Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ølfabrikken Porter

Beer: Ølfabrikken Porter
Brewery Location: Denmark
Beer Style: Baltic Porter
ABV: 8.0%

I was looking for something a little different to hopefully watch my Ball State Cardinals go undefeated last night, and I reach for this beer that I've had in the cellar for several months.

I really like the Baltic porter style. It is stronger than a regular porter, but not quite a robust as a Russian Imperial Stout. It is a good go-between those styles. We just started getting this beer in Indiana in 22 oz bombers, but this bottle is from Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati. I haven't seen this sized bottle in Indiana yet, but perhaps we will get two sizes of it eventually. I've been looking forward to trying this beer after hearing a great deal of hype over it.
Appearance: Pours an obsidian black color with a decent sized light tan colored head with very good staying power for the entire beer.
Smell: Impressive scents of roasted grain, coffee, caramel, milk chocolate, and a hint of vanilla in the nose.
Taste: The flavor profile is the perfect continuation of the nose with base flavors of milk chocolate, coffee, caramel, licorice, and plums. The flavors combine brilliantly with no harsh alcohol burn as well.
Mouthfeel: This beer is full bodied and very smooth with the warming alcohol coming in at the back of the palate with moderate carbonation.
Drinkability: This was an awesome Baltic porter, I will be stocking the cellar with a few bottles of this tasty beer.

As you can tell I was quite impressed with this beer. I loved everything about this beer, and wished I had another bottled of it after I was through with this one. If you are a fan of big stouts and porters you should grab a bottle of this and give it a try. This was my first beer from Ølfabrikken, and they knocked it out of the park on this beer.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout

Beer: Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout
Brewery Location: Akron, OH
Beer Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 9.4%

Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout is what the B.O.R.I.S. stands for if you were wondering. Hoppin' Frog is a really nice regional brewer from Ohio. I've tried about five of their offerings and have only one on this site for review. As far as I know I think they only send out their beer in bombers, and their brewery does sell direct to the public, but they do not have any type of brewpub/bar at the brewery. I really liked their DIPA, Black and Tan, Silk Porter, and the Gulden Fraug from what I remember.

Appearance: BORIS pours a very dark black with brown highlights around the edges, and it is capped off with a very thin head that dissipated quite quickly and left minimal lacing.
Smell: The nose starts off with plenty of roasted grain, coffee, bitter chocolate, and some oat flakes coming in nicely as well.
Taste: The flavor profile is much more pronounced than the smell with big flavors of roasted malt, espresso, bitter chocolate, oats, and a thick dark fruit quality as well.
Mouthfeel: The oats make this RIS one of the smoothest stouts with this much alcohol that you will find. The warming alcohol kicks in after only a few drinks in this thick and chewy sipper.
Drinkability: This beer is delicious and very easy to drink.

This is an excellent and well priced Russian Imperial Stout. The addition of the oats really makes the mouthfeel my favorite aspect of the beer. The flavor profile is complex with the alcohol well hidden that you don't find often in many big stouts. This is certainly one of my new favorite imperial stouts.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weihenstephaner Vitus

Beer: Weihenstephaner Vitus
Brewery Location: Freising, Germany
Beer Style: Weizenbock
ABV: 7.7%

Weizenbock is a more powerful and stronger weizen style wheat beer. They tend to be higher in alcohol and will tend to be darker in color than their other wheat beer brethren. Weihenstephaner makes some amazing beer across board, and they prove what a mega brewer can pump out to the public. I may not like a certain style of beer from them, but the underlying beer has been a great example of the style in every case that I've had a beer from them.

Vitus pours a hazy straw yellow color with a very large bright white head that had good retention for most of the beer. I expected for this beer to a bit darker. The nose smells of a good hefe with plenty of banana, cloves, and apples and pears. The flavor follows the nose to perfection, but it also adds in some bubblegum, lemons, and the classic wheat flavor comes in very nice as well. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with some gentle alcohol warming on the backend of things. This is very drinkable and drinks like their regular hefe with more alcohol and plenty of flavor.

If you are a fan of their Hefe you will be a big fan of this beer. This wasn't quite what I was expecting out of this beer, but I ended up really enjoying this beer. I can't remember what I paid for this beer, but for some reason 2.89$ sounds about right at the Crown on 31 and Shelby in Indianapolis. You can't trust stock picks right now, but I am going to put a heavy buy call on this beer. This is another great beer from one of the world's best brewers.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Great Lakes Blackout Stout

Beer: Great Lakes Blackout Stout
Brewery Location: Cleveland, OH
Beer Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 9%

Can you tell from my reviews recently that it is getting colder outside? I truly love this time of year for beer. Don't get me wrong I love a good APA or IPA in the summer, but even more I enjoy a fine stout or porter during the colder months of the year. I've got a few bottles of this beer and this is my first one in a very long time for review. I am enjoying this beer while watching my Alma Mater Ball State keep their win streak alive against Miami of Ohio.

This stout poured a dark opaque black color with pecan brown highlights around the edges. It was capped off by a small dark brown head that left some incredible lacing for the entire beer. The smell is a combination of roasted malt, bitter chocolate, currants, and a certain nutty quality to is as well. The flavor profile follows the nice very nicely with upfront flavors of dark roasted grain, bitter chocolate, dark fruits, coffee, and anise. There is a hint of sweetness and smoke lingering on the back of the palate as well. I don't get any alchohol burn either from the 9%. The mouthfeel is very thick and chewy, but it still manages to render itself very smooth. Someone needs to tell this beer it has 9% ABV in it, because the way it drank I would have had many more of these.

This is another great beer from Great Lakes. If I could get this locally I would certainly stock up on this beer, and it would be a staple for me through the winter. My bottle was just under a year old and tasted great, and I would like to taste this one fresh and see how I enjoy it, because I think there is a hop prescense that I am not really picking up on this one when has a bit of age on it. Once again, well done Great Lakes for making another fantastic beer.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Barley Island Beastie Barrel Stout

Beer: Barley Island Beastie Barrel Stout
Brewery Location: Noblesville, IN
Beer Style: Oatmeal Stout
ABV: 6%

The Great American Beer Fest was last month and Indianapolis brewers swept the category for wood and barrel-aged beers. Here is the breakdown:

Gold: Old Jack, Ram Restaurant & Brewery, Indianapolis, IN
Silver: Buffalo Bock, Ram Restaurant & Brewery, Indianapolis, IN
Bronze: Beastie Barrel Stout, Barley Island Brewing Co., Noblesville, IN

That is a pretty awesome job sweeping the category, and as far as I know, this beer is the only one available outside of the respective bar, and I don't know what kind of availability the other offerings have from the Ram. You can probably still find this in four packs around town, and according to Barley Island's website you can get it on tap at the brewpub.

This beer pours a dark black color with a decent sized two fingers worth of creamy tan head. The nose is quite balanced with scents of roasted malt, bitter chocolate, some wood, and a touch of vanilla. The flavor profile is loaded full of roasted grain, chocolate, wood, and some bourbon on the backend of my palate. The flavors work really well here and a really nice balance without being overpowering. The mouthfeel though is a bit thin for my liking, but overall is silky smooth with moderate carbonation. At 6% I think the drinkability is fantastic on this beer and this is a well balanced stout when you are not looking for something really heavy in body or ABV.

This is a nice oatmeal stout from Barley Island. The low ABV on this stout was actually a welcome change for me and this is one of the better drinking stouts I've had in a while. I would like to make it up to Noblesville and try this one on tap while they still have it.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Founders Backwoods Bastard

Beer: Founders Backwoods Bastard
Brewery Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Beer Style: Wee Heavy Scotch Ale
ABV: 10.2%

Founders is just relentless in the amount of new beer coming out from them right now, and it is hard to keep up with everything, and then in the next few months four or five more offerings are coming out as well. I know Kentucky Breakfast Stout will be coming out in February, and I am not sure on the exact dates, but they will be releasing their porter for the first time in a very long time, imperial stout, and I am sure there is something more that I am missing. This beer just hit Indiana a few weeks ago and I just have not had time to review it recently.

I also like that Founder has not gone to bombers, and they continue to make their beer in 12 oz bottles. Many brewers are putting all of their high gravity beer in nothing but bombers. The 12 oz bottle is just a little more convenient for me. That is more of an observation than anything else.

This beer pours a dark rustic hue with a thin tan head. The nose is loaded with vanilla, wood, bourbon, cherry, and a slight hint of peat. The flavor profile is pretty intense with initial flavors of vanilla, oak, and dark cherries. The alcohol burn from the bourbon though really took away from this beer for me. It does not meld with the beer and overtook from most of the flavors that I was tasting. I let the beer warm for about thirty minutes and the flavor profile did sweeten a little bit, but the alcohol burn was still quite harsh I think. I really enjoy dirty bastard (the non-barrel aged version) because of the rich caramel malt base, but I never found that in this beer. The mouthfeel is full bodied with plenty of alcohol on the mouthfeel. The drinkabilility wasn't really there for me. I hope with some age on this beer it will settle down a bit.

I was really looking forward to this beer, but the alcohol and vanilla was just overwhelming and made this beer a miss for me. I am going to age my remaining bottles for a while and see if the flavor backs off a bit. Has anyone aged one of these before?


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Alesmith Yulesmith Holiday Ale (Summer)

Beer: Yulesmith Summer Holiday Ale
Brewery Location: San Diego, CA
Beer Style: American DIPA
ABV: 8.8%

My best friend Kevin got married a few weeks ago, and he gave me about as awesome a groomsman gift as I could have hoped for. He gave a bottle two bottles of Yulesmith (one summer and one winter) and a limited edition bottle of Brewer's Ale from Rogue. Since we can't get Alesmith here in Indiana I was very impressed at the very thoughtful gift. Kevin knows that Alesmith is one of my favorite brewers and that Yulesmith (winter) ranks as one of my very favorite individual beers. This is the first time I've had the summer offering. I've never found this when I've been down to Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati, but usually have found the winter version. I don't know if they brew the same amount of each for distribution.

This beer pours a nice golden hue with a thick cap of fluffy head on it. I could begin smelling all of the hop goodness as soon as I popped the cap on this beer. The hop smell is very pungent with plenty of grapefruit, sticky pine, candied oranges, peaches, apricots, tangerines, and a very soft caramel malt coming at the tail end of all of those citrus fruit scents. Wow, this is a tremendous nose on this beer. Hops are the showcase on the initial flavors with plenty of citrus flavors ranging from tangerines, oranges, and grapefruit, and sticky pine on the back end of those. The slightly sweet caramel base does its best to balance out the hops flavors and after the beer warmed a bit the malt takes on an almost graham cracker type flavor as well. Even with a few months of age on this the hop profile is still tremendous, and if it has diminished at all a fresh bottle of this beer must be quite the hop heads dream. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, and there is a good dose of warming alcohol in this offering as well. The drinkability is very good and I felt like I could have kept drinking this beer.

If you are a hop head you should seek this beer out. I would gladly take the winter version or the summer version any time I had the chance to have either of them. I said it in my post about Alesmith Speedway stout, but if Alesmith came to Indiana I am pretty sure I would buy enough of it to justify them coming to Indiana.