Thursday, December 14, 2017

M.I.A. Neon White IPA

DOC: 11/15/17

2015 BJCP Category: 21B Specialty IPA - White IPA

AROMA: Fairly strong citrusy hop aroma. Has a candy-like quality to it. Slight wheat. Slight base malt. No fruity esters or spices. 7/12

APPEARANCE: Extremely hazy rusty orange hue (9 SRM). Moderate white foam retains and laces pretty well. 2/3

FLAVOR: Strong hop presence in both flavor and bitterness. Taste is citrus pith up fruit and slightly juicy on the backend. Bitterness is mostly dry (not dank) with a brief  astringency at the apex. Aftertaste is remarkably clean. Wheat addition gives minor tartness and a faint bready flavor. There are no Belgian esters nor any witbier-like spices here. Nice taste, but palette is not representative of a true White IPA. 11/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and carbonation. Quite smooth; almost creamy in the texture. Hops linger momentarily. Minor alcohol presence from the 7.5% ABV, though it does not feel like such a strong beer. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is a standard AIPA with some wheat and works well as such. It's mis-marketed as "White IPA." 5/10


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Abita Amber Lager

BBD: 3/2/18

2015 BJCP Category: 2B International Amber Lager

AROMA: Medium floral hop presence. Generic, nondescript base malt implies high attenuation and no sweetness. Clean fermentation. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Deep amber/copper hue (9-13 SRM). Clear body. Moderate off-white froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderately-low malt presence, but with little distinctive character. Hints of caramel, but is in no way sweet or confectionery-tasting (which is fine for the 2B style). Hops are moderate with a floral/spicy flavor and dry bitterness. A bit stronger than most of the style, but not out of bounds. Fairly neutral aftertaste. Clean lager fermentation. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; medium-high carbonation. Smooth but crisp; slightly refreshing. Sessionable at 4.5% ABV. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Craftier than most examples of the style. Probably better judged to a niche style than a generic style. 8/10


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Sixpoint Köld Schauer

DOC: 9/17/17

2015 BJCP Category: 5B Kölsch

AROMA: Moderate fruity hop aroma (melon or citrus). Moderately-low, grainy-malt aroma but not especially sweet. Clean fermentation. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Golden/amber hue (4-7 SRM); slightly cloudy body. Moderate white foam retain and laces well. 2/3

FLAVOR: Soft malt palette with a clean, plain grainy taste but well attenuated so only trace residual sweetness. Hop presence is quite strong with a firm, dry bitterness throughout. Hop flavor is spicy/peppery with a subtle fruity flavor on the finish. Mild aftertaste of spicy hops. Clean fermentation. Much hoppier and a little less malty than what is traditional for the style. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; medium-high carbonation. Crisp and quaffable, but not refreshing per se. Sessionable at 4.9% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: An American-style Kölsch to be sure, but it is interesting and easy to drink. 7/10


Monday, December 11, 2017

Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA (2017 re-review to BJCP specs)

DOC: 7/20/17

2015 BJCP Category: 22A Double IPA

AROMA: Strong citrusy/floral American hops. Scent is sweet and akin to juice concentrate. Slight piney/grassy character as well. Alcohol is present, but not distracting. Nondescript base malt. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Hazy, translucent shade of burnt umber/light brown (13 SRM). Small off-white foam never completely dissipates, but does not lace glass. 2/3

FLAVOR: Both intensely hoppy and intensely sweet. Malt is quite rich with a a caramel/syrupy sweetness. Alcohol is not subtle and imparts confectionery flavors which enhances the sweetness even more. Hop flavor is citrus fruit juice concentrate with dank bitterness. Slight piney or grassy sensation on the finish. Mild grassy flavor and astringency in the aftertaste. Though only 4.5 months old, can shows sign of oxidation which may explain the rich sweetness of the beer. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Full bodied; moderate carbonation. Liquid is viscous and sticky. Difficult to drink more than a sip at a time. Rather obtuse at 10% ABV, but alcohol warmth is tame. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Needs to be served extremely fresh to appreciate; otherwise it becomes too cloying and unbalanced. 6/10


NOTE: See my 2011 original review here:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Guinness Extra Stout (2017 re-review to BJCP specs)

DOB: 7/23/17

2015 BJCP Category: 15C Irish Extra Stout

AROMA: Plenty of dark malt with a definite roast character but it is not prominent. Cocoa powder is present to give it a sweetness. Low floral/earthy hops. Clean, but mild nose. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque jet black (44 SRM). Large tan froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderate malt flavor and dark roasted grains throughout. Becomes slightly bitter and dry on the backend, but flavor is more akin to dark chocolate than coffee. Nothing acrid or burnt. Low floral/piney hop flavor, though actual hop bitterness is low. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, but somewhat starchy. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderate carbonation. Smooth and easy to drink, but seems too light for the style. Feels much lighter than 5.6% ABV. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Interesting that the progenitor of the style isn't a World Class example, but merely good (at least judging by this bottle). 7/10


NOTE: See my 2008 original review here:

Saturday, December 9, 2017

O'Hara's Irish Stout (2017 re-review to BJCP specs)

BBD: 2/28/18

2015 BJCP Category: 15B Irish Stout

AROMA: Fairly sweet malty nose, though roasted malt is also present. Slight fruitiness and some chocolate/cocoa. No hops (none needed). 9/12

APPEARANCE: Dark black with dark brown highlights (34-44 SRM). Moderate dark tan foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Remarkably sweet for the style with flavors akin to oatmeal or lactose (though none is used in the brew). Plenty of base malt and dark malt up front with strong roasted malt/coffee flavor on the backend. Bitterness seems to come from the roasted malt; hops do not impart any actual flavor of their own. A subtle background cocoa/fruit character is nice. Aftertaste is slightly dry and bitter, but easily tolerable. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-light carbonation. Soft, smooth, comfortable mouthfeel. Highly sessionable at only 4.3% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Quite sweet for a supposedly "dry" stout style, but tastier as well. I'd take this over a Guinness any day. 8/10


NOTE: See my 2009 original review here:

Friday, December 8, 2017

O'Hara's Irish Red (2017 re-review to BJCP specs)

BBD: 2/28/18

2015 BJCP Category: 15A Irish Red

AROMA: Moderate toffee/caramel sweetness, though far from cloying or faux. Has a bready malt base. Some butterscotch is present, but it works with the other aromatics and is allowable according to the guidelines. No hop presence, though there is some roasted malt. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Beautiful ruby/magenta hue (13-17 SRM). Clear body. Fairly large tan foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Sweet toffee/caramel maltiness throughout. Tastes sweeter than it smells, but it is authentic and never cloying. Some diacetyl imparts a butterscotch candy taste which complements the malt flavors well. Brief roasted malt bitterness on the finish imparts balance. Little discernible hop character other than a subtle earthy/floral presence.  15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-light carbonation. Texture is soft and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly malty. Very quaffable and sessionable at 4.3% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: More robust than traditional examples of the style, but also more enjoyable. 8/10


NOTE: See my 2009 original review here:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale

DOC: ? (G256 51)

2015 BJCP Category: 11C Strong Bitter

AROMA: Moderately-high fruity esters (especially apple, but not acetaldehyde). Some sweet biscuity malt with slight caramel component. No discernible hop character. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Clear amber/copper hue (7-9 SRM). Large white froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Palette is malty/fruity throughout with a subtle bitterness in the background. Moderate fruit flavors of red apple and pear. Malt base is low, but firm enough to taste a biscuity malt base with slight caramel flavor and sweetness in the finish. Hops have likely faded and provide only trace dry bitterness and earthy/floral character. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and carbonation. Extremely smooth. Not refreshing per se, but highly quaffable and sessionable at 4.7% ABV. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: While not the greatest ESB, it's pretty indicative of the style. Drinkability is fantastic. 7/10


Monday, December 4, 2017

N'Ice Chouffe (2017 re-review to BJCP specs)

BBD: 2/2019

2015 BJCP Category: 26D Belgian Dark Strong Ale

AROMA: Moderate esters with a spicy phenols and a fruity quality (mostly dried/dark fruit but slight banana). Faint hint of spice rack seasoning and citrus peel. Alcohol is present, but tame and blends with the nose well. Malt is slightly bready, but no Maillard characteristics. Hops are likely obscured by esters and phenols. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Deep burgundy hue (22-27 SRM); clear, bubbly body. Large off-white foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Firm base of bready malt, but not especially rich. Yeast esters and phenols account for bulk of the flavors of the palette. Dark fruits with some banana with a peppery/clove-like bite throughout. Thyme and Curacao orange peel exist as garnishes; interesting bonus flavors to create for a Christmas/winter-themed brew. Hops are difficult to distinguish from the spices, but palette appears more balanced than not. Alcohol is noticeable, but fairly tame with only a gentle warming and no fusel whatsoever. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; high carbonation. Finish is about even, though slightly dry. No cloying aftertaste. Feels like a much lighter beer than 10% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: An interesting variation on the usual Belgian Dark Strong Ale. To-spec for sure, but not quite amazing. 8/10


See my 2010 original review here:

See my 2013 re-review here:

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale (2017 re-review to BJCP specs)

BBD: 4/2018

2015 BJCP Category: 30C Winter Seasonal Beer (base style: brown ale)

AROMA: Cinnamon and ginger are prominent and create for an aroma similar to snickerdoodle cookies. Orange peel can be found in the background and offers contrast. Base brown malt is present, but has little distinctiveness of its own (not that it really needs it). No hops. No esters. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Beautiful chestnut/mahogany hue (22-27 SRM). Chill haze eventually clears. Large tan foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Spices are the most prominent component of the palette with ginger and cinnamon working well together. Orange peel offers an interesting contrast and mostly stays in the background. The brown ale base style comes through in the form of lightly browned and slightly sweet malt. Hops do not stand out, but do not not need to since spices do most of the bittering. Overall, palette is well-balanced and delectable. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; medium carbonation. Texture is soft and smooth. Spices and malts linger for a spicy/starchy aftertaste, though it is easily tolerable. Feels a bit stronger than 5.9% ABV; but with no alcohol warmth or flavor. Ideal accompaniment to a Christmas meal. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: One of the best mass market Christmas beers that exemplifies the style well. A fun holiday brew. 9/10


See my 2008 original review here:

See my 2011 re-review here: 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Cigar City Good Gourd (2017 re-review to BJCP specs)

DOB: 8/22/17

2015 BJCP Category: 30B Autumn Seasonal Beer (base style: N/A)

AROMA: Nose is complex with intense fall seasonal spices. Nutmeg, ginger and clove are most prominent, but other spices are present and create for a lovely melange. There is a presence of base malt, but there is nothing especially distinctive about it (not that it needs to be for this style). No hops (none needed). Wonderful-smelling beer that exemplifies these specs. 12/12

APPEARANCE: Deep copper/mahogany hue (22-27 SRM). Chill haze fades to a clear body. Large, tan foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Five spices are mentioned on the label and all five definitely come through at some point in this palette. First half has a dry spicy/tingly sensation with ginger, allspice and cinnamon most prominent. At the apex it transitions to a much sweeter, richer flavor with a lovely vanilla and clove combination. The alcohol enhances and complements the palette, especially on the second half. There is no declared base style, but none is needed. The malt is strong enough to build a sturdy backbone and offer sweetness. Fermentation is complete so as not to be sugar water, nor is it bone dry. The spices provide all bitterness, but a subtle hop character is there to fill in any missing gaps. Overall, a well-balanced, innovative, and delectable palette. 20/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; medium-low carbonation. Texture is smooth with a brief aftertaste of spices and malt, but nothing cloying or sticky. The 8.8% ABV can be tasted and felt, but this is a gentle giant for sure. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: An absolute World Class beer that proves you don't need a base style to be a great specialty style. 10/10


NOTE: See my 2013 original review here:

Friday, December 1, 2017

Funky Buddha Last Snow (2017 re-review)

DOB: 9/14/17

2015 BJCP Category: 30A Spice, Herb or Vegetable Beer (base style: 20A American Porter)

AROMA: Prominent coconut aroma which seems authentic (not like sunblock). Coffee is there and smells like ground coffee in the bag, not brewed black coffee. Dark base malt is present, but much more subtle than would be in an unadulterated porter. No hops or esters (none needed). 10/12

APPEARANCE: Inky black, clear body (44 SRM). Large dark tan foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Fairly sweet up front in the traditional American porter way. Dark malt taste for sure, but not especially roasty. Nothing fruity, though. Coffee lingers in the background to add subtle flavor and bitterness. At the apex the coffee and coconut both emerge with a 1-2 punch of dessert-like flavor but also some bitterness. Finish is nearly all coconut. Very low American hops can be detected throughout with slight citrusy/floral character; coffee and coconut account for all the bitterness. No alcohol presence whatsoever. Definitely a delectable palette, though I'd prefer a bit stronger presence of the base style (this could probably be marketed as a stout). 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-low carbonation. Very smooth. Coffee and coconut linger for a dry (but tolerable) aftertaste. Ideal drinkability for 6.4% ABV. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A harmonious marriage of the base style and added ingredients to make for a delicious product. 10/10


NOTE: See my 2016 original review here:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Brooklyn East IPA (2017 re-review to BJCP specs)

BBD: 12/2017

2015 BJCP Category: 34B Mixed-Style Beer (base styles: 12C English IPA; 21A American IPA)

AROMA: Moderately-strong piney hop aroma, though a noticeable honey/lemon oxidation note is also present. Slightly perfume-like character. No distinctive malt aroma. 7/12

APPEARANCE: Amber-orange hue (5-7 SRM). Clear body. Large eggshell froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderate hop flavor and bitterness throughout. Piney at first with a peppercorn/white oak taste on the finish. Oxidation imparts a sweet honey/lemon character. There isn't much actual malt flavor or sweetness. Alcohol is noticeable and slightly distracting. Aftertaste is an odd combination of peppery hops and honey. Interesting choice of malts and hops, which may work when fresh, but diminish with age. 11/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and carbonation. Smooth texture. Slightly astringent but tolerable aftertaste. No alcohol warmth for 6.9% ABV, but it feels like a lighter brew. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Marketed as an American/English IPA hybrid, but wouldn't score well as either style. Pasteurization and age doesn't help, either. 5/10


NOTE: See my 2008 original review here:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Samuel Adams Winter Lager (2017 re-review to BJCP specs)

BBD: 4/2018

2015 BJCP Category: 30C Winter Seasonal Beer (base style: 6C Dunkles Bock)

AROMA: Nose can best be described as citrusy and spicy due to the orange peel and ginger. Moderately rich bready malt with slight crusty notes. Cinnamon combines with this malt well. No apparent hops (none needed). Clean lager fermentation. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Dark ruby/copper/brown (22-27 SRM). Clear, bubbly body. Large tan froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Bock base has a moderately-rich bready malt character, though not especially sweet. Spices are evident throughout; ginger is fairly strong up front with orange peel citrusy flavor on the finish. Cinnamon lurks in the background throughout and transitions the flavor from spicy to citrusy. Wheat is mostly undetectable (probably only used for head retention). Hops are very low; adding subtle spiciness and bitterness. Overall, palette is complex and well-balanced. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; medium carbonation. Soft, smooth texture. Aftertaste is malty/spicy but far from cloying. Very efficient at 5.6% ABV; this could be mistaken for a much stronger brew. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A surprisingly enjoyable beer that exemplifies the specs for both the base and specialty styles. Even more impressive considering it's a lager. 10/10


See my 2008 original review here:

See my 2011 re-review here: 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Bass Pale Ale

DOB: 9/14/17

2015 BJCP Category: 11C Strong Bitter

AROMA: Notes of nutty/toasted malt and slight caramel sweetness. Faint earthy/floral hops. No prominent esters. Nothing off-putting, just a very weak nose. 7/12

APPEARANCE: Clear copper hue (9-12 SRM). Moderate off-white foam retains and laces fairly well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderately-low malt impression. Has a nutty character and a slight toasted component. Light caramel is noticeable as a background flavor along with minor sweetness. Low hop character with earthy/floral flavor and minor dry bitterness. Very low fruity yeast esters. Nothing overtly off about the palette; it's just too mild for the style. 12/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and carbonation. Smooth and quaffable but not refreshing. Clean finish. Probably sessionable for some drinkers at 5.1% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A mild macro offering that pays lip service to the style. 6/10


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Fuller's London Pride (2017 re-review to BJCP specs)

BBD: 4/1/18

2015 BJCP Category: 11B Best Bitter

AROMA: Moderately sweet, bready malt nose with notes of caramel, toffee and a touch of butterscotch (low levels of diacetyl are acceptable). Low floral/fruity hops. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Clear tawny hue (7-9 SRM). Average white, frothy foam retains and laces very well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Mostly malt-foward palette with a fairly sweet confectionery taste of caramel, toffee and slight butterscotch. Malt is bready with the faintest toast flavor (but not rich, per se). Hops come through as a gentle dry bitterness up front, but finishing with a moderate bitter bite. Aftertaste is even. British ale yeast imparts subtle fruitiness.  14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body and carbonation. Smooth and quaffable. Easily sessionable at 4.7% ABV. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Though tasty, palette is a bit off-balanced for the style; this is likely due to the age of the bottle. 8/10


NOTE: Read and watch my 2011 original review here:

Friday, November 24, 2017

Coniston Bluebird Bitter

DOB: ? (F18104)

2015 BJCP Category: 11A Ordinary Bitter

AROMA: Moderate fruity estery scent akin to marmalade, but also citrusy hops. Moderate malt presence with just a touch of toast, but far from rich or sweet. A bit of a honey/lemon tea-like flavor from oxidation. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Mostly clear amber/copper color (7-9 SRM). Small, white froth never completely dissipates. 3/3

FLAVOR: Medium-low malt flavor with slight toasty component. Definitely not rich or sweet. Moderately-high fruity flavor throughout with a noticeable orange taste. A touch of sourness and also some honey/lemon tea flavors due to age of the bottle. Bitterness is firm enough to impart some balance. Finish is fairly dry. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Light body; medium-low carbonation. Not refreshing but easy to drink. Ideal for sessioning when fresh at 4.2% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I can tell this is a true bitter at the core; it just doesn't travel or age well. 6/10


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier UrBock

DOB: ?

2015 BJCP Category: 32A Classic Style Smoked Beer (base style: 6C Dunkles Bock)

AROMA: Strong smoked presence with significant beechwood character. There is a moderate bready malt presence that implies some sweetness. A touch of chocolate is also present. No hops (none needed). Clean fermentation. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Seemingly black, but actually dark maroon (22-27 SRM). Clear body. Moderate dark tan froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Smoke flavor throughout; though it is especially strong towards the finish with a bacon-like taste. Base style of dunkles bock is fairly prominent with distinct bready malt flavor, though it is not sweet nor rich. There is a brief taste of dark chocolate right as it finishes. Hops are very low and virtually undetectable; smoke provides bitterness. Clean fermentation. Though smoke dictates the palette, it doesn't feel wildly askew. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-low carbonation. Smooth and highly drinkable. No alcohol presence for 6.5% ABV. Smoke leaves a slightly astringent aftertaste akin to bacon, but without grease. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Interesting and tasty combination of a dark bock and smoked malt. Best appreciated as a meal accompaniment. 8/10


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Kulmbacher EKU Pils

DOB: ? (2433134)

2015 BJCP Category: 5D German Pils

AROMA: Moderate grainy-sweet maltiness with slight graham cracker and honey scent. Medium-low spicy/earthy Noble hops. Faint sulfur, but it is not distracting (and acceptable for the style). Clean fermentation. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Banana yellow hue (2-4 SRM). Mostly clear body. Large creamy white head retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Remarkably sweet up front with a honey/bready flavor (oxidized). Noble hops are present throughout; mild bitterness on the first half and a moderate peppery/spicy flavor on the second. Brief hop bite right as it finishes. Hops have likely faded with age. Slight sulfur quality, but is tame and not upstaging. Brew is well-attenuated with a soft malty aftertaste; otherwise clean and dry. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; medium carbonation. Easy to drink, but not especially refreshing. Session beer candidate at 4.9% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: More to spec than not, but better enjoyed fresher than this. 7/10


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ayinger Urweisse (2017 re-review to BJCP specs)

DOB: ?

2015 BJCP Category: 10B Dunkles Weissbier

AROMA: Moderately banana and clove yeast esters and phenols. Moderately low bready malt presence, but lacking Maillard character. No hops (none needed). 9/12

APPEARANCE: Deep copper hue (13-17 SRM); hazy body. Large white froth retains well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderate banana bread taste throughout. Good balance of yeast esters, phenols and wheat. Grist creates for a wheat bread flavor, though it is not particularly toasty. Tingling clove flavor and spicy sensation throughout which becomes rather prominent on the finish. No hop flavor or bitterness. The palette is also mild overall. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderate carbonation. Feels a bit flat and watery for the style. Very refreshing and easy to drink. Seems much lighter than 5.8% ABV, though. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Though enjoyable, this seems more like a regular weissbier than a true dunkelweizen. 6/10


NOTE: See my 2012 original review here: