Friday, December 9, 2016

Jack's Abby Kiwi Rising

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
ChadPolenz (1726) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - DEC 9, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 22A Double IPA

AROMA: Potent hop presence of grassy/spicy/herbal aromatics. Some citrus as well. No distinct malt presence. Clean fermentation profile. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Amber/pale orange hue; slightly cloudy body but CO2 visible. Large white froth retains and laces very well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Dank hop flavor and bitterness hits the tongue with a thud rather than a crisp sensation. Flavors are of the New England-style IPA sub-genre (grassy/spicy/oniony). Only a minor orange flavor on the backend. No real malt sweetness aside from a slight honey taste, although palette is definitely not off-balanced. Some alcohol emerges right as it finishes. Clean fermentation. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full bodied; medium CO2. Mouthfeel is thick, soft, and smooth. Some alcohol warmth from the 8.3% ABV and a brief dry sensation (not astringent per se). 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Another very good NEIPA made even more impressive by the fact it’s a lager. Glad to see it in cans, too. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 40/50

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Barrier Money IPA


4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20ChadPolenz (1725) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - DEC 8, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 21A American IPA

AROMA: Potent dank grassy/citrusy hops. Strong orange citrus aromatics. Bright nose. Nondescript malt. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Extremely hazy shade of orange proper. Medium-large off-white foam with decent retention and lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Grassy/spicy/herbal hop flavor up front. Bitter, but not especially strong or aggressive. Citrus lingers as a background flavor but becomes quite pronounced on the finish. Low clean grainy malt flavor and sweetness on the backend provides balance. Leaves a moderate dry/spicy aftertaste. No alcohol presence. Enjoyable overall, but not amazing. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and carbonation. Texture is soft and smooth. No alcohol warmth at 7.3%. Slightly astringent, but easily tolerable aftertaste. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: An enjoyable, delectable NEIPA-style IPA. Not quite as good as some of the better examples, but still very nice. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 40/50

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Alphabet City Alpha Male IPA


2.6
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20ChadPolenz (1724) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - DEC 7, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 21A American IPA

AROMA: Slight spicy/herbal presence but a strong honey-lemon sherry aroma. Light malt sweetness. 7/12

APPEARANCE: Pale orange/amber. Very hazy but CO2 visible. Moderate white froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderate bitterness throughout. Slightly dry and spicy. A background orange citrus note is obscured by a strong honey lemon tea taste likely due to oxidation. Base malt is lightly sweet, but otherwise nondescript. Probably good fresh, but this palette is muted and unbalanced. 12/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-low CO2. Soft, smooth texture. Slight lingering astringency. Gentle alcohol warmth is surprising since it’s only 6.2% ABV. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A pretty generic, insipid IPA that isn’t helped by the fact the bottle is old. Drinkable, but not really enjoyable. 5/10

TOTAL SCORE: 26/50

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

He’Brew Chanukah, Hanukkah: Pass the Beer


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20ChadPolenz (1723) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - DEC 6, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 30A Spice/Herb/Vegetable (base style: 19A American Amber Ale)

AROMA: Lightly sweet pale/amber malt with some minor fruity character. Slight citrusy hops. Some chocolate. Nose is mild overall. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Copper/light orange hue with a very cloudy body. Moderate off-white foam retains and laces fairly well. 2/3

FLAVOR: Base palette is similar to a malty amber ale. Confectionery flavors of caramel and toffee are quite prominent throughout ending with a light milk chocolate taste. Hops are low with some citrus juice concentrate flavor and low bitterness. Enjoyable but not amazing. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; medium-low carbonation. Texture is soft, smooth and a bit thick. No alcohol presence despite 8% ABV. Chocolate lingers momentarily, which is nice, though it fades to a rather clean aftertaste. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: An interesting twist on the usual dessert brew. A more robust and traditional base palette would be nice, but final product is enjoyable. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 35/50

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Shmaltz Funky Jewbelation (2016 vintage)


4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20ChadPolenz (1722) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - DEC 4, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 28C Wild Specialty Beer

AROMA: Strong sour/acidic aroma with black cherry or similar fruity presence. Some funky Brettanomyces character as well. Wood is extremely faint. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Essentially opaque brown or very dark ruby/violet. Large, tan froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Overt sourness immediately with a slight cherry/dark fruit flavor. Some chocolate can be detected in the background. There’s an underlying farmhouse/funky character with a strong tartness as it finishes. I don’t detect barrel character per se, but there is a bit of an earthy flavor on the aftertaste. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body and CO2. Though hefty, it never feels sticky, chewy or cloying. There is a moderate astringent aftertaste and slight warmth in the throat. Otherwise, quite quaffable. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Definitely one of the most ambitious, creative, and risky brews out there. Difficult to judge to style, but certainly enjoyable for what it is. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 42/50

Friday, December 2, 2016

Brown's Burst IPA

4.6
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
ChadPolenz (1721) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - DEC 2, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 29A Fruit Beer (base style: 21A American IPA)

AROMA: Prominent orangepeel, but also strong citrusy hops. Faint floral/pine hop scents in the background. General base malt. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Pumpkin orange; very hazy but CO2 is visible. Very large off-white foam retains and laces extremely well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Orange is evident immediately as is a strong bitterness. Flavor is akin to OJ concentrate as it’s sweet rather than dry/spicy zestiness. Hops are prominent throughout; first with light spicy/citrusy flavors and then a dank/resiny/piney flavor and bitterness on the backend. Base malt lays a firm foundation with mild caramel sweetness, though yeast may also be emphasizing the fruity character. The balance to this palette is pretty amazing. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; moderate carbonation. Texture is soft and smooth; not especially crisp. Hops do linger, but are not astringent. No alcohol presence. Refreshing while drinking. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is exactly what a fruity IPA should be - a perfect marriage of a solid AIPA and orange as a bonus/garnish flavor. 10/10

TOTAL SCORE: 46/50

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Nine Pin Signature Hard Cider


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20ChadPolenz (1720) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 30, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: C1A New World Cider

AROMA: Green and pink apples; some sourness/acidity. Sulfury. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Very pale white gold; very clear. White suds dissipate quickly. Effervescent when poured, but appears still after a minute or two. 2/3

FLAVOR: Sweet throughout, especially at the beginning. Not to the intensity of being juicy and certainly not cloying. Flavor is akin to tart green apple with red and pink apple background notes. Finishes with a dry, acidic, tartness. Seems to be well-balanced overall. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body, but seems a little lighter than 6.7% ABV. Carbonation is somewhere between petillant and sparkling, though finish is always crisp. Cider is refreshing, but there’s a lingering sulfury sensation I could do without. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: One of the most unique ciders I can recall. Tasty and drinkable, but not exactly perfect. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 35/50

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Alphabet City Easy Blonde


3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 12/20ChadPolenz (1719) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 29, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 5B Kölsch

AROMA: Strong spicy hop scent (almost skunky but unlikely to be lightstruck). Low fruity note of green pear, grape or apple. Slight lemon zest. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Honey amber/gold; body is fairly hazy but effervescent. Moderate white froth leaves nice lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Palette is fairly neutral but there is a light grainy malt sweetness. Little to no fruit flavor other than a subtle lemon zest at the finish. Low hop presence; some mild spiciness. Wheat is present, but not distracting. Simple, but enjoyable. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; medium-high CO2. Smooth and crisp; refreshing and quaffable. Clean finish. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is an Americanized Kölsch and probably better considered an 18A. Enjoyable as a quaffable blonde ale. Would be better packaged in cans than bottles. 6/10

TOTAL SCORE: 33/50

Monday, November 28, 2016

Kelso Nut Brown Lager


2.8
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20ChadPolenz (1718) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 28, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 8A Munich Dunkel

AROMA: Muted nose with a general lager aroma. Faint bread or nutty character. Slight tang. 6/12

APPEARANCE: Light brown/burgundy hue; mostly clear with CO2 visible. Large, off-white froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Has the general characteristics for the style, but flavors are mild. Some toasted bread and chocolate. A bit nutty on the backend. Light floral/spicy hops at the apex with low bitterness. A moderate sour tang is evident throughout. It’s enough to distract, but not to the point of making the beer undrinkable. 11/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and CO2. Texture is soft and smooth - not especially crisp. Finishes fairly clean, though a mild tanginess does linger. No alcohol present. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I’ve had this beer fresh and it’s on-point. They seem to have canning issues or maybe mine is just old. 5/10

TOTAL SCORE: 28/50

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Founders Pale Joe


3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20ChadPolenz (1717) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 27, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 30A Spice/Herb/Vegetable (base style: 18B American Pale Ale)

AROMA: Medium-high coffee aroma (and roast level). Seems sweet like vanilla. Nice, but I can’t smell the base brew at all. 7/12

APPEARANCE: Slightly pale orange; very hazy body. Moderate, beige foam with minor lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Coffee is prominent flavor throughout. Base malt provides for a familiar pale ale foundation, but hops are missing. Coffee imparts some roasty bitterness as it goes down. Palette is enjoyable, but simple and repetitive. 12/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and carbonation. Texture is soft and silky; not really crisp. Faint coffee aftertaste, but otherwise finishes clean. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Definitely an interesting premise, but the coffee completely overshadows the pale ale base. Not a harmonious marriage. 5/10

TOTAL SCORE: 30/50

Sunday, November 20, 2016

There is no reason to buy Goose Island Bourbon County Stout anymore

Black Friday is coming up, and we all know that’s a day associated with literally breaking down doors to buy Christmas presents at deeply discounted prices. But in the beer world, Black Friday is now synonymous with the release of Budweiser’s Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout (they seem to have dropped the word “Brand” in recent years).

BCS lineup main


Now obviously you noticed another word was struck-out in the previous sentence: Budweiser. Though it’s very old news at this point, in case you didn’t know, in 2011 Goose Island – a formerly independent craft brewery based out of Chicago – was acquired by Anheuser-Busch/InBev a.k.a. Budweiser. That huge company then went on to buy several other craft breweries such as Elysian, Blue Point, Breckenridge and Golden Road among others. Those “others” include the entire SABMiller/Coors/Molson portfolio which was finalized just last month. That means that one company owns a third of the entire beer market on all of Planet Earth (a list of all the brands under this brewing monolith can be seen here).

Wow.

I’ve ranted about the transgressions of the ABI Empire many times in recent years as have many bloggers and journalists. If you’re a craft beer lover, no doubt you’re familiar with the shade ABI has thrown at us as their market share as slowly dwindled while ours has grown exponentially. This includes numerous attempts by ABI to monopolize the market by buying up distributors, bullying the competition with litigation, and lobbying at the state and national level for more ridiculous regulations that only harm small breweries. This article at ithinkaboutbeer.com does a great job of rounding up some of the most egregious examples.

As an AnCap, I actually don’t like criticizing ABI for fear of sounding like a Bernie Sanders type who associates the word “corporation” with evil. I’m not calling for more government regulation or anti-trust lawsuits to be initiated. In principle, I have no problem with a corporation buying out competitors and other perfectly legal business practices. I also have no problem with a business selling a fraction, a majority, or their entire ownership to a larger company or just merging with another. What I do have a problem with is ABI’s all-out war on craft beer which is now so deeply entrenched that they are going after the homebrewing market too!

Admittedly, this one little blog is probably not going to generate massive sea change in the entire beer market (though one can dream). However, I feel compelled to write this to remind my fellow craft beer lovers – many of whom have forgotten, never knew, or simply don’t care – that Goose Island is owned outright by Budweiser. That means when you plunk down $10 (or however much it costs) on a bottle of Bourbon County Stout, you are no longer sending money to an independent craft brewery, you are sending it to the largest brewing conglomerate on Earth. A conglomerate that not only gives us the proverbial (and literal) middle finger to our faces, but is hellbent on destroying it (or at least owning it).

Yes, Bourbon County is a delicious beer (even when cellared a few years), but there are comparable imperial stouts being made by real craft breweries that may be more readily available and less expensive. Here are just a few examples*:

Boulevard Dark Truth Stout 001















Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break

Founders Breakfast Stout (2)
Great Divide Yeti 001
Great Divide Yeti (and its many variations)
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy

The entire Southern Tier Blackwater Series

handbookofportersandstoutsFor even more examples, please check out a book I co-authored on the genre: The Handbook of Porters & Stouts. In fact, you can buy it directly from me for 50% off the cover price and I’ll sign it for you.

*NOTE: I didn’t include rarities like Founders KBS, Brooklyn Black Ops, Cigar City Hunahpu, Three Floyds Dark Lord, etc., since these beers are just as expensive and difficult to acquire (if not more so) than Bourbon County though I think they’re better than Bourbon County.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Stone Coffee Milk Stout

3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
ChadPolenz (1716) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 18, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 30A Spice/Herb/Vegetable (base style: 16A Sweet Stout)

AROMA: Moderate roasted grain and coffee - but not extremely so (closer to breakfast blend than French Roast). A sweet undercurrent of vanilla/dairy from the lactose sugar. Subtle earthy/floral hops. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Black hue with no highlights. Small, brown foam; some lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Interesting juxtaposition of sweet dark malt and lactose sugar while also simultaneously bitter from coffee, roasted malt and hops. Palette is well balanced as sweetness is prominent up front with bitterness on the back. Slight cola flavor present as well. Coffee is fairly mild and works mostly as a garnish rather than a main course. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; med-high CO2. Not quite as velvety smooth as most of the style. Aftertaste is more bitter than sweet, but tolerable. No alcohol presence. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: All things considered, it works as both a 30A and a 16A, but is far from amazing. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 36/50

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Founders Harvest Ale


4.6
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20ChadPolenz (1715) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 17, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 21A American IPA

AROMA: Huge citrus/tropical fruits (akin to a juice concentrate). Grassy/herbal aroma is quite prominent as well. No distinct malt scent. No alcohol. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Almost glowing shade of amber/pale orange. Slightly hazy; steady CO2. Moderate white froth; much lacing. 3/3

FLAVOR: High American hop flavor and bitterness. Taste is predominately citrus/tropical along with a grassy/spicy sensation throughout the second half. Flavor is akin to juice but without the sweetness. Malt base is nondescript pale malt; very subtle toasty flavor. No alcohol presence. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium bodied; medium-high carbonation. Hops linger for a bitter but pleasant aftertaste. Texture is quite smooth. Minor alcohol warmth is tolerable. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Delicious, highly drinkable, and commendable considering it?s mass produced and uses wet hops. 10/10

TOTAL SCORE: 46/50

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron (2016 re-review)


3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20ChadPolenz (1714) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 16, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 33A Wood-Aged Beer (base style: 19C American Brown Ale)

AROMA: Sweet cherry-like aroma of wood and vanilla. Strong dark malt presence; no hops; some alcohol. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque dark black hue (rather than brown proper). Moderate dark tan foamy head leaves decent lacing. 2/3

FLAVOR: Standard brown ale base of dark malts with no roasted/burnt flavors. Slight caramel and nutty flavors throughout with raisin and other dried fruit presence, too. Hop presence is quite strong due to freshness of bottle. Hops provide earthy flavor and assertive bitterness. Wood emerges on the finish with a slight vanilla flavor in the aftertaste. Alcohol is mostly a background note. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Full bodied with a smooth, soft texture. Medium carbonation. Doesn’t feel sticky nor slick. The 12% ABV alcohol warmth is present, but not distracting. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: An impressive brewing feat of an imperialized brown ale and wood-aging. This is not nearly as sweet and complex as I remember. Might be better with some age. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 39/50

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout

2.3
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
ChadPolenz (1714) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 15, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 33B Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (base style: 20B American Stout)

AROMA: Familiar stout aroma of dark malt, red fruit and slight chocolate. No roasted malt nor coffee. Slight tang. Mild nose overall. 6/12

APPEARANCE: Extremely dark brown to black proper; nearly opaque. Small, brown suds fizzle away quickly. No lacing. 1/3

FLAVOR: Mild palette of dark malt with generic, nondescript sweetness. No distinct roasted malt flavor whatsoever. Some firm dry bitterness at the apex of the swig followed by a short coffee flavor and some alcohol warmth. No chocolate or vanilla notes. Bourbon barrel character is virtually undetectable. 9/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; low carbonation. Feels tepid and dull in the mouth. Texture is smooth and 8% alcohol presence is subtle. Slightly dry, bitter aftertaste but otherwise clean. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Fails as both a bourbon barrel brew and a coffee stout. Entirely too mild and insipid. 4/10

TOTAL SCORE: 23/50

Monday, November 14, 2016

Crafted Pollen-Nation


4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20ChadPolenz (1713) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 14, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: M3A Fruit & Spice Mead

AROMA: Sweet strong honey is prominent. Blackberry is fairly subtle background note. Perhaps a hint of ginger. No hop aroma. Flavor complement each other well. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Beautiful magenta hue; mostly clear body with CO2 present. Some white froth lingers on the top. 3/3

FLAVOR: Light dry fruitiness up front akin to flavored soda. A strong surge of honey flavor and sweetness emerges on the apex. Blackberry juice becomes strong and tart on the finish. I can’t pick out the Cascade hops nor any distinct spices (perhaps ginger or cinnamon?). Overall, flavors are enjoyable and pretty well balanced. Sweet without becoming cloying but also dry/tart in some aspects. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-low carbonation (petillant). Some tannins and astringency in the aftertaste, albeit briefly (otherwise clean). No alcohol presence. Slightly refreshing. Smooth and comfortable. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A delectable palette due to an interesting recipe. I’d prefer more hops but this is more than satisfactory as it is. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 40/50

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Weyerbacher Sunday Molé Stout


2.6
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20ChadPolenz (1712) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 13, 2016

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

AROMA: Cinnamon is prominent with faint coffee in the background. Has an isopropyl alcohol scent. No other ingredients present. 6/12

APPEARANCE: Jet black, opaque. No highlights. Small brown suds immediately evaporate. No lacing. No CO2 so it looks like flat cola. 1/3

FLAVOR: Spices are immediately noticeable. Cinnamon, chocolate and peppers create for an interesting combination of spices along with some natural fruit character from the base stout. Coffee is completely obscured by the spices (which is really odd considering how fresh this bottle is). There’s dark malt, but no roasty taste; hops are muted as well. Finishes with a solventy sensation. This should be a great combination of flavors, but it’s mostly just meh. 12/20

MOUTHFEEL: Full bodied with tepid carbonation. Texture is a little slick but it is smooth. The 11.3% ABV and peppers create for heat and clear the sinuses. A lingering aftertaste of sweet malt and spice is nice, though. Difficult to drink more than a sip at a time. 2/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Given the recipe, this should be a great beer but it’s average at best. What has happened to Weyerbacher? 5/10

TOTAL SCORE: 26/50

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Prairie Bomb!


3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20ChadPolenz (1711) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 12, 2016

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

AROMA: Coffee is most prominent with chocolate/vanilla a close second. Chile is subtle and difficult to distinguish but blends perfectly. Slight alcohol presence. Base brew is obscured by additives. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque inky black. Moderate brown foamy head mostly dissipates. 2/3

FLAVOR: Sweet dark malts immediately along with milk chocolate essence. Coffee emerges on the finish to emphasize the roasted malt and impart slight dry bitterness. Chiles create for a warming sensation in the throat (as does the strong alcohol). There’s a subtle aftertaste of dark fruit. Hops are subtle and exist mostly for balance (slight earthy taste). Flavors all work well together, but palette is not as rich, robust and delectable as I had hoped. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Very full-bodied and viscous which is emphasized by low carbonation (maybe a little too low). Texture is soft, smooth and velvety. Alcohol and peppers create for fairly strong warmth, but is complementary to the base palette - not distracting. Taste definitely lingers, but is not cloying. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Works extremely well as an SHV, but a little weak as an impy stout. Flavor combination is nice and an impressive brewing feat. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 37/50

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Woodchuck Gumption

3.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
ChadPolenz (1710) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 9, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: C1A New World Cider

AROMA: Fairly strong red apple aroma; distinct dry character present. Almost a slight wild or tart character. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Honey amber hue; clear; gentle CO2 2/3

FLAVOR: Palette is medium to medium-sweet. Standard apple juice flavor throughout. Some dryness/tartness through the middle and a moderate honey-like sweetness on the finish. Some tannin present for light astringency. Well-balanced overall. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body and light carbonation. Refreshing, but it leaves a slightly astringent aftertaste. Seems much lighter than 5.5% ABV. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: About as to-spec and enjoyable as any other standard American cider. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 36/50

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

New Belgium 1554 Black Lager (2016 re-review)


4.6
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20ChadPolenz (1709) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - NOV 8, 2016

 
2015 BJCP Category: 8B Schwarzbier

AROMA: Lightly sweet nose of dark toasted malt, some red fruit, and a hint of iced coffee. Very faint herbal hops. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Deep ruby red or mahogany. Dark but clear with bright ruby highlights. Large, tan froth. Plenty of lacing. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderately strong malty presence and sweetness throughout. Bready but also toast/roast flavor (not burnt, however). A mild milk chocolate flavor emerges as it departs, leaving a slightly bitter aftertaste. Red fruits linger as a background note. Clean fermentation. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and carbonation. Texture is soft and smooth. Not refreshing per se but comfortable in the mouth. Aftertaste is fairly clean with slight bittersweet chocolate aftertaste (not astringent). 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Pretty much a perfect beer for the style, albeit slightly Americanized. 10/10

TOTAL SCORE: 46/50

NOTE: See my 2013 original review here.