Tallgrass Brewing Company (Manhattan, KS) – Ethos IPA – 6.80% ABV - 110 IBUs (Drink By 9/19/2013)
Suggested Glassware: Pint, Mug
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 Grill & Brew (Lyons, CO) – Ten FIDY - 10.50% ABV
Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Pint
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
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 (San Diego, CA) / Founders (Grand Rapids, MI) – Linchpin White IPA – 7.00% ABV
Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Goblet
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
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 Vineyards Winery & Microbrewery (Ste. Genevieve, MO) – Box Of Chocolate – 10.50% ABV
Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip
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 (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.
Brouwerij Bosteels (Buggenhout, Belgium) - Pauwel Kwak – 8.40% ABV
Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Kwak glass (which i’ll probably never own. Seen here)
S - Lots of fruits and malts getting big Banana aroma as well as some of that Belgium yeast which makes me fall in love with a beer. Getting some caramel as well as spice and some clove. One of the charms of this beer is how damn good it smells.
T – Taste follows the nose getting more malts on the tongue small sips yields more cloying fruit esters and sweet spices at the front of the tongue. Middle of the mouth has more of a bready flavor that gives this some substance. The end of the pull is sweetness with a buttery caramel consistency and flavor also noted are some delicious sweet winter fruits maybe plums.
M – Medium bodied with a bit of carbonation giving this some nice effervescence and tingle or as the judges call it “spritiziness” this is one of the characteristics I remember loving about this beer. The oily creamy consistency is literally a bomb of flavor and gives this a bit of dry finish but not a thirsty mouthfeel. Perfect mouth on this encouraging you to drink it slow and savor it.
O – This is one of my favorite beers I actually bought this because I was going split it with someone who never had it but whatever i’ll buy another bottle and probably another. This is one of the most solid beers I have ever had its good in almost every instance I am not going to say its perfect but it is trust me. It’s delicious its boozy its sweet its not cloying its perfectly balanced. I will probably order one of the special glasses and attempt another review again and see if my experience changes but really do I really want to mess with perfection?
North Coast Brewing Co. (Fort Bragg, CA) – Old Rasputin XV (2012) Anniversary – Barrel Aged Stout – 11.90% ABV
Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass, Snifter
A – Pours a viscous black with a nice fingers worth of tan frothy head that dissipated very quickly. Minimal alcohol legs on this which is surprising for the high ABV and style. Great sticky lacing that just clings to the sides of the glass. Beautiful looking!
S – Big vanilla character emerging right at the beginning like many others of this style. A lot of heavy bourbon notes also getting some roasted malts sort of reminiscent of a strong Arabica coffee with some chocolate aroma in there as well. Really nice and sweet smelling.
T – Bourbon at first sip with some milk chocolate and vanilla extracts. Smooth coffee and dark chocolate in the middle of the mouth with a slight bitterness. Getting a bit of tartness at the end of the tongue and some chalky aftertaste like an unsweetened espresso shot. Damn great tasting beer.
M – Heavier side of a medium body on this with some light carbonation. Some of the hops gives this a bit of that west coast astringency but the malts create a smooth drinkable quality that lends itself to how creamy it is overall. The alcohol only showing itself if you take quicker small sips. Very smooth.
O – I been meaning to try this forever since I love the original Old Raspy and I would still be waiting if my buddy Josh didn’t get me sorted on this one so cheers to him! This is a remarkably smooth and flavorful RIS that hides the alcohol really well. This is well worth the cost and I would recommend picking it up to anyone who likes big stouts or thicker porters. North Coast is one of the best American breweries and this beer is just another reason why. I already can’t wait to try next years, never say die!
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (Paso Robles, CA) – Double Jack (11-08-2012) - 9.50% ABV
Suggested Glassware: snifter, tulip
S – Big classic west coast DIPA aroma hitting you right away, lots of pine, sweet citrus like from oranges along with some tarty bitters in there as well from the hops and maybe some grapefruit. I might be getting some other sweet fruits in there but I can’t pick them apart from the citrus and hops. Smells clean overall and refreshing and not overly hoppy like a palate wrecker. Can’t wait to see how it tastes.
T – wow lots of grapefruit juice, pineapple, orange, some tangerine with nice sweet malts making the hops not as harsh. Most of what I want to say about this is style-wise in the mouth the taste is traditional west coast IPA but more subdued in hop character and easy drinking.
M – The high carbonation and full body doesn’t give this a lot of that hoppy astringency like you would think of for the style. The malts gives this the whole mixture a really solid backbone which really blends things together nicely. This blend contributes to the beer’s high drinkability that doesn’t wreck your palate but still has a really dry finish with just the right amount of tongue tingle.
O – I don’t care how much of a fanboy I sound like Firestone Walker has literally impressed me with a style I didn’t think I could see anything new from. This is awesome its not a west coast style DIPA in the mouth but you get the same characteristics in almost every other way. I am so happy to have gotten this and been able to drink it, without a doubt this ranks up there with all of my favorites from the style including Greenflash, Ruination etc. Damn good try this if you haven’t!