Monthly Archives: February 2014

Mother’s Brewing Winter Grind

Mothers Winter GrindThis winter has been abominably long, so stouts are still in play. Here’s one from Mother’s, a coffee stout called Winter Grind.

Strong coffee and not much else in the aroma, as it should be. A little bite from the carbonation. The coffee flavor is a bit mellower than the aroma would have you expect, but it lingers. Oatmeal in the background. Bitterness more from coffee than hops.

Straightforward coffee stout. Not much else going on other than the coffee. I’m not saying that’s bad, but that’s what it is.

Grade: B

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Deschutes Black Butte Porter

Deschutes Black Butte PorterThis has been high on my want list for a long time. Porters are near or at the top of my favorite styles and I’ve heard amazing things about Deschutes Black Butte Porter, only recently available here in Ohio. Some even say it’s the best American made porter.

Color is right on. Head is creamy and beige. Aroma is very nice with roasted malts and chocolate. Velvety texture. Charred wood and chocolate dominate. Tight carbonation. Hops eventually are noticed in the finish, which is quite woody and dry.

Overall, this is great. One of the best porters I’ve had. The absolute best, though? Not quite.

Grade: A

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Two Beers Brewing Fresh Hop IPA

The thing that makes fresh hopped beers so different is that the hops go straight from the field to the beer, no processing in between. Makes for a unique character. This is a one from Two Beers Brewing in Seattle.

The huge hoppy aroma and gigantic head are the first things that stand out. A delightful mix of pine, citrus, and grass. This carries over to the flavor with a blend of fresh Simcoe, Amarillo, Columbus, Centennial, and Cascade hops. Thankfully, they didn’t ignore the malt as the backbone stands up to the hops. Biting and bitter, as an IPA should be, this celebrates hops without being heavy handed. Although it does pack 70 IBUs and 6.2% ABV.

It’s really, really good.

Grade: A

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Lazy Magnolia Brewing Jefferson Stout

Lazy Magnolia Jefferson StoutI have no idea what to expect here from Lazy Magnolia Brewing Jefferson Stout. The title doesn’t reveal much, but when you read on and learn it’s brewed with sweet potatoes and lactose, it’s certainly intriguing.

Aroma is like a milk stout with a big dose of vanilla. Texture is silky smooth. The sweetness from the lactose comes through, along with vanilla. Finish is long, dry, and on the woody side. I’m not tasting any sweet potatoes. While I don’t particularly care for them, I was interested to taste them in a beer. More chocolate noticeable as it warms.

Excellent milk stout. Not sure what to think about the sweet potatoes.


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Big Al Brewing Super Villain

Big Al Super VillainMy first beer from this Seattle brewery, Super Villain. They call it a Cascadian Dark Ale, I still prefer to call the style Black IPA (regardless of the contradiction).

Black body, big beige head and a ton of hops in the aroma. This is a good example of why I like the style so much; there is more to it than just overwhelming hops. Smokey malt, a bit of char, cedar, then the hops come in. More pine than citrus and lingering. It feels big, but the 8.9% ABV is still surprising. Cool label, too.

Grade: A

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New Belgium 1554 Enlighted Black Ale

New Belgium 1554First off, I’m a little confused by New Belgium 1554. The label clearly says it’s an ale, but the only thing they have on the website is a lager. Interesting story on how it was created:

Born of a flood and centuries-old Belgian text, 1554 Black Lager uses a lager yeast strain and dark chocolaty malts to redefine what dark beer can be. In 1997, a Fort Collins flood destroyed the original recipe our researcher, Phil Benstein, found in the library. So Phil and brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, traveled to Belgium to retrieve this unique style lost to the ages. Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and mouthfeel.

After just a little more research, there is a lager on the roster, too, so I’m wondering why the ale is no longer on the website. Anyway, it pours quite dark, not much head. Tight carbonation gives a little bite. Charred malt, marshmallows, black pepper, just a hint of yeast funk. Finish is dry and woody.

Quite nice: B

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