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Beer Review #33 Ommegang Abbey Ale

11-08-02I thought I was out of my Belgian kick that I was on over the summer, but I found another reason to continue. Ommegang Abbey Ale is a Belgian Dubbel from Brewery Ommegang out of Cooperstown, NY. I saw two options of bottling for this beer, a four-pack or a 750 ml corked bottle. I opted to go for the four-pack as it was a better buy and I didn’t have to drink it all at once.

I allowed the beer to warm up at cellar temperatures as it takes on a different feel when it is colder. The cold attempt I made I didn’t get much aroma, but a lot of sourness. Once I allowed it to warm on my next beer, I had a much better tasting beer. It pours a deep ruby color with a thick light brown head. The head on the beer is made entirely of tiny bubble (high carbonation) and a thin layer of head lasted through the entire drink. The Abbey Ale is pretty clear with some haze from the yeast and a few groups of things in suspension, as common with most Belgian beers.

11-08-03The nose was very fruity. I think the smell that stood out the most was a grape to sour grape smell. The yeast was also heavy on the nose with some hints of malt. No hops were detectable. On my first sip I was hit with the malt on the front, followed by a sourness, and then the Belgian yeast bite. There was a grapy aftertaste. As I kept drinking some bitter chocolate notes came though as well. The Belgian yeast had a slightly different twang than a normal Belgian yeast strain, it was much more sour. Most of the time you get a spiciness from Belgian yeast, there was some, but not as pronounced as other Belgian beers I have had.

The mouthfeel was medium and the high carbonation was wonderful. I really enjoyed drinking this beer. It is a perfect beer to drink slowly during a long period of time. As the beer warms to room temperature a host of new notes come out and make it more and more interesting. Ommegang Abbey Ale comes in a 8.5% which is on the higher end of ABV for Belgain Dubbels.

There were a few interesting notes on the back of the bottle as well. It says, “Part of the Duvel family of fine ales.” Brewery Ommegang was named after Belgium’s oldest medieval festival. This beer is also cellared at the brewery. If you like Belgian beers give this one a try, you will not be disappointed. It is wonderfully flavorful and complex. It really was a treat of a beer to drink. (more…)

09-15-02

Real Ale Brewing Company Full Moon Pale Rye Ale Beer Review

09-15-02I bought a sampler six pack from Real Ale Brewing Company 2 weeks ago and I’ve slowly been getting through their three offerings. On a side note, I love the idea of a sampler six pack and I wish more breweries would do something similar. Back to the beer at hand, Real Ale Brewing Company is based out of Blanco, Texas which is almost in between San Antonio and Austin. The company was started out of a basement brewery in 1996 and has since moved up to a 60 barrel brewery. There isn’t much on their website but they seem very community oriented and are willing to give away some free beer for a non-profit community event.

I am always more out to buy something from  a company that is willing to support its local community, but I digress. Full Moon Pale Rye Ale pours a nice golden amber in color and is perfectly clear. It is slightly darker than the typical pale ale but I believe that comes from the rye malt added in. It also has a nice fluffy head that, while it diminishes a bit, stays through the entire drink.  The smell of the beer is all hops with some malt sweetness but I did not detect the rye malt in there.

It taste like a typical pale ale with a slight rye flavor. You notice the rye more on the aftertaste. There is a great balance of hops to malt. I’ve seen a few reviews where people complained about too much hops but I did not find that, I thought the balance was pretty good. If they wanted the rye to stand out a bit more there should of been some less hops, but I enjoyed it on the aftertaste.

09-15-05

The mouthfeel was light and pretty thin. This was not a chewy beer. I’m not the biggest fan of pale ales (gasp!) but I enjoyed this one. The rye adds a bit of flavor that was different and nice. Now I’m going to go on a bit of a tangent. I don’t understand why rye and hops are being paired together some much right now. Michelob just released their Rye P.A. and I’ve seen a few other beers featuring hops and rye showing up on the shelves. The rye flavor is so delicate that the addition of too many hops blows it out of the water. I really enjoy a nice rye beer, just one that is not over hopped for the malt to carry through. I guess the brewers are trying to get a different malt character out of the beer but I prefer to have the rye shine a little bit more. Anyway this is a Texas beer and it doesn’t look like they distribute much further than Texas. It was enjoyable and something a bit different. If you are a pale ale fan try it out and see if you like the rye flavor on top of the typical pale ale. (more…)

09-01-06

Tommyknocker Butt Head Beer Review

09-01-06It is getting close to fall and that means Bock season. Here in Lubbock we had a dip in temperatures over the past week from the high 90s to the high 80s to low 90s, and yes, you can feel the difference here. So I went down to the six pack store and decided I wanted something drinkable and had a lot of flavor. I saw Tommyknockers Butt Head Dopple Bock and grabbed it. First off, I’m a big fan of Bocks, Dopple Bocks, and the one Triple Bock I had I also enjoyed. Secondly, the name of the beer is Butt Head. Why wouldn’t I buy it?

09-01-02When I got home I chilled it down in the fridge overnight and I had it last night after dinner. Upon opening a sweet caramel smell leaked out all over. It was wonderful. After closer inspection, there was a bit of alcohol on the nose behind all of that sweet malt.

It pours a brown to ruby color and had a brownish head with it as well. I usually expect a bock to be crystal clear, being that lagers generally are, but this was slightly hazy. There was also some sediment which I can only assume was some yeast. Being a homebrewer that doesn’t bother me at all, but you generally don’t see sediment on a commercially brewed lager.

09-01-04On my first taste I noticed the malt all over the place. It was sweet, with a slight hop flavor on the back end, but not much. As a bock should be, it was very crisp and had those lovely bubble on the front of the tongue.  As the beer warms up the heat in it becomes more and more noticeable, but that’s not a bad thing. It left a pleasant aftertaste in my mouth that made me want more.

The mouthfeel was a bit thick, almost creamy. It was very smooth and went down easily. For beer that comes in at 8.2% ABV I would expect it to be a bit thicker in the mouthfeel. But man, did I enjoy this beer. It was super drinkable and just a wonderful addition to my taste buds.

A few other notes I jotted down. There is a lot of heat on this, so you really can’t drink too many of them. There is a nice layer of head that last through the whole drink. I don’t know why but I like that quality in a beer. The sediment I talked about earilier was a bit strange. Strange enough to have me comment about it twice. And my final note is that this beer gets more and more enjoyable as it warms up. I would suggest getting a sixer of this if you have the chance. I think most would enjoy it.

09-01-05

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08-04-06

Hamm’s Beer Review

08-04-02My partner in crime, Pete, brought back a Hamm’s for me a few months ago. I really wasn’t sure what to think of it when I first saw it, becasue the can is unimpressive to say the least. Pete told me it was one of the standard cheap drinks where he lives. So my expectations sank even lower. I actually drank this beer around the time he gave it to me, I just misplaced my tasting notes for it until today when I discovered them again. Horray!

08-04-06Let’s get on to the beer. I punctured the can and the standard fizzle sound came out. Poured it into my glass and saw a straw colored beer that was perfectly clear and reminded me of the macro light lagers. But color doesn’t really matter becasue there are excellent beers out there that have little color to them. Just look at the Portland Brewery reviews to see a few. The nose was sweet with a bit of maltlyness in there. There might of been a bit of corn in there too which was weird.

I took my first sip and yuck, light lager to the T. I will give it an “A” for being super drinkable, as I was finished before I knew it, but surely not an enjoyable drink. There was a bit of metalic on it as 08-04-07well which I hate. For a standard cheap beer I guess it wasn’t that bad, but not something I would get again.

Back in PA my standard cheap beer was Lionshead, which is pretty terrible, but has some malt and they recently redid the look of the bottle and the recipe was tweeked a bit. Where was I going with that? Umm… O yeah, Lionshead is cheap and drinkable so is this, but Lionshead has a bit more to offer. This was a shallow beer without much flavor or things to even pick up on. No my style beer and I would not be reccomending it to anyone.

09-06-25-02

Rouge Brutal Bitter Beer Review

09-06-25-02I’m a big fan of Rogue Ales. So much of a fan in fact that my future wife and I are toasting with a Shakespear Stout this Saturday at our wedding. I love the Dead Guy Ale and have tried to get as many of their beers under my belt as I can. One of the “normal” onese that has always eluded me was the Brutal Bitter. But alas, finally, I got a chance to try it. Here’s what the brewery has to say,

Tasting Notes:
An Imperial bitter with exotic traditional floor malts, citrusy, hoppy flavor, stupendous hop aroma.
6 Ingredients:

Malts:
100% Floor-malted Maris Otter, Cara Vienna, Cara Wheat.
Hops:
Crystal.
Yeast & Water:
Rogue’s Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.
Specs:
15º PLATO
59 IBU
76.1 AA
14.2º Lovibond

09-06-25-03Upon popping the top you are hit with hops, big shocker. It pours a nice hazy brown and had a nice lasting head with great lacing. The nose with hops, hops, hops, with a little malt mixed in there. Tasting is a kick in the mouth. I know I;ve been doing a lot of IPAs for the past little bit, but this thing was the strongest hops I’ve expreinced yet. After a few sips you actaully get some flavor as you adjust to the hops.

It had a decent malt backbone, but the hops were just overpowering. If you read this blog you should know by now that I am all about a balanced beer. This beer isn’t meant to be, but that is what threw it off for me. This is probably the first Rogue beer that I will not be buying again. If you like hops, you will like this beer. It was just a bit too unbalanced for me to enjoy fully. (more…)