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04-21-00

Beer Review #325 Milk Stout Nitro

Left Hand Brewing Company has been having fun putting their excellent stouts in bottles with nitrogen carbonation. My last example was reviewed here. I’ve seen very few breweries going the nitro route as it can be difficult and expensive. In most cases, nitrogen carbonated beers are done in a can with a widget, but not Left Hand.

Their normal Milk Stout is one of my favorites. It strikes all of the right balances and really shines as a example of the style. When I saw the nitro version of their Milk Stout, I bought a case, a rarity for me. The beer pours a smooth black. There is very little head what the resulting head is tan in color. The nose is sweet but chocolatly. The major chocolate note that I get is dark chocolate with some hints of milk chocolate. I didn’t get a lot of roast and there was no hop aroma to speak of.

04-21-02On the first taste I was overwhelmed with how smooth this beer drinks. From start to finish this is a complete beer. A nice caramel and milk chocolate sweetness starts off the beer and then flows into a chocolate and roast explosion. The roast isn’t overly bitter, but it’s there and helps balance the beer. The chocolate is also bitter, the way dark chocolate is, and provides some great flavor. I love the progression of flavor in this beer. It leaves on a slightly sweet note with bits of dark chocolate bitterness hanging on. It’s a complete drink, plain and simple.

I love Left Hand’s regular version of this beer, but the nitro version kicks it up a notice. It has great flavor, balance, and drinkability. For a stout, it’s not overly thick or filling. It sits right in the sweet-spot of beers for me. I highly, highly suggest this beer.

 

03-10-00

Beer Review #317 Double Chocolate Milk Stout

03-10-03Over two years ago now I reviewed Lancaster Brewing Company’s Milk Stout. It’s one of the best milk stout’s that I’ve come across next to Left Hand’s version, which I shockingly haven’t reviewed yet. I was at the beer store today minding my own business when the image of a cow being covered in chocolate assaulted my eyes. The words under the aforementioned cow read “Double Chocolate Milk Stout.” Naturally, I bought it.

The bottle says that this is a stout brewed with cacao nibs. It comes in at 6.8% so for a double, this isn’t on the crazy scale alcohol wise. This stout pours a pitch black with a thin tan head. I have no idea if it is clear or not as it is a dark beer. The nose is solidly chocolate with a slight malt sweetness. There are no hops or heat to be found on this one. It honestly smells like a chocolate milkshake.

On the first taste I got all chocolate. It’s not milk chocolate, chocolate, but rather dark chocolate, chocolate. It’s a mix of bitter, roasty, and odd sweetness. I say odd sweetness because you don’t expect to get a sweet flavor on something that comes off as bitter as this one. The bitterness sits on the tongue and lingers for a long time after the drink has left. I tastes like you just drank a 60% cacao chocolate bar. It’s impressive, if you like dark chocolate.

For a milk stout this one isn’t overly sweet or thick. It stays medium in mouthfeel and drinks easily. Lancaster Brewing Company really doubled down on the chocolate (dark not milk) and hit a homerun in my book. I really dig dark chocolate. The bitterness and sweetness balance nicely, but, as with most dark chocolates, the bitterness wins in the end leaving you wanting more. Well done. (more…)

03-06-00

Beer Review #316 Blithering Idiot

03-06-03As I mentioned in my last review, I’m kind of on a barleywine kick right now. This winter is just making me crave the stuff. Today’s beer has one of the best names in all of beerdom, Blithering Idiot. I first had this beer back in college when I was first starting to get into craft beer and I loved it then, but for other reasons. At 11% you could have two of these in a night and be pretty well off. Now, I drink one of these over the course of several hours and enjoy how the beer changes as it oxidizes and warms.

Blithering Idiot is brewed by the Weyerbacher Brewing Company of Easton, PA. This beer pours a nice brown color and has a slight haze to it. There is a light tan head that quickly fades into the beer below. The nose is big and malty and filled with rich caramels. There is some roast to be found as well. I didn’t get anything on the hop or heat end of the aroma for this beer.

On the firs taste I was greeted with lots of great malt. It’s not overpowering, but you can tell that it is there and wants to be know. Unlike a lot of barelywines that can be a little sweet and simple, this beer has a lot of great malt flavors. On top of the caramels there are some nice roasted notes as well as a great biscuit flavor. The hops are there, but I would like a bit more complexity from them.

For a barelywine, I don’t think that they get more drinkable than this beer. At 11% you could easily get into trouble before you realized that the beer was this strong. The alcohol is hidden so well that you have to be careful. I really like this beer. While it’s not one of my top barelywines, it’s a good starter barelywine that provides a great introduction to the style.  (more…)

07-14-02

Beer Review #300 Bourbon Barrel Dark Ale

07-14-02For this site’s 300th beer review, I figured that I should post about a special beer. It also so happens that today’s review covers one of my favorite local breweries, Evolution Craft Brewing Company. They make some fantastic beer that is always fresh and hits the spot. Bourbon Barrel Dark Ale is part of their Migration Series of beer, which are seasonal and always barrel aged. My bottle happened to be #795 of 1400 bottles produced. This winter 2012 edition has the following to say on the label, “a dark ale aged eight months in oak bourbon barrels.” It also comes in at 10.5%. This might not be a summer beer style but good is good anytime of the year.

This beer pours a dark black with a tan head that quickly fades. It is too dark to see if it is clear or not, even when tipped and held up to the light. The nose has a light bourbon aroma that provides a bit of heat and warmth. A good helping of roasted malt and dark chocolate are being the bourbon and really provide some great malt notes. I got just a hint of oak, but not as much as I was expecting for a beer aged for eight months.

Roasted malt and dark chocolate come threw first on the first taste. And as a bourbon barrel aged beer should, this beer has kick of bourbon and oak. The bourbon is very mild and really blends well with the malt. The oak smooths out the flavor and helps blend everything together nicely. There is a slight hop bitterness at the end but nothing that is overly complex or strong. This one drinks creamy and thick. A true sipper.

I really dug this one. It is one of the smoothest and most balanced bourbon aged beers that I have ever had. The bourbon isn’t crazy intense on this beer, but adds a good amount of complexity and depth to a already great beer. I really wish there were more than 1400 bottles of this produced and I will be keeping an eye out for when the 2013 version comes out. (more…)

Beer Review #265 Narwhal Imperial Stout

01-26-03We had a nice bit of snow here in northern Delaware last night and I was sipping on an imperial stout as the flakes came down. We only ended up with a tease of a 1/2 inch, but the beer at least measured up. Narwhal Imperial Stout is brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. This imperial stout comes in at a nice high 10.2%.

Like most imperial stouts this beer pours an inky black. It doesn’t pour as thick as some imperial stouts that I have had in the past. There is a decent tan head that stays longer than expected but eventually fades away to just a thin surface floating layer. I had no idea if this one was clear or not because this is one dark beer. Ever the thin layers near the edges yielded no light. The nose is packed with roasted malt. There is some slight chocolate in there as well. I didn’t notice anything on the hop front nor did I get any heat. Impressive. This beer just smells big. Maybe I have had too many imperial stouts in my day, but you can just tell this beer is big by the smell.

The roasted flavors of the nose carry through to the flavor. The roast is clean and enjoyable and not to “bitey” as other beers of this style that I have had. A nice bitter bakers chocolate flavor edges out the roast halfway though. A sight hop flavor comes in at the end. The hops was a bit piney but I honestly could get more descriptive then that as the malt bitterness ruled this beer. While I didn’t describe a lot of flavors, the interaction of the flavors really makes this beer complex. As the balance changes from roast to bitter chocolate to hops the beer shows itself fully.

I really, really dig this one. I’m usually split on liking/hating imperial stouts. They never seem to be able to achieve a true balance and any complexity that they do have gets overshadowed by roast or hops. This one stays complex and in balance. I really liked it and I’m going to be getting some of this beer to age in the basement for some time. (more…)