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Beer Review #285 Sam Adams Imperial Stout

04-16-03Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company) released their Imperial Series of beers when I was in college. I tried a few on draft at the time and liked most of them. I’m still not sold on the Double Bock but that’s a review for a different time. I finally got around to buying all four of them again for another round of tasting. In the past I have reviewed their Imperial White, and today I’m going to knock out their Imperial Stout.

Sam Adams Imperial Stout pours a black (real shocked /sarcasm) with a thin, tan head that quickly fades. This beer comes in at 9.2% so head retention is not to be expected. The nose is deeply roasty with a “dark sweetness.” You can tell it is a big, thick beer from the smell. There is a little heat along with a good helping of anise rising out of this one. Finally I got just a hint of some aged hop bitterness at the end.

On the first taste you get a good smash of caramel and toffee. It then moves to a bitter roasty flavor, like a really strong coffee that has been cooled down. The anise is in there as well along with just a bit of heat. I didn’t notice any hops when tasting that one as the roasty flavors took away any ability to taste hops.

This beer is chewy, thick, and wonderful. It is a really nice Imperial Stout. The balance is great and the flavor components match and compliment each other. This would be a great benchmark for what an Imperial Stout (non-hoppy of course) should be. This is a perfect sipper in my house. (more…)

Beer Review #174 The Vixen Chocolate Chili Bock

This will be the last beer review of 2011 on Brewery Reviewery. I still have a bunch of winter beers to get though during the weeks ahead, but I will get to them next year. I saw this beer while I was at the beer store last week and picked it up. My father-in-law also got me a bottle for Christmas. The Vixen Chocolate Chili Bock is brewed by Boston Beer Company, aka Sam Adams, of Boston Massachusetts. This bock is part of their series of one-off production beers, meaning that this beer is brewed only once and is never rebrewed again. I have a feeling that a very successful beer in this series would be produced again (I’m looking at you Victory Dark Intrigue). To my knowledge Sam has three other beers in this series currently.

The Vixen pours a nice black color and has an accompanying tan head. I have no idea on the clarity of this beer as its darkness blocks out any light (or is it that it absorbs all of the light, science!) The nose is fully of chocolate with some sweetness in there as well. I didn’t get an chili odor and I looked all over for it. The bottle says “ale brewed with cinnamon and with spices and cocoa nibs added.” I didn’t find anything other than the cocoa on the nose.

The taste is full of chocolate as well. And when I say chocolate, I mean lots of chocolate, like a bigger version of their Chocolate Bock. Again, I wasn’t able to get any chili flavor. I tried this beer cold and at room temperature and there was no chili to be found. There was a slightly strange ending on this beer, but not a flavor that I would attribute to chilies or the other spices mentioned. The only thing I found other than chocolate was some heat as it warmed.

This beer comes in at 8.5% and comes in a “stylized” bomber (22 oz). The Vixen is a very smooth, fully flavored chocolate beer, but it is not chili beer. If you are scared off by the chilies, don’t be fearful of this beer. You will not find any chilies, but just some rich chocolatey goodness. (more…)

Beer Review #115 New World Tripel

Boston Beer Company, a.k.a Sam Adams, put out a lot of special beers each year in addition to their typical line-up. I recently reviewed one of those special beers that received a lot of press when it came out. One of my friends brought a bottle of New World Tripel down to my house last month and we drank it while watching the Flyers play. New World Tripel is part of Boston Beer’s Barrel Room Collection (check out that link for an interesting read). At the current time, there are three beers in their collection and a fourth will soon be added. I felt honored to try such a limited beer.

New World Tripel pours an orange color and it is super hazy. It does have a fluffy white head as should be expected in a Tripel. The nose is super yeasty with some Belgian spice in there as well. I did not detect any heat on the nose which is surprising since this beer rocks in at 10% ABV.

The front-end of this beer has a nice sweetness that is quickly balanced by the Belgian spices. For a barrel aged beer, this one was very balanced. I bet if we would have let this sit for a year or so it would be much more sour. At the current time, this beer did not have any sour notes. I didn’t get any heat in the flavor of this beer either, which is wonderful and dangerous. This is one sneaky beer.

I’m a sucker for a good Tripel and this one fits the bill. I also love unique bottles, and this one is a must have. I believe they only sell this at the brewery in Boston, but if you get the chance grab one. There are some other good Tripel’s out there but I think this one sits near the top of the list. (more…)

Beer Review #69 Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale

I recently was in the beer store (OK so I go every week) but I saw Sam Adam’s fall seasonal beer pack. I love variety cases and I saw a new beer in there that I have never had before; Harvest Pumpkin Ale. I had no idea that Sam, a.k.a. Boston Beer Company produced a pumpkin beer. I know pumpkin beers are hot right now, but Sam making one kind of shows how far they have come in such a short time.

Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale pours an amber color with a slightly off white head. It is crystal clear if that matters to you. The nose is slightly sweet with some grassy malt in there. The typical pumpkin pie spices can also be sampled. What I really found interesting about the nose was that there were some roasty notes. Generally pumpkin beers get dominated by a sweet malt and spice smell. It was a nice change to have some roasted malt in there. It reminded me of the smell of the pumpkin that I roasted last year.

You almost should know what to expect with an amber/orange pumpkin beer and Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale delivers on those promises. You have the malty upfront with the spicy finish. A wonderful aftertaste is quick to follow. The roast in the nose also followed through the beer and into the aftertaste. It was a nice addition to the normal flavors and helped balance out the spices.

I think this is a pretty solid pumpkin beer. The spices are not heavy handed like some pumpkin beers out there so I think this beer is much more approachable than other. Sam Adams is great at taking a style of beer and making it appealing to a mass market. This beer comes in at a solid 5.7% ABV and they use real pumpkins in the brewing process. The pumpkin is used in the mashing process and the spices are actually added in the keg or just before the bottling line depending on your serving type. It is a nice fresh tasting beer that I think is a real winner. There are more aggressive pumpkin beers out there and some with a lot more flavor, but Harvest Pumpkin Ale does a good job of balancing delicate flavors. (more…)

Beer Review #48 Noble Pils

Ever since I have been drinking craft beer, Sam Adams has been in my drink lineup. They released a new spring seasonal this year taking the place of the White Ale of last year. For this spring Sam decided to go with a Pilsner, a “nobel pilsner.” The reason they call it a Nobel Pils is becasue the hop varieties used in the making of this beer are said to be noble. You know how the periodic table of elements has the noble gasses, well hops also have a noble lineage.

The beer pours a nice golden in color and is perfectly clear. There is a bit more of a hue in it than a typical Light American Lager, but there isn’t a huge difference in how the two look. It also pours with a nice white fluffy head. The nose on this beer is actually somewhat complex for how simple a Pilsner really is. There is a sweet, honey-like malt with a splash of hop in there as well. It isn’t stale or sulfery smelling like a light of light colored lagers tend to have.

On the tongue the sweet malt is on the front and then there is a good hoppy finish. Some might compare this beer to a Light American Lager based on looks, but the malt is more complex and there is actually a hop finish. The hop finish might surprise some, but it is not overpowering and really complements the drink. Noble Pils is light in mouthfeel and has the perfect amount of carbonation.

I find this beer super drinkable. It is great for a warm spring day or on a hot summer day. I think this beer would appeal to a lot of beer drinkers crossing into the craft beer for the first time. As I have said before on this site, Pilsner is not a style of beer that I enjoy, but Sam Adams Noble Pils was a winner in my book. (more…)