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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.

 

08-03-02

Beer Review #305 Nouveau Rouge

08-03-03I know that I just reviewed a Evolution Craft Brewing Company beer but my buddy brought this one down a few weeks ago and I just had to talk about it. I never heard of Nouveau Rouge but my buddy Mike is usually good at finding rare, delicious beer. The bottle has this to say, “almost two years in the making, our sour red ale is an ongoing project that pays tribute to the sour ales of Flanders. Tart and earthy with notes of vanilla and tannin from our oak aging process, this complex ale is layered with unique character.” It comes in at a respectable 6.3%.

The beer pours a brownish red color. There is zero head to this one and it has a haze to it. The nose is sour/tart and edges on being vinegary. There is also a nice dose of oak mixed in. Usually beers that have this type of smell have a complex flavor profile so I was really excited to try this beer.

On the first taste I actually got a slight sweetness on the front end. The sweetness fades into a nice oak flavor that is mixed with some hints of vanilla. The sourness then comes in and stays. On each sip after the first, I was not able to find that initial sweetness. The tart flavor isn’t the strongest that I have ever had, but it mixes nicely with the oak flavors and it provides punches of sourness as you move through the drink. The sourness lingers on the tongue well after you have swallowed. This beer is very lowly carbonated with helps some of the flavors play out different than if it were more highly carbonated.

I really dig this one. It has a nice sourness to it but it is balanced with a malt body. The complexity can be found in the oak/tart interaction and the different levels of tartness you get while drinking the glass. I’m a big fan and I would be happy to stumble upon a bottle of this at any time. (more…)

07-10-03

Beer Review #299 Reunion Ale 12

07-10-03I have yet another collaboration beer up for review today. Reunion Ale 12 is brewed by Shmaltz Brewing Company in collaboration with Terrapin Beer Company. This was a wife picked beer and not something that I normally would have gotten because of the description on the label. The bottle says it is a “dark imperial ale brewed with cocoa nibs, cinnamon, vanilla, and natural flavors.” I always hate the natural flavors part of a beer description. If you aren’t going to be specific, don’t add it to your label.

Reunion Ale 12 pours a deep black with an off-white head. The nose is packed with cinnamon and has a slight vanilla twinge. A light caramel note can be found in the background of the nose as well. I was expected to get some roasted odors out of this one but none could be found.

On the first taste the cinnamon really attacks. The cinnamon doesn’t taste fresh like a stick cinnamon would but rather powdered and clingy. The vanilla also comes in and asserts itself strongly. At the end the malt finally has a chance to show itself with some light bread coming out of the woodwork. The cocoa nibs also make an appearance at the end of this one, but they seemed to have missed the party as they don’t blend with the other ingredients. The beer finishes on the sweet end of things and lack any hop presence.

This one gets an “eh” from me. There is way too much going on with too many strong flavors. All of the flavors fight each other for dominance and they just don’t fit. I usually like flavors to sing when they get together, this beer’s ingredients yell. I would like it to end a bit more on the dry end of things as well to maybe closeout the beer on a better note. At 8% this beer will make you feel better but this one is just not for me.

Beer Review #278 Rum Barrel Golden Ale

03-26-03Evolution Craft Brewing Company of Salisbury, MD is undergoing a lot of change. I remember when they started in Delar, DE/MD as a small brewery, but now they are quickly expanding. They always seem to have something new out and their distribution is growing slowly. It’s been really interesting to watch a brewery start from nothing and grow at the rate that Evolution has. As part of that growth, they have gotten into barrel aged beers under the name Migration Series. With the brewery located in the eastern shore of Maryland, geese are a staple of the area, and the series name/logo work perfectly.

Rum Barrel Golden ale comes in at a rocking 10.5% ABV. According to the bottle, I have bottle number 754 of 1200 bottles produced for this particular beer. The bottle says, “ale aged in oak rum barrels,” which isn’t a surprise given its name. This beer was also released last year, but I just got around to opening it up now. It pours a dark golden to orange color. It has a thin off-white head and is super hazy. There is a nice yeast cake at the bottle of the bottle once you muster the courage to drink enough of a 10.5% beer to get there.

03-26-04

The nose has a good rum smell with some spiced rum odors mixed in there. It is very sweet on the nose and there isn’t a drop of hops to be found. I was half expecting a more complex nose, but it is not surprising that rum and spiced rum aromas dominate. On the first taste I got a nice mix of rum flavor and sweetness. This beer is super sweet and there isn’t much that dries it out. The spiciness that I noticed in the nose comes in at the end of the beer to clean it up a bit. A good amount of oak flavor mixes through the beer with hints of vanilla and wood resins.

This is an interesting beer. There is a lot going on and the oak flavors that mix into the beer are exactly what barrel aging should be about. The oak compliments the beer, but it is not the star or overdone. I just wish this one dried out more than it did. It stays really sweet and it made getting through the 750 ml bottle a bit more of a challenge than I would have liked. Overall this is a good beer and with a few tweaks I think it could be a real winner. (more…)

Beer Review #275 Oak Horizontal

03-01-01 I make no secret of my love for Victory Brewing Company. There are a number of outstanding breweries around the Philadelphia area, but I think that I would be most upset if Victory were to close down. Luckily, that doesn’t look to be in the cards as they are adding a second brewery. Oak Horizontal is another beer in their barrel aging series (not an official name). The bottle says a “malt beverage aged in bourbon barrels.” And this bad boy rocks in at 10.5%. Old Horizontal is Victory’s barleywine and this is a barrel aged version of it.

Oak Horizontal (I love the word play) pours a nice caramel brown color. It has an off-white head and is slightly hazy. The nose has a nice bourbon note, though not overpowering, along with some nice bits of vanilla. The maltiness of this beer is apparent in the nose but there are no hops to speak of. I’m not sure if they are washed out by the bourbon or if the additional aging knocked them out of the aroma spectrum.

This beer begins surprisingly with a light malt flavor. I was expecting big bold malt, but not so. There are bits of caramel and toffee mixed in but not to the same extent as the non-barrel aged version of this beer. The light malt folds into a bourbon malt flavor. The bourbon is very smooth and enjoyable. An aged hops flavor can be tasted on the back-end with some slight spiciness.

Victory produced a wonderfully smooth barrel aged beer with Oak Horizontal. It is very drinkable and bourbon and barleywine go perfectly together. This is a perfect cigar beer and a sipper. I drank this over the course of two hours and enjoyed every bit of it. The $15 price tag was a bit high, but it did live up to my expectations. (more…)