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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.

 

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…)

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…)