Saturday, January 20, 2018

Guinness 200th Anniversary Export Stout

Bottling code: L7228GG004 22:33

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 16D Foreign Extra Stout

AROMA: Slightly sweet nose with a moderate dark chocolate/dried fruit character. Dark malt is present; deep-roasted/burnt notes are absent. Moderate floral hops. No alcohol, no diacetyl. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque black (44+ SRM). Large, dark tan, foamy froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: For what is normally a dry style, this is rather sweet and fruity. Chocolate flavor is evident up front with an underlying raisin and red apple flavor in the background from esters. Moderate coffee flavor and dry bitterness on the second half, but lacking any overt roastiness or burnt taste. Moderate piney/floral hop presence. No alcohol; no diacetyl. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body with matching carbonation. Texture is quite smooth; somewhat creamy. Tolerably aftertaste of dark malt. Remarkably drinkable at 6% ABV, though this is rather light for the style. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Not a wholly authentic representation of the style, but amazingly close for a mainstream product for American audiences. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 40/50

Friday, January 19, 2018

Lion Stout (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)


Bottling Code: 1701041951

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 16C Tropical Stout

AROMA: A general "fruity" nose, though no specific fruits stand out other than a dark grape character. Licorice also seems to be prominent. There is a slight red wine/vinous character. The dark malt is clearly present, but without the roasty component. No hops (none needed). Slight alcohol presence. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque black (44+ SRM). Extremely large, dark tan, frothy head retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Sweet palette with a fruity/confectionery taste. Black grape, licorice, yeast esters, and dark malts combine for a sweet, fruity, slightly chocolaty taste that is authentic and not sickly sweet. There is only mild roasted malt and coffee-like flavors and bitterness on the back end, which does offer a nice balance. Faint earthy/floral hops. Mild alcohol presence, which complements the presentation. Clean fermentation. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; moderate carbonation. Smooth, creamy texture. Only minor alcohol warmth at 8.8% ABV, but still highly drinkable. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Essentially a prefect Tropical Stout and very enjoyable for such a niche style. 10/10

TOTAL SCORE: 46/50

NOTE: See my 2011 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2011/06/lion-stout-chadz-beer-reviews.html

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Samuel Adams Smoked Lager

Best before date: 5/2018

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 6B Rauchbier

AROMA: Nearly equal parts beechwood smoke and German malt. Neither is too intense, though malt character is a bit stronger. No hops (none needed). Clean lager fermentation.

APPEARANCE: Beautiful, clear, chestnut/mahogany hue (17-27 SRM). Medium tan foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Lightly sweet brown continental malt up front with some Marzen character. Smoke is subtle at first, but becomes quite strong at the apex. This flavor component seems to fade quickly. Finishes with an almost chocolaty flavor. Bitterness is tame with just a subtle dry sensation and no actual hop flavor to speak of. Palette is a bit mild for a Rauchbier. Clean lager fermentation. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-high carbonation. Smooth and quaffable, but not refreshing. No astringency; fairly clean aftertaste. Probably sessionable for some at 5% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Not the most authentic example of the style, but works well as an entry-level Rauchbier. 6/10

TOTAL SCORE: 34/50

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Samuel Adams Coffee Black Lager

Best before date: 5/2018

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 30A Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer (base style: 8B Schwarzbier)

AROMA: Dark malt but not especially roasty. Coffee is quite subtle. There's a mild sweet component to the nose. No hops (none needed). Clean lager fermentation. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Extremely deep ruby/black hue (34-44 SRM). Clear body. Large tan foam. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderate coffee taste throughout. Flavor is akin to a coffee-and-creamer as there is a dairy-like sweetness. Dark malt base is prominent; neutral, not bready. No roasted malt or burnt flavors. Medium-low bitterness; little actual hop flavor (coffee is overriding the hops). Clean lager fermentation. Works well as an SHV brew. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and carbonation. Smooth and highly quaffable. Coffee lingers momentarily for a somewhat bitter aftertaste, otherwise it finishes clean. Plenty of flavor for only 4.9% ABV, but not exactly sessionable . 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Works well as a Schwarzbier with a bonus coffee flavor. Not amazing, but enjoyable for what it is. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 37/50

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)


Canning code: G1515QC 15:05

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 16B Oatmeal Stout

AROMA: Sweet nose of oats; akin to coffee-and-cream or milk chocolate. Roasted malt is quite prominent with a slight smokey character. Slight fruity yeast esters. No hops (none needed). 10/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque black hue (44+ SRM). Very large, dark brown, frothy foam retains and laces wonderfully. 3/3

FLAVOR: Fairly robust and complex palette with roasted malt being the most prominent flavor. It creates for a coffee-like flavor and bitterness and has a slightly smokey aftertaste. Oatmeal is also quite prominent with a mild nutty/grainy flavor and adds sweetness to balance the roasted malt. Subtle fruity yeast esters and chocolate notes can be found in the background. Palette is well-balanced, but actual hop presence is rather low (likely due to age of can). 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; medium carbonation. Creamy texture and high drinkability; though filling. Quite efficient at only 5% ABV. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Fantastic example of the style; it'd be perfect if it were fresh (sweetness is a little too low, IMHO). 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 44/50

NOTE: See my 2009 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2009/02/st-ambroise-oatmeal-stout-chad-friends.html

Monday, January 15, 2018

Budweiser 1933 Repeal Reserve Amber Lager

Best before date: 2/4/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 2B International Amber Lager

AROMA: Quite sweet malty nose with caramel character. Honey is also evident, though likely from oxidation. Faint floral hops. Clean lager fermentation. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Clear reddish-brown hue (17-22 SRM). Large, light tan, rocky froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Fairly sweet caramel malt with a strong honey flavor due to oxidation. Sweetness seems a bit faux. If it were authentically malty it could pass as a helles bock. Bitterness is low with a scant spicy hop flavor. Fermentation is clean, but doesn't seem fully attenuated. Minor alcohol presence. 12/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-low carbonation. Slightly malty aftertaste. Stronger than average at 6.1% ABV, but not stronger in flavor. Easy drinkability, though. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Interesting product considering the brewery. Difficult to judge to style, though. Not bad, but unimpressive. 6/10

TOTAL SCORE: 32/50

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout (2018 re-review)


Best before date: 4/2018

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 16A Sweet Stout

AROMA: Dark malt but without strong roasted or coffee notes. Lactose sugar is fairly prominent. Faint piney/floral hops. Clean fermentation. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Very dark brown to black proper (39-44 SRM). Clear with brown highlights. Small tan creamy head mostly dissipates. 3/3

FLAVOR: Begins with a mix of dark malt and lactose sugar but without intense roastiness or cloying sweetness. At the apex comes brief hop bitterness. Faint piney/floral hop flavor lurks in the background as well. Finish is quite delectable with a sweet milk chocolate candy-like flavor along with subtle fruitiness. Aftertaste is akin to bittersweet chocolate, albeit mild. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; low carbonation (seems  under-carbonated and a bit watery). Texture is smooth, but not creamy per se. Highly drinkable, but rather inefficient at 5.7% ABV as this feels more like a pub-style session stout. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Not perfect, but probably one of the better American examples of the style. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 40/50

NOTE: See my 2016 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2016/02/duck-rabbit-milk-stout-bjcp-scoresheet.html

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Piwo z Grodziska


LOT number: 21.12.2018 09:33

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 27 Historical Style - Piwo Grodziskie

AROMA: Fairly strong smoke character. Smokiness is clean and light; not phenolic. Subtle floral/spicy hops are present as is a light pear-like fruity character. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Pale yellow hue (1-2 SRM). Mostly clear body with champagne-like effervescence. Large white fluffy foam retains and laces extremely well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Smoke is the dominate flavor and is strong to start and finish each swig. The smoke is clean; not acrid or meaty. The malted wheat base is clean graininess, but not bready. Highly attenuated with no residual sweetness. Hops are rather mild with just a touch of floral/spicy flavor and dry bitterness. Subtle fruity character can be found in the background. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Light body; high carbonation. Quaffable and sessionable. Smoke flavor lingers briefly in aftertaste, but is not cloying. Very efficient for only 3.1% ABV. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I know nothing about this style, but I can tell this beer is a great example of it. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 43/50

Friday, January 12, 2018

Belhaven Scottish Ale


Bottling code: T1 17080

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 14C Scottish Export

AROMA: Brown malt with slight caramel/nutty character. Not especially sweet overall. Slight fruity esters. Very low earthy hops. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Mostly clear shade of nut brown mahogany (17-22 SRM). Moderate off-white foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Malt-forward palette, but not sweet or rich. Taste is of brown malt without any roasty or smoke character. Some caramel flavor in the background and a bit of a nutty taste on the finish (though this could also be an earthy taste from the hops). Bitterness is low and dry. Fruity apple-like esters emerge on the aftertaste. No peat character. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. Crisp, but smooth and not spastic. Somewhat refreshing; temptingly sessionable at 5.2% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is what a true Scottish Ale should be. Maybe not the most delicious beer in the world, but to-spec for the style for sure. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 43/50

Thursday, January 11, 2018

DuClaw Sweet Baby Java

Fill date: 10/23/17

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 30A Spice, Herb, or Vegetable beer (base style: 20A American Porter)

AROMA: Fairly strong peanut butter candy character. Generic dark malt base with no fruity or roasty notes (no coffee for that matter, either). 8/12

APPEARANCE: Black body with brown highlights (44+ SRM). Moderate tan creamy foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Dark malt to start with an underlying roasted flavor. Sweet, authentic, chocolate and peanut butter taste emerges at the apex and lasts into the finish. Minor earthy/floral hops with fairly low bitterness (roasted malt provides most of the balancing bitterness). Espresso is extremely subtle and adds little to the original brew other than offering slightly more balance. 12/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full[ish] body; medium carbonation. Smooth, comfortable texture. Quite efficient at 6.2% ABV with no alcohol taste or warmth. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Not a bad beer at all (it's actually quite enjoyable); but it doesn't seem to deliver as marketed and thus doesn't score well as a 30A. 6/10

TOTAL SCORE: 33/50

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Samuel Adams Noble Pils (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Best before date: 5/2018

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 3B Czech Premium Pale Lager

AROMA: Moderate grainy pale malt base. Medium floral hop aroma; slightly spicy. Clean lager fermentation. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Clear golden hue (4-5 SRM). Effervescent body. A moderate amount of white froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Somewhat sweet pale malt base. Malt flavor is grainy-sweet with a slight honey character (nothing rich or bready). Hops are mostly floral with a mild spiciness on the backend. Bitterness is a bit low for the style, though balance is fairly even. Clean lager fermentation. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; medium-high carbonation. Smooth and crisp. Somewhat refreshing. Clean aftertaste. Sessionable at 4.9% ABV. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Mis-marketed as "Bohemian Pilsner", this is closer to a German pils. Tasty beer, but not to spec for the style. 6/10

TOTAL SCORE: 33/50

NOTE: Read my 2010 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2010/02/samuel-adams-noble-pils-chadz-beer.html

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Motorworks Intellectual Property Ale

Fill date: 10/18/17

2015 BJCP Category: 21A American IPA

AROMA: Strong American hop presence with an orange juice concentrate character (general fruity/floral bouquet). Seems almost sweet. Nondescript malt base. Slightly grassy. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Hazy shade of amber/orange (7-9 SRM). Large white creamy foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Hoppy with an orange candy-like flavor at first. Citrus pith is also present. Mild spicy/grassy sensation on the backend. Malt base is simple, but attenuation is a bit low which accounts for the sweetness. Bitterness is fairly strong, but is neither astringent nor dank. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and carbonation. Texture is quite smooth. Beer is quite quaffable at 6.9% ABV with no alcohol taste or warmth. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Has everything you expect and want in an American IPA. Satisfying and drinkable for sure. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 40/50

Monday, January 8, 2018

Big Storm "The Lightning Twenty-Five" Craft Lager

Fill date: 11/17/17

2015 BJCP Category: 2A International Pale Lager

AROMA: Moderate pale malt character; slightly sweet corn cereal presence. Subtle earthy/floral hops. Mostly clean lager fermentation though I do detect a faint fruity note (acetaldehyde). 9/12

APPEARANCE: Banana yellow hue (2-3 SRM); slightly hazy body. Large white soapy foam mostly dissipates but leaves some lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Lightly sweet corn cereal-like flavor up front. Back end is akin to a German lager with authentic pilsner malt character and a slight graham cracker taste. Bitterness is low with a mild spicy/peppery hop flavor. Faint fruity flavor in the aftertaste, otherwise clean. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Light body; medium-high carbonation. Refreshing and sessionable at 4% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Better-tasting than the average macro lager; just a bit flawed in technical merit. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 38/50

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Fuller's London Porter (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)


Best before date: 1/4/18

2015 BJCP Category: 13C English Porter

AROMA: Dark malty base with slight roasted character. Almost no confectionery notes. Low earthy/floral hops. Moderate fruity yeast esters. Faint diacetyl. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Mostly clear shade of deep ruby/mahogany (34 SRM). Moderate tan creamy head retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Malt-forward palette with a browned/roasted malt base. Palette is fairly sweet with dark fruity flavors from the yeast esters (also with a licorice taste). Chocolate is evident throughout, though subtle. Coffee emerges briefly on the finish and lingers briefly in the aftertaste. Bitterness is low with a mild floral hop character. Faint diacetyl lurks in the background, but is not distracting (acceptable for the style). 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-low carbonation. Texture is extremely smooth. Feels like more of an overt session beer than the actual 5.4% ABV. Highly drinkable, regardless. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is what an English Porter should be: malty, fruity, delectable and highly drinkable. 10/10

TOTAL SCORE: 46/50

NOTE: Read my 2012 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2012/11/fullers-london-porter.html

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)


DOB: 6/20/17 (SF20Q1)

2015 BJCP Category: 13B British Brown Ale

AROMA: Brown malt with slight toasty component. Subtle confectionery notes. Hops are moderate with a floral/earthy character. Slight fruity yeast esters. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Mostly clear reddish-brown hue (17-22 SRM). Large tan froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderate brown malt flavor with mild sweetness with toffee and caramel notes. Background nutty/toasty character. Bitterness is fairly low, with a moderate earthy/floral taste. Subtle fruit flavor from the yeast esters can be found in the background, especially on the finish. Aftertaste is briefly sweet, but then dries out quickly. Quite dry for the style. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; medium-high carbonation. Very smooth and high drinkable. Spot-on for 5% ABV and probably sessionable. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: World Class when fresh, but still to-spec and drinkable with some age. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 39/50

NOTE: See my 2009 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2009/03/samuel-smiths-nut-brown-ale-chadz-beer.html

Friday, January 5, 2018

Samuel Adams Oatmeal Stout

BBD: 4/2018

2015 BJCP Category: 16B Oatmeal Stout

AROMA: Lightly sweet authentic oat aroma with a slight dairy-like quality. Moderate roasted malt. Low earthy/floral hops. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Black, but clear with ruby highlights (27-44 SRM). Large tan frothy foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Malt-forward palette with fairly strong roasted flavor throughout but also quite sweet. Absolutely no burnt taste. Oats impart a coffee-and-cream flavor and chocolaty sweetness which is apparent up front and in the aftertaste. Strong roasted malt flavor on the backend. Hops are present throughout to impart a mild earthy/floral flavor and dry bitterness. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-high carbonation. Smooth, but not velvety or silky (may be a bit over-carbonated for the body). Efficient and easily drinkable at 5.5% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Not quite as sweet as most oatmeal stouts (or as I prefer), but certainly to-spec for the style. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 42/50

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Southern Tier Cinnamon Roll

Fill date: 10/10/17

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 34C Experimental Beer

AROMA: Strong authentic cinnamon aroma with a sweet confectionery note (smells like a cinnamon roll). Slight alcohol presence. No distinct malt or hop characteristics. Nice nose, but simple. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Very hazy ruby/brown hue (22-27 SRM). Small tan foam mostly dissipates and leaves no lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Cinnamon is clearly the dominate flavor from beginning to end. Begins with a spice rack-like flavor and morphs into the marketed cinnamon roll taste when sweet caramel flavoring emerges. Balance between these flavors is tight so as to prevent the palette from being cloying or a spice bomb. The base malt is a nondescript brown, though brew seems to be well attenuated. Hops are extremely low in both flavor and bitterness (cinnamon spice does all the work). Alcohol is also noticeable, but works with palette. Overall, it's quite tasty though simplistic. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and carbonation (feels a bit lighter than it should be). Cinnamon lingers in the aftertaste. Mild warmth from the 8.6% ABV, though it is not a sipper. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Unique, interesting, and enjoyable to be sure. This could almost be considered an FMB because it's such a novelty and there's no base style (which is why 34C was exists). 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 37/50

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Green Man IPA


BBD: 4/27/18

2015 BJCP Category: 12C English IPA

AROMA: Hop-forward nose of European varietals (piney/floral/spicy). Malt is fairly prominent with a caramel and slight toasty note akin to that found in classic strong bitters. Slight orange fruity character from yeast esters (and hops?). No overt sulfur or minerals. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Hazy shade of rusty copper (7-9 SRM). Moderate off-white foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Malts and hops are fairly even for an IPA, though the hops are a tad stronger with a piney/spicy/floral flavor. Bitterness is firm, but not aggressive with a dry peppery sensation and matching aftertaste. Malts create for a lightly sweet toffee/caramel flavor. Some orange marmalade-like fruitiness can be found in the background. No sulfur or mineral character. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-high carbonation. Smooth and crisp. Neither refreshing nor sessionable, but quite easy to drink. Feels a little light for 6.2% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: To-spec for the style but could also pass as an AIPA. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 38/50

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Coopers Sparkling Ale


Best After Date: 7/9/14

2015 BJCP Category: 12B Australian Sparkling Ale

AROMA: Strong caramel/honey/lemon presence due to 3.5 years of oxidation. Slight apple/pear character. No hops. Yeasty/brothy. 4/12

APPEARANCE: Ugly rusty copper hue (4-7 SRM). Yeast particles float in suspension. Small white foam mostly dissipates and leaves little lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Interesting palette in that it's both sweet and dry simultaneously. Oxidation has given the bottle a strong caramel taste along with honey/lemon notes. Faint fruity character from yeast, though also a brothy sensation (probably not Butryic acid). Bitterness comes from carbonation rather than hops. Difficult to detect any authentic hop character. Slightly sweet aftertaste. 8/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; medium-high carbonation. Feels like a much lighter brew than 5.8% ABV. Neither refreshing nor quaffable. 2/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Nearly impossible to find fresh in the USA; a bad experience like this is not uncommon. 3/10

TOTAL SCORE: 19/50


Monday, January 1, 2018

Morland Old Golden Hen


DOB: ? (T717066)

2015 BJCP Category: 12A British Golden Ale

AROMA: Moderately-strong tropical fruit scent from the hops. Malt base is fairly generic with slight biscuit character. Touch of diacetyl (acceptable for the style). 10/12

APPEARANCE: Deep golden hue (5-7 SRM). Clear body. Large white frothy foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Reminiscent of an American pale ale with tropical/citrusy hop flavor (actual bitterness is low). The malt base is lightly sweet with a subtle biscuit character. English yeast esters are present. Low enough so as not to be a driving force for the palette, but strong enough to give it a classic English character. Faint diacetyl imparts a buttery flavor which actually seems to work with the hop and malt selection here. Clean, dry aftertaste. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Light body; medium-low carbonation. Smooth but crisp. Very refreshing, crushable and sessionable at only 4.1% ABV.  5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Definitely one of the best commercial examples of the style. If the beer were packaged in cans it'd be a World Class example. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 44/50