Thursday, May 6, 2010

Entry 92: Three Floyds Behemoth 2009

Three Floyds Brewing Co.

Muncie, Indiana

Vintage: 2009 - (Blue, green wax)

Style: American Barleywine
Availability: Limited - January Release 
Format: 22oz
ABV: 10.5%
IBU: 80

Bottle text & Info: 
Purchased this March from Triple Crown Liquors in downtown Indianapolis, IN.
2009 Vintage released in January of 2009 - blue,green wax top.
"A huge, sweet Barley Wine with complex caramel malt notes, balanced by generous hopping and a high alcohol content. This fruity and malty beer is best enjoyed while keeping warm in the brutal winter months. January release."

Tasting Notes:
Pours a clear copper with ample ivory head that clings and creates a creamy, smooth top. Smells of sweet bready malts, like raison bread. Ripe pear and apple notes on the front with caramel in the middle finishing with dry sherry notes on the end. A little bit of heat on the end keeps this from becoming cloying. Some hops, not as many as I would have hoped but at this point this ale has a year and a half on it and i hear the hops in this guy fade pretty fast.  A big, sweet barleywine with well hidden alcohol and some great fruit subtleties. For those looking for big night cappers or after dinner apertifs: look no further. Another hit from three floyds. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Entry 92: Kern River Just Outstanding IPA

Kern River Brewing Co.

Kernville, California

Just Outstanding IPA

Style: India Pale Ale
Availability: Year Round
Format: 22oz
ABV: 6.8%

Bottle text & Info:
"This India Pale Ale has a strong malt character and a large hop profile. We dry hop this beer with Simcoe and Amarillo hops to give it that great floral aroma and citrus finish. If you like a strong IPA, you'll find this one just outstanding." 

Tasting Notes:
Acquired as an extra in a trade with mattolesh of Canyon Country, California. 
Pours a golden orange showing light golden around the edges. A thick, creamy peach colored head that clings like glue and retains well. A lot of grapefruit on the nose followed by some orange blossom. Nice creamy mouthfeel, far from thin. Surprisingly low carbonation actually works on this ale and doesn't damper drinkability. Phenomenal  citrus balanced by sweet malt, like a grapefruit with a spoonful of sugar on top with some pine on an incredibly long finish. This is a great little IPA, so glad I got to try a small scale local west coast IPA. thanks Matt!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Entry 91: Dogfish Head Immort Ale

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc.

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware 

Immort Ale

Style: American Strong Ale
Availability: Limited - Spring
Format: 12oz
ABV: 11%
IBU's: 50

Bottle text & Info:

Vast in character, luscious & complex. We started brewing Immort Ale at our brewpub in 1995 and began bottling it in 1997. For this beer, we use maple syrup from Red Brook Farm - Sam's family farm in Western Massachusetts, peat-smoked barley, juniper berries, and vanilla.Immort is fermented with a blend of English & Belgian yeasts, thenaged in the big oak tanks at the brewery.The sweet and earthy flavors meld magnificently in the Immort Ale. But, be warned the abv is 11%, so after 1 or 2 you may start feeling immortal (even though we promise you won't be).Immort Ale is released each and every spring (after the sap starts flowing). For more on the Immort Ale (including a bit about the artist who did our 4-pack artwork), watch Sam's Quick Sip Clip: here!
Tasting Notes:
Pours surprisingly light. A clear ruby colored body with a cream colored quarter inch head that floats on the top in silky waves. An unbelievable nose on this guy. Oak all over the place which could be from the vanilla beans just as well as the oak aging. Oak characteristics intermingle with distinct juniper notes and some warming smoke on the back. Excellent creamy mouthfeel with mid to low level carbonation, almost cask-like in that regard. Sweet vanilla upfront, followed by a huge maple mid-section, then some subtle tobacco, clove notes ending with a long peat smoke finish. Overall, this one if right up there with Burton Baton as one of my favorite offerings from Dogfish, and like Dogfish, I swallow my adam's apple when i buy a $15 four pack. C'mon Dogfish. wtf. Regardless, I think this one will age like a gem and solve that messy, off putting maple syrup mid-section. If all the piece meld and become balanced then this one will become world class. For now, its a very solid offering.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Entry 90: Avery Maharaja (Batch 11)

Avery Brewing Co.
Boulder, Colorado

The Maharaja Imperial India Pale Ale

Style: Imperial/Double India Pale Ale
Availability: Limited - March through August
Format: 22oz
ABV: 10.41%
IBUs: 102
Batch: 11 - bottled March 03, 2010
Bottle text & Info:

Hop Variety: Simcoe, Columbus, Centennial and Chinook
Malt Variety: Two-row barley, caramel 120L, victory
"Maharaja is derived from the sanskrit words mahat, - "great" and rajan - "king". Much like its namesake, this imperial IPA is regal, intense and mighty. With hops and malts as his servants, he rules both with a heavy hand. The Maharaja flaunts his authority over a deranged amount of hops: tangy, vibrant and pungent along with an insane amount of malted barley - fashioning a dark amber hue and exquisite malt essence. Be aware that The Maharaja is a limited release only available for the summer. Welcome to his kingdom!"

Tasting Notes:
Pours a dark, murky orange with some hop haze. A beautiful off-white head protrudes forth with some creamy bubbles that stick and show great retention. Smells intensely of pine and some earthy, soil tones. Rich and creamy mouthfeel provide and pretty heavy sweet malt billing that serves as the canvas for a some citrus that is quickly over taken by pine notes. Adequate carbonation keeps this from becoming a complete malt bomb and increases its drinkability. The Maharaja is one of those releases that hop heads around the country seek out upon its release. I like it. I don't love it. I'd choose the Avery Dugana DIPA over this any day. But that just falls in line with the theory that I will always prefer DIPA's under 10%. Those elevating beyond that ABV% just get too sweet for my liking.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Entry 89: Mikkeller It's Alive


Copenhagen, Denmark
(Brewed @ De Proef Brouwerij, Lochristi-Huefte, Belgium

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Availability: Limited - (Brewed Once)
Format: 750ml
ABV: 8.0%

Bottle text & Info:

"It's Alive! is Mikkellers answer and tribute to the trappist beer Orval. It's Alive is an easy-to-drink beer, with a lot of hops. The color is amber, the foam is high, white and dense. The potent Brettanomyces culture makes It's Alive continue to develop in the bottle.
Ingredients :
Water, malt (pale and cara), light candy, hops (hallertauer and styrian goldings), yeast and brettanomyces."

Tasting Notes:
Pours a rusty copper with a huge, voluminous antique white head, leaving sticky lacing and craggy rock like foam structures behind. Smells of some sweet dark fruit, caramel malts and candied figs. Incredibly smooth medium mouthfeel burst forward with a hop snap mellowing seamlessly into a sweet, chewy caramel center. Deftly handled bretts bring the funk but are not at all off putting nor dominant. An absolutely phenomenal representation of the great Belgian Wild Ales. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Entry 88: Southern Tier Un*earthly

Southern Tier Brewing Co.

Lakewood, New York

Un*earthly Imperial India Pale Ale

Style: Imperial/Double India Pale Ale
Availability: Limited Year Round
Format: 22oz
ABV: 11.0%

Bottle text & Info:
Malt: Two-row pale malt, red wheat
Kettle hops: Chinook & Cascade
Hop back: Styrian Golding
Dry hopped: Cascade, Centennial & Chinook
"At the Southern Tier Brewing Company, vigorously hopped beer is our standard and inspiration. We continue a commitment to innovation with our most aggressive offering yet. Unearthly is a manifestation of the brewer’s craft; skillfully balancing art and the forces of nature to produce a divine liquid. Delicately pour a taste into a fluted glass. Smell the enchanting aromas of the hops waft forward as your first sip divulges this beer’s fervent soul. To underestimate Unearthly is to trifle with the mysteries of the universe, so please consume wisely."

Tasting Notes:
Purchased from Triple Crown Liquor in Indianapolis, Indiana and beer bombed back to NC.
Pours a beautiful glowing golden orange with a pour white head, two inches high with superb retention. Smells of some melon like sweet hops dominated by sweet caramel and honey overtones. Taste follows soon. Big syrupy body encasing peach vodka-like flavors intermingling with some apricot, mango and melon before being rounded out with some heavy honey notes. So, the main knock on this is that for a DIPA it is a bit of a malt bomb. A lot of consumers are gonna be left empty handed, searching for the intense high alpha citrus. However, i'd argue that its hard to fault Southern Tier, here. The ABV is 11% which is reaching the peak of DIPA % wise. As rule of thumb, the higher the ABV, the higher the malt bill. has to be. Although sweet, you have to credit Southern Tier with creating an exceptionally drinkable DIPA, reaching an extreme ABV. Think young barleywine and you're on the right track. Still awaiting the day that Southern Tier hits the market here in NC. Shouldn't be long. Rumor has it that its in the works.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Entry 87: Russian River Pliny the Elder

Russian River Brewing Co.

Santa Rosa, California

Pliny the Elder

Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Availability: Year Round
Format: 500ml
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 100
bottled: 03.04.10

Bottle text & Info:
"Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Although not considered his most important work, Pliny and his contemporaries created the botanical name for hops, "Lupus salictarius", meaning wolf among scrubs." Hops at that time grew wild among willows, much like a wolf in the forest. Later the current botanical name, Humulus lupulus, was adopted. Pliny died in 79 AD while observing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who continued his uncle's legacy by documenting much of what he observed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius."

Tasting Notes:
Currently ranked #6 in BeerAdvocates best beers in the world.
Acquired via trade with Kevin (NewGeneric), New Orleans, LA.
Only the second time I've had the pleasure of trying this. The first time was @ Toronado in San Francisco about a year ago. Pours a hazy vivid golden color with a three quarter inch head that slowly recedes and clings to the glass. Smells like hop nirvana. Like a cross between Bell's hopslam and Green Flash West Coast IPA. Heaps of citrus with some sweet hints of grass and grains. Light to medium mouthfeel explodes forward with heavy grapefruit acidity powering through, finishing with touches of pineapple and honeydew. A top notch DIPA, this guy has the near impossible task of living up to such incredible hype. Definitely amongst the best, it doesn't disappoint. A supreme treat for us East Coaster/Midwesterners who won't see Russian River Brewing outside of collaborations and trades.