer warms. A slight toast flavor mixes in for good measure. There is no real ending to this beer, everything just mixes together and leaves. I would describe this beer as earthy in flavor with a lot of woody undertones.

This is a complex beer all of the way around. The nose was a joy to smell and the beer was great to drink. This is  a great sipper for a cold day. I need to find a few more of these as I think they would age great, though they might not make it that long. (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…)

08-03-02

Beer Review #305 Nouveau Rouge

08-03-03I know that I just reviewed a Evolution Craft Brewing Company beer but my buddy brought this one down a few weeks ago and I just had to talk about it. I never heard of Nouveau Rouge but my buddy Mike is usually good at finding rare, delicious beer. The bottle has this to say, “almost two years in the making, our sour red ale is an ongoing project that pays tribute to the sour ales of Flanders. Tart and earthy with notes of vanilla and tannin from our oak aging process, this complex ale is layered with unique character.” It comes in at a respectable 6.3%.

The beer pours a brownish red color. There is zero head to this one and it has a haze to it. The nose is sour/tart and edges on being vinegary. There is also a nice dose of oak mixed in. Usually beers that have this type of smell have a complex flavor profile so I was really excited to try this beer.

On the first taste I actually got a slight sweetness on the front end. The sweetness fades into a nice oak flavor that is mixed with some hints of vanilla. The sourness then comes in and stays. On each sip after the first, I was not able to find that initial sweetness. The tart flavor isn’t the strongest that I have ever had, but it mixes nicely with the oak flavors and it provides punches of sourness as you move through the drink. The sourness lingers on the tongue well after you have swallowed. This beer is very lowly carbonated with helps some of the flavors play out different than if it were more highly carbonated.

I really dig this one. It has a nice sourness to it but it is balanced with a malt body. The complexity can be found in the oak/tart interaction and the different levels of tartness you get while drinking the glass. I’m a big fan and I would be happy to stumble upon a bottle of this at any time. (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…)