Skip to main content
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 beerĀ 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.

 

Brown Porter Tasting

Back in January I brewed a brown porter. You can read about the brew day here and find a recipe for the beer here. As any homebrewer should evaluate their beer according to what they wanted out of their beer. I wanted a beer that was super easy drinking, low in ABV, and something that you could enjoy in the cold and cool weather.

My brown porter came out being a bit darker than I had intended. It was a deep ruby color when held up to the light. Surprisingly this beer was crystal clear. The nose was full of roast and malty sweetness. I didn’t get any hops on the nose. I would have liked to had this one be a bit dryer on the nose, but what are you going to do?

The taste of this beer was exactly what I was going for. It has a nice round roastiness with some dark caramels and toffee flavors. It isn’t overly sweet and the hops combine with the roasty flavors nicely to cut the sweetness down a peg or two. It has a very clean flavor to it and each component rolls into the next flavor.

I’m pretty happy with how this one came out. A number of people have tried it and enjoyed it. My parents, who don’t like craft beer in the least, didn’t even mind it. I like the recipe and I think I got everything I wanted out of it. The next time that I brew this beer I’m going to shoot for a different type of yeast. I want something a bit more English in nature that gives off a few more ester and a little more dryness. I think that the additions of those flavors would really round this beer out better and make it better.

Beer Review #200 +/- (Plus Minus)

Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample

The second beer that Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me is called +/- or in English, Plus Minus. Plus Minus is an English style beer that Magic Hat classifies as a Dark Mild. Sorry no intro video to share for this beer, but their website does have this to say about the beer, “Brewed with the tradition English style in mind, +/- aims to bring drinkers a truly sessionable craft beer experience.”

Plus Minus pours a deep copper to ruby color with a thin off-white head. The nose is very rich with caramels. There are also some roasty components to the nose, but overall there really isn’t a lot happening. I didn’t get any hops or any other notable odors from this one up front.

This beer has a very interesting flavor combination. It starts out bready but then a dry caramel flavor comes in and dominates for awhile. Right when you start to get tired of the caramelĀ  some nice clean bitterness kicks in. The hops are not super strong, but they do their job of cutting the bitterness and drying out the beer more than it already was. Like the last beer I tried, Plus Minus is very clean tasting. There is a slight dry roastiness that sits with you for awhile and I thought it added a nice touch to the ending of this beer.

At 4.2% this is a beer that you could drink several of and not have many problems. I really liked the interesting mix of flavors but I do have to warn you that this beer isn’t for everyone. I have found that a lot of U.S. beer drinkers do not care for many of the dry English styles of beer, and this one falls right into that area. If you dig dry English beer with flavors that are more dull than bright, this one is right up your alley. I would really like to try this one on cask and see how it changes in that setting. (more…)

Beer Review #187 Devil’s Milk

Devil’s Milk was on display at the front of the beer store the last time I stopped in so I obviously picked up a bottle. I’m such a sucker for product placement. Also, how could you not want to try a barelywine named Devil’s Milk? This beer is brewed by the DuClaw Brewing Company of Abingdon, MD. I can’t really tell what type of brewery DuClaw is. They have four different brewpub locations including on inside of BWI. I do not know if they own a production facility or if they contract brew with someone. Any help or information would be appreciated.

Anyway, Devil’s Milk is “barelywine style ale” according to the bottle and it comes in at a rocking 10.6% ABV. This ale pours a nice ruby color and it is crystal clear. I generally find barelywines to be a bit hazy, but not this one. There is a thin white head as well, but it quickly fades into the beer. The nose is loaded with tons of different aromas. I first smelled some deep malt with some dull hop bitterness in the background. There was a bit of heat, but it was pretty low for a beer of this percentage. Finally, there were some dark fruits buried in there behind all of the other activity.

The first thing that grabbed by attention in this beer is the nice piney hops that come in right after the malt. The malt has some nice burnt caramel flavors along with some grape. There are some dark and dried fruits mixed in as well which I can assume comes from the yeast esters. As with the nose there is some heat, but not a ton. As the beer warms, the flavors really intensify. About halfway through the beer the hops stopped being as prominent as they were at the beginning and the malt and fruits start to take over.

This is a pretty decent barleywine. There is a nice balance between the hops and the malt which I really enjoyed. I would describe the flavor as complete. This beer did not leave me wanting for anything other than something unique to set it apart from other barleywines. If you have the chance you might want to check this one out. (more…)

Beer Review #172 Anchor Christmas Ale 2011

Happy Christmas Eve everyone. Last year I reviewed Anchor Brewing Company’s 2010 Christmas Ale and since they change the recipe every year, I just had to get it again this year. The brewery, located in San Francisco, California releases a new version of their Christmas Ale every year with the intention of spreading some holiday cheer. A new beer always brings cheer to my life.

Christmas Ale 2011 pours a deep copper to ruby color with a thin off-white head. The nose is strongly herbal with some notes of malt sweetness. There is a slight “twinge” at the end of the nose, but I honestly couldn’t decide what it tasted like.

On the first taste I got some sourness, but as I continued drinking I found that the original sour flavor that I tasted was actually a bit of smoke. The herbal notes are in the beer as well. There wasn’t much in the way of forward malt flavor by I did find some bready notes in there. The slight smoke and herbal notes really dominate the flavor in this beer. The best word that I could use to describe the flavor is earthy as it has a very primal taste to it.

I enjoyed this year’s offering of Anchor Christmas Ale. There are a ton of flavors going on and I really do enjoy trying to pinpoint them all. While this beer has earthy qualities, it is “refined earthy.” Anchor’s beer comes in at 5.5% so you could enjoy a few of these, although I found one at a sitting to be enjoyable. (more…)