Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Oskar Blues IPA

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
ChadPolenz (1630) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 29, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 21A American IPA

AROMA: Tropical fruit juice concentrate; grassy. No malt distinctiveness but otherwise quite nice. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Hazy shade of orange. Small white, soapy foam. 2/3

FLAVOR: Juicy flavor up front with spicy/grassy finish. Bitterness is strong, but not absurd; more dry than dank. Slight garlic or onion flavor in the aftertaste. Some grainy malt presence to offer balance, but not a sweet beer per se. Standard and solid IPA. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; slightly crisp with average CO2. Hops linger momentarily, but they fade eventually. No challenge to drink. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Though a good-tasting beer and a fine example of the IPA style, it doesn’t offer anything new or memorable. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 37/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break


4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20ChadPolenz (1629) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 27, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 30A Spice/Herb/Vegetable (base brew: 20C Imperial Stout)

AROMA: Mostly coffee and vanilla; some dark malt. Additives are nice but obscure the base brew. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Deep black, no highlights. Medium dark tan foam. Plenty of lacing. 3/3

FLAVOR: Slightly bitter up front with roasted malt flavor and light coffee. Very sweet throughout the second half. Strong vanilla taste with black cherry on the finish. I don’t get almond or biscotti-like flavors, though. No alcohol presence, thankfully. Very tasty overall, but borders on cloying. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Not viscous as expected. More of a medium/full body that’s highly carbonated for the style (which makes it easier to drink). No alcohol heat or burn. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Definitely a delectable beer, though it can get a little cloying. Lack of booziness is impressive. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 43/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Brewery review: Ocean Sun Brewing (Orlando, FL)

Ocean Sun Brewing (23)I’ve been to quite a few breweries and brewpubs since I moved to Florida. They’ve ranged from abysmal to adequate to just plain good; though none have left me wanting for more the way Ocean Sun Brewing did.

I went with my friend Maggie who also visited Orlando Brewing Company with me. She lives in Orlando and though she’s not nearly the beer snob enthusiast I am, she seems to enjoy trying new venues, new styles, and expanding her palate – now that’s a good drinking buddy right there.
This was my first visit since they have officially opened and the taproom looks just as good in action as it did during setup when I last saw it. I like the spacious setup of the tasting/dining room. There are not one, but two lounge sections (one by the front door, and one in the back. The bar is quite big with lots of seating, though there are an abundant amount of tables for couples, families and large groups. In fact, Ocean Sun actually rents out their space for events. I’d love to have a business meeting here.

Ocean Sun Brewing (22)
Ocean Sun Brewing (20)
I also like how the brewery itself is in the same space as the rest of the venue. It’s not walled-off or even separated by glass; it’s directly adjacent to the patron area (there is a small gate closing it off). I can’t recall seeing such an intimate setup like this; it makes me want to walk over to the brewing floor and look over the brewers’ shoulders.

So as far as logistics, atmosphere, and architecture go – Ocean Sun Brewing is doing it all right. That it’s located in a strip mall is also nice since it’s easy to access and there’s plenty of parking. But what about the beer? Well, as the headline to this blog indicates, it was pretty impressive. And I don’t just mean it was impressive for a newly-opened small brewpub; I mean the beer quality is impressive in general. I’m not saying it was World Class across the board, just that it’s much better than I was expecting and much better than any other brewery I’ve visited in Florida thus far (to be fair, I haven’t visited all that many breweries in the Sunshine State as of yet).

As always, I ordered a flight of every beer available on tap. There were 10 brews pouring at the time, and Maggie and I decided to split a flight of them all. We sampled them in an odd, random order; but I’ll briefly review them as they’re listed on the menu from top to bottom:
    Ocean Sun Brewing (27)Ocean Sun Brewing (25)Ocean Sun Brewing (26)
  • Sunburst Kolsch (5.2% ABV. 20 IBUs): Though it’s lager-like, Kolsch is actually a difficult style to brew and I’ve yet to see a small brewery make a great one. Ocean Sun’s take is pretty standard: overtly grainy, but at the same time spicy with maybe a hint of fruit in the background. Crisp and quaffable; this would be a fine beer for non-beer drinkers. RATING: 3/5
  • SoDo Saison (6.9% ABV. 43 IBUs): Before I sipped this I literally said “Wow, that’s nice.” Then I drank it and said “Wow, that’s really nice!” There’s a strong lemon presence in the form of taste and aroma, plus the classic saison peppery sensation. It didn’t seem to be quite as hefty as the ABV indicates; though I would consider it versatile: great for warm weather or to pair with a meal. I seriously considered getting a growler of this to take home. RATING: 4.5/5
  • Bumby Blonde Ale (6.7% ABV. 20 IBUs): Every brewpub has a blonde ale, but most are sessionable strength. This is a borderline “imperial” blonde (if such a thing exists). It’s quite sweet with a bit of Macintosh apple flavor to it (and no, it’s not acetaldehyde). Maggie picked up the fruity flavor as well and said this was probably the best beer of the flight. RATING: 4/5
  • 70 SPF Belgian Pale Ale (6% ABV. 35 IBUs): BPA is a style that’s difficult to get right. While I would not say this beer was bad, I will say it didn’t live up to my expectation. It was quite mild and lacking the familiar Belgian qualities you’d expect. Maggie also commented that it was a bit underwhelming, though we both thought it was easily drinkable. RATING: 2.75/5
  • Almost Level Pale Ale (5.2% ABV. 40 IBUs): An American pale ale with a strong piney/resiny aroma and flavor. Could maybe pass as a Session IPA, though it has more body than found in that sub-style. I liked the hop and malt balance; though it didn’t floor me. RATING: 3.25/5
  • Belgian Tripel (8.9% ABV. 33 IBUs): The only beer on the menu without a clever name, but that’s okay – it’s good enough that it’s memorable for its taste. This hits most of the notes for the style; estery, spicy, fruity; bubbly. It’s a tad boozy, but it’s not distracting. Maggie is a big fan of La Fin Du Monde and she thought this was a little similar to that beer. I liked it a lot and noticed it got better as it warmed. I bet a snifter of this in the winter would be great. RATING: 4/5
  • Onatopp Russian Imperial Stout (8.9% ABV. ?? IBUs): There’s a je na sais quois quality to the RIS style not found in other imperial stouts and this beer definitely has it. I was amazed how much this beer tastes and drinks like some of the best examples of the style: black licorice; chocolate; roasted malt; French roast coffee; and a slightly citrusy hop character. This might be the best beer being brewed in Orlando right now. Awesome! RATING: 4.5/5
  • Blue Bags IPA (6.7% ABV. 69 IBUs): Everybody is making either a New England or West Coast style IPA, so it’s nice to see a brewery kicking it old school with a classic East Coast-style IPA with a piney/resiny/herbal quality. This beer kind of reminds me of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA; only a little stronger and tastier. The pale ale seems to be a junior version of this brew. RATING: 4/5
  • West Coast Red Ale (6% ABV. 60 IBUs): Ever had Stone’s Arrogant Bastard? Well, imagine a lighter version of it and that’s what this beer is. In fact, I prefer a less aggressive, more drinkable brew and this succeeds as such. I suppose you could consider it a Red IPA (which the BJCP considers a thing now). Cascade, Chinook and caramel work well together here. RATING: 4/5
  • 2Bucoo4u Black IPA (8% ABV. 60 IBUs): I remember when Black IPAs were all the rage, but they seem to have faded away in recent years. I haven’t had one that’s really amazed me in a long time, so this was a nice reprieve. There’s a lot to like here: citrusy hops; dark malt with coffee and chocolate flavors; and a velvety smooth body. This style isn’t for everyone (Maggie wasn’t too crazy about it); but true beer lovers will probably appreciate this brew. Excellent job, guys. RATING: 4.5/5
NOTE: Check out the lovely lacing on nearly every glass – that’s a good sign of quality beer!

Ocean Sun Brewing (2)
So the beer is really good; the venue is comfortable and convenient – is there anything not to like about Ocean Sun Brewing? Well, my only gripe (and it’s a minor one) is that there’s no in-house kitchen. That being said, you are able to order food from any of the nearby eateries and have it delivered (or bring your own, I suppose). In fact, they’re teaming up with The Gnarly Barley for a three-course brunch and beer session on July 10th, so check that out.

I look forward to seeing how Ocean Sun evolves over time. If they can keep the quality this high on a consistent basis they should be in it for the long haul.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

21st Amendment Down to Earth Session IPA


3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20ChadPolenz (1623) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 25, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 21B Specialty IPA

AROMA: Combination of grassy and tropical fruits. Slight honey/lemon tea note, too. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Mostly clear orange. Medium white foam. Good retention and lacing. 3/3

FLAVOR: Starts with honey/lemon malt flavor, though not especially sweet. Some tropical juice flavor in the background. Assertive bitterness at the crest of the swig followed by a grassy/spicy sensation. Honey/lemon aftertaste. Flavors all work well. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Light/medium body. Consistently crisp with proper CO2 amount (~medium). Not really refreshing, though it finishes mostly clean. Highly drinkable. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is a textbook session IPA for sure, though there are better examples. Not a huge fan of the honey/lemon flavor but hops are nice. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 39/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Southern Tier Salted Caramel

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
ChadPolenz (1622) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 24, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 30A Spice/Herb/Vegetable (base style: 20C Imperial Stout)

AROMA: Salted Caramel ice cream; some vanilla extract. Sweet but not repulsive. Not much base brew aroma. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Inky opaque black; no highlight. Small, tan, foam. Poor retention. 2/3

FLAVOR: Strong salted caramel flavor immediately, followed by traditional imperial stout character. Dark malt is robust through middle with slight sour grape flavor. No roasted/burnt malt. Hops impart dry bitterness to balance the additives’ sweetness. Finishes with a creme brulee taste. Alcohol is noticeable, but not distracting. Palette is a bit simple and repetitive, but very tasty. A borderline FMB. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Full-bodied for sure with low CO2 (acceptable for style). Texture is a little sticky with gentle alcohol warmth. Some lingering dryness which fades eventually. Can be sipped or gulped. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: It delivers on its name; though it’s rather repetitive and borderline gimmicky. Still, taste is great as is drinkability. Plenty to like here. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 40/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Funky Buddha Last Snow


4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20ChadPolenz (1621) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 23, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 30A Spice/Herb/Vegetable (base brew: 20A American Porter)

AROMA: Strong toasted coconut aroma. Smells authentic - not like suntan lotion. Coffee is a light/medium roast. Slight cinnamon. Sweet overall, but not faux or sickly. 11/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque black with faint red highlight. Small, dark tan foam. Some lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Sweet, milky/creamy flavor up front (not chocolate). Dark malt but no roast or burnt flavor. Coconut flavor emerges at the apex followed by coffee. Faint cinnamon or other spice in the aftertaste. Flavors all blend quite well. Palette has mellowed after six months, but still delicious and impressive. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body with medium/low carbonation. Smooth texture; highly quaffable. No alcohol presence. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: When fresh, this is an arguably world class S/H/V beer. Even with some age it’s still excellent. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 44/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA (2016 re-review)


4.6
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20ChadPolenz (1620) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 22, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 21A American IPA

AROMA: Strong hoppy aroma; equal parts tropical fruit juice and dank resin. Some grass. No distinct malt aroma. 11/12

APPEARANCE: Burnt amber/flame orange. Quite hazy but visible CO2. Two-finger, off-white froth. Plenty of lace. 3/3

FLAVOR: Plenty of hops throughout. Tropical fruit to start with pine and resin on finish. Bitterness is dank throughout with a dryness on the end. Malt base imparts slight sweetness in the form of orange marmalade. Delectable all around and a textbook example of the style. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Though potent at 7.5% ABV, body is only medium with a consistent crispness. Hops linger with slight dryness but is not harsh. Alcohol is virtually undetectable. Smooth and quaffable (but not refreshing). 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Pretty much a perfect IPA in every way. That it’s so consistent after many years of production and on such a large scale is amazing. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 46/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination. 
 NOTE: Read and watch my original 2010 review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2010/05/cigar-city-jai-alai-ipa-chadz-beer.html

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Stone Stochasticity Project HiFi+LoFi Mixtape (2015 vintage)


4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20ChadPolenz (1620) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 21, 2016




2015 BJCP Category: 22B American Strong Ale

AROMA: Interesting mix of citrusy hops, Brett tartness, and vanilla/wood aromatics. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Amber/orange hue; hazy body with small CO2. Large, off-white froth. Fine lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Full of flavor despite 13 months of age. Strong hop presence with taste of citrus concentrate. Bitterness fairly strong. Malty for sure, with some caramel/toffee notes but mostly a general (but reserved) sweetness for balance. A hint of Brett tartness on the finish. All the flavors work very well together. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium CO2, though body is medium-full. No sticky or cloying presence; but not crisp per se. Some astringency from the hops. Alcohol is well hidden. Smooth. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A beer as interesting as it is tasty. Definitely a worthwhile project. Age hasn’t harmed it. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 42/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Victory Golden Monkey


3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20ChadPolenz (1619) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 20, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 26C Belgian Tripel

AROMA: Plenty of pale malt and yeast ester spices. Light banana; lemon peel; coriander? 9/12

APPEARANCE: Maize hue; cloudy body but CO2 visible. Small, white foam. 2/3

FLAVOR: 1-2 combo of peppery spice and citrus flavor. Grainy sweet malt with minor honey presence. Some coriander or similar spice on the finish; though the nature esters impart plenty of flavor, too. Alcohol is a minor, but contributing component of the palette. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Carbonation is strong, but fine. Body is medium and comfortable in the mouth. Alcohol warmth is noticeable, but subtle. Not as strong as you’d think. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I’ve had this on tap and it was outstanding; bottle isn’t quite as good (and possibly aged). Definitely to-spec and satisfying, though. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 38/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Spencer Trappist Ale (2016 re-review)


3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20ChadPolenz (1618) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 19, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 26A Trappist Single

AROMA: Sweet orangepeel and honey plus slight clove/nutmeg spiciness. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Orange/cloudy amber. Body is hazy, but CO2 visible. Billowy off-white foam. 2/3

FLAVOR: More sweet than bitter, with pronounced orange character. Slight coriander or other peppery spice (from the yeast esters). Slight lemony/honey flavor indicative of oxidation. Yeasty. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; well-carbonated but not prickly. Goes down smooth and finishes dry. Not boozy. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Probably an old bottle; doesn’t improve with age. Enjoyable for what it is, though. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 36/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Brewery review: Two Henrys Brewing (Plant City, FL)

Two Henrys Brewing (1)
We all know that Tampa is the beer capital of Florida, but there are plenty of breweries in the outskirts of the metro area. Some are worth the drive, such as Two Henrys Brewing Company of Plant City. This venue originally started as the Keel & Curley Winery, which was expanded into a brewery back in 2014. They also make a variety of ciders and have a newly-opened kitchen serving “upscale pub style food.” Plus, it also serves as an outdoor event space. Man, this place has got it all, eh?

I arranged a meetup here for the Lakeland Craft Beer Enthusiasts, as several other members of the club said they had been before and had a good time. It sounded like an ideal place for our group to get together and try some brews, and sure enough it was.

Two Henrys Brewing (4)

My first impression of the venue is that it’s quite large. In fact, the outdoor seating is much larger than the indoor tasting room. There was a band playing at the time, but oddly enough, nobody was sitting outside. I wonder if that’s the Catch-22 of trying dine “al fresco” in Florida – it’s so hot and humid that despite the plentiful sunshine, people would actually prefer to sit inside with the air conditioning.

Two Henrys Brewing (17) Two Henrys Brewing (16)

Anyway, the tasting room is quite large, though very dark. There are actually three separate bars: one for beer; one for cider and one for wine. The beer and cider bars are quite large with plenty of seating and there are many hightop tables in the middle of the room. I noticed there were several servers and staff about, so no matter where you choose to sit you’ll be attended to pretty quickly.
Naturally, I ordered a sampler flight of five 4oz pours ($10). Here’s the rundown:

Two Henrys Brewing (8)
Two Henrys Brewing (10)
Belleview Biltmore Blueberry Vanilla Wheat (5.3% ABV): One thing you’ll notice about this brewery/winery/cidery is that they make a lot of fruit-flavored beverages, especially blueberry (they grow their own on site). Usually, blueberry wheat beers are pretty boring and/or faux-tasting, but this was remarkably good and genuine. Very creamy with a delectable combination of blueberry and vanilla. It’s so smooth it’s like it’s on nitro. Two Henrys just started canning this so I may have to pick some up. RATING: 4/5.

Ginger’s Peach Farmhouse Ale (4.9% ABV): I’m not usually a fan of adding fruit to saisons since the style tends to be tasty enough on its own (pale wheat ales, on the other hand….). This was pleasantly surprising since – as a good fruit beer should – it balanced the core style with the fruity additive. Peach seemed wholly authentic, not faux or overly sweet. It worked well as a bonus flavor. I’ll bet this combo would be even better with a secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces. RATING: 3.5/5.

Steam Engine Belgian Blonde (6.7% ABV): Something seemed off about this one. It didn’t have the usual Belgian esters; at least not to the extent that is normal for the style. Perhaps the yeast was stressed or fermented at the wrong temp, but this seemed a little dirty to me. Other members of the meetup group also made similar comments. I came back to it later when it had warmed up and it improved a little, but not to the point of being really enjoyable. RATING: 2.5/5.

Two Henrys Brewing (13)Belgian Tripel (9.1% ABV): Much like the previous brew, there was something off about this one as well. It had more flavor than the blonde, and I found the esters to be much more pronounced. One of my fellow meetup members said he found a slight sulfur character in it. Personally, I think the beer was okay, but not as good as I prefer my Tripels to be. RATING: 3/5.

Cowcatcher Chocolate Milk Stout (4.9% ABV): I like it when breweries make classic styles well; it’s actually a vanishing art form since so many American breweries are obsessed with making hoppy and wildly experimental styles. This is definitely what I would consider a “to spec” milk stout: roasty, sweet; well-balanced; smooth and sessionable. I was told by the lovely bartender Staci that cocoa nibs are added to it which gives it a slightly spicy/dark chocolate flavor. This would be something I’d buy in cans, too. RATING: 4/5.

Two Henrys Brewing (14)Roasted Jalapeno Blueberry Porter (6.5% ABV): This was my first and last beer of the night. I actually had a small 1oz sample before the rest of the group arrived and I was delighted by the balance of blueberry, porter and jalapeno. After I finished my sampler flight, I wanted to try a 4oz pour of this again to see how it would hold up compared to the rest of the brews. To my surprise, it was just as good the second time around. The blueberry definitely is the dominate flavor; quite sweet but nowhere near cloying. Some light roasted malt with the jalapeno spice lurking in the background. The pepper comes out more as the beer warms and after repeated sips, but it never burns or becomes annoying. Believe it or not, I think this would be a great beer to have with spicy wings or savory beef. The best beer of the night! RATING: 4.5/5.

There are two other beers on tap I didn’t get to drink, though I have given a formal review to the 7 Mile Bridge IPA (which is a well done English-style IPA). Next time I’ll give the Gilded Age Golden Lager a try. And yes, there definitely will be a next time because I really enjoyed my visit here. In fact, I feel like this review a little incomplete since I didn’t get to try any of the food. For some reason, I couldn’t tell that there was a food menu from looking at the website.

If Two Henrys/Keel & Curley winery was a little closer to me I would definitely be a regular here. I recommend taking a road trip here for anyone on the Tampa-to-Orlando I-4 corridor.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Köstritzer Schwarzbier


3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20ChadPolenz (1618) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 16, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 8B Schwarzbier

AROMA: Dark roasted malt, but sweet iced coffee scent, too. Familiar lager aroma. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Deep ruby red/mahogany; seemingly black. Body is filtered. Small, tan, foam. 2/3

FLAVOR: Lightly sweet dark malts. Mild bitterness in the background. Finishes with some coffee/roasted malt flavor. Aftertaste does not linger. Not very exciting, but not bad. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body, though texture is a bit watery. Neither crisp nor flat. Smooth. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Seems like a pedestrian Schwarzbier; not bad - just far from great. 6/10

TOTAL SCORE: 33/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

M.I.A. Mega Mix


3.7
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20ChadPolenz (1617) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 15, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 18B American Pale Ale

AROMA: Huge hop aroma, especially tropical fruit; candy; melon. No malt presence, though. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Orange proper hue; fairly cloudy; no visible CO2. Small, off white foam. Decent lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: High hop flavor from start to finish. Taste is quite grassy and pithy; slightly spicy. Not juicy or fruity as the aroma would indicate. Bitterness is quite high for the style; this could pass as an IPA. No malt distinctiveness - just enough presence to offer support. Dry, bitter aftertaste. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Body seems light for the ABV. Never "thin," just lighter than expected; always crisp. Perhaps a little over-carbed. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: The hop presence is enjoyable, but the beer is a little out of balance. Less bitterness, more malt presence and body and it’d be a perfect pale ale. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 37/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Wolters Weizen


3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20ChadPolenz (1616) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 14, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 10A Weissbier

AROMA: Estery to be sure with light clove, banana and slight lemony character. More on the sweet, rather than spicy side. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Pale golden hue; mostly clear with consistent effervescence visible. Large, white, mousse-like froth. Great lacing. 3/3

FLAVOR: Bready flavor throughout with tingling spice/carbonation friction on the tongue. Not as estery tasting as it smells. Trace banana and bubblegum on the backend. Some clove/pepper sensation in the aftertaste. Palette may be mild due to age of the can, but still decent. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Delivers as a hefeweizen should: bubbly medium-light body; refreshing while in the mouth with a dry finish. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This should be awesome, but it’s only ok probably due to the age of the can. Still, fun and easy to drink. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 37/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Monday, June 13, 2016

21st Amendment Monk's Blood


3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20ChadPolenz (1615) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 13, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 30A Spice/Herb/Vegetable (base style: 26D Belgian Dark Strong Ale)

AROMA: Dark fruit is prominent plus a general spice scent. Malty, but not indications of faux sweetness. No hops or alcohol presence. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Burgundy hue; dark but mostly transparent. Small, tan, foamy head. 2/3

FLAVOR: Malty sweet throughout with some spice on the finish. Spices and additives are subtle. The base brew carries most of the weight. On-point for specs, but not to a commendable degree. Palette is enjoyable, but mild. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium light body; well carbonated but not spastic or sharp. Alcohol comes through in the flavor, but not as heat. Finishes entirely too clean. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Doesn’t seem very authentic, though the taste is good. Works better as a 30A than a 26D. 6/10

TOTAL SCORE: 34/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Samuel Adams Boston Lager (2016 re-review)


4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20ChadPolenz (1614) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 11, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 7A Vienna Lager

AROMA: Fairly intense malt aroma; sweet caramel notes. Some floral/spicy hops. Clean lager character. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Deep amber/slightly reddish copper. Crystal clarity with CO2 always present. Fairly large, white, frothy persistent head. 3/3

FLAVOR: Soft malt presence, but quite flavorful. Caramel/toffee flavors without becoming cloying. Strong hop presence with floral and spicy notes. Bitter, but restrained. Perfectly balanced. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Body is fairly strong for 4.9% ABV. Medium sized, crisp; clean dry aftertaste. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: To-spec in pretty much every way. Not sure why BJCP doesn’t have this listed as a commercial example of the style. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 44/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

How to make ANY IPA taste like a fruity IPA!

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I don't know how or why, but for some reason, American craft beer drinkers decided that drinking IPAs with hops that already have a citrusy aroma and taste to them just wasn't good enough. They needed their hop bombs to also be fruit bombs, and thus the fruit-infused IPA was born (Ballast Point's Grapefruit Sculpin probably birthed this
fadtrend). Today, every brewery from your local brewpub to Samuel Adams is making an IPA with grapefruit, tangerine, blood orange, mango, pineapple, or some other citrus or tropical fruit added. And they're charging a premium for it since beer geeks absolutely have to hop on a bandwagon no matter how silly it is ("hard" root beers are sooooo 2015).

Maybe you're disappointed that your favorite brewery hasn't released a overly faux fruity version of your favorite IPA. Not to worry, I'll show you how to make any (literally any) IPA taste like a fruit-infused IPA in just a few easy steps!

Step 1: Select your favorite IPA you wish had a fruity flavor.
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Step 2: Go to the water/sports drink/soda aisle of your local supermarket and pick out a flavor of "water enhancer."
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Even the store brand will work:
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Step 3: Pour the beer into a glass.
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Step 4: Squirt the water enhancer into the beer.
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Step 5: Enjoy!
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Wasn't that easy? Now you can make your own
alcoholic Kool-Aidfruit-infused IPA without having to wait for the brewery to do it for you! (seriously, this is pretty much all they do)

Next week I'll show you how to make any stout or porter taste like mocha!
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Recommended reading:
Why is craft beer emulating alcopops?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Green Bench Sunshine City IPA


3.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20ChadPolenz (1614) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 8, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 21A American IPA

AROMA: Pungent tropical fruit and piney resin. Some melon, bubblegum, and berry character too. 11/12

APPEARANCE: Amber/pale orange. Cloudy body some some CO2 is visible. Small, off white foam; decent lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: High hop flavor; strong bitterness right away. Seems higher than the 68 IBUs mentioned on the can. hops don’t taste the same as they smell; more a dry, astringent bitterness. Some citrus pith on the finish, but nothing juicy about it. Malt offers support, but not sweetness. Fine palette, but nothing exciting. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; well carbonated. No alcohol presence, but aftertaste is astringent and biting. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A fine IPA with plenty of bitterness, but needs more actual hop flavor. 6/10

TOTAL SCORE: 33/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sixpoint Puff

4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1613) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 5, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 22A Double IPA

AROMA: Dank resiny hops; some tropical fruit and slight garlic. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Flame orange, hazy body. Small, eggshell foam. Mostly dissipates; little lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Intensely dank and resiny hops immediately. Followed by grassy/spicy hops on the finish. Some fruity sweetness lingers in the background and even a bit in the aftertaste. Though not malty per se, there’s enough presence to give it a firm backbone. Well-balanced palette. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium+ body; strong and dense but not syrupy. Well carbonated. Alcohol is prominent and burns the sinuses initially. Adds minor warmth but no flavor. Drinkability is good though. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A very good DIPA. Satisfying and enjoyable, though I feel like I’ve had this beer before. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 40/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Brew Hub Umatilla Coffee Barleywine (2015 vintage)

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20Chad9976 (1612) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUN 4, 2016


2015 BJCP Category: 30A Spice/Herb/Vegetable (base brew: 22C American Barleywine)

AROMA: A sweet coffee and milk chocolate scent. No hops or distinct malt aromas, though alcohol is present. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Burgundy proper hue; quite clear. Moderate amount of tan foam when poured, but evaporates quickly. 2/3

FLAVOR: Sweet from beginning to end with a slight chocolate candy taste. Slight flavor or red fruit or a general fruit punch sensation linger in the background. Alcohol imparts some brandy-like notes. Coffee emerges on the finish and complements the base brew well to offer a slight contrast of bitterness and roast. Hops are not distinctive, but still strong enough to offer balance. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium+ body (probably was bigger when fresh but has declined a bit with age). Alcohol warmth is prominent, but tame. Finishes slight sweet. Difficult to drink more than a swig at a time. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Not quite as good as a fresh draught pour, though the bottle has been preserved well after almost a year. No obvious oxidation. Palette is interesting and delectable. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 37/50

DISCLAIMER: The author is not a certified BJCP judge; therefore, this score sheet is not necessarily indicative of proper BJCP judging techniques and protocol. The author is grading to 2015 BJCP Guidelines in order to prepare for examination.