Thursday, March 22, 2018

Weyerbacher Funky Monks

Fill date: 1/3/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 28B Mixed-Fermentation Sour Beer (base style: 26C Belgian Tripel)

AROMA: Fairly strong wild character with notes of green pear and apple; clean lacto/lemon juice acidity; and a slight farmhouse quality. Slightly wheaty base malt, but no other major distinguishable character. No obvious hop aroma. No alcohol. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Yellow/pale orange hue (2-4 SRM). Cloudy body. Very large foam initially, but mostly dissipates due to acidity. 3/3

FLAVOR: Wild character dominates the palette throughout. Lightly sour at first with a dry tartness on the backend. Sourness is clean lacto; almost candy-like (though intensity is moderate). Base tripel style is rather obscured with only a subtle spicy taste from hops/yeast esters. There is a lemon zest flavor that seems to be accentuated by the microbes. Alcohol is noticeable, but tame. While palette is enjoyable, it is a bit simplistic and base style is obscured. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderate carbonation (should be much more effervescent). Smooth and easily drinkable with little alcohol presence despite 9.3% ABV. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Interesting, commendable brew. Final product is a bit too simplistic and mainstream to score highly in this style. 6/10


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

21st Amendment Baby Horse

Fill date: ?

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 26D Belgian Dark Strong Ale

AROMA: Strong banana-like esters with some clove/spicy phenolic character. Nose is closer to a German hefeweizen than a true Belgian quad. Missing malt and fruit complexity. No notes of alcohol or hops (none needed). 8/12

APPEARANCE: Hazy reddish-copper hue (13-17 SRM). Moderate, tan froth retains and laces well. 2/3

FLAVOR: Sweet and spicy combination of malts, sugars, and yeast character. Flavor is somewhat rich likely due to Belgian syrup use. There is a spicy/peppery flavor in the background that imparts a banana and clove taste, but not other distinct fruits. Bitterness is moderate with a drying sensation that lingers into the aftertaste. Alcohol is quite noticeable and works in conjunction with the hops to balance the palette. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderately-high carbonation. Minor alcohol warmth from the 9.5% ABV, but it does not burn. Overall drinkability is good. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: More to spec than not, but seems a bit faux or Americanized. Tasty and drinkable, but missing authenticity. 6/10


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Rivertown Roebling Nitro Vanilla Espresso Imperial Porter

Fill date: 1/18/18

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

AROMA: Moderately-strong dark malt aroma without any roasted character. There is a slight dairy-like sweetness. Espresso and vanilla are completely lacking. No discernible hop smell. 7/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque black with brown highlights (44+ SRM). Moderate amount of tan soapy suds mostly evaporate and leave no lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Dark malt flavor throughout, but lacking in any roasty flavor. Not especially sweet until the vanilla emerges (briefly) after the apex. Hops create for slight earthy/piney flavor and moderate bitterness. Espresso is nowhere to be found. Palette is remarkably tame for an "imperial" brew. Clean aftertaste. 9/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderately-low carbonation. Marketed as a nitro beer, there is no widget in the can. Mouthfeel seems the same as any other standard carbonation brew. A bit thin and tepid. Supposedly 7.9% ABV, this drinks like a standard table porter (no alcohol taste or warmth). 2/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Considering the ingredients, this should be amazing, but is merely "meh" at best. It is not the liquid dessert you'd expect. Very amateurish product. 4/10


Monday, March 19, 2018

Dinkelacker CD-Pils

Fill date: 7/7/17

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 5D German Pils

AROMA: Medium-low grainy-sweet malt character with very light honey and cracker character. Moderately-low spicy/floral Noble hop presence. Clean lager fermentation. All aromatics are nice and to-spec for style; just low in intensity. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Mostly clear pale golden/yellow hue (1-3 SRM). Large, white, billowy head mostly dissipates. 2/3

FLAVOR: Close to even balance of clean, grainy-sweet pale malt and spicy/floral hops, though all flavor components are mild. Malt has a faint sweetness with just a hint of honey. Hop bitterness is moderate to low (which is rather tame for the style). Finish is quite clean; neither hops nor malts linger. Subtle oxidation is present. Clean lager fermentation. 12/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; medium-low[ish] carbonation (feels undercarbonated). More smooth than crisp. Refreshing and quaffable. Very sessionable at 4/9% ABV. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I'm sure this is on-point when fresh. The aged cans most American drinkers will encounter just don't do it justice. 6/10


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Burial Ceremonial Session IPA

Fill date: 11/2/17

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21B Specialty IPA: Session IPA

AROMA: Fairly strong citrusy hoppy aroma of lemon zest and a slight peppery note. Nondescript malt base; no specialty character. Seemingly complete and clean fermentation. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Very cloudy pale yellow hue (1-4 SRM). Large white soapy suds mostly dissipate. 2/3

FLAVOR: Moderate hop flavor throughout with a lemony character (mostly the pith, but some fruit). Some saison-like spice/pepper notes, though subtle. A brief hop nibble at the apex, but actual bitterness is too tame for the style (even the listed 35 IBUs seems a bit high). Malt base is light and slightly wheaty; reminiscent of a blonde ale. Fairly high attenuation. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; medium-high carbonation. Quite refreshing and highly drinkable. Ideal summer beer at only 4% ABV (especially in 16oz cans). 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Tasty and highly drinkable to be sure, though the hops are too subtle even by session IPA standards. Better considered a pale ale or blonde. 6/10


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Pair O' Dice Hop Bet Red IPA

Fill date: ?

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21B Specialty IPA: Red IPA

AROMA: Malty presence with confectionery sweet notes; almost British-like in their character (toffee, caramel). There is a fairly prominent grapefruit and general floral aroma, though it is a bit tamer than most IPAs. Slight fruity scent. No alcohol presence. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Dark, cloudy burgundy/rusty copper hue (17-34 SRM). Moderate tan foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Malt-forward palette with sweet confectionery flavors of toffee and caramel throughout, and just a touch of chocolate in the aftertaste. Hops are subtle at first, but become a bit stronger on the finish with a grapefruit pith/floral flavor. Actually bitterness is about medium. Slightly resiny hoppy note on the aftertaste, though it is not astringent or cloying. Subtle, nondescript fruity flavor can be found in the background. Mild alcohol presence, but it is clean. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderate carbonation. Smooth texture. Dryish finish. Feels a little lighter than 6.5% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Walks a fine line between a true Red IPA and a hoppy amber ale. Mostly to-spec for the style it's marketed as. 7/10


Friday, March 16, 2018

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Fill date: 10/18/17

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21B Specialty IPA: Brown IPA

AROMA: Moderate brown malt with plenty of specialty character (nutty, toasty, chocolaty). Hops are medium at most with a floral/earthy character (should be much stronger). Clean fermentation. No alcohol presence. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Beautiful, clear ruby/brown hue (17-34 SRM). Moderate tan foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Quite malt-forward for an IPA. Assorted dark malts create for nutty, toasty and chocolaty flavors. Palette is a bit sweet, though there is enough hop bitterness to balance it out. Actual hop flavor is medium-low with a subtle floral note. Hops may have faded due to age of the bottle, but brew meets specs otherwise. Clean fermentation. No alcohol presence. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and carbonation. Smooth texture, but not creamy. Drinks and feels like something more of a traditional standard strength than 7.2% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This beer demonstrates the versatility of the Brown IPA style quite well. Probably amazing when fresh. 8/10


NOTE: See my 2011 original review here:

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lagunitas Night Time Ale

Fill date: 10/30/17

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21B Specialty IPA: Black IPA

AROMA: Moderately-high orange citrus from the hops. Some pine character as well, though not intensely resiny. Malt base is fairly neutral with a subtle coffee note. No alcohol presence. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Clear, deep brown/black proper hue (34-44 SRM). Large dark tan froth retains and laces very well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Familiar West Coast IPA flavors of orange citrus and slight perfume and flowers. Second half becomes a bit more dank with a standard piney flavor. Malt base is mostly nondescript with no particular sweetness. Only a mild iced coffee character from roasted malts. Bitterness is moderately-high with a hoppy; non-astringent aftertaste. Alcohol is invisible. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and carbonation. Texture is smooth; but short of being creamy or velvety. Remarkably drinkable for 8.2% ABV (feels more like a standard strength brew). 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is what a West Coast style Black IPA should be for sure. Though typical, it is tasty and drinkable. 8/10


Monday, March 12, 2018

Big Storm Oats in Hose Oatmeal Stout

Fill date: 11/28/17

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

AROMA: Dark malty presence with slight oatmeal and chocolate presence. No indication of over sweetness. Slight tang seems to be present. Mild fruity character. No discernible hops (none needed). No alcohol. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque black hue (44 SRM). Large, tan, foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Dark malt character throughout; but lacking any deeply roasty notes or coffee flavor. There is a mild sweetness, but the flavor is not oatmeal per se (more like cola, but could simply be yeast esters). Low bitterness; no distinguishable hop flavor. Very faint tang in the background (likely due to damaged can). No alcohol warmth or taste. 11/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; moderate carbonation. Smooth to be sure, but not silky or velvety. Feels lighter than 6.5% ABV. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Closer to a standard stout as the oatmeal really doesn't stand out. Good drinkability, though. 5/10


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Surly 60 Below Rye IPA

Fill date: 1/25/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21B Specialty IPA: Rye IPA

AROMA: Moderately-strong citrusy hops (orange juice concentrate and grapefruit peel). Moderately-strong malt presence; slightly bready with a distinguishable rye character. Very faint fruity yeast esters. A touch of butterscotch (could be diacetyl or could be the alcohol). 9/12

APPEARANCE: Dark copper hue (12-27 SRM); cloudy body. Large, tan, soapy foam mostly dissipates and leaves no lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Quite malt-forward for an IPA. Palette is a bit sweet with plenty of bready maltiness. Rye is a garnish flavor; subtle at first, but a bit stronger on the finish. Hops are moderate with a dank, citrusy flavor. Bitterness is fairly high between the hops and the rye. Finish is quite dry as the hops and rye linger, though I would not say it's astringent. There does seem to be a subtle butterscotch or vanilla flavor (possibly diacetyl, but could be the alcohol). 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; moderate carbonation. Smooth, but feels just a bit undercarbonated. Makes full use of its 6.5% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I'd prefer a little more rye flavor, but otherwise everything works pretty well together. 8/10


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Houblon Chouffe (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Best before date: 01/2019

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21B Specialty IPA: Belgian IPA

AROMA: Pungent nose of both spicy/floral continental hops and citrusy/spicy Belgian yeast esters and phenolics. Base malt is clean and grainy-sweet with no specialty character. No alcohol presence. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Hazy shade of maize/gold (4-5 SRM). Large, bright white, frothy marshmallow-style foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Bitter and robust in all aspects. Hops and yeast character combine to form a spicy/floral taste throughout (akin to rye). Subtle pome fruit flavors can be sensed, though there are no citrus or banana notes. Bitterness is quite high with a drying sensation and spicy aftertaste. Base malt is lightly grainy-sweet with no specialty character and firm enough for balance. Alcohol is clean and does not intrude on the palette. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; high carbonation. Effervescent, yet smooth; briefly refreshing. Quite drinkable for 9% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: An interesting and delectable hybrid of the Imperial IPA and Belgian tripel styles. Different from what American hopheads are used to. 9/10


NOTE: See my 2013 original review here:

Friday, March 9, 2018

New Belgium Accumulation

Best before date: 3/25/2018

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21B Specialty IPA: White IPA

AROMA: Fairly strong orange citrus from American hops. Slight pineapple. No Belgian yeast esters. Malt base is present, but has no specialty character. No alcohol presence. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Very hazy pale golden hue (2-4 SRM). Large white froth retains and laces fairly well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Orange-flavored throughout; beginning with a slight juicy flavor and finishing with more of a bitter pith/peel taste. Bitterness is moderate. There are no flavors of coriander or Belgian yeast esters. There is a subtle spiciness, but is not entirely representative of a witbier character. Beer is better viewed as a West Coast-style IPA or even a pale ale than a true White IPA. 12/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-high carbonation. Smooth; almost creamy. Somewhat refreshing. Highly drinkable; though feels much lighter than 6.2% ABV. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Has the appearance and orange character of the style, but is missing most everything else. Enjoyable, but not really to spec. 6/10


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Surly Furious (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Fill date: 1/25/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21B Specialty IPA - Red IPA

AROMA: Moderately-strong American hop presence with citrus and floral notes. There is a notable malt presence with slight toffee note; perhaps some fruity yeast esters. No alcohol. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Slightly cloudy copper/red hue (13-17 SRM). Large off-white foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Malty for sure with subtle caramel and toast flavors, though not especially sweet. Hops are dank with a resiny/piney character up front and a citrus juice concentrate taste on the backend. Bitterness is quite high and proportionate. Aftertaste is about even with both malt and hop flavors lingering briefly. Light, clean alcohol is present and complements the palette. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderate carbonation. Smooth texture, but should be a little more effervescent. The 6.7% ABV seems a tad high, though overall drinkability is good. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Solid, smooth, well-made American IPA with a red flourish. 7/10


NOTE: See my 2011 original review here:

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Shmaltz Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Bottling code: 1236A7

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21B Specialty IPA: Rye IPA

AROMA: Sweet nose of strong maltiness and oxidation (honey/lemon sherry). Hops seem to be citrusy and floral. Rye malt is quite subtle; likely undetectable by the layman. 7/12

APPEARANCE: Very hazy copper/burgundy hue (13-17 SRM). Large, light tan, foam retains and laces well. 2/3

FLAVOR: Fairly strong maltiness throughout. Taste is sweet with a rich, bready character akin to a dopplebock; though oxidation also imparts a notable honey/lemon flavor as well. Rye presence is a bit obscure and only emerges briefly on the finish with a slight spiciness. Hops are moderate with a noticeable, dank, citrusy flavor almost like orange juice concentrate. Aftertaste is bittersweet; almost chocolaty. Alcohol is present, but tame. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; medium-low carbonation. Smooth, but almost syrupy. Light alcohol warmth from the 10% ABV. Quite drinkable for such a strong brew. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Unbalanced, though that's likely due to the age of the bottle. Needs more rye and higher attenuation. 6/10


NOTE: See my 2012 original review here:

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Surly Hell (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Fill date: 1/17/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 7C Pale Kellerbier

AROMA: Fairly clean grainy malt with a slight honey character. Medium-low spicy/floral hops. Slight acetaldehyde but not diacetyl or DMS. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Mostly clear golden hue (2-4 SRM). Surprisingly clear for an unfiltered brew. Large white froth retains and laces very well. 2/3

FLAVOR: Malt-forward palette to be sure, but fairly well attenuated as there is not much residual sweetness. Beer is not bone dry, either. Pils malt is fairly prominent with a faint honey taste. Hops are low with a spicy/floral flavor and a subtle, but firm dry bitterness. Aftertaste is about even. There is a slight tang from acetaldehyde (acceptable for the style). Could pass as a 4A or 2A. Decent, enjoyable offering as a Pale Kellerbier, though. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light[ish] body; medium carbonation. Smooth, but still slightly crisp. Refreshing and highly quaffable. Feels a bit lighter than 5% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Whether this is intended to be a true Pale Kellerbier is up for debate, but it can certainly pass as such. 7/10


NOTE: See my 2015 original review here:

Monday, March 5, 2018

Surly Xtra-Citra Pale Ale

Fill date: 1/20/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 18B American Pale Ale

AROMA: Very strong citrus peel aroma; slight grassy or spicy character. Low supportive malt base with no specialty character. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Slightly hazy yellow/golden hue (2-5 SRM). Moderate white foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderate dry bitterness with a taste akin to lemon or grapefruit peel (nothing juicy or fruity). A subtle spicy/grassy flavor lingers at first and becomes a bit stronger on the finish. Base malt is low in flavor and specialty character, but has enough presence for balance. Well-attenuated with a dry aftertaste of hops. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Light body; high carbonation. Crisp and refreshing. Very sessionable and crushable at 4.5% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A tasty and highly drinkable pale ale (though it could pass for a SIPA). 8/10


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sierra Nevada Experimental Hop Session IPA

Fill date: 1/8/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21B Specialty IPA

AROMA: Moderate hoppy aroma with notes of coconut, lemon peel, and a general herbal/grassy character. Malt base is akin to that a German Helles or pils with a clean grainy malt base with no implied sweetness. Clean fermentation. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Slightly hazy golden hue (2-4 SRM). Moderate white froth retains and laces fairly well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Hop flavor is moderate with slight lemon peel flavor at first, and a coconut/herbal/grassy sensation on the backend. Difficult to describe, though it does seem to have a general Caribbean character. Actual hop bitterness is rather low for a SIPA (feels closer to 30 than 41). Malt base is a bit subtle with clean, grainy malt flavor. High attenuation with no residual sweetness. Clean fermentation. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; medium carbonation. Smooth, crisp and refreshing. Very sessionable at 4.6% ABV, though it feels even lighter. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Interesting hop character for sure, though final product is closer to a pale ale than a true session IPA. Nice drinkability, though. 7/10


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Samuel Adams New England IPA

best before date: 5/2018

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21B Specialty IPA

AROMA: Strong, authentic tropical fruit aroma with some citrus and a touch of grass or spiciness. Malt base is fairly nondescript with no implied sweetness (but enough for balance). No alcohol scent. 11/12

APPEARANCE: Bright honey-like amber/pale orange hue over a hazy body (5-7 SRM). Very large, white, frothy foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Matches the aroma with a strong hop flavor of tropical fruits. Citrus pith is also present, but a bit more subtle. Bitterness is moderate at only 35 IBUs, but enough to impart a hop bite at the apex. Finishes with a grassy/spicy flavor which lingers briefly into the aftertaste. Malt presence is strong enough for balance, but lacks any specialty character. The wheat and oats seem to be used for mouthfeel as there is no bready or sweet flavor. Alcohol is virtually undetectable. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium carbonation. Texture is remarkably smooth, which makes the drinkability high. Refreshing for a hoppy brew. Quite efficient at 6.8% ABV. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Amazing that a mainstream brewery was able to reproduce a niche style so well (including the packaging). Definitely a World Class specialty IPA. 10/10


Friday, March 2, 2018

Jack's Abby Excess IPL

Fill date: ?

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21B Specialty IPA

AROMA: Fairly strong hop presence with notes of stone, citrus and tropical fruits (class West Coast style). Surprisingly strong malty presence with noticeable caramel and toffee sweetness. Can is likely old as there is a noticeable lemon sherry character due to oxidation. Clean lager fermentation. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Very hazy flame orange/honey color (7-9 SRM). White soapy foam mostly dissipates and leaves little lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: High hop bitterness immediately along with moderately-high hop flavor (citrus and tropical fruits, especially). Malt base is quite strong with a sweet caramel flavor (could be due to under-attenuation or just the age of the can). Hops and malts both linger in the aftertaste, albeit briefly. Oxidation is noticeable, but not distracting. No obnoxious alcohol character. Clean lager fermentation. Does not taste like a lager (should it?). 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full mouthfeel; moderate carbonation. Smooth, but a bit thick and almost syrupy. No alcohol warmth or taste at 7.2% ABV. A bit thick and tepid for a lager. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Walks a fine line between single and double IPA. Hops are nice, but are hindered by the can's age. I'll bet this is excellent when fresh. 7/10


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Fill date: 1/9/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 21A American IPA

AROMA: Moderately strong American hop aroma mostly of pine/resin/floral variety. Faint citrus presence as well. Base malt comes through with just a slight caramel character. No discernible esters. No alcohol. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Mostly clear deep amber hue (5-7 SRM). Large white foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Fairly strong hop presence throughout, but never aggressive. Flavor is pine, resin and floral up front with a subtle orange juice concentrate. The citrusy character becomes stronger on the back end and into the finish. Bitterness is firm, but balanced by an equally firm malt base. Just a touch of caramel or toast flavor. Finish is dry, but not astringent. No alcohol presence. Well-balanced for the style. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium carbonation. Smooth with slight crispness. Efficient at 6% ABV; but too heavy to session. Ideal for food pairing. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Literally a classic example of the AIPA style, though not as exciting as it once was. Did the beer change or did my palate change? 9/10


NOTE: See my 2009 original review here: