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Stillwater Artisanal Ales – As Follows (Belgian Strong Pale Ale) 9.0% ABV

look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip.

Still Water - As Follows   A – Super light golden straw pilsner look with a nice full finger worth of off-white head also a good amount of carbonation streaming from the bottom. Nice temporary lacing which you would expect for the high amount of alcohol in this. 

   S – Lots of those Belgian confectionery bready characters with a hint of that Saison funk which really helps to elevate this. Hints of Banana and clove are present but not overpowering. Nice smelling beer although I could do with more variance or a stronger smell.

   T – Tight Belgian yeast with those big bready notes following the nose very nicely. Nice summertime fruit sweetness and clove round themselves into that big farmhouse funk that really gives this incredible drinkability.

   M – Medium bodied with the effervescence in the carbonation giving this a very subdued tongue tingle. Sweet but not cloying and bready without being chewy. This is where this beer shines bright.

O – Wow I have never had anything from Still Water before today and I can say as someone who has tried their share of farmhouse beers in the midwest this beer really knows how to represent that huge saison taste. This is a great beer and something that is definitely 4-pack worthy at the very least.

Lucifer – Brouwerij Het Anker

Posted on 28 Sep 2013 In: Beer

Brouwerij Het Anker - Lucifer  Brouwerij Het Anker (Mechelen, Belgium) – Lucifer 8.00% ABV 

   Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip

   Serving type: can
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

   A – Nice golden star color with an impressive fluffy white head. A metric ton of carbonation streaming off the bottom like a champagne. A nice sticky lacing that really lasts. 

   S – Belgium yeast with a nice breadiness with good summer fruit esters. Very sweet smelling lots of that confectionery type aromas and clove. 

   T – Anyone who is familiar with that Belgium flavor will feel right at home with this it follows the nose to the point with some nice sweet characters of banana and clove.
M – Medium mouthfeel and ridiculous carbonation create a strong and poignant tongue bite. It’s heavy and its sharp but with incredible drinkability. There is a warming sensation to the 8.0% ABV which is very typical to the style. 

O – Very nice I have never actually tried this before although it is readily available in my market…call it normalcy I would definitely pick up several of these next time I am out. Very drinkable and honestly I am not sure why the suggested serving temperature is so low I am having it around 70° and i’ts just beautiful.

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company (Portland, OR) – Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout – 9.3% ABV

(Brewed Once 2013, Limited Edition No.8)

Suggested Glassware:  Snifter, Pint

Widmer Brothers - Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout
   A – Pours a thick viscous black/purplish opaque color with a thin khaki colored head.  A healthy amount of lacing.  No visible alcohol legs or carbonation.

   S – Nice chocolate and raspberry immediately hit the nose. Some good roasted malts in there as well. Getting some dark winter fruits like plums also alongside some dark roast coffee type with some deeper breaths. 

   T – Not as sweet as I was expecting judging from the nose.  Lots of those roasted malts that sort of flood the tongue and give you nothing really else to latch onto.  I am going to let this warm up although it’s been sitting for at least an hour I will let it sit a little longer and come back to it.  There is now some faint fruity flavors in the back of the tongue if you really look for them. I am aerating it and I am noticing a bit of that coffee.  Seems some of the flavor was hiding at the bottom of the glass but overall  I think the issue here is that there really isn’t anything happening in the middle of the mouth it sort of goes from malt to flat.

M – Tart and acidic malts create a kind of oily residue on your tongue giving you a syrupy mouthfeel.  Medium body with no carbonation the malts literally are getting in the way of the taste on this.  

O – I am not sure if this the beer or the transport or what.  Judging from what others are saying I think my experience might be unique but we have an extreme loss of carbonation and it tastes like a super malty.  Am I expecting too much am I wrong?

Super edit:  this should be drank at straight up room temperature it’s getting much better as hour 2 sets in.

Tallgrass Brewing Company – Ethos

Posted on 25 May 2013 In: Beer

Tallgrass Brewing Company (Manhattan, KS) – Ethos IPA – 6.80% ABV – 110 IBUs (Drink By 9/19/2013)

Suggested Glassware: Pint, Mug

Tallgrass Ethos IPA   A – Really awesome orange gold color with a really billowy 3 fingers of white head that leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.  A fair amount of carbonation coming off the bottom.  Looks like a very hoppy IPA

   S – Not a lot of that west coast hop character in the nose.  Getting more of a floral and citrus character to it which is surprisingly with the IBU count on this.  There is some faint orange and graperfruit but not a rind astringency famous in DIPAs.  Getting some of those thicker bready notes from the malts.  Smells pretty easy to drink let’s see.

   T – Follows the nose I am not getting hardly any of those hops mostly getting some of that dankness from the malts with some hop kick at the front of the tongue.  There is a lot of people claiming to smell a lot more typical potent IPA flavors I am not tasting that.  Some earthy dirt tastes as I have been known to say.  I am getting some sweetness at the end of the pull that reminds me of a spring time IPA sort of flavor like Choc makes.  A pretty average, easy drinking IPA for the amount of hops in this.

   M – Medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation.  It’s somewhat chewy but also has some creamy textures.  Leaves a dry finish in your mouth that begs you to drink more.

   O – The taste was only somewhat of a let down.  As a big fan of Tallgrass and having had their original IPA I can tell you that this is a DRASTIC improvement.  Not a west coast IPA that ruins your palate like I thought but light and florally with some nice elements that make this a nice summer session IPA.  Well done Tallgrass!

Oskar Blues – Ten FIDY

Posted on 17 Apr 2013 In: Beer

Oskar Blues Grill & Brew (Lyons, CO) – Ten FIDY  – 10.50% ABV

 Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Pint

Oskar Blues - Ten FIDDY
   A – Pours a syrupy motor oil black with a half finger of a dark mocha brown head that disappeared rather quickly into a thin brown ring of a head around the inside of the glass.  

   S – Nice big chocolate some coffee with a bit of maltyness at the end.  With a few twirls I was getting less malts and more sweetness I am noticing almost like a sweet soy sauce aroma now or almost like some fresh baked cookies. Pretty interesting and delicious smelling.

   T – I am letting this sit for around a half hour to get the most of it. The can wasn’t really cold but I figure a good half hour after the pour should warm this up everything nicely and let it breath.  Very malty with a big bitter dark chocolate taste.  There is a nice caramel taste in the middle of the mouth that has some warmth behind it from the huge ABV on this.  There is surprisingly more hops that I was expecting.  The end of the tongue has a bit of that dank coffee in the aftertaste that gives this a great overall taste.

   M – Full bodied (almost chewy) with minimal carbonation, the malt gives this a creamy overall feel that smooths this thing out to pure silk.  Lots of alcohol warmth reminds you that you are in fact drinking a massive RIS.  The bitters from the dark chocolate and the hops give this dry finish and gets you just thirsty enough to have another drink.

O – Ridiculous this thing is ridiculous.  I love Russian Imperial Stouts but this thing is over the top I have maybe only had 5 oz of this thing because I want to make it last forever.  Dammit I wish I could get this regularly in my state! 

New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO) – Lips of Faith – Cascara Quad 10.00% ABV

Suggested Glassware:  Snifter, Tulip

New Belgium Lips of Faith Cascara Quad
   A – Murky brown pond water with a soft off white head that disappears pretty quickly from the high ABV.  Lots of nice long lasting lacing (try saying that ten times fast) some barely visible alcohol legs and some good carbonation streaming off the sides.

   S – A lot of that thick Belgium yeast coming through immediately. Some of those cherries this thing said it was brewed with. Some dank type arabica coffee (or is it “coffee arabica”) in there somewhere. Some banana type smells from the neck.  Pretty decent smelling for a quad.

   T – This thing is all over the place I am having a tough time nailing down any one flavor.  There some sweets like caramels but there is also some funk in the middle of the mouth which might be coffee I am not sure.  At the end if lots of tart cherries.  I am not sure how I feel about this.  The finish is really dry which is typical of the style.  As I let this warm up I am getting more of those coffee notes which reminds me of the Bourbon County Coffee Stout.  I will be back in a half hour to finish this after this thing has a chance to warm up.

X2  – Way more sweetness way more cherries way more alcohol burn.  This is thing brings its “A” game after some time.  Still a lot of that sticky dry finish but the flavor profile really picks up 

M – Thin to Medium type body on this with a fair amount of carbonation some sticky finishes on this gives that a dry aftertaste.  Not to bad for drinkability but certainly wouldn’t mind some more heaviness to this someday.

O – For a quad I wanted more but to be fair this take on the style was adventurous and I appreciate that.  I have had quads with cherries before but definitively not cherries and coffee.  Despite what I have wrote above I feel that this is a good solid beer.  There is very little wrong with it and even less from New Belgium as a whole.  This is decent and if I could offer any advice pour this and let it warm up the tastes really come alive.  

Green Flash / Founders – Linchpin White IPA

Posted on 27 Mar 2013 In: Beer

Green Flash (San Diego, CA) / Founders (Grand Rapids, MI) – Linchpin White IPA – 7.00% ABV

 Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Goblet

Green Flash/Founders - Linch Pin   A – Rumpelstiltskin golden straw color with a huge 3 to 4 fingers worth of  billowy white head (pour this over a sink) nice carbonation with some alcohol feet .  Sticky long lasting lacing.  Awesome looking!

 S – Grapefruit hop bitters with some light citrus with sweet tarty lemon notes.  Lot more hops are evident if you sniff the neck.  Getting a high astringency which I am not surprised by since this is part Green Flash and they are known for the smell of their hops.

   T – Lots of citrus like I expected and the hop profile follows the nose nicely.  Astringent qualities in the middle of the mouth that smooths out with some of that Belgian yeast taking over.  The end of the mouth is lots of earthy tastes maybe some lemon grass.

   M – Highly carbonated with a medium body lots of dry effervescent qualities from the hops and lemony zests.

   O – I am not sure the last time I had a Belgian IPA if ever but as a White Ale or a Belgian Pale I can say this carries lots of those big west coast hop characteristics over into making this a full fledged IIPA.  This is a collaboration between two of my favorite breweries one of them (Green Flash) just got distribution in my local market although I did not get this locally and wish I could but I probably wont since was a limited release last year!  I think also something should be said for how easy drinking this is despite the 7% ABV.  I wish I would have waited till it was a little warmer out to enjoy this.  Delicious!

Flying Dog Brewery (Frederick, MD) – Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA 8.30% ABV

Suggested Glassware: Tulip

Flying Dog - Raging Bitch   A – Really rich golden copper color with a thick finger’s worth of temporary fluffy white head.  Sticky sticky lacing with a healthy amount of carbonation streaming off the bottom of the glass sporadically a bit of alcohol legs are evident off the sides.

   S – Right away getting a lot of the Belgium yeasty notes a bit deeper you get sweet florals and hops.  A bit of funky malts that remind me of a Saison.  Nice clear aroma with some definitive elements. 

   T – Some malty textures assault the tongue with less hop bitterness than I was expecting.  Some summer fruits which work well with the style include some citrus tang, maybe some tart from pineapples and then some wintery stuff like apricots hit the middle of the mouth.  Taking bigger sips gives this guy a nice funky peppery taste that mellows out towards the end of the pull.

   M – Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation but not as effervescent as other beers of this style which I think is aided by the Belgian yeast.  A bit on the creamy side which is awesome for an IIPA.   Very smooth!

O – Very good, reading the scores online I think people are giving this an unfair shake I loved it and would consider this a very fine IIPA.  This is the first beer (that I can remember) I have had from Flying Dog and I loved it.  Thanks to my friend Josh for hooking me up with this!  

Charleville – Box Of Chocolate

Posted on 23 Feb 2013 In: Beer

Charleville Vineyards Winery & Microbrewery (Ste. Genevieve, MO) – Box Of Chocolate – 10.50% ABV

 Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip

Charleville - Box of Chocolate
   A – Blackish chocolately brown with just a touch of khaki hot chocolate colored head.   Sticky lacing that coats the inside of the glass with tight brown bubbles.  Very little carbonation or alcohol legs to speak of.

   S – Wow off the first whiff you get an incredible aroma of dark chocolate those quad characteristics of figs, raisins and prunes.  There is also some roasted malts with a hint of those bourbon notes from the heavy ABV on this.  Delicious smelling!

   T – Dark Chocolate (duh) right at the front of the tongue then  getting some of those sweet syrupy brown sugar taste like you would expect for the style.  Also lots of dark fruits like those mentioned above.  There is also some thicker malts and some toasted nuances at the end of the tongue giving this some body without making it to sweet or thick

   M – Very sweet but not cloying or hot with a medium body and just a bit of carbonation adding a bit of tongue tingle to the middle of the mouth.  There is some effervescence but not enough to give this anything but easy and smooth drinkability. 

O – I am a big fan of chocolate beer and a big fan of quads I was unsure about this one before I tried it and now I think chocolate and this style are perfect for each other.  The sweetness lends to the tame qualities giving this unique mouthfeel without being overpowering or “hot”  there is something silky about this beer and I dig it.  There is a high drinkability here despite the style and I think that might be a bit dangerous.   I love this  and will be cellaring a few more of these to see just how much like Hershey’s syrup this can get.   This is the first beer from Charleville I have enjoyed this much and look forward to more.

Prairie Artisan Ales – Prairie Standard

Posted on 11 Feb 2013 In: Beer

Prairie Artisan Ales (Krebs, OK) – Prairie Standard – 5.20% ABV

Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Pint

   A – Golden wheat straw color with a thick film of carbonation floating on top.  A very thin half finger worth of head that didn’t even stick around for the picture.  Real tight carbonation gives this some bubbles coming up from the sides as well as down the middle.   Lacing is oily and doesn’t last.

   S – Lots of funk which is my favorite part of the smell in a good Saison.  Lots of citrus from Oranges and a bit of tart like grapefruit.  Some hops as well as some aroma like freshly dug earth.   Unbelievable smelling.

   T – Sweet with a lot of that citrus flavor cutting through the hops which also help accent the funk without a tartness like most Saisons.  Lots of grain with only a touch of malts really this is what a summer Saison should taste like. 

   M – Everything I want to say about the mouthfeel stems from the carbonation on this creating a higher effervescence.  And while the body is light the high carbonation gives this a nice kick in the tastebuds. 

O – What I enjoy about Saisons is there is as many examples as beer styles and while this isn’t new or experimental its exactly what you want from the style. This particular version is light and drinks like a summer Dortmunder with a lower ABV this is a good session quality brew with a beautiful taste and awesome attributes.   For a beer with a picture diagram of how to “noodle” I didn’t expect much but this was a pleasant surprised.