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05-14-05

Beer Review #292 White Monkey

05-14-03I didn’t mean to do this, but today’s review also comes from Victory Brewing Company. White Monkey is a “malt beverage aged in wine barrels.” A little more detail is that White Monkey is Victory’s Golden Monkey, aged in white wine barrels, hence the name, White Monkey. This bad boy rocks in at 9.5%. Once quick side note, I plan on doing a side-by-side with this beer and its base beer in a bit to see how it changes fully.

White Monkey pours a cloudy light orange color. It has a thin white head that isn’t much to look at. The nose is has a bunch of oak in it with some white wine in the background. I’m no wine guru so my descriptors for white wine are going to be very general. Sorry. There are some Belgian spices in there as well which is what really makes Golden Monkey a winner.

This beer starts with a nice touch of light sweetness that eases you into the beer. As the beer malt flavors fade the wine really comes out. It has a slight acidity and dryness that really changes how the beer drinks. As the beer moves through the flavor profiles, some of the Belgian spices come through, but they are much more reserved compared to the mother beer. The wine dryness comes in at the end and gives a nice sharp ending to the beer.

This is one interesting beer. I’m not sure if I totally dig it but I am glad that I tried it. I’m really interested to try a side-by-side and see if my thoughts on this iteration change. I think that this beer will do well with some aged and develop really nicely. (more…)

Beer Review #182 St. Bernardus Abt 12

This is the third beer that I have reviewed in the St. Bernardus “brand” of beers brewed by Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV of of Watou, Belgium. I have really enjoyed the other two beers from the brewery. They really strike a cord as being traditional Belgian beers that are made with a healthy respect for brewing tradition. I would love to visit the brewery whenever I get the chance to visit Belgium again.

St. Bernardus Abt 12 pours a flat brown color that has a thin off-white head. The liquid is a bit cloudy thanks to the yeast left in the beer to naturally carbonate it. The nose is highly yeasty and spicy. There is some heat present, as this beer comes in at 10%, but it isn’t overwhelming. In addition to the typical Belgian spices I found some of the malt odors very nice. I got some nice whiffs of bread and biscuit. I also got a slight sour smell in the beer, but nothing to really make a big note of.

On my first taste I again noticed a bit of sour flavor, but I found that it wasn’t as much of a sour flavor as it was dark fruits that share the same type of tart flavor. The heat is there, but all of the malt and dark fruits really cover it up nicely. For a beer that has such high alcohol, the heat is well restrained in the flavor realm. The Belgian yeast comes in to finish up the beer with a very “Abbey quality.”

This beer is very thin and highly carbonated for such a big beer. I find that “normal” American beers at this level of ABV tend to be thicker the higher the ABVs. This beer is supposed to be the standard for what a Belgian Quad should be and I can see why it is. It has a complex flavor malt and spices happening and the alcohol is clean. If you want something to keep you warm during the winter, I think this is a great option for you. (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 #154 Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

It seems like the list of pumpkin beers grows every year. This year was no exception with many new beers coming out to the market or beers entering new areas. Schlafly Pumpkin Ale is the first beer that I have ever seen and tasted from the Saint Louis Brewery of St. Louis, Missouri. The first thing that drew me to this beer was that the label was put on upside-down. I guess that QA took the day off when they sent this batch out. Anyway, a label doesn’t take away from the liquid inside, but I am suspect of a brewery who doesn’t take care of details like this. It make me think, “if they don’t care about what their beer looks like, what else don’t they care about?”

This pumpkin ale pours a nice amber color with a bit of haze. There is an off-white head that floats on top of the beer below. The nose was nothing like what I had expected. It had some sour notes and that was about it. I didn’t get any spices, hops, malt, or pumpkins. Odd for a beer like this.

On my first taste I got a brief look at sweetness and then it was buried by spices and pumpkin flavor. The flavor was an unexpected surprise since the nose was so mild. There was a bit of a sour ending, but nothing like what the nose suggested.I also didn’t get any heat which I was expected for a 8.0% ABV beer.

I’m not sure what to think of this one. The pumpkin flavor is there, but not in a strong way and the spices are very deeply melded into the rest of the beer. I’ve heard from a few other people that this is a solid pumpkin beer so I’m going to assume that I got a bad bottle. It was still a good beer, but not what was promised. I’ll try it again next year to see if I can get a better sample of it.

Beer Review #112 Pater Lieven Tripel

I am a sucker for a good Tripel. I simply love the beer style. I just over a week I will be traveling to Belgium to enjoy some wonderful beer, and I guess the sights. I will also be visiting Germany, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands. I hope to enjoy some good beers, and if this beer is any indication of what to expect, I am going to have a great time.

Pater Lieven Tripel is brewed by Brouwerij Van Den Bossche out of Herzek, Belgium (say that sentence five time fast). This tripel comes in at a nice 8% ABV and the bottle indicates that it has been brewed since 1897. Impressive. This beer pours an orange color and  has a fluffy white head. There are some small particles suspended in the beer which is common in Belgian ales.

The nose is a bit tart and has no heat. The typical Belgian spices are there and that’s really all there is the the aroma. The taste is full of flavor. It has a good honey-like sweetness. It is followed by a slightly sour twang on the end. The Belgian spices are mixed into the flavors but they are very light. Some Belgian beers really showcase the yeast strains, this beer shows a more reserved hand. I really enjoyed this one and I recommend it to you.

I can’t wait for Europe.

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