Monthly Archives: January 2012

21st Amendment Back in Black

21st Amendment Back in Black

We return the Black IPA. One of the newer and definitely hotly debated styles. Personally, I like them a lot. The trouble, of course, is the balance. Neither the hops nor the roasted malt can overpower the other. Does 21st Amendment pull it off with Back in Black?

The pour is, indeed, black. The nose is mostly citrusy hops. Thankfully, the roasted

21st Amendment Back in Black

characteristics come through in the taste and the finish. It’s almost like both the roast and the hops get their own part of the show in the finish. Flavor is full of roasted malt, some sweet caramel, and more citrus and pine hops.

Tasty, but the hops are definitely more powerful than the “black”. Not particularly complex.

Grade: B

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Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti

Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti

Already a big fan of the “normal” Great Divide Yeti, I’m curious how the oak aging will affect the beer. The color is black, as expected, with some deep browns around the edges. The fluffy head might be the darkest I’ve ever seen. The aroma is mostly charcoal, chocolate, and toffee.

This is quite the big beer. More hops that usual with an Imperial Stout, keeping with the un-aged version. Lots of very bitter chocolate, toffee, and a bit of coffee. The oak aging shows up the most in the finish and the aftertaste. There are hints of vanilla along with a dry, woody aftertaste. Remarkably creamy for how much flavor and how aggressive this is, especailly when you consider it clocks in at 9.5% ABV.

It’s very, very good. But I’m not sure the oak aging will add enough for people who love that. I’d have to have the “normal” and the oak aged at the same time to compare. But you can’t go wrong with this one.

Grade: A

 

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Left Hand TNT

Left Hand TNT

A dark wheat and tea offering here from Left Hand with TNT. Pours a rich, deep brown. Nose is a mix of tobacco, smoke, and cherries. Leather and smoke dominate the flavor. Cherries make an appearance, and the tea comes in late. There is a dry and bitter finish that I would associate with overdone unsweetened iced tea.

As I’m getting into it more and it warms, the smoke and leather are becoming more tame and the bad iced tea flavor is going away. More dark fruit flavors are coming out. And a hint of bacon.

I can’t say I love this, and I can’t say I hate it. But it’s different and worth trying. I don’t even know how to grade it.

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Great Lakes Brewing Medals at 2012 World Beer Championships

Great Lakes is really the company that got me interested in craft beer and remains my favorite. And it’s no surprise to me that they won some major awards at the 2012 World Beer Championships. From their website:

January 23, 2012—CLEVELAND, OHIO—Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC), Ohio’s most celebrated craft brewer of award-winning lagers and ales, announces that its Blackout Stout, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter and Christmas Ale scored medals in their individual categories at the 2012 World Beer Championships conducted by the Beverage Testing Institute of Chicago.  Blackout Stout, a seasonal, scored 94 Points for a rating of “Exceptional” and a gold medal in its category “Imperial Stout”.  Edmund Fitzgerald, available year-round, scored 93 Points for a rating of “Exceptional” and a gold medal in its category “Porter”.  Christmas Ale, a seasonal favorite, scored 89 Points for a rating of “Highly Recommended” and a silver medal in the “Winter Ale” category (click on the “Points” for judging remarks).

Since GLBC’s inception in 1988, these three beers have garnered 16 gold medals collectively at the World Beer Championships, with Edmund Fitzgerald Porter achieving “World Champion” status twice.  The World Beer Championships are considered one of the top beer judging events in the craft beer industry.

 

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Magic Hat Howl

Magic Hat Howl

Before I get to the beer itself, you HAVE to go to the website and check out the little video. It’s pretty awesome.

But Magic Hat Howl is black as night, just like it boasts. With the creepy eyes of Bela Lugosi’s Dracula on the label. Roasted malt and licorice dominate the aroma. A creamy smoothness starts the flavor, but it’s quickly cut with a reasonable amount of hops and a dry finish. The roasted malt and anise flavors continue with the addition of wood and grapes. It’s not a big and bashing beer, but it’s got plenty of flavor.

Pretty nice schwarzbier (dark lager) here. Complex and balanced flavors, smooth to drink, and at only 4.6% ABV, it’s nice to have a few on a long winter’s night.  The best thing I’ve had from Magic Hat.

Grade: A

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Pick Your Poison

Dig on this infographic with some stats on the most popular kind of alcoholic drinks. I find it interesting that the younger, poorer, and less educated a person is, the more likely they are to drink beer.

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Dogfish Head Chicory Stout

I have been in love with Chicory ever since my first (and so far only) visit to Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. I even have some of the coffee in my cupboard right now. So when I found out that Dogfish Head Chicory Stout was a thing, I had to have it.

Smells of dark roasted coffee, chicory, and bitter chocolate. The first thing I notice isn’t the flavors, it’s actually how creamy this is. But the flavors do shine through. Do they ever! Roasted coffee and chocolate are the biggest along with the chicory. Some anise, too. And the bitterness is more familiar with the coffee and chocolate rather than the hops. It’s only 5% ABV, so one for breakfast probably won’t get you in trouble!

Mighty tasty, even if I would be OK with more chicory in it. Even though this is a yearly seasonal, this is the first I’ve been able to get it. Too bad!

Grade: A

Dogfish Head Chicory Stout
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Great Divide Smoked Baltic Porter

The big aromas from Great Divide Smoked Baltic Porter delightfully waft up the nose the second the bottle is opened. Smoked, deeply toasted malt, bittersweet chocolate. Those flavors carry over once you start drinking, as well.

Smooth and creamy, and since it’s a lager, the mouthfeel is lighter than you might expect. The hops don’t get in the way at all, leading to a slightly dry bitter chocolate finish.The smoke is there, but it’s not overpowering. In fact, I wonder how much it would be noticed if I didn’t know the name of the beer.

So what makes it “Baltic”? A take on the style from countries in the Baltic region. Lager and a little higher ABV at 7.5%. Nothing wrong with that!

Grade: B

Great Divide Smoked Baltic Porter
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Anderson Valley Winter Solstice

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice

Anderson Valley going the pagan route here with Winter Solstice. Most of the flavors here are familiar with cinnamon and clove, but I’m also picking up some cedar, which is rather interesting. It’s more subdued than other winter warmers. Starts off with a bit of fruit before the spices kick in. Almost like a spiced apple cider.

This is good, but I wouldn’t put it on the top of my winter warmer list.

Grade: C

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Tommy Knocker Maple Nut Brown

Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown

While a fan of Brown Ales, I am worried the addition of maple might make Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale cloyingly sweet.

Pours a frothy head and rich brown color. Nose is as expected, maple and roasted nuts. The maple comes through as the dominant flavor, but it’s not too sweet or overpowering. Tastes a lot like a peanut brittle. It’s creamy and smooth. Very easy to drink. The hops are basically non-existent.

It really is like drinking a peanut brittle with a maple glaze. Take that as you will

Grade: B

 

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