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Beer Review #178 Old Man Winter Ale

I finally finished with the beers specifically labeled as “Christmas Ales” and I am now on to some winter beers. As I mentioned previously, I am going to cut off or seriously limit myself from seasonal beers after my current batch of winter beers is done. Anyway, today’s winter beer comes from Southern Tier Brewing Company of Lakewood, New York. As with a lot of breweries I write about, I have had a number of their beers, but I haven’t had a chance to get all of my reviews up on the site yet. I have generally liked everything that I have tried from this brewery, so they have that going for them.

Old Man Winter Ale pours a nice amber color and has a white head to accompany the amber liquid. The nose has a bit of citrus hops, but the malt really shines here. There is some of the normal caramel sweetness but also a nice grainy flavor that I really enjoyed.

This beer has a nice malt flavor up front with those classic caramels returning. I didn’t get any of the grainy notes from the nose upon tasting this one. The citrus hops in the nose follow through to the flavor but they also flood into a slightly piney hop. The pine flavor then coats the tongue, but doesn’t stay for too long as a spicier hops flavor comes in. Right at the end some biscuit and dried fruit come in to round out the beer.

I really liked this one. It was an interesting mix of malt and hops that lead to an enjoyable drink. I also love when a brewery combines ingredients in a way that makes them taste different than they normally would. Old Man Winter Ale only uses two types of malt and three different types of hops. As a homebrewer, the lack of malt variety is encouraging since a lot of people get complexity by adding tons of different types of malts to their beers. Well done Southern Tier, I will be grabbing some more of this beer shortly. (more…)

Beer Review #157 Sam Adams Holiday Porter

Another day, another beer from Boston Beer Company. I recently purchased Sam Adam’s Winter Seasonal pack and in addition to the normal Boston Lager and Winter Lager they had a few other fun seasonal beers. I reviewed their Old Fezziweg early last year, but I haven’t had a chance to partake in their other winter beers. I will spend the remainder of the week taking a look at the other three beers in the variety pack.

Today’s beer is Boston Beer’s Holiday Porter. A porter is a perfect beer for this time of year. They generally are not heavy, but provide some solid malt and roasty character that can warm you up on a cold night. The beer pours a deep ruby color and has a light tan head. The nose is packed with smell. I found lots of caramel and toffee, which was then followed by some coffee notes. There are some slight noble hops in there as well. Finally I found some slight chocolate notes that were really nice.

Just as the nose promised, this beer is complex and deep. There is a lot of rich caramel with some solid chocolate. There is a nice interaction between the hops and malt where the malt leads in, is cut a bit by the hops, but still is a big player. As soon as you think that this beer isn’t going to have a hop kick to balance it out, the dry finish comes in and takes care of any sweetness.

I really liked this one. I am generally not super impressed with porters, but I enjoyed this one greatly. I would love to have this on a blustery November night while sitting with a good book. For such a complex beer, this one also comes off as being simple. It really opens up on each sip. (more…)

Beer Review # 109 Yuengling Bock

The very first beer I reviewed on this site was Yuengling Lager. I figured it was a good starting point as I was born and raised in PA and it is America’s Oldest Brewery. They haven’t added a lot to their beer line-up unlike a lot of craft breweries, but that is because they fit into a different realm of craft brewery. A few years ago they did decide to offer one more beer their their line-up, a seasonable beer named Yuengling Bock. As you can guess, it is a bock so it comes out in later winter to early spring.

I tried it on tap when it first came out thanks to a free sample by my bartender friend and thought it was okay. At the time it was only available on draft so when I saw it in bottles this year I decided to grab one. Yuengling Bock pours a burnt orange color and has a thin, slightly off-white head. The nose isn’t terribly impressive with some slight nutty and roasty notes. I also noticed some sulfur, which is a common odor I get in lagers.

On the first taste I noticed a nutty flavor but not much else. I tried a few more drinks searching from some more flavorful notes, but there were not many distinguishing things to be found. This beer is very light and easy to drink, but doesn’t offer a ton in the flavor world. I was hoping for a bit more from this beer and at 5.1% it seemed sessionable. I liked it for what it was, but it is not a great representation of a bock. (more…)

Beer Review #105 Mudslinger Spring Ale

Another spring beer for review on this Judgement Day; Mudsligner Spring Ale from Redhook Ale Brewery. Redhook has three different breweries located across the country, but my bottle of Mudslinger said that this particular beer was brewed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I February I reviewed their winter seasonal beer, Winterhook, and thought that it was decent.

Mudslinger is classified as a nut brown ale by the brewery and comes in at 5.8% ABV. It pours a deep copper to brown color and is perfectly clear. A slightly off-white head accompanies the brown drink. The nose is pretty much what you would expect out of a nut brown ale. It has some caramel and roasted malt, followed by some slight hops. When I say slight hops, I mean very slight. On the first taste the roasty notes from the odor returned along with a nutty flavor. These flavors are not nearly as strong as the nose promises. It is then followed by herbal tasting hops. There was almost a minty quality to them.

This beer was had a different name up until last year, but the name is escaping me currently. Whatever the name, it was a decent beer which fits into spring nicely. The beer was not light but not heavy either. The flavors were not complex, but they blended well. Try it out if you get the chance, even if it is to add a new notch to your taste buds. (more…)

Beer Review #103 Pollenator

This spring seasonal beer comes from the Long Trail Brewing Company out of Bridgewater Corners, Vermont. I really wish that Long Trail was in a town with a shorter name, it’s a real pain to type. I reviewed their winter seasonal, Hibernator, towards the beginning of the year and enjoyed it very much.

This ale pours a clear golden color with a white head. The nose is nice and bready. There was a sweet, honey-like odor coming as well accompanied with a slight hop bite. I really like how this beer smells. It is slightly complex, but promises to be light and refreshing. On the first taste I got a light sweetness up front followed by a solid, but subtle hops. The bready notes found in the nose are followed up in the aftertaste very nicely.

Pollenator has a light mouthfeel which goes nicely with this ale. I found the beer nice and light. The hops make it crisp and add a lot of flavor to the beer. Luckily, this beer is very sessionable as well coming in at 4.6%. It was very refreshing, perfect for those warm days just before spring turns into summer. (more…)