Tuesday, December 23, 2008

De Struise Brouwers Black Albert

Beer: De Struise Brouwers Black Albert
Brewery Location: De Panne, Belgium
Beer Style: Belgian Royal Stout (Russian Imperial Stout)
ABV: 13%

I certainly hear about all of the new beer that is coming to town, and the hype behind this beer was fairly intense among the beer geeks/blogs/beer forums. I try my best not to read anything about a new beer until after I've had it. I've found that inevitably a beer will never live up to the hype that it is given if you really get yourself wrapped around how good a beer may or may not be. De Struise makes some great beer, and one of my favorites is their Old Fisherman's Ale. If you make a great Quad, I will pretty taste anything you make after that.

This beer was brewed especially for the Ebanezer's Pub in Lovell Maine. The beer was actually brewed in Maine under the specifications of De Struise. They call it a new style: a Belgian Royal Stout, but it was brewed in the Russian Imperial stout style and where it is classified.

Appearance: This pours a deep brown color that is very close to black with a thin swirl of brown froth that quickly dissipated. The beer coats the glass extremely well, but left minimal lacing.
Smell: I let this beer warm for 45 minutes outside of the fridge, and the nose was still subtle with scents of chocolate and dark fruits, and it showed its Belgian roots with the unmistakable scent of Belgian style yeast.
Taste: The flavor profile is heavy on the front of the tongue with coffee and dark bitter chocolate. The middle of the beer gives flavors of dark cherries, plums, and figs before being ending on a bitter note.
Mouthfeel: The warming alcohol quickly catches up with you, but for a RIS this beer has a thinner mouthfeel than I would have expected and has the mouthfeel of a good Quad, but not a RIS.
Drinkability: The alcohol is well hidden for a 13% beer, but the price would keep me away from this beer.

I am certainly glad that I got to try this beer, and overall is was a pretty good beer, but not worth a dollar and ounce though is what is equates to. If this beer were in a four pack around 15-20$ I would buy it often, but 12 bucks for a 11.2 oz bottle it needs to either be one of the best RIS's that I've tried or one of the best Quad's that I've tried, and it doesn't make it into either category for me.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Port Brewing Old Viscocity

Beer: Port Brewing Old Viscosity
Brewery Location: San Marcos, CA
Beer Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 10%

I've had several offerings from Port/Lost Abbey brewing and this is one that I've not been able to get a hold of from them. The good news is that they are now distributing a large selection of their line-up to Chicago now, so if you are in the area their beers are well worth checking out. I just got this one in trade this past week.

The "American Strong Ale" is just a catch all category here and it doesn't really fit into any particular style. The beer used 20% of the blend has been aged in bourbon barrels.

Appearance: This beer pours a very deep and dark brown color with a very small dark brown head on it.
Smell: The nose starts out with plenty of sweet molasses, licorice, chocolate, and smokey charred oak. The aroma is quite sweet and as the beer warmed toffee and caramel are very present.
Taste: The flavor profile starts out with a blast roasted malt and dark cherries. The finish has plenty of bourbon, anise, and even some coffee lingering in the background.
Mouthfeel: It is very thick and chewy with the alcohol very apparent in the mouthfeel, but at 10% that is to be expected.
Drinkability: I wouldn't reach for this very often, but this sipper is nice if you like bourbon barrel aged type beers.

I personally wasn't a big fan of this beer. The alcohol and bourbon overtook most of the other flavors and the complexity of this beer didn't shine through as well as it should have. I am curious if some age on this beer would mellow out those flavors a little bit, and then I think this beer would be a real winner. I tend to vary more on the side of balance when it comes to bourbon barrel aged beers. If that is your thing though you will enjoy this beer a great deal.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout

Beer: Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
Brewery Location: Boonville, CA
Beer Style: Oatmeal Stout
ABV: 5.7%

It seems I've only been in the mood for dark beer latley, but I haven't been in a mood to polish off a bomber of anything lately so I've been working through some of the 12 oz bottles that I have, and this is one that I got in trade recently. You can find them in every single state that touches us, but for one reason or another we don't get them in Indiana. I didn't realize how much beer they must brew based on how many states they are in. Here is the link to their distribution map. The represent the West coast, Mid West, and East coast quite nicely.

Appearance: This beer pours a very dark brown, almost black, color with tremendous head and it left amazing lacing on the walls of my pint glass.
Smell: The smell is rather "soft" and I get scents of chocolate, grassy hops, and roasted grain.
Taste: The flavor starts out with the roasted malt coming in very nicely and was quite pleasant. It was followed with a combination of cocoa, caramel, and there is also an orchard fruitiness to it as well, but that flavor is really hidden nicely, but supports the other flavors quite well.
Mouthfeel: This is the only spot this beer loses points with me. The mouthfeel is quite thin, but leaves a good chocolaty flavor on the back of the palate with medium carbonation.
Drinkability: I would certainly purchase more of this beer, and it will be a new six pack that I will be picking up when I go to Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati.

Overall this is a very nice and quite quaff able stout. I liked that it is a beer that won't get in the way of conversation, and this is a great beer to sit around with friends and relax with. I think this would be an excelling entry stout for people, and a good example of the style. The pricing on this beer is also nice with a six pack running around $8.99.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Tröegs Dead Reckoning Porter

Beer: Tröegs Dead Reckoning Porter
Brewery Location: Harrisburg, PA
Beer Style: American Porter
ABV: 5.8%

I've enjoyed the beers I've had from
Tröegs. It is sad that we don't get it in Indiana as they seem like a really rock solid brewery and brew some great beer across most beer styles. Their Troegenator Doublebock was my favorite a few weeks back when we did a food and beer pairing for Thanksgiving. This is another of their seasonal beers, and it is on its tail end of their most recent run, but you can probably still find it on the shelves if you are in a state that sells them.

Appearance: Pours a very deep brown color with a big two fingers worth of tan head. This beer leaves tremendous lacing and left sheets of it all over my glass until the very end.
Smell: I get loads of caramel and roast grain along with a citrus and piney hop scent that is working well together.
Taste: The sweet caramel rushes to the front of the palate followed quickly by the hop bitterness bite. The hops leave an almost fruity and citrus flavor along with caramel. There is a roasted nut quality as well as the beer warmed. The flavors work well together, and if I hadn't tasted it I wouldn't think that they would.
Mouthfeel: The carbonation is a little high, but it is medium bodied and quite smooth.
Drinkability: This was quite refreshing, and with the ABV I would have another quite easily.

I usually like my porters with the American hop profile left out of them, but this beer combined all the flavors nicely and changed my mind about the American porter if it is brewed like this beer. This is another great beer from


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter

Beer: Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter
Brewery Location: Denver, CO and Frederick, MD
Beer Style: American Imperial Stout
ABV: 7.8%

I haven't reviewed a single beer from Flying Dog, and until this beer I don't think that I've had a beer from them in about four or five years. They are a very big craft brewer though. I looked through their website and say they are in 46 states. I would imagine that Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams are all fifty states. They must make a ton of beer to open up two brewing locations as well. I picked up a four pack of this recently and this is my first time around with this beer in any vintage.

Appearance: This beer pours an opaque black color with a small mocha colored head that had minimal staying power with no lacing on my glass.
Scent: Black malt and coffee dominate the nose on this beer, but as the beer warmed I also get dark fruit, smoke, and alcohol.
Flavor: The roasted malt comes in full force to start the beer, but is quickly followed by a rather strong hop bitterness. I also get more dark fruit, sugar sweet chocolate, and freeze dried coffee grounds. The flavors seem to be everywhere and nothing is really melding very well for me.
Mouthfeel: The texture is my favorite aspect and is very creamy and full bodied with good carbonation on this offering, but the alcohol was quite present on this offering.
Drinkability: I would most likely only have of these in a sitting, and I wouldn't seek out this beer very often.

I thought the flavors were all over the board and the alcohol twinge on the mouthfeel wasn't very welcomed on this beer. I've read that aging this beer really makes it much better. I hope that it does because I wasn't really that big of a fan of this beer, and I had high hopes for it.