Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beer Review: Drie Fonteinen 50th Anniversary Oude Geuze

Reviewing the 50th Anniversary Oude Gueze from Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen out of Belgium.

Score: 40

1998 vintage bottle served in a Kuhnhenn snifter and enjoyed on 02/11/14. Big thank you to Paul for sharing this bottle.

Appearance: Pours a golden orange color with a finger of white head off the pour that settles to a thin layer. Good lacing, above average retention for the style. 4/5

Smell: Minty Clorox bleach, a little lemon and ample feet funk. This is not what I was expecting...not terrible, but not good. 3/5

Taste: BLEH! More lemon and less bleach than the nose, but substantially more feet funk and blue cheese, followed by a little bit of that mint. There is a very faint tartness, but this nose is mostly just lasting funkiness with a minty cleaning product twist. Quite unpleasant, and difficult to drink. I drain-poured at least half of my glass. 1.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, nice heft for a gueze. Medium carbonation. Light tartness, tons of funk that coats the palate. 2.5/5

Overall: This beer was simply terrible. All funk, no real tartness. We drain poured over half of the bottle. What a waste.

Cost: $350 for a 750 ml (aftermarket prices).

Monday, July 28, 2014

Beer Review: Size 11 Triple IPA

Reviewing the Size 11 Triple IPA from Steel Toe Brewing out of Saint Louis Park, Minnesota. I originally reviewed this beer two years ago when it used to be billed as a "double IPA." Does this technically count as a "re-review"?

Score: 92

Late January 2014 bottling. Served in a Toppling Goliath chalice and enjoyed on 02/02/14.

Appearance: Pours a clean amber color with two fingers of cream colored head that settles to a ring around the glass. Excellent lacing and retention. 4.75/5

Smell: Resinous pine, big caramel malt, orange rind, a little herbaceous hoppiness, earthiness and spice. A little onion too. As it warms up, a bit of tropical fruit comes through. Around room temperature, the beer features a nicely integrated mix of tropical fruit, pine and earthy hoppiness. 4.25/5

Taste: Sweet malt flavor upfront, quickly followed by a biting bitterness that lingers. Orange rind, earthy hops and spice, wood, and then caramel and black pepper towards the finish. Has a mellow alcohol bite and a lingering spice, resinous pine and caramel flavor. Really nice and aggressive flavor here. Reminisce of The Oracle, but done much better. Increasing maltiness as the beer warms. The tastes does not feature the tropical fruit character that the nose developed as the beer warms up. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, good carbonation. Oily mouthfeel. Quite bitter. 4/5

Overall: Similar to Bell's The Oracle, only way better. The aggressively, spicy hops integrate well here. This is definitely not a beer for those that dislike IPA.

Cost: $12 for a 750 ml bottle.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Beer Review: Weller Bourbon County Brand Stout -- missing beer pic/deets

Reviewing the Weller Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Company out of Chicago, Illinois. Details on this beer are currently tenuous, though Goose Island did say that this beer was aged for two years in Weller branded bourbon barrels. Some at the barrel warehouse event speculated that this beer might be the new "Rare."

Score: 96

Tap pour served in a Goose Island branded plastic cup and enjoyed on 05/18/14 at Goose Island's Chicago Craft Beer Week barrel warehouse event.

Appearance: Traditional bourbon county appearance. Inky black body, with a thin layer of mocha head. Poor lacing and retention, but big oily legs. Swirling the beer browns the plastic cup nicely, a familiar sign of Bourbon County's heft. 4.75/5

Smell: The nose is quite boozy and has a prominent fusel character that reminds me more of whiffing a dram of scotch than a wheat whiskey. Mixed among the booze is chocolate, oak, butterscotch and sweet whiskey caramel. A little vanilla too. The nose has some really nice pieces beyond the upfront alcohol singe of the nose hairs, but it is quite rough around the edges. 3/5

Taste: The taste is substantially smoother and better integrated than the nose. The upfront flavor is an explosion of fudgey chocolate brownies, followed by vanilla, wood, sweet caramel, coconut and a kiss of graham cracker. Quite incredible. No biting alcohol sting here, but a nice lively bourbon character is present. Excellent, lasting finish. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, spot on low carbonation for the flavor profile and heft of this brew. Creamy mouthfeel, with bold, mouth-coating flavors. Sweet, but not cloying. The alcohol character here helps cut through the sweetness and aids the drinkability relative to regular Bourbon County. 4.75/5

Overall: Outside the nose, this beer was elite. Imagine a fudgier Bourbon County, with a ramped up fudge factor. Unfortunately, the nose was a bit of a mess -- at least from this keg.

Cost: Unknown (pour included in ticket price).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Beer Review: Bourbon Barrel Aged Genealogy of Morals

Reviewing the Bourbon Barrel Aged Genealogy of Morals from the Hill Farmstead Brewery out of Greensboro Bend, Vermont.

Score: 96

2013 vintage bottle served in a stemmed Hill Farmstead bulb glass and enjoyed on 02/22/14. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Black body. Pours a half finger of khaki head that settles to a thick ring around the glass. Average lacing, good retention. 4.25/5

Smell: Milk chocolate, roast, oak, bourbon and coffee. A kiss of vanilla too, which amplifies in the nose as the beer breathes and warms. 4.5/5

Taste: Lovely bitterness and residual coffee. Milk chocolate, bourbon and a kiss of hops. Really well integrated. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Not quite full bodied, appropriate low/mild carbonation for style. Dry, bitter finish. 4.5/5

Overall: Light years superior to the prior batch, which was aged in Madeira wine barrels. This is one of those excellent Hill Farmstead stouts that reminds you why you keep seeking our their barrel aged dark beer bottle releases.

Cost: $15 for a 500 ml bottle.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Beer Review: Veritas 007

Reviewing the infamous Veritas 007 from The Lost Abbey out of San Marcos, California.

Score: 95

2010 vintage bottle served in a stemmed Cantillon flute and enjoyed on 04/26/14. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Pours a translucent, vibrant orange color with a finger of fizzy white head that settles to a thin layer. 4.75/5

Smell: Fruit, grape, vinegar and lemon. Light must and funk. 4.5/5

Taste: Tastes just like it smells. Musty, tart grape, a little lemon and a light vinegar character without any big acidic bite. A little grapefruit too and a kiss of oak. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, light bodied -- both appropriate for the style and flavor profile. Has a nice dryness and acidity that help accentuate the tartness, though this beer is not as puckering as an Upland sour. 4.5/5

Overall: Was expecting more funk, but this beer pleasantly under-delivered on the funk character. This was one of my favorite beers from the Veritas series that I have had the opportunity to sample.

Cost: $250 for a 750 ml bottle (secondary market price).

Friday, July 18, 2014

Beer Review: Framboos (2011 Vintage)

Reviewing the infamous Framboos from Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen out of Belgium.

Score: 95

Bottled 05/31/11. Served in a snifter. Review is a hybrid of tasting notes from bottles sampled on 04/25/14 and 04/26/14.

Appearance: Pours a murky, brownish red color with a yellowish halo outline and nice fade. Poor lacing and retention. 3.5/5

Smell: Big notes of tart raspberry, followed by light notes of vinegar and bright lemon zest. One of the bottles has a little cheesy funk to the nose, while the other was much cleaner. The nose on this was pretty awesome, albeit simplistic. 4.75/5

Taste: Tart, jammy raspberries and a touch of vinegar. Mineral water and light must. One of the bottles finished with a cheesy funk, while other finished with raspberry candy. The raspberry candy bottle was incredible, while the other had a layering funkiness that turned me off. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Super, super dry, with a nice tart bite and good carbonation. Medium bodied. 4.5/5

Overall: The bottle sampled the night before Dark Lord Day was pretty subpar and unpleasantly funky in a cheesy/lacto way, while the bottle sampled at Dark Lord Day delightfully bright and tart raspberry jam candy in a glass. Given this beer's reputation, I am inclined to chalk the first bottle up to bottle variation/storage issues. However, the possible bottle inconsistency should be a yellow flag for those seeking out whales to tick.

Cost: $40 for a 750 ml bottle.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beer Review: Cherry Wine Aged George

Reviewing the Cherry Wine Aged George from Mikkeller out of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Score: 92

2014 vintage bottle served in a stemmed taster glass and enjoyed on 03/26/14. Thank you Mixen for sending me this one to share and review.

Appearance: Dark chocolate color, with a thin layer of dark khaki head that settles to a ring around the glass. Okay lacing and retention, good oily legs. 4/5

Smell: Chocolate, red wine, a little vanilla too. Mild cherry, which is surprising since this is aged in a "cherry wine." A tiny tinge of booze too. 4.25/5

Taste: Red wine and booze soaked cherries, milk chocolate backbone, burnt chocolate/cocoa finish. Nice bitterness, a light astringency and a boozy kick. More chocolatiness come through as this beer warms. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, low carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel, nice burnt character and bitter-leaning balance. 4/5

Overall: Delicious, but over-priced relative to other beers you can find on the shelf locally. Definitely a worthy tick, however.

Cost: $30 for a 12 oz bottle.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Beer Review: Blackberry Whiskey Barrel Aged Love

Reviewing the Blackberry Whiskey Barrel Aged Love from New Belgium Brewing out of Fort Collins, Colorado. This is a dark sour aged with blackberries in a whiskey barrel for over two years.

Score: 95

Tap pour served in a stemmed taster glass and enjoyed on 03/29/14.

Appearance: Pours a brownish red color with a thick ring around the glass of tan head. Good lacing. 4/5

Smell: Cherry wood, oak, vanilla, light balsamic vinegar and whiskey-caramel. Really nice, not medicinal. Light blackberry and a little raisin/dark fruit too. Smells like a nice and complex semi-sweet Flanders. Blackberry/dark fruit grows as it warms. 4.5/5

Taste: Nice tartness, moreso than anticipated from the nose. Lacto, balsamic, blackberries, and light vanilla oak. The Flanders character is really dialed down and less sweet than nose led on. Tastes like an aged berry-infused balsamic without a big acidic bite. Really tasty and well-balanced. 4.5

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, good carbonation. A nice acidity and tartness without being extreme in either regard. Dry finish. 4.5/5

Overall: This beer is living proof of the potential greatness that is New Belgium's sour beer program. If only this one was released in bottles annually...

Cost: Unknown (pour was included in ticket price).

Friday, July 11, 2014

Beer Review: Sump De Vanilla

Reviewing the Sump De Vanilla from Perennial Artisan Ales out of St. Louis, Missouri. This variant of Perennial's Sump coffee stout was crafted specially for The Beer Temple's belated one year anniversary party.

Score: 93

Tap pour served in a stemmed tulip glass and enjoyed on 03/29/14. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Black coffee color, with a thin layer of khaki head. Minimal lacing and retention. 3.5/5

Smell: Fresh vanilla bean spiked roasted coffee and chocolate. Growing chocolatiness as it warms. 4.5/5

Taste: Lasting roastiness upfront. Sweet vanilla and bitter bakers chocolate on the back half. Coffee undertones. Excellent balance. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, low carbonation. Modestly dry finish with a good bitterness. This beer seemingly lacks the heft it deserves. 3.5/5

Overall: Better than regular Sump, but falls short of regular Abraxas in quality. This was a nice variant, but it was not quite the can't miss brew that some of Perennial's other offerings are.

Cost: Unknown (pour was included in the ticket price).

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Beer Review: Ego Suicide

Reviewing the Ego Suicide from Goose Island Beer Company out of Chicago, Illinois. This beer is Identity Crisis (a bourbon barrel aged Baltic porter brewed with lactobacillus, maple syrup, coffee and vanilla beans) randalled through orange peels and cacao nibs.

Score: 96

Tap pour served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 03/29/14 at Stoutfest. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Pours a murky dark brown fudge color with caramel highlights and a thin layer of tan head. Poor lacing and retention. 3.5/5

Smell: Whoa! So much going on -- some complementary, some contrasting, but all working together in a really interesting and unique way. Orange zest, wood, vanilla beans, maple syrup, coffee, light roast, chocolate and a light sour tinge. The orange zest and maple syrup are so big and bold and weird, but so enticing. 4.75/5

Taste: Orange juice, vanilla and maple syrup. Light amounts of coffee and chocolate too, both in less  quantum than the nose led on. There is a little tart tang, but it is not really "sour" despite the lactobacillus addition. So delicious, so orange juicy. Lasting orange zest and a kiss of maple. Good balance between all the pieces here. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, appropriate carbonation. Very juicy on the palate, but dry on the finish. 4.5/5

Overall: Probably one of the weirder and more unique barrel aged beers that I have ever encountered. Everything but the kitchen sink is present here, and it all works together surprisingly well. This was probably the best new beer I encountered at Stoutfest 2014.

Cost: Unknown (pour was included in the ticket price).

Monday, July 7, 2014

Beer Review: Wineification

Reviewing Wineification from The Bruery out of Placentia, California. This beer is Black Tuesday with Syrah grapes aged in French Oak barrels.

Score: 86

2013 vintage bottle served in a stemmed Mikkeller taster and enjoyed on 05/13/14.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with minimal head that quickly and totally settles. No lacing or retention. Okay legs. 2.75/5

Smell: Tannic oak and winey Black Tuesday. Chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit and booze. Nose-apparent sweetness. 3.75/5

Taste: Wine/grapes infused with chocolate. Less sweet than Black Tuesday, and not cloying. Nice chocolatey finish. Hint of vanillla. Ashy roast, dark fruit and licorice too. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, minimal carbonation. Sweet and tannic, but not as sweet as most Bruery stouts. Light alcohol warmth and booziness. 3.75/5

Overall: Solid and tasty, but nothing too special or can't miss. Mocha Wednesday was better, but this was probably more drinkable.

Cost: $40 for a 750 ml bottle.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Beer Review: Beyond Good and Evil

Reviewing the Beyond Good and Evil from the Hill Farmstead Brewery out of Greensboro Bend, Vermont. This maple-brewed imperial stout was aged for close to two years in bourbon barrels.

Score: 90

2014 vintage bottle served in a snifter and enjoyed on 04/12/14. Review is from iPhone notes

Appearance: Pours a brown syrupy color with virtually no head. Splotchy bubbles cling to side of the glass, but no head or retention otherwise. 3/5

Smell: Boozy caramel with a kiss of vanilla. Wood and a hint of molasses/maple syrupiness. 4/5

Taste: Boozy caramel, oak and a touch of vanilla. Molasses/maple towards the finish, growing as it warms, but never super intense or bold. Fiery booziness. Nice sweetness without being fatiguingly sweet. Lingering syrup flavor. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, under-carbonated (there is virtually none). Creamy mouthfeel with a nice sweetness. 3.5/5

Overall: A good, but not great stout from America's most sought after brewery.

Cost: $15 for a 375 ml bottle.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Beer Review: Hop, Drop 'N Roll

Reviewing Hop, Drop 'N Roll from NoDa Brewing Company out of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Score: 95

16 oz can served in a Mikkeller & Friends stemmed taster and enjoyed on 05/21/14. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Pours a golden amber color with three fingers of foamy sea-foam head that slowly recedes to a thin layer. Okay lacing, solid retention and good cling. 4/5

Smell: Primarily grapefruit and piney hops. Nice fruitiness and grassy character. 4.5/5

Taste: Resinous pine, grapefruit, lemon and a little spice. A light dose of sweet caramel malt as well. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Light plus bodied, appropriate carbonation. Oily mouthfeel. Nice bitter bite. 4.5/5

Overall: An IPA lover's IPA. With a good bitter bite and tons of pine and grapefruit, this is everything you want in your hoppy beers.

Cost: $11.99 for a four pack of 16 oz cans.