Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Deschutes Doppel Dinkel Bock Beer Review

Tonight I will be checking out a limited release beer from Deschutes Brewery, which was brewed in collaboration with Distelhauser. The 3rd entry in their Conflux series of beers, Deschutes Doppel Dinkel Bock is a Weizenbock with 10.5% Alcohol By Volume.

Deschutes Doppel Dinkel Bock is a copper colored beer, fairly hazy, with a large, foamy tanh head topping it off. An intricate pattern of lacing remains behind on the glass as the beer is consumed.

The nose has some caramel and wheat characteristics, but is mainly focused on the yeast profile, with lots of bubblegum, banana and clove.

Caramel and wheat start things off in the taste, again with the yeast taking center stage, bubblegum, banana, clove with a light fruitiness, hints of tropical fruit hop notes, with low hop bitterness, with some alcohol spice rounding things out. Creamy mouthfeel, full bodied, medium warming, a touch of astringency, with some lingering spice in the finish.

Deschutes Doppel Dinkel Bock is a bit hot, but overall it is a nice, complex and tasty brew. The presumably warm fermentation temperatures really allowed the yeast to develop quite a robust profile, but also contributed to the underlying alcohol warmth. Worth checking out.

Deschutes Doppel Dinkel Bock : B+

Deschutes Doppel Dinkel Bock Specs
ABV: 10.5%
IBUs: 17
Malt: Chocolate Wheat, Carared, Pilsner, Wheat, Spelt
Hops: Bravo, US Tettnang, Citra

Stone 18th Anniversary IPA Beer Review

Stone Brewing Company has made its living brewing highly-hopped beers, and to commemorate their success they release a limited run IPA as an anniversary beer each year. The 18th Anniversary IPA is a "Golden-Brown" IPA featuring El Dorado hops, and is sporting a 8.5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV).

Stone 18th Anniversary IPA is a brown colored beer, which seems a bit murky until held up directly to a light. A medium sized, tan colored head tops it off, with a thick sheet of lacing clinging to the glass.

The nose has some toasty and caramel malts, with a whiff of alcohol along with a leafy and citrus hop backbone.

A fairly robust malt profile starts things off in the taste, with toasty and bready notes merging with some hints of caramel. Yeast profile is neutral, with a medium-low hop bitterness and high hop flavor, mainly lemony and citrusy, with some herbal notes in the background. Alcohol is well blended but provides just a hint of spice when searched for. Mouth is a touch fuller than medium bodied, smoothly carbonated, with low alcohol warming and a lingering hop citrus in the finish.

A lot of the beers flying under the IPA moniker brewed by Stone are pretty basic in their malt profile, but the 18th Anniversary IPA is nicely balanced between the malt and hop profiles. As is en vogue these days, most of the hops are late addition and dry hops, resulting in a low overall bitterness with plenty of hop flavor coming through.

I tend to enjoy most of Stone's releases, and those who are in the same boat will certainly enjoy the celebration of their 18th year in the business.

Stone 18th Anniversary IPA : B+

Stillwater Babylonian Style Ale Beer Review

Tonight I will be checking out Babylonian Style Ale from Stillwater Artisanal Ales, which is part of their Remix Project, and is based on Omnipollo Nebuchadnezzar. A Saison with 6% Alcohol By Volume, Babylonian Style Ale also incorporates the wild yeast brettanomyces.

Stillwater Babylonian Style Ale is a moderately hazy, pale golden colored beer, topped with a medium sized white head, which leaves behind quite a bit of lacing on the glass.

The nose is focused on yeast characteristics, both Saison and wild, with peppery spice, lingering funk, and some light fruitiness.

Lightly grain malt starts things off in the taste, but again the yeast characteristics dominate. Leathery funk from the brettanomyces, along with some background tropical fruits, with the Belgian yeast providing peppery spice. Low spicy hop flavor and minimal hop bitterness. Mouth is medium bodied, actively carbonated, with a bit of a carbonic bite, and lingering funk in the aftertaste.

Stillwater Babylonian Style Ale is certainly a tasty beer, and is a good representation of what I think farmhouse ales traditionally have tasted like. The brett hasn't become overly funky yet, but certainly enough so that it lends plenty to the taste profile. Definitely worth checking out.

Stillwater Babylonian Style Ale : A

Evil Twin Joey Pepper Beer Review

Evil Twin Brewing just recently started distributing here in Minnesota, and tonight I will give them a first look with a beer called Joey Pepper. A Saison with 7% Alcohol By Volume (ABV), Joey Pepper is a collaboration beer brewed with California's Sante Adairius Rustic Ales.

Evil Twin Joey Pepper is a hazy, golden colored beer, briefly sporting a small white head which dots the glass with specs of foam.

Peppery, spicy phenols stand out in the scent, with some underlying sweet malts.

Sweet pale malts start things off in the taste, with the Belgian yeast taking center stage. Pepper spice with hints of lighter fruit notes and a bit of bubblegum. Low spicy hop flavor and low hop bitterness, balance towards the malt. Mouth is medium bodied, smoothly carbonated, with a touch of lingering sweetness as well as pepper spice in the finish.

Evil Twin Joey Pepper is a pretty straightforward beer, but it is nicely crafted and tasty. The yeast characteristics provide the majority of the flavor, with the other ingredients playing supporting roles. Overall a pretty tasty beer, and one that makes me interested in trying more from this brewery.

Evil Twin Joey Pepper : B

Friday, August 29, 2014

Samuel Smith's Organic Cider Review

Samuel Smith's produces some of my favorite English beers, but they also make an Organic Cider which I will be checking out tonight. Organic Cider is a Common Cider with 5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV).

Samuel Smith's Organic Cider is a pale golden colored cider, with a white head briefly produced by the pour.

The apple character provides a nice a nice scent, which overall is fairly restrained.

Just a touch of sweetness brings out the apple in the taste, with some background acidity providing a bit of complexity. Light tannic astringency, medium light bodied, a bit of acidic bite, with a low lingering sweetness in the finish.

Samuel Smith's Organic Cider is a nicely balanced drink; easy drinking with just a touch of sweetness. I just made a batch of Common Cider, and the profile is Samuel Smith's Organic Cider is pretty much what I was shooting for. Very nice and worth a try for any cider fan.

Samuel Smith's Organic Cider : A-

2 Towns Rhubarbarian Cider Review

As my interest in brewing hard cider grows, I will probably check out some more commercial examples to see what's cooking in the industry, and tonight I will be checking one out from 2 Towns Ciderhouse, located in Oregon. 2 Towns Rhubarbarian is a Fruit Cider with 6.9% Alcohol By Volume (ABV), and it is available as a summer seasonal release.

2 Towns Rhubarbarian is a clear, golden colored cider, with some bubbles emerging during the pour, quickly settling out and becoming still.

The apple characteristic stands out in the scent, with not much of any rhubarb coming through.

The rhubarb definitely emerges in the taste, providing sour notes which take center stage. The cider is fermented pretty dry, playing a supporting role. Medium acidity mingles with the tangy rhubarb. Mouth is medium bodied, some tannic astringency, with a dry finish.

Rhubarbarian is the second cider I've had from 2 Towns Ciderhouse, and I have been impressed with their stuff so far. It starts pretty sour, but after a few sips everything becomes nicely balanced. A nice, dry Fruit Cider, definitely worth checking out.

2 Towns Rhubarbarian : B+

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Stone Unapologetic IPA Beer Review

Stone Brewing Company has been very focused on releasing many limited release and/or collaboration beers over the last couple of years, and tonight I will be checking out the latest; an American Double IPA with 8.8% Alcohol By Volume (ABV) called Stone Unapologetic IPA. It is brewed in collaboration with Jamil Zainasheff, well known in the homebrewing community for his writings and podcasts, and current head brewer at his new Heretic Brewing Company. Less familiar to me is the other brewer, Julian Shargo, who is with Beechwood BBQ & Brewing, another California brewery.

Stone Unapologetic IPA is a crystal clear golden colored beer, with an off-white head topping it off and streaking a ring of lacing behind after each sip.

The nose isn't overpowering, starting with sweet malts, a hint of alcohol spice, and hops ranging from fruity to earthy.

The hops pick up quite a bit of strength in the taste, and are as expected the main focus in the flavor. Starting leafy, moving through fruity berries, citrus and tropical fruit, with a resinous bitterness lasting into the finish. Alcohol is blended well but provides just a bit of spice. Balance is toward the hops. Mouth is medium bodied, actively carbonated, with a dry finish, low warming.

If you've had some of Stone's Imperial IPAs in the past, then you should have a good idea going into it what Unapologetic IPA is about. Elevated hop flavor with a lasting bitterness in the finish, this beer should satisfy your hop craving.

Stone Unapologetic IPA : B+

Clown Shoes Space Cake Beer Review

Tonight I will be checking out an American Double IPA from Clown Shoes called Space Cake, which has 9% Alcohol By Volume (ABV). I had a sample of this beer not too long ago with a few work buddies, but tonight will be the first time I sit down with a bottle of my own.

Clown Shoes Space Cake is a copper colored beer, a fair amount of haze, with a medium sized, bubbly cream colored head.

Resinous hops stand out in the nose, complemented with citrus and floral notes, with some caramel malts in the background.

Toasty and caramel malts start off the taste, hints of lighter fruity esters in the transition, with the hops taking center stage. Starting floral and citrus, grapefruit, with a touch of pine and a lingering resinous bitterness in the finish. Alcohol does provide a bit of warming spice. Medium bodied, smoothly carbonated, with a touch of lingering sweetness intertwined in the bitter aftertaste.

Clown Shoes Space Cake could probably be fermented just a touch cooler, as the alcohol does provide a bit more spice than I would hope for, but overall it is brimming with nice hop flavor. A lot of IPAs and Double IPAs have a pretty basic malt profile, but this beer adds some complexity through that department as well. Overall Space Cake should please any hop head in search of their next fix.

Clown Shoes Space Cake : B+

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Holland Dragon's Milk Reserve Beer Review

New Holland's Dragon's Milk has a well deserved reputation as a top tier Imperial Stout, and tonight I will be checking out a derivative of it called Dragon's Milk Reserve. Aged in oak with chilies, Dragon's Milk Reserve matches the base beer's 11% Alcohol By Volume.

New Holland Dragon's Milk Reserve is a black bodied beer, with a dim deep brown glow when held up to a light source. A small khaki colored head tops it off briefly, minimal lacing with legs running down the glass.

Big, chocolate malts dominate the nose, with plenty of vanilla and wood notes from the oak, a bit of alcohol spice, with a very faint hint of pepper.

A fiery pepper spice underlies the taste, not overwhelming but certainly providing some warmth. Malts start chocolate, lightly roasted, with caramel highlights, neutral yeast, woody oak notes, a bit of earthy hop bitterness but the balance is towards the malts. Alcohol spice lightly compliments the pepper spice, which gains strength as the beer evolves. Mouth is medium-full, smoothly carbonated, with a lingering heat in the finish.

I came into this with high expectations, and they have been met. Dragon's Milk Reserve might be a touch hotter than some people may like, but combining a top of the line Stout with a nicely incorporated pepper spice makes for a beer both complex and delicious. Definitely worth a try.

New Holland Dragon's Milk Reserve : A+

New Holland Dragon's Milk Reserve Specs
ABV: 11%
Gravity: 23 Plato
IBUs: 31
Malts: 2-row, Munich, Caramel, Crystal, Black, Chocolate, Flaked Barley
Hops: Glacier, Nugget
Other: Chili de Arbol Peppers

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Deschutes Foray Beer Review

Tonight I will be checking out a new Belgian IPA from Deschutes brewing called Foray, which has 6.4% Alcohol By Volume. Available from June through September, Foray can be found sold in bombers.

Deschutes Foray is a pale golden colored beer, small white head with splotches of lacing clinging here and there to the glass.

The nose has some underlying fruity Belgian esters, but is mainly focused on hops, with a pungent resin, floral and berry notes.

Well attenuated sweet malt starts things off in the taste, with Belgian yeast providing background lighter fruit notes in the apple and pear range, with medium hop bitterness and medium-high hop flavor starting floral, citrus, lots of tropical fruit, with a hint of pine in the background. Mouth is medium bodied, pretty actively carbonated with some carbonic bite on the tongue, mostly dry with a bit of a lingering fruity note from the hops.

Usually Deschutes has some pretty solid prices, so I was surprised when this beer range up around $15, which I suspect might have been entered incorrectly into their system. If that is supposed to be the price then it is not worth it, but overall Foray is a pretty tasty beer. The Belgian characteristics are fairly subdued but do work well with the hop presentation.

Deschutes Foray : B

Deschutes Foray Specs
ABV: 6.4%
IBU: 60