Saturday, September 22, 2018

St. Bernardus Tripel (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Best before date: 9/16/19

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 26C Belgian Tripel

AROMA: Strong yeast-driven aromatics of banana esters and clove/peppercorn phenols. Significant orangepeel citrusy presence along with a lightly sweet honey or even butterscotch note. Alcohol is present, albeit clean and a tad spicy to complement the yeast character. Pale malt and wheat bass is evident, but not exactly bready (which is fine). 11/12

APPEARANCE: Honey amber hue (4-7 SRM). Mostly clear body. Large white soapy foam with alcohol legs and lace. 3/3

FLAVOR: For what may be a fairly old bottle, the palette is remarkably robust and complex. Delicious mix of yeast, alcohol and malt character with a continuous spicy, peppercorn-like taste and bitterness throughout. Somewhat perfumey as well. Yeast esters create for an authentic fruity taste of banana, green pear and perhaps some apple. Phenols and alcohol account for clove flavor and a general spicy/dry finish. Malt and yeast provide a lightly bready backbone, though attenuation is very high so as not to be rich or sweet. Faint oxidation, but it works with the nature character of the palette. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; champagne-like effervescence. Though bubbly, it is smooth and rather easy to drink. Strong to be sure at 8% ABV, but not hot nor obtuse. A 750ml bottle is an ideal serving size. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Absolutely a World Class Belgian Tripel in all aspects. This was so close to being a perfect bottle. 10/10


NOTE: See my 2010 original review here:

Friday, September 21, 2018

To Øl Santastique!

Best before date: 8/31/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 30C Winter Seasonal Beer

AROMA: Authentic citrus aroma of lemon and lime peels as well as citrusy hops. Some spiciness from clove and cardamom and subtle yeast esters and phenols. A light bready/wheat malt base. Subtle oxidation. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Deep amber/light orange hue (5-7 SRM). Hazy body. Large white soapy suds dissipate quickly and completely. 2/3

FLAVOR: Spicy throughout with a consistent bitterness to boot. Citrus pith flavors are evident immediately along with grassy hops. Yeast phenols combine with the cardamom, coriander and unmalted rye to impart a lovely spicy sensation that complements the citrus flavors surprisingly well. A bit of a banana note in the aftertaste, though it is mostly dry and slightly spicy. Malt and wheat base akin to that of a Belgian White - just faint breadiness. Oxidation is noticeable only with extreme scrutiny, though it actually works with the flavors of the brew. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderately-light carbonation. Smooth and somewhat refreshing; though can may have lost a bit of effervescence over time. Highly drinkable at 5.5% ABV and in a 500ml can. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Impressive brewing feat combining classic Belgian base brew with additional spices and American hops. Was probably amazing when fresh. 8/10


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Mikkeller A Red & White Christmas

Best before date: 9/5/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 30C Winter Seasonal Beer

AROMA: Fairly strong sweet orangepeel which suggest perfume and cleanliness. Also noticeable coriander spice and plenty of yeast esters and phenols. Base malt is a bit bready, but difficult to distinguish from the fruity/spicy aromatics. No discernible hops (none needed). Alcohol is noticeable, but clean and not distracting. Faint oxidation. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Burnt umber/light brown color (17-22 SRM). Body is murky and cloudy (would be clear when fresh). Large, eggshell froth retains and laces very well. 2/3

FLAVOR: Spices and bitterness immediately with noticeable coriander and citrusy hop flavors. Quickly followed by a somewhat bready caramel malt base which is lightly sweet. Sweet orangepeel emerges at the apex and lingers into the finish along with a clean, firm alcohol presence. Mild honey/lemon oxidation character is noticeable as background note, but is not off-putting. Aftertaste is a bit dry from alcohol, hops and spices but not astringent. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full/full-bodied with high carbonation. Texture is soft and smooth and mouthfeel is literally comfortable. At 8% ABV there is a gentle alcohol presence, but clean. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Essentially a cross between a strong American amber and a witbier. This does work well as a Christmas brew. Was probably World Class when fresh. 41/50


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Trappistes Rochefort 8 (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Best by date: 19/7/2022

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

AROMA: Fairly strong fruity character with notes of figs, dates, raisins and other dark dried fruit. Also a noticeable phenolic character of clove and peppercorn and slightly medicinal. Alcohol is prominent, but clean. Little in the way of bready malt or specialty character. No hops (none needed). 10/12

APPEARANCE: Deep burgundy to brown proper (27-34 SRM). Large, tan, soapy suds when poured, though head evaporates quickly and completely. Body is cloudy. 2/3

FLAVOR: Complex, robust palette with many flavor combinations. Paradoxically fruity with a sweet confectionery taste, yet with a firm drying sensation from the alcohol and phenols. Flavor combinations are contrasting, but interesting. Briefly sweet on the back end, but the dry/spicy hop flavor works in conjunction with the alcohol for balance and a drying sensation on the finish. Bottle may have been poorly handled as there is a noticeable off-taste, though it is subtle and tolerable. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; high carbonation. Texture is smooth with a fairly gentle warmth from the 9.3% ABV. Drinkability is no challenge. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Definitely one of the most revered examples of the style, though not quite as good as the Rochefort 10. Could almost pass as a dubbel. 8/10


NOTE: See my 2012 original review here:

Monday, September 17, 2018

Samuel Adams Coffee Pale Ale

Best before date: 2/2019

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 30A Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer (base style 18B American Pale Ale)

AROMA: Coffee is prominent with cold-brewed/iced character. Seems to have cocoa powder or some kind of sugary sweetness. Faint citrusy hops. Moderately low pale malt base. Clean fermentation. 8/12

APPEARANCE: For a pale ale, the color is quite dark with a burnt umber to light brown (9-17 SRM). Cloudy body. Small tan foam mostly dissipates. 2/3

FLAVOR: Akin to iced coffee throughout as the coffee flavor dominates the palette. There is a slight cream-and-sugar character from the sweetness. Moderately-low citrusy hops are present in the background, though the coffee seems to account for most of the bitterness. Malt base is rather simple; mostly pale malt character with a faint toasted note. Coffee and hops linger briefly, but aftertaste is otherwise clean. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderate carbonation. Smooth, but crisp. Not refreshing, but highly quaffable. Seems efficient for 5.5% ABV. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Has the coffee taste down pat, but isn't much of a pale ale at the core. Still, it's tasty and fun to drink. 6/10


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sierra Nevada/Weihenstephaner Oktoberfest

Fill date: 7/31/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 6A Märzen

AROMA: Moderate continental malt base with a noticeable bread crust character due to Maillard reactions, but not sweet per se (seems well attenuated). Low spicy/herbal hop presence. Clean lager fermentation. No alcohol presence. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Clear copper hue (9-13 SRM). Large white suds mostly dissipates. 3/3

FLAVOR: Malt-driven palette to be sure, with classic Maillard products of bread and bread crusts, only slightly toasty. Attenuation seems to be high as overall sweetness is rather low, aside from the beginning. Hops are a bit high for the style with spicy/earthy flavors and just a touch of citrus. Clean and complete lager fermentation with slightly malty aftertaste, but otherwise dry. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderately-low carbonation. Seems a tad thin and tepid for the style. Smooth and quaffable, it is remarkably easy-drinking for a 6% ABV brew. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Mostly to-spec for the style with a few American liberties taken. Easy to drink, but far from amazing. 7/10


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Evil Twin Even More Jesus

Fill date: Batch #009

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 20C Imperial Stout

AROMA: Massive sweetness with distinct confectionery notes of caramelized sugar, toffee, brown sugar and black licorice. Slight fruity component, but nothing specific. Clearly an intense dark malt base; though surprisingly not all that roasty or burnt. Hops are rather subtle with earthy/floral notes. Alcohol is even more subtle. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Oil-like black body (44+ SRM). Very large, dark brown foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Tastes sweeter than the nose would indicate. Intense confectionery flavors of brown sugar, toffee, black licorice and a slight crème brûlée note. There is a fruity character as well which emerges on the finish with a red cherry taste. Hops are a bit stronger on the palette with enough of a dry bitterness to offer balance to the malty sweetness. Little in the way of hop flavor other than a slight earthy/floral feature. Alcohol is a noticeable component of the palette and seems to work in tandem with with the hops to dry out the sweetness from the malt. Aftertaste is malty sweet with some alcohol warmth lingering as well. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Full body; moderately-low carbonation. Texture is smooth, soft and comfortable. At 12% ABV, the alcohol is impossible to miss, though the heat is a gentle warmth. Drinkability is fantastic considering how potent the brew is. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: So close to being an All Star imperial stout, just lacking a bit of hops. Otherwise, it's on-point in all aspects as far as taste, complexity and drinkability. 9/10


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Southern Tier Samoa This

Fill date: 3/19/18

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

AROMA: Fairly strong coconut presence with nearly equally strong caramel syrup and a subtle salt presence. Sweet milk chocolate and shortbread. Malts and hops are obscured by the additives, but because this is marketed as a novelty brew that's acceptable. Definitely smells like the cookie it is emulating. No alcohol presence. Clean fermentation. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Straight black body (44+ SRM). Small, dark tan soapy suds evaporate quickly and leaves a little lacing. 3/3

FLAVOR: Cookie-like taste as advertised, though also quite boozy. Chocolate syrup and alcohol are prominent immediately. Coconut is noticeable at first, but recedes quickly; it emerges again in the aftertaste. Caramel, salt, and shortbread flavors all make up the backend. Despite the dessert nature of the brew, it is actually not all that sweet. The alcohol is rather high and dries out the palette with a lingering cough syrup aftertaste.  Slight fruity flavors from the dark malt, but nothing roasty. Bitterness is rather low with no distinct hop flavor (none needed). 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderately-low carbonation. Smooth, slightly sticky. Alcohol is a bit obtuse at 10% ABV and is quite warm and drying. Despite this, overall drinkability is not challenging. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Is the tasty liquid cookie it claims to be, though it is rather gimmicky. Much more boozy than it needs to be and lacks a solid imperial stout base. 6/10


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Stone IPA (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Fill date: 7/6/18

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

AROMA: Bright, clean fruity aromatics with strong citrusy components (especially grapefruit) and some tropical juice character as well. Background note of pine or resin. Malt base is basic pale malt with just a touch of character. Subtle, clean alcohol presence. 11/12

APPEARANCE: Deep amber/orange hue (5-7 SRM). Slightly hazy body, but no sediment. Large ivory froth retains and laces extremely well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Citrusy hop flavors dominate the palette with distinct notes of grapefruit and orange. Tropical fruits are a bit more subtle and emerge towards the end along with a piney/resiny flavor. Bitterness is at the high end of the spectrum for the style, but is not absurd or difficult to handle (well, maybe for newbies). Malt presence is firm enough to create for perfect balance. Just the faintest trace of caramel, though it is not a sweet or bready brew (well-attenuated to be sure). Alcohol is noticeable, but clean and restrained and seems to synergize all the components. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderate carbonation. Smooth, comfortable texture. Citrusy flavor makes it refreshing for a moment, though the hops linger in the aftertaste without becoming astringent. The 6.9% ABV is noticeable, though overall drinkability is quite high for a beer with such heft. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: The beer that pioneered the "West Coast Style IPA" and it still holds up after 21 years.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Samuel Adams Spruce Lager

Best before date: 2/19

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 30A Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer (base style: 2B International Amber Lager)

AROMA: Moderate amber/toasted malt presence, though not bready or sweet. Low spicy/floral hops. No spruce aroma. Clean lager fermentation. 7/12

APPEARANCE: Brilliant clear amber/light copper hue (5-7 SRM). Moderate off-white foam retains and laces fairly well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Malt-driven profile with noticeable amber malt character providing just a slight toasted note. Attenuation seems to be rather high as there is no residual sweetness. Hop presence is quite low with just a touch of earthy/floral flavor and dry bitterness. Spruce tips are essentially absent other than a slight oily flavor in the background which lingers briefly in the aftertaste. Clean lager fermentation. 9/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderate carbonation. Smooth, but not refreshing. Seems a little weak for 5.1% ABV. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A surprisingly poor offering for this brewery as the beer completely lacks the flavor marketed. Otherwise a boring amber lager. 3/10


Monday, September 10, 2018

New Holland Dragon's Milk (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Fill date: 4/18/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 33B Specialty Wood-Aged Beer (base style: 20C Imperial Stout)

AROMA: Fairly strong bourbon barrel presence. Significant woody/vanilla sweetness along with the residual bourbon. For such a strong imperial stout, the base brew is a bit simplistic with just a general dark malt character and some fruitiness. Subtle earthy/herbal hops that are slightly minty. Alcohol is present, but clean. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Deep dark brown hue (40+ SRM). Moderate, tan-colored, creamy foam; retains and laces quite well. 3/3

FLAVOR: The bourbon barrel is the star of the show as its flavors are noticeable at all times. Plenty of sweet vanilla and authentic bourbon taste throughout, though it is never cloying. The base brew is a bit simplistic. General sense of dark malt with a subtle fruity note; but lacking any rich bready and roasted malt flavors. Seems more like a standard strength stout. Hops are moderate with enough bitterness to notice and offer balance, along with a slight minty/earthy flavor. Alcohol is difficult to ignore, though it is not distracting or abrasive. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderately-low carbonation. Texture is remarkably smooth and comfortable. Mouthfeel seems a little light for 11% ABV, though there is a consistent, but gentle, warming sensation at all times. Probably the easiest-drinking 11% stout I've ever had. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: The base imperial stout is a bit weak, but the bourbon barrel component makes up the difference. A good beer, but not one of the best of these style stouts. 7/10


NOTE: See my 2011 original review here:

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Upland Brewing Champagne Velvet

Fill date: ?

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 27 Historical Beer: Pre-Prohibition Lager

AROMA: Noticeable corn adjunct character reminiscent of American macro lager. Rather low presence of grainy-sweet pilsner malt base. Faint earthy/spicy hop presence. Slight yeast character. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Banana skin yellow hue (1-2 SRM). Slightly hazy body eventual clarifies. Headstand is large and white and retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Pilsner-like malt base with grainy-sweet impression, although attenuation seems quite high. Corn adjuncts are less pronounced than aroma would have it seem. Adjunct flavor is a little less than that of a modern American macro lager; enough to notice and nothing off-putting. Hops are much more present in the palette than the nose with a noticeable spicy/dry bitterness and an earthy/spicy flavor (akin to rye bread). There's a faint background presence of lemonpeel, but the beer is not citrusy per se (likely due to yeast character). Finishes with a slight starchy/hoppy aftertaste. Fermentation appears to be clean and complete. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderately-high carbonation. Texture is smooth. Refreshing and tempting to be sessionable at 5.5% ABV.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A nice craft alternative to a macro lager. Seems to be a faithful recreation of a pre-prohibition lager. 9/10


Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Duck-Rabbit Märzen

Best before date: 11/2018

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 6A Märzen

AROMA: Moderate brown Continental malt - sightly sweet and bready. No hops (none needed). Clean lager fermentation. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Beautiful, clear, reddish-copper hue (13-17 SRM). Moderate tan foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderately-high malty taste throughout. Lightly sweet with significant bread and bread crust flavors. Subtle caramel flavor. Rather low bitterness, but enough for balance. Background presence of floral/earthy hop flavor. Aftertaste is malty, but far from cloying. Well-attenuated with clean lager fermentation. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderate carbonation. Smooth and soft texture. Remarkably robust and filling for only 4.6% ABV. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Not quite a perfect Märzen, but awfully close. Has everything you want in the style at a lighter, more sessionable ABV. 9/10


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Dieu du Ciel! Solstice d’Hiver

Fill date: 9/8/16

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 22C American Barleywine

AROMA: Moderately-strong dark malty presence with noticeable dark fruit aromas and some confectionery notes of caramel, chocolate, toffee, etc. Subtle honey/lemon presence of oxidation. Hops are muted and barely noticeable. Alcohol is still quite prominent and just slightly medicinal. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Very deep burgundy/reddish-brown (27-34 SRM). Hazy body. Small tan foam never completely dissipates. 2/3

FLAVOR: Sweet and alcoholic throughout. Lovely confectionery-like notes of caramel, toffee, treacle and slight chocolate. Intense malt base creates for some dark fruit flavor as well (especially red apple, raisin, plum). Alcohol is bold, and a little distracting, but clean (no burning sensation). Bitterness is firm enough to notice and provides some balance to the palette. Aftertaste is lightly sweet, but also a tad boozy. Subtle honey/lemon presence of oxidation. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; moderate carbonation. Not quite as thick as most barleywines (though body and CO2 may have declined with aging). The 10.2% ABV creates for plenty of warmth, though it is never hot or burning. Texture is smooth overall. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A fine barleywine that's mostly to-spec for the style. Less hoppy than most American examples, but less malty than most English examples. 7/10


Monday, September 3, 2018

3 Daughters Rod Bender Red Ale

Fill date: 5/26/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 19A American Amber Ale

AROMA: Light toasted malt presence with a minor caramel component. Very faint fruity hops. Clean fermentation. 5/12

APPEARANCE: Dark, somewhat hazy, deep reddish-brown (17-22 SRM). Small white foam mostly evaporates. 1/3

FLAVOR: Rather bland palette of slightly toasted malt and a significant honey/lemon/tea flavor. Not sweet; lacking any real malt presence. Mild bitterness at the back; little earthy hop flavor. Subtle astringency as it finishes. 7/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderately-low carbonation. Smooth, but watery and tepid. Feels much lighter than supposedly 5.9% ABV. 2/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A poor product in virtually every aspect. Seems like something went wrong at the brewery. This should not have been sold. 2/10


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter

Fill date: 12/2017

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 32B Specialty Smoked Beer (base style: 20A American Porter)

AROMA: Strong, authentic, maple syrup aroma. Noticeable chocolate presence as well from the dark malt. Smoke and coffee are quite diminished after ~10 months in the bottle and combine for a background note. No hops or alcoholic presence (none needed). Clean fermentation. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque black body (44 SRM). Well filtered. Rather large, tan foam retains well, but leaves little lacing. 3/3

FLAVOR: Maple syrup is most prominent flavor and is present from beginning to end. Sweet, but not cloying; taste seems authentic. Perhaps due to the age of the bottle, the smoke is subtle, though there is a noticeable bacon-like flavor in the background (especially on the finish). Coffee is also quite low and emerges briefly on the finish. There is a fairly strong chocolate flavor likely created by the interaction between the maple syrup and dark malts. Bitterness is moderately-low, though overall palette is balanced and attenuation seems relatively high. No hop flavor nor alcohol character (none needed). 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderate carbonation. Texture is smooth and soft making for a comfortable mouthfeel and high drinkability. At only 6.4% ABV, one 22oz bottle is an ideal serving size. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A delectable, creative, well-balanced brew which would score much higher if the smoke were more prominent. 6/10


Friday, August 31, 2018

Destihl Wild Sour Series: Cranberry Criek

Fill date: 10/26/17

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 28C Wild Specialty Beer

AROMA: Signature lactic sourness, though quite strong. Prominent sourdough bread malty base. Cranberry and cherry create for a subtle fruity character. No hops or alcohol (none needed). 8/12

APPEARANCE: Rusty dark copper/burgundy hue (13-22 SRM). Body is hazy, but translucent. Small white foam mostly dissipates. 3/3

FLAVOR: Strong sourness immediately with prominent, clean lactic acid character. Tartness is quite high as well, especially on the finish. Wild character lingers and creates for a mouth-watering quality.  Malt base comes through as sourdough bread but without any richness or sweetness. No hop bitterness or flavor (none needed). Due to the age of the can, the fruit flavor is extremely diminished and appears only briefly on the backend (this is essentially a Berliner Weisse at this point). 10/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderately-high carbonation. Tart, brief aftertaste; otherwise completely clean. Sourness cleans out the sinuses somewhat. Not refreshing per se, but easily drinkable at 5% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: While a tasty sour brew, it scores poorly due to the faded fruit character. Otherwise, this would be a great Berliner Weisse. 5/10


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Southern Tier Cherry Cordial

Fill date: 6/7/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 29B Fruit and Spice Beer (base style: 20C Imperial Stout)

AROMA: Fairly strong cherry aroma; seems mostly authentic. Also contains a light milk chocolate presence. Alcohol is prominent and imparts a minty aroma. Base brew is rather muted; a general dark malt presence, but nothing bready, roasty, etc. No hops. Overall nose is a bit faux and simple. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Inky black body (44+ SRM). Small, brown foam slowly evaporates and leaves no lacing. Alcoholic legs clearly visible. 3/3

FLAVOR: Cherry is present from beginning to end with a slight minty taste from the alcohol. Fruit seems to be authentic; not syrupy or extract-derived. Chocolate is a bit subtle, but strong enough to give the palette a candy-like taste. Though dessert-like, the brew is not especially sweet nor cloying. Attenuation seems to be rather high. Malt base is rather simple for such a strong imperial stout; there is no overt roasty/bready notes. Hops create for a moderate dry bitterness to balance the palette. Aftertaste is mostly clean with just a slight cherry note. Alcohol is difficult to ignore, but never obtuse. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderate carbonation. Seems quite thin and a tad mild; the beer drinks like something half its size. Smooth and easy to drink even at 10% ABV, but a. Alcohol heat is present at all times, but clean. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A fine dessert beer, but lacking the uniqueness and delectability of the original Blackwater brews. Did it really need to be 10% ABV? 6/10


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Dogfish Head Liquid Truth Serum IPA

Fill date: 7/14/18

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

AROMA: Strong hop presence with a bright, fruity nose of peach, grapefruit and pineapple (the latter being the most prominent). There is a noticeable dank/herbal/spicy character. The alcohol seems to enhance all of these aromatics without being obtuse. Malt base is fairly standard with a subtle caramelized/toasted character. Not sweet per se, but it's easy to tell the brew is balanced from the smell alone. 11/12

APPEARANCE: Amber/pale copper hue (5-9 SRM). Slightly cloudy body. Large, ivory frothy foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Both fruity and spicy hops are present, strong, and delectable at nearly all times. Pinapple, peach and pink grapefruit are all noticeable, with a taste akin to juice concentrate. There is an underlying spicy/herbal sensation throughout that peaks at the apex. The alcohol enhances this flavor as well as the richness of the fruity hops. Malts are not exactly subtle and provide enough of a base to support the hops as well as impart just a touch of caramel sweetness. Bitterness is firm at 65 IBUs - enough to give the brew some bite without being rabid. Well attenuated; clean fermentation; restrained alcohol. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium[ish] body; moderate carbonation. Smooth and comfortable with a lingering, tolerable, hoppy aftertaste. Faint alcohol warmth at 7% ABV, though overall drinkability is quite high. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A little gimmicky in the way it's brewed, but the final product is a classic, to-spec, American IPA that all hopheads will likely enjoy. 10/10


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Tampa Bay Gourds Gone Wild

Fill date: 8/16/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 30B Autumn Seasonal Beer

AROMA: Fairly strong pumpkin pie-like aromatics of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and assorted other spice rack seasonings. Nose is quite sweet; implying the use of puree or possibly extract flavoring. Walks a fine line between authentic and faux. Malt base is akin to an English brown ale with a lightly toasted note. Hops are difficult to pick out from the spices and may contribute a minor earthy/spicy scent. No alcohol. Clean fermentation. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Cloudy shade of reddish-copper (22-27 SRM). Moderate tan foam never completely dissipates. 3/3

FLAVOR: Sensation of pumpkin pie flavors immediately. Remarkably sweet with a confectionery taste of chocolate or vanilla. Spices are present throughout with cinnamon and nutmeg and/or ginger being the most prominent. They offer bitterness and balance to the sweetness and keep the palette authentic rather than faux. Brown/toasty malt base is present, but subtle. Hops account for a low, dry bitterness through the middle and just a touch of earthy/spicy flavor. Aftertaste is lightly sweet with a lingering cinnamon flavor. Attenuation seems quite high for the style; this is not syrupy. No alcohol presence. Clean fermentation. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderate carbonation though the beer seems a little lighter than it should/could be. Smooth, comfortable texture and easy drinkability. One pint serving is very satisfying at 5.5% ABV.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: An enjoyable and delectable liquid pumpkin pie brew that's mostly authentic and fun to drink. 8/10