Saturday, June 16, 2018

Two Brothers Pahoehoe Coconut Ale

Best before date: 10/30/18

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

AROMA: Moderate presence of authentic, raw coconut (nothing toasted). Slight vanilla sweetness. Faint pale malt base with no specialty character. No discernible hops. Clean fermentation. 8/10

APPEARANCE: Mostly clear shade of gold (4-5 SRM). Small, off white suds retain mostly evaporate. 2/3

FLAVOR: Most likely a blonde ale base recipe as the core ingredients are rather muted. Coconut is barely noticeable until the finish at which point it becomes quite prominent. Mostly authentic taste, but does have a slight sunblock character. Vanilla adds a touch of sweetness on the finish and briefly into the aftertaste and creates for a cookie-like taste. Malts and hops are nondescript; no specialty character and very low bitterness. Attenuation seems moderate. No obvious flaws, but palette is rather boring. 12/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderate carbonation. Quaffable, but not especially refreshing. Aftertaste is mostly clean, though the coconut does linger a tad. Feels like a much lighter brew than 5.2% ABV; some drinkers may find this sessionable. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: As a beach beer it works fine, but this isn't a particularly creative or well-brewed SHV brew. Too mild to impress. 5/10

TOTAL SCORE: 30/50

Friday, June 15, 2018

St. Bernardus Extra 4 (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)


Bottling code: A 190217

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 26A Trappist Single

AROMA: Spicy/peppery aromatics from the hops and the yeast esters. Slight pome fruit character as well, though no implied sweetness. Malt base is clean and classic pilsner-type with a slight graham cracker quality. This old bottle exhibits signs of oxidation. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Clear shade of gold (2-5 SRM). Moderate white froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Though not extremely robust, the palette is rather complex with significant hop, malt and yeast characters. There is a spicy/peppery taste throughout thanks to the Noble hops and yeast phenolics. A subtle taste of green pear and a touch of red apple lurks in the background from the yeast esters. Malt base is akin to a pilsner with a graham cracker taste component. This old bottle has strong notes of honey/lemon and diminished bitterness (though overall balance is still maintained). Despite the age, the high attenuation is evident as the aftertaste is mostly clean with a brief linger spicy/malt sensation. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; medium-high carbonation. Refreshing, smooth, and crisp. Highly drinkable and sessionable at 4.8% ABV. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: One of the select few authentic examples of the style available on the mass market. It lives up to guidelines quite well. Fresher is better, though. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 44/50

NOTE: See my 2015 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2015/06/st-bernardus-extra-4.html

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bell's Two Hearted Ale (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Fill date: 3/27/18

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

AROMA: Strong American hop aroma of mostly floral and citrusy notes, but also a slight presence of berries and green tea. Malt base is present, but nondescript and no implied sweetness. Clean fermentation. No alcohol. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Hazy shade of deep amber/flame orange (7-9 SRM). Large off-white froth retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderately-high hop flavor throughout with a significant floral flavor and slight orange juice concentrate or citrus pith. Bitterness is firm and strong enough to take notice of, but not to throw the balance off. Malt base is much richer than the  nose would indicate with a remarkable caramel and honey-like taste and moderate sweetness. There is a faint grassy/spicy sensation as it finishes. Both the malts and hops linger, though the aftertaste is surprisingly sweet. Alcohol enhances the malt base and the overall body, but is clean and tame. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-low carbonation. A bit thicker and less crisp than the average IPA. Quite smooth and easily drinkable at 7% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: One of the most popular American IPAs for a reason; it definitely exemplifies the style well. An old school recipe that still holds up. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 43/50

NOTE: See my 2010 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2010/03/bells-two-hearted-ale-chadz-beer.html

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Two Brothers Twenty-Plus Pilsner Lager

Enjoy by date: 9/2/18

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

AROMA: Moderate lightly-sweet clean grainy malt character with a slight sweetness of graham cracker or honey. Moderately-low floral hops and just a hint of black pepper. Clean fermentation profile. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Mostly clear shade of white gold (2-4 SRM). Moderate white soapy foam retains never completely dissipates. 2/3

FLAVOR: Medium hop bitterness and flavor throughout (much stronger than the nose would indicate). Taste is moderately spicy/peppery with touch of lemon peel. Malt base is clean with a noticeable sweetness. Notes of lemon and honey seem to be present (this could be due to the malt as well as oxidation). Brief hoppy aftertaste is dry and spicy, but otherwise finishes clean. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderate carbonation. Smooth and somewhat refreshing. Highly drinkable and sessionable at 4.8% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Good, solid, pils-style brew. Not completely authentic, but close enough to score well. The drinkability and cans help. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 36/50

Monday, June 11, 2018

Trappist Achel 8° Blond (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)

Best before date: 8/17/18

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

AROMA: Moderate Trappist yeast character with an orange/coriander-like fruity/spicy character. Slight presence of banana and pome fruit. Malt base imparts a slight sweetness with a bit of a honey character. Hops are floral and spicy with a touch of lavender. Alcohol is soft and clean. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Mostly clear shade of golden-amber (4-5 SRM). Large white foamy head retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Spicy/fruity flavors throughout due to flamboyant yeast character, though there is significant malty sweetness as well. Esters and phenols create for a melange of orange, coriander, honey, banana, and green pear. Alcohol and malt base linger in the aftertaste with a gentle warmth. Bitterness is moderately-low and hops offer little distinctive flavor, but palette seems well-balanced. Intensity may be a bit hindered due to age of bottle, but all the flavors are still there. 16/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-high carbonation. Texture is soft, smooth, and almost creamy. Not refreshing per se, but highly drinkable even at 8% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A bit different than the other Trappist tripels, but just as good. Best enjoyed fresh. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 42/50

NOTE: See my 2012 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2012/04/trappist-achel-8-blond-chadz-beer.html

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Two Brothers Sidekick Pale Ale

Best before date: 10/22/18

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

AROMA: Fairly strong fruity hop aromas with notes of lemon and orange citrus and slight tropical fruits. A faint grassy/spicy character is present in the background. There seems to be a slight honey/lemon character, though the malt base as a whole is rather muted. Clean fermentation; no alcohol. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Hazy shade of pale copper (4-7 SRM). Small white foam retains and laces well enough. 3/3

FLAVOR: High hop flavor throughout with matching bitterness (seems much higher than 36 IBUs). Hop character is standard American-style with citrus and tropical fruit flavors, though I do notice a subtle spicy/grassy sensation in the background. Malt base is quite evident with a bit of a honey/lemon/toast taste which is actually a bit sweet. Finish is bitter with a brief hop aftertaste. This could pass as an IPA, but still works fine as an APA. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; moderate carbonation. Smooth, but crisp. Fairly high drinkability overall, though it feels a bit heavy for 5.1% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Makes full use of its hops, but it might be better viewed as an IPA. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 38/50

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Surly Darkness


Bottling code: 1705030757

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

AROMA: Fruit-forward nose of dark and dried fruits (i.e. plums, figs, raisins, cherry, black grape, currant, etc.). Noticeable black licorice character, but no confectionery/syrupy notes. Malt base is clearly dark and intense, but lacking any overt roasted/burnt/coffee-like character. Moderately-strong American hop presence with significant citrusy aromatics. The alcohol is virtually undetectable. 11/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque jet black (44+ SRM) with dark tan frothy foam which laces and retains extremely well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Massive malt and fruit bomb, but with enough hops for balance. Palette is remarkably fruity with a cornucopia of flavors (plum, raisin, fig, black cherry, currant, etc.). A flavor of black licorice is also quite strong, with a somewhat subtle dark/semi-sweet chocolate taste. Malt base is rich and strong, but offers little in the way of familiar roasted or coffee-like flavors (this is acceptable for the style, but may throw off some drinkers). Beer is sweet to be sure, though the hops are strong enough to at least offer balance. Moderately-high citrusy hop flavor and moderate bitterness. Aftertaste is bittersweet as both the rich malt base and the hops linger. The alcohol is clean as a whistle and lays in the background throughout; even as the beer warms. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Full-bodied; medium-low carbonation. Texture is smooth and soft. Amazing drinkability considering its potency of 12% ABV. Alcohol is clean and smooth; no burning or warming sensation whatsoever. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: A Hall Of Fame imperial stout as far as specs go. A bit fruitier and less roasty than I'd prefer, but a delectable brew nevertheless. 10/10

TOTAL SCORE: 47/50

Friday, June 8, 2018

Belhaven Black Scottish Stout

Fill code: L7175 (6/24/17?)

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 15B Irish Stout

AROMA: A light-to-moderate amount of ground coffee plus some cocoa powder. A slight lactose sugar-like sweetness. Very faint fruity esters. No hops (none needed). 9/12

APPEARANCE: Opaque black (44+ SRM). Thumb-width khaki froth from nitro widget. Excellent retention and lacing. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderately-low dark malt flavor at first with a light cocoa taste and sweetness. Roasted malt stands out on the finish with a taste akin to black coffee which lingers briefly. Aftertaste is mostly clean with a slight sweetness. Bitterness is quite low with no distinguishing hop flavor (none needed). 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light body; low carbonation (seem a tad watery, actually). Creamy smooth texture due to nitro widget. Easily sessionable at only 4.2% ABV. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: On-point for style, but a bit mild likely due to age of the can. Comparable substitute for the more popular examples of the style. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 38/50

Friday, June 1, 2018

Clown Shoes Undead Party Crasher

Fill date: 2/15/18

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

AROMA: Moderately-strong dark fruit aroma, especially of sour black grape and raisin. Dark malt, but without coffee or overtly roasted notes; just a subtle chocolate syrup. Noticeable fresh hop aroma; resiny and dank. Minor fusel alcohols, but clean for the most part. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Inky opaque black (44+ SRM). Large dark brown foam mostly dissipates. 2/3

FLAVOR: Fairly rich palette with a fruit-and-chocolate syrup flavor throughout. Black grape, raisin, and a berry-like flavor are all present. Malt base is fairly strong, though not rich per se. Surprisingly, there is no coffee/roasted flavors or anything smoke-like (despite the use of smoked malts). Bitterness is fairly high as is the hop flavor (resiny and citrusy). Alcohol is difficult to ignore as it imparts a drying sensation and noticeable warmth. Not hot; but a bit distracting. Aftertaste is a bit dry from the hops and alcohol, though a lingering fruity taste is noticeable. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; medium-low carbonation. Feels a tad thinner and calmer than it should be. Though strong at 10.5% ABV, the drinking experience feels like something more standard. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Has mostly what you'd expect and want in an impy stout, but why settle for just average? The smoked malts are completely absent. 6/10

TOTAL SCORE: 34/50

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Brew Hub Diver Down

Fill date: 4/18/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 22B American Strong Ale

AROMA: Moderately-strong citrusy/floral hops; almost candy-like. Significant caramel malt base with just a touch of chocolate, although beer does not seem sweet. Slightly fruity character. No alcohol presence; clean fermentation. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Mostly clear magenta/coppery-brown hue (17-22 SRM). Large tan foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Malt is moderately-strong with mostly caramel and some dark fruit flavors, though it is not cloying (only a little sweet). Hops are fairly strong with a citrusy/floral flavor combination. Bitterness is moderate with a drying sensation.  Hops linger in the aftertaste along with slight maltiness. Alcohol is clean and subtle. Well-balanced palette, though a tad mild for the style. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body and matching carbonation. Smooth and easily drinkable even at 8% ABV. Gentle alcohol warmth. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Nice selection of malts and hops and well-balanced as well. A bit mainstream for a strong ale style, though. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 38/50

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Crooked Stave St. Bretta Citrus Saison

Fill date: Batch 2018-3

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 28A Brett Beer (base style: 29B Fruit & Spice Beer [base style: 25B Saison])

AROMA: Fairly strong clean, bright, citrusy aroma from the fruit and spices. Brett character is rather low and may be overshadowed by the additives as they share similar aromatics. Base saison is also difficult to distinguish; there does seem to be a countryside terroir character, but nothing in the way of distinguishable malts and hops or standard yeast character. 7/12

APPEARANCE: Very pale and hazy shade of yellow (1-4 SRM). Moderate white soapy suds almost completely evaporate. 2/3

FLAVOR: Rather simple palette of pale malt up front and citrus and spice in the back. Orange, lemongrass, and coriander flavors are the most dominate and are quite strong (and enjoyable) and linger in the aftertaste briefly before finishing clean. The Brett is almost unnoticeable other than a faint tartness and drying sensation as it finishes. Bitterness is very low and hop flavor is essentially absent.  Overall taste is fine, but far removed from the described styles. 9/20

MOUTHFEEL: Light body; medium carbonation. Feels a bit tepid in texture. Somewhat refreshing thanks to the citrusy flavors. This drinks like a much lighter and more sessionable brew than 5.2% ABV. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Marketed as a wild fruit & spice saison, the actual product is closer to an American wheat or blonde. 4/10

TOTAL SCORE: 25/50

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Florida Avenue Brown Ale

Fill date: 1/9/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 19C American Brown Ale

AROMA: Moderately-strong malty-sweet notes of milk chocolate, toasted malt, caramel, and a slight almond character. Low floral/piney hops. No alcohol presence. Clean fermentation. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Brown proper with red base and highlights (17-22 SRM). Large, light tan foam never completely dissipates.

FLAVOR: Begins as a liquid candy bar with discernible flavors of milk chocolate, caramel and almonds. Sweetness fades quickly and palette transitions to more of standard brown malt which seems to be well-attenuated. The hops offer a nice balance of bitterness and slight floral/piney taste. Finishes medium-dry with just a light malty aftertaste. No alcohol and clean fermentation. 15/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderately-high carbonation. Smooth, but crisp. Less CO2 or some lactose would enhance the confectionery sensation. Drinks like a lighter beer than 5.8% ABV, though one serving is satisfying. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: More than just a solid brown ale, this is quite impressive for what could've just been a brew of average quality. 8/10

TOTAL SCORE: 40/50

Monday, May 28, 2018

Duvel (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)


Best before date: 6/19

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 25C Belgian Golden Strong Ale

AROMA: Fruity yeast esters are quite prominent with notes of green pear and apple, orange and a touch of banana. Though fruity, it is not especially sweet. Malt base has no specialty character. There is a spicy/peppery aroma as well from yeast phenols and the hops. No alcohol presence. 12/12

APPEARANCE: Clear golden hue (2-4 SRM). Large, bright white, marshmallow-like froth retains and laces wonderfully. 3/3

FLAVOR: Complex, robust and delectable all around. Fruity yeast esters impart apple, pear, orange and banana flavors. These characteristics are slightly sweet or candy-like. The malt base is rather simple; just pale malt with a slight cracker quality. In no way bready or rich because it is so highly attenuated. There is a consistent spicy/earthy sensation which becomes quite strong on the backend and leads to a dry, slightly peppery aftertaste. The alcohol is quite subtle indeed; it offers little character of its own but seems to boost the flavors that are already there. 20/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium bodied; highly carbonation. Texture is soft and smooth. Though a strong brew at 8.5% ABV, it is remarkably refreshing while in the mouth with no alcohol warmth or distraction. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This beer invented and still defines the Belgian Golden Strong Ale style. It's not only World Class, but a well cared-for bottle contains an immaculate beer. 10/10

TOTAL SCORE: 50/50

NOTE: See my 2010 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2010/08/duvel-belgian-golden-ale-chadz-beer.html

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Saison Dupont (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)


Fill date: 11/12/16

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 25B Saison

AROMA: Moderately-strong yeast character with citrusy esters and peppery phenols. Malt and wheat base create for a classic farmhouse terroir effect. Hops are difficult to distinguish from the phenols, but may add a slight earthy/spicy note. Fairly strong skunky aroma from the green bottle and some honey/lemon oxidation from the age. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Golden/amber hue (4-5 SRM) with a good deal of haze. Large, bright white, creamy froth retains and laces extremely well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Complex palette with a lot of subtleties. Yeast esters and phenols seem to be the primary flavor contributors. Classic saison character of black pepper throughout with a minor orange and lemon pith taste and just a touch of banana. Malt and wheat are moderate in strength, but do not offer much sweetness aside from a honey/lemon character due to oxidation and erosion of hops. Remaining hops work in conjunction with the phenols for a moderate dry spicy/earthy taste. Finish is quite dry with a mild lingering spiciness. Faint presence of alcohol, but it is not distracting. 18/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; medium-high carbonation. Texture is quite soft and smooth which increases drinkability. Certainly not a session beer at 6.5% ABV, but one 375ml seems like too small of a serving size. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Old school, classic, to-spec saison for sure. World Class when fresh; an old green bottle like this just doesn't do it justice. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 44/50

NOTE: See my 2011 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2011/07/saison-dupont-chadz-beer-reviews.html

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Leffe Blonde (2018 re-review to BJCP specs)


Best before: 5/8/19

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 25A Belgian Blond Ale

AROMA: Moderately-strong yeast character with classic Belgian signature of banana and slight clove. Malt base has a slight bready character, but with no wheat presence. Hops are difficult to distinguish from yeast products but may add or enhance the spicy/earthy/floral quality. Slight alcohol presence. Nose may actually be a bit too strong for the style. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Clear shade of amber/pale copper (4-7 SRM). Large white creamy froth retains and laces extremely well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Robust palette with yeast esters and phenols being the primary flavor contributors. Somewhat sweet banana bread taste throughout the first half, though well-attenuated so as not to be rich or cloying. There is a consistent phenolic taste of clove and black pepper which becomes rather strong on the second half. Actual hop flavor is a faint earthy/spicy/floral taste. Bitterness is firm and balances palette well, with a drying sensation as it finishes. Alcohol enhances the sweetness of the malt, but also helps lead to a dry finish. While delectable and on-point for the style, the intensity of these characteristics may be strong for the style. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium+ body; fairly high carbonation. Texture is soft, smooth and creamy. Alcohol is gentle, but noticeable at 6.6% ABV. Overall drinkability is high.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is one of the most popular Belgian blonds on the planet for a reason. It's surprisingly robust for a mainstream product. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 43/50

NOTE: See my 2011 original review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2011/09/leffe-blonde-chadz-beer-reviews.html

Friday, May 25, 2018

Anchor San Franpsycho IPA

Fill date: 3/22/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 29A Fruit Beer (base style: 21A American IPA)

AROMA: Moderate stone fruit character with plenty of American citrusy hops as well. Would not consider it juicy, per se. Malt base is standard pale with a slight wheaty character. No Belgian yeast esters; fermentation is quite clean. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Hazy shade of amber/orange (5-7 SRM). Large fluffy white head retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderate citrusy hop flavor throughout, but actual bitterness is low for the style. The use of peach and apricot add only a trace amount of fruit flavor to the palette (falls well short of the "juicy" adjective on the label). Malt and wheat provide balance and minor sweetness, but no specialty character. Hops linger briefly with a citrusy pith flavor. No yeast esters of phenolics; clean fermentation. 12/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderate carbonation. Smooth texture thanks to the wheat. Feels much lighter than 6.3% ABV, but is not particularly refreshing. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Lacking both the overt fruitiness and hop bite of a "juicy IPA." Would be better viewed as a standard pale ale. 5/10

TOTAL SCORE: 31/50

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Two Brothers Bare Tree (2013 vintage)


Fill date: 2013

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 22D Wheatwine

AROMA: Moderately-high malty presence. Noticeable baked bread character (nothing toasty or roasted). A moderate amount of English barleywine dried fruit character and a faint spicy or phenolic note. No weizen-like yeast esters. Some sweet caramel and honey-like scents from oxidation. No discernible hops. 9/12

APPEARANCE: Hazy shade of rusty copper (9-13 SRM). Large particulates float in suspension. Moderate off-white, creamy froth retains and laces fairly well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Malt-dominated palette, but is not especially sweet. Taste is bready up front with a lovely dried fruit flavor on the backend which lingers briefly into the aftertaste. Subtle caramel and honey flavors from the alcohol; though some of this is clearly oxidation. A faint trace of spice could be from yeast phenols or hops. Bitterness is low, though brew seems well attenuated so as not to be syrupy or cloying. Seems to be to-spec, but mild. 14/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderately-low carbonation. Texture is soft and smooth with a gentle warming sensation. Drinks like a much lighter beer than 11% ABV. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Exemplifies the style well enough, but is remarkably tame for what should be a bold brew. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 36/50

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Trappist Achel 8° Bruin

Best before date: 7/20/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 26B Belgian Dubbel

AROMA: Moderate malty/estery nose with notes of dark and dried fruits. Subtle phenolic spicy character. Mild alcohol presence, though clean. No discernible hops (none needed). 9/12

APPEARANCE: Dark, slightly cloudy burgundy/light brown hue (17-22 SRM). Large foamy head retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Fairly complex palette with a constant interplay between genuine malt base and fruity/spicy yeast character. Almost perfume-like at first with a tingling spicy, slightly soapy sensation. Malt base is fairly bready with a rich sweetness on the finish. Notes of dark fruit and a touch of banana are present throughout. Alcohol is a significant component as well imparting just a bit of vanilla. Phenols seem to account for the bitterness; actual hop presence is rather low in terms of both taste and bitterness. Lingering fruitcake flavor in the aftertaste. 17/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-full body; moderately-high carbonation. Texture is quite soft and smooth. Alcohol warmth is present, but gentle at 8% ABV. 5/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Classic Belgian Dubbel in virtually all aspects. One of the lesser-known and underrated Trappist brews. 9/10

TOTAL SCORE: 43/50

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tampa Bay/Cigar City Hop Silo #1: Imperial Pilsner

Fill date: 3/9/18

Judged to 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines for: 34B Mixed-Style Beer (base styles: 3B Czech Premium Pale Lager; 5D Czech Pils)

AROMA: Moderate spicy/floral hop presence Moderate bready/biscuity malt with a slight graham cracker component. All components seem rather low for an "imperial" brew. Seemingly clean fermentation; no alcohol presence. 8/12

APPEARANCE: Clear golden hue (2-4 SRM). Moderate white foam retains and laces well. 3/3

FLAVOR: Moderate bready maltiness with a slight graham cracker taste. Not especially sweet, but attenuation seems a little low for a so-called pilsner (which makes it feel more like an ale than a lager). Hops are subtle at first, but break through with a strong spicy flavor at the apex which linger into the aftertaste. Actual bitterness is moderate with a drying sensation from the spiciness of the hops. There may be a trace amount of diacetyl, but it is not distracting (though this could be the alcohol). 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body; moderate carbonation. Smooth and easily drinkable. Supposedly 8% ABV, this feels closer to sub-6% as there is no alcohol presence and it's lacking the crispness of a lager. 3/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Palette is rather simplistic, but the hops are nice. Interesting brew, but difficult to truly judge to traditional styles. 6/10

TOTAL SCORE: 33/50

Monday, May 21, 2018

Anchor Brewer's Pale Ale

Fill date: 2/26/18

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

AROMA: Strong American & New World hop aroma of citrus and tropical fruits. Intense to the point of being juicy. There is a slight spice or grassy note in the background. Moderately-low malt presence is noticeable, but no specialty character (none needed, really). Clean fermentation; no alcohol presence. 10/12

APPEARANCE: Amber/pale orange (4-7 SRM). Moderate white foam retains and laces well. Body is quite hazy. 3/3

FLAVOR: Fairly strong grapefruit hop flavor throughout. Taste is quite authentic, almost with a bit of pith or peel. Other citrusy fruit flavors are present, but taste is much drier and more bitter than the nose would indicate. Bitterness seems closer to that of a typical IPA rather than a standard pale ale. Malt base is fairly nondescript and just a tad wheaty, but in no way bready or caramelly. Slight grassy/piney sensation on the finish. Hops linger briefly in the aftertaste with a dry, slightly grassy taste. Clean fermentation; no alcohol presence. 13/20

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-light[ish] body; medium-high carbonation. Smooth, yet crisp. Nice drinkability at only 5.3% ABV. If it were refreshing it'd be tempting to session. 4/5

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Tasty and fun to drink. But it's yet another pale ale that'd be better marketed and judged as an IPA. 7/10

TOTAL SCORE: 37/50