Friday, November 8, 2013

New Glarus' Coffee Stout


Beer: New Glarus' Coffee Stout
Style: Coffee Stout
ABV: 4.8%

Appearance
The body appears black, but upon closer inspection there are deep chestnut hues through the edges. The head is tall and dense, appearing for a while before settling into a firm tan coating.

Aroma
The aroma is primarily of sweet milk chocolate and coffee creamer, but a dry roasted coffee edge cuts through to balance the aroma slightly. There isn't a huge coffee presence but that is due to the slightly old bottle that I received in the trade. I assume that fresh this has quite the coffee presence.

Taste
The flavor is dominated by sweet and syrupy milk chocolate while dry bitter roasted coffee comes through during the mid-taste through to the finish balance the sweetness out. Sweet creamer overlies the coffee and comes in towards the finish, lingering a moment with the coffee.

Overall
The bottle was sent to me with six months on it already. Those of you who have aged coffee beers will know that coffee is a flavor that falls off pretty quickly. I imagine that fresh this beer has a pretty pungent coffee bitterness that cuts through the sweetness to balance this very nicely, but after 6 months this beer becomes chocolate focused. There's nothing wrong with that though, this is a good beer still and it holds up surprisingly well for a beer that is only 4.8%. I would love to try this fresh and even 6 months old it's well worth trying.

Horny Goat's Stacked


Beer: Horny Goat's Stacked
Style: Milk Stout
ABV: 4%

Appearance
The body of this is far lighter than I like in my stouts, appearing ruby instead of a deep chestnut to black. The head is also lacking as well, as seen it's short and it has poor retention. The clarity is great though, I'll give them that.

Aroma
The aroma is mild, but rather good for the style. Hints of earthy coffee with creamer and matching cocoa. My only complaint is that the aroma should be a bit stronger.

Taste
There are hints of oxidation present, adding grape flavors that shouldn't be present. Aside from the oxidation, there is prominent roasted coffee presence showing through weakly. The finish lingers a bit of coffee, but where is the creamer and cocoa presence from the aroma?

Overall
This was the best of the Horny Goat variety pack. The signs of oxidation could be an indicator of a really old box, improper brewing techniques, or improper handling, I have no way of knowing. I would give this beer a second chance if I knew the bottle was fresh though. I feel that most of the problems that I have with this beer come from a lack of specialty grains, if Horny Goat were to up the use of chocolate and roasted malt by a percent then they would have a solid low ABV milk stout.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sam Adams' Double Agent IPL


Beer: Sam Adams' Double Agent IPL
Style: India Pale Lager
ABV: 5%

Appearance
The body has perfect clarity and an amber hue, while a dense white head sits on top for a few moments before settling into a messy coating.

Aroma
The aroma is rather pungent with a strong lemon presence backed by pine and mild herbal aspects. The aroma reminds me of a half and half with lemonade and tea.

Taste
The hops come off surprisingly strong at first providing a strong lemon flavor and a moderate bitterness, but quickly progresses into an Arnold Palmer flavor that I got on the aroma. Lots of tea and lemon flavors.

Overall
Sam Adams may not be the world's flashiest brewery, but they make a wide variety of drinkable beers that make for great introductions to the styles they are brewed as. I'm very surprised to see that Sam is one of the first to brew an India pale lager style too, they are certainly the first I'd ever seen in person. This is a good example and worth trying.

Founders' All Day IPA


Beer: Founders' All Day IPA
Style: Session IPA, Pale Ale
ABV: 4.7%

Appearance
This is a beautiful looking beer, one that wants to be drank. The head is tall with great retention, a light tan hue, perched atop a clear amber body.

Aroma
The aroma is very fragrant with mango, pineapple and some grapefruit. I absolutely love the huge tropical aroma here, it's lively and vibrant.

Taste
The taste is maltier than the aroma indicates, hints of toast and general malt sweetness. The huge tropical aromas I picked up aren't presenting themselves in the flavor though, lots of citrus with grapefruit being prominent though.

Overall
This beer became a massively popular selection in my area, especially when they decided to release it in 12 packs of cans. I find it to be a good beer, but rather middle of the road as far as the style goes. This is a good beer, but I find beers like Lagunitas' Day Time and Carton's Boat Beer to be much more flavorful with the hops.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Victory's Swing Saison


Beer: Victory's Swing Saison
Style: Saison, Session Beer
ABV: 4.5%

Appearance
A tall white head sits itself on top of a slightly cloudy golden body. The head has great retention and compliments the color perfectly, reminding me of a sunset in the Summer.

Aroma
The aroma reminds me of Spring in a bottle. The aroma is bright with a complex blend of lemon, straw, black pepper, and leather.

Taste
Swing is heavy on lemon, giving a slight unsweetened lemonade impression without the huge tartness. The malt base is clean, tasting of straw, with light spices provided by the yeast. The finish is bright and dry with lemon lingering.

Overall
This is an excellent beer for the season, though I wish the production kept through the Summer. Swing is something I could drink solely through the warm months because it's low in alcohol and very refreshing. Victory really hit this one out of the park. Look for it next Spring!

Weihenstephaner's Vitus


Beer: Weihenstephaner's Vitus
Style: Weizen Bock
ABV: 7.7%

Appearance
On the pour a huge pillowy head erupts from the body, the head sticks around for many minutes before sinking into the murky burnished golden hued body. The style is known for having some of the absolute ugliest textured bodies, most are incredibly murky, but for some reason it works.

Aroma
The aroma is pungent with esters and phenols provided by the yeast, contributing ripe banana and spicy clove. Some doughy malts are noticed and the aroma is a bit muddled, but this does smell enticing.

Taste
The flavor is very complex, the intro is malty with sweet caramel, while apple and banana chime in to compliment the sweetness nicely. By the finish the phenols are most present, providing a spicy compliment to the malty and fruity flavors that proceeded it.

Overall
This is regarded by some people as the best beer they've ever drank. I don't know if I can go that far, but this is certainly top 5 for the style and a necessary buy. What makes this most impressive is how incredibly drinkable and refreshing this is for such a big beer. You're only hurting yourself by missing out on this $3 gem.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Weihenstephaner's Kristall Weiisbier


Beer: Weihenstephaner's Kristall Weissbier
Style: Kristallweizen
ABV: 5.4%

Appearance
A kristallweizen is a filtered hefeweizen, therefor the body should be clear. As seen in the picture, the body has perfect clarity with a golden hue. A pillowy white head accompanies the body, making this a perfect looking kristallweizen.

Aroma
The aroma is light, but has a complex blend of floral hops, banana, bubblegum and clove.

Taste
The flavor is balanced very nicely between bubblegum, banana and clove, while very light floral overtones balance the sweetness to a degree.

Overall
The world's oldest brewery is a safe bet and a necessary buy if you've never had their beer. Their kristallweizen is a fantastic example of how this style should be, delicate and refreshing while exhibiting a complex flavor and aroma that begs for multiple sips.