Saturday, February 21, 2009

The End of Matt's Beer Blog

As you can tell my posting has slowed down significantly, and almost has become non-existent. I won't be posting to this website anymore, and all of my posting will be housed over at Hoosier Beer Geek. We've got some amazing things going on over there right now, and with me going back to grad school, and little feet running around the house I just don't have the time for everything I normally had going on. I am going to contribute only to Hoosier Beer Geek. I started this website to help me catalog the many different beers that I tried, and really try to train my palate as best I could. Thanks to the very few people that read this and commented over the last year and some change.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Trappist Westvleteren 8

Beer: Westvleteren 8
Brewery Location: Westvleteren, Belgium
Beer Style: Dubbel
ABV: 8%

This is the much sought after Westvleteren 8. I've been wanting more of the Westie 12, but I've never had the 8 before. The numbers (there is debate over this) usually correspond to the alcohol getting stronger in strength, but not the ABV content. This Abbey makes a 6, 8, and a 12. Each one gets stronger in alcohol content as you go up, but doesn't mean they are 6%, 8% or 12% ABV. I've read it is a tradition from long before beer bottles had labels the number would indicate the certain type of beer you were looking for. I've also read that it means they refer to an old measuring unit of the density, the Belgian law at the time, which corresponds to the density of the wort before fermentation. The second idea makes more sense to me, but I can see both happening, and perhaps it was a hybrid of both.

This brewery is the rarest of the seven Trappist breweries. Most of the other Trappist breweries are easily found here in America, and Koningshoeven and Rochefort are my personal favorites. Let's see if this beer lives up to the hype.

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany color with a decent sized tan head on it. This beer didn't leave any lacing either on my glass.
Smell: I get a good dose of dark fruit dominated by raisins on the nose. I am also getting caramel, sugar, and a little bit of alcohol.
Taste: I am getting plenty of malt character upfront with molasses and caramel, and a prominent grape flavor, a hint of spice, and just a touch of chocolate as well.
Mouthfeel: The prickly carbonation leaves a fairly dry sensation at the back of my palate.
Drinkability: A very nice sipper, and if there beer were readily available I would purchase it often.

I thought this was a very good beer, but is not head and shoulders above the competition that we can get here in Indiana. I've been coming around so much more to the Belgian style beers, and the dubbel is one of my favorites.

My favorite dubbel's that are available locally: La Trappe Dubbel from Konigshoeven, Rochefort 8 from Rochefort, and a stellar domestic dubble is Pere Jacques from Goose Island, and Abbey Belgian Style Ale from New Belgium.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pannepøt Old Fisherman's Ale

Beer: Pannepøt Old Fisherman's Ale
Brewery Location: De Panne, Belgium
Beer Style: Quadruple
ABV: 10%

I just got this bottle around Christmas time and have been wanting an occasion to try it, and I watched In Bruges the other night, so I figured that was as good a time as any. I love the Quad style, and it is perfect for a cold winter's evening I think.

Appearance: This beer pours a dark mahogany with amber highlights around the edges with a decent sized two fingers worth of head that had fairly good staying power.
Smell: The nose is full of cloves, nutmeg, dark fruits, and a slight acidic vinegar twist to it as well.
Taste: The flavor profile is full of dark fruits including cherries, raisins, and plums. I also get some concord grape jelly in there in as well. I get a bit of coffee and a bready malt that works well here.
Mouthfeel: This beer is full bodied with lots of fine carbonation that renders itself quite smooth and creamy.
Drinkability: Even at the high ABV the alcohol is hidden and this was a great and relaxing drinking experience.

I really enjoyed this beer, and will be picking up a few more of these in the very near future if I can find this version. If you have seen In Bruges I highly doubt that Colin Farrell's character would call this beer his nickname for Belgian Beer. This was a great beer and an even better drinking experience.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Alaskan Baltic Porter

Beer: Alaskan Baltic Porter
Brewing Location: Juneau, AK
Beer Style: Baltic Porter
ABV: 9.8%

One of my favorite styles that I've only really began to love over the past year is the Baltic porter. It gets its influence from English porters and Russian imperial stouts. What is unique about a Baltic porter is that it can be made using either cold fermenting lager yeast or warmer ale yeast and still fit BJCP guidelines. I am not really sure what brewers are and are not using lager yeast, but I am going to assume that this one was made using an ale yeast.

I got this beer in trade recently, but you can order it from Liquid Solutions as well right now.

Appearance: Pours an obsidian black color, but when held up to the light pecan shell highlights show themselves around the edges. There wasn't much of a head on this beer, and it left minimal lacing on my glass.
Smell: There is plenty of molasses, vanilla, oak, dark cherries, and other dark fruit coming to life. As the beer warms I get port wine and chocolate as well.
Taste: The chocolate comes to life upfront with the dark fruits (dominated by cherry) round initial flavors out. In mid-drink I get more grassy hops and vanilla finished by a dry roasted malt flavor.
Mouthfeel: This beer is thick and smooth with a decent amount of carbonation, and the alcohol was well hidden.
Drinkability: This beer is quite delicious, but is quite heavy and is really only a sipper. I would certainly buy this beer again.

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. It isn't the best of the style that I've had, but is a very solid offering from Alaskan Brewing. I've got another bottle to age, and I am curious about the cherry and vanilla flavors that this beer has fresh, and I hope with some age the malt will come out a bit more. Either way I think this was damn good fresh, and could be even better with a bit of age on it.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Founder's Porter

Beer: Founder's Porter
Brewing Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Beer Style: American Porter
ABV: 6.5%

It appears as if I've been reviewing a large number of Founder's beers lately, but I just happened to buy a sixer of this beer when I bought the imperial stout. I've heard this is going to be in their regular rotation and not a seasonal beer. Founder's has not bottled this offering in several years I don't think.

Appearance: Pours a dark black color with two finders worth of dark tan head. The head collapsed fairly quickly, but left decent spotty lacing on the walls of my pint glass.
Smell: Dark roasted malt and black malt dominate with chocolate, sorghum, and coffee present as well.
Taste: The flavor profile is a rich combination of the things in the nose with plenty of roasted grain, a touch of grassy hops, dark chocolate, and coffee combine into a wonderful drinking experience.
Mouthfeel: Good carbonation with coats the mouth nicely, with the alcohol hidden quite well.
Drinkability: I will certainly be buying this beer again. This is pretty much everything I am looking for in a porter.

Until now my favorite American porter was Edmund Fitzgerald from Great Lakes, but this beer eclipses that for me. Both are tremendous beer in their own rights, but this beer gets the nudge over the Great Lakes. I love how robust and rich this beer is, and will have a permanent spot in my cellar.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Founder's Imperial Stout

Beer: Founder's Imperial Stout
Brewery Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Beer Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.5%

I've been lazy during the holidays and was not really writing much. I am back though with a really amazing beer that I've been looking forward to for a very long time. I had this on tap last year when I went to Founder's for the weekend, and have wanted some in the bottle since that time. Last night seemed to be the best opportunity to open one of these up. Indiana got a very limited supply of this beer, and if you can still find it around town you will most likely only be allowed to buy one or two bottles. I am hoping that more will hit town in the coming weeks, and it will be much like breakfast stout. Breakfast stout was limited when it first came to town, but now you can still easily find four packs of it all over town right now.

Appearance: This beer glugs into my pint glass and settles into a jet black body with a small mocha colored head that quickly dissipated, but it did leave some spotty lacing on my pint glass.
Smell: The nose is a rich combination of roasted malt and coffee with an almost grassy hop scent as well. There is a hint of alcohol and chocolate at the back end of this offering as well.
Taste: The flavor profile is amazing complex with flavors that outshine the nose on this beer. The main flavors are of the rich and roasted malt, but as the beer warmed past cellar temp I began to get currants, plums, dates, espresso beans, caramel, chocolate, and anise. There are many flavors, but all combine so well on the palate to make a very pleasurable workout for your taste buds.
Mouthfeel: This beer is smooth as silk with the alcohol only barely noticeable on the mouth. It has good carbonation for a RIS, and it leaves an overall dry sensation in my mouth.
Drinkability: This beer is dangerously good, and I wish I had the opportunity to purchase much more of this amazing beer.

Overall I love just about everything about this offering, and this is one of my favorite Russian imperial stouts. I let this beer warm past cellar temperature and I am very glad that I did. One of the most complex, yet easiest to drink imperial stouts that I've had recently. Founder's has yet to do me wrong on any of their beers. Well done again to the team at Founder's.