April162014
Beer of the Week 187 - 4/16/2014: Three Floyds Zombie Dust

This beer has made waves through the craft beer community ever since it was released.  I had the opportunity to have it for the first time about a year or so ago when my buddy Doug, in D.C., hooked me up with a fresh six-pack.  I forgot how great it was until a work buddy, Zach, surprised me with a bottle on my desk the other day.  Three Floyds is a “tiny” brewery in Muncie, IL.  They have really made themselves known for their Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout (See BOTW 17, Part 2).  However, they continually produce some fantastic beers, that, because they are so small, are awfully hard to get a hold of.  Zombie Dust is classified as an American Pale Ale, but it might as well be an IPA.  Three Floyds describes it as an “intensely hopped and gushing undead Pale Ale … .”  I cnould not describe it any better.

Zombie Dust pours a slightly hazy, apricot color that had some nice golden hues when held to the light.  An off-white, two-finger head formed and retained nicely.  Some nice lacing was left along the glass - always a sign that some hoppy deliciousness is coming your way.  The aroma starts with some really bright, fruity aromas.  Big notes of grapefruit, mango, pineapple, honeydew mellon, and lots of lemon/citrus notes stand out the most.  Sweet biscuit and caramel malts provide a background for these sweet fruit aromas.  There’s a bit of pine on the backend of the nose too.  Man, this is nice!

The taste is nothing but juicy, tropical fruits all over the place!  Fresh, bright flavors of mango, grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine and lemon right up front.  A mix of bready, caramel, biscuit malts stands up nicely with the fruit notes of the flavor profile.  Some resin and some slight bitter pine is present as well adding nicely to the flavors here.  Zombie Dust is a medium bodied beer that at times is slightly on the lighter side.  A relatively dry finish comes across on this beer along with a medium level of carbonation.

What an incredibly stellar, sessionable, pale ale at just 6.2% ABV.  The flavors are precisely what I want in a hop forward beer.  I would argue that this beer could easily rival some of the better American IPA’s out there, and, maybe, some of the Imperial IPA’s out there in the craft beer world.  I am very glad I got to try this beer when I have had the opportunity.  Since the Summer is several months away, I really hope tI get some more of this beer soon!  Plus, the label art is AWESOME!  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 187 - 4/16/2014: Three Floyds Zombie Dust

This beer has made waves through the craft beer community ever since it was released. I had the opportunity to have it for the first time about a year or so ago when my buddy Doug, in D.C., hooked me up with a fresh six-pack. I forgot how great it was until a work buddy, Zach, surprised me with a bottle on my desk the other day. Three Floyds is a “tiny” brewery in Muncie, IL. They have really made themselves known for their Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout (See BOTW 17, Part 2). However, they continually produce some fantastic beers, that, because they are so small, are awfully hard to get a hold of. Zombie Dust is classified as an American Pale Ale, but it might as well be an IPA. Three Floyds describes it as an “intensely hopped and gushing undead Pale Ale … .” I cnould not describe it any better.

Zombie Dust pours a slightly hazy, apricot color that had some nice golden hues when held to the light. An off-white, two-finger head formed and retained nicely. Some nice lacing was left along the glass - always a sign that some hoppy deliciousness is coming your way. The aroma starts with some really bright, fruity aromas. Big notes of grapefruit, mango, pineapple, honeydew mellon, and lots of lemon/citrus notes stand out the most. Sweet biscuit and caramel malts provide a background for these sweet fruit aromas. There’s a bit of pine on the backend of the nose too. Man, this is nice!

The taste is nothing but juicy, tropical fruits all over the place! Fresh, bright flavors of mango, grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine and lemon right up front. A mix of bready, caramel, biscuit malts stands up nicely with the fruit notes of the flavor profile. Some resin and some slight bitter pine is present as well adding nicely to the flavors here. Zombie Dust is a medium bodied beer that at times is slightly on the lighter side. A relatively dry finish comes across on this beer along with a medium level of carbonation.

What an incredibly stellar, sessionable, pale ale at just 6.2% ABV. The flavors are precisely what I want in a hop forward beer. I would argue that this beer could easily rival some of the better American IPA’s out there, and, maybe, some of the Imperial IPA’s out there in the craft beer world. I am very glad I got to try this beer when I have had the opportunity. Since the Summer is several months away, I really hope tI get some more of this beer soon! Plus, the label art is AWESOME! Cheers!

April92014
Beer of the Week 186 - 4/9/2014: Brouwerij De Molen Cease & Desist

De Molen is really well known for their stouts.  Odd to think that a brewery in the Netherlands could produce some world class stouts, but they really have.  So much so that this beer used to be named “Rasputin.”  Afer a trademark dispute with North Coast Brewing in California, they changed its name to “Cease & Desist” to poke some fun at the fact they were involved in such a dispute.  Since I purchased this beer, it has been renamed to “Disputin” - get it?  Anyways, C&D is an 11% ABV Russian Imperial Stout that I am looking forward to trying.

Whoa!  A normal pour resulted in a HUGE, 4 finger thick, foamy head that stuck around for quite a while.  When I could finally see the body, it was a dark, thick black color.  The head was a whitish -tan color.  Right out of the bottle, it just smells dark!  Deep roasted notes and a nuttiness is very prominent.  Lots of chocolate and some dark fruits make themselves known as well.  Some burnt sugar notes and licorice come through adding a bit more to the overall nose.  Not a super complex aroma, but not bad either.

The taste begins with big roasted malt flavors mixed with burnt sugars and chocolate.  Lots of dark fruits come out as well with dates, figs, and some blackberries making a presence.  Some charred flavors roll around with everything, which, depending on your taste, is a good thing or a bad thing.  This is a medium bodied beer that is very much on the edge of being heavy bodied.  A bubbly carbonation makes for a slightly prickly feel.

Overall, this was not a bad beer at all.  However, I don’t know if this is one I would go back for any time soon, but it was a nice enjoyable RIS nonetheless.  It is always interesting to see how other countries, while not often thought ofas craft beer hot-spots, are doing what they can to produce world class craft beer.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 186 - 4/9/2014: Brouwerij De Molen Cease & Desist

De Molen is really well known for their stouts. Odd to think that a brewery in the Netherlands could produce some world class stouts, but they really have. So much so that this beer used to be named “Rasputin.” Afer a trademark dispute with North Coast Brewing in California, they changed its name to “Cease & Desist” to poke some fun at the fact they were involved in such a dispute. Since I purchased this beer, it has been renamed to “Disputin” - get it? Anyways, C&D is an 11% ABV Russian Imperial Stout that I am looking forward to trying.

Whoa! A normal pour resulted in a HUGE, 4 finger thick, foamy head that stuck around for quite a while. When I could finally see the body, it was a dark, thick black color. The head was a whitish -tan color. Right out of the bottle, it just smells dark! Deep roasted notes and a nuttiness is very prominent. Lots of chocolate and some dark fruits make themselves known as well. Some burnt sugar notes and licorice come through adding a bit more to the overall nose. Not a super complex aroma, but not bad either.

The taste begins with big roasted malt flavors mixed with burnt sugars and chocolate. Lots of dark fruits come out as well with dates, figs, and some blackberries making a presence. Some charred flavors roll around with everything, which, depending on your taste, is a good thing or a bad thing. This is a medium bodied beer that is very much on the edge of being heavy bodied. A bubbly carbonation makes for a slightly prickly feel.

Overall, this was not a bad beer at all. However, I don’t know if this is one I would go back for any time soon, but it was a nice enjoyable RIS nonetheless. It is always interesting to see how other countries, while not often thought ofas craft beer hot-spots, are doing what they can to produce world class craft beer. Cheers!

April22014
Beer of the Week 185 - 4/2/2014: Voodoo Big Black Voodoo Daddy

Voodoo has really impressed me lately with a lot of the newest offerings.  They’ve really amped up their barrel program and have even released some no-frills, straight forward beers that have really been enjoyable.  Big Black Voodoo Daddy is one of my all time favorite Imperial Stouts and my favorite stout brewed in PA.  Voodoo describes BBVD as a “big, viscous Russian Imperial stout rich in notes of chocolate, vanilla, roasted coffee, and dark fruits.  Hopped with Chinook, Northern Brewer, and Cascade [hops] to add a subtle bitterness to this robust ale,”  Clocking in at 12.5% ABV, this is certainly a big daddy of  a beer.

BBVD pours a nice opaque black color (as expected) with a nice creamy tan head forming about a half of a finger thick.  There’s some surprisingly nice lacing present as well.  Nice, fudgey-chocolate aromas jump out of the glass mixed with some slight coffee/espresso notes.  There are some slight burnt aromas present as well.  In the back of the aroma is a hint of sweet vanilla and some ever so slight woodiness to it as well. 

The taste starts as a lovely, deep, rich, chocolate flavor followed closely by burnt/charred malts along with some coffee/espresso.  Some booze is present there, as is to be a bit expected, but it comes across nicely - nothing offensive.  The flavor rounds out with some sweet vanilla and hints of molasses and chocolate covered dark fruits.  The mouthfeel on this beer is very nice and smooth with a silky, heavy body.  Moderate carbonation adds just enough to the mouth feel. 

Voodoo has produced a very excellent beer here.  This reminds me again and again why it gets my vote for the best stout made in PA (non barrel aged).  This is great fresh, but I know from experience that 1.5-2 years of age makes this one even more divine.  Best part is, this is pretty easy to find around PA, so it should make its way to your local bottle shop.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 185 - 4/2/2014: Voodoo Big Black Voodoo Daddy

Voodoo has really impressed me lately with a lot of the newest offerings. They’ve really amped up their barrel program and have even released some no-frills, straight forward beers that have really been enjoyable. Big Black Voodoo Daddy is one of my all time favorite Imperial Stouts and my favorite stout brewed in PA. Voodoo describes BBVD as a “big, viscous Russian Imperial stout rich in notes of chocolate, vanilla, roasted coffee, and dark fruits. Hopped with Chinook, Northern Brewer, and Cascade [hops] to add a subtle bitterness to this robust ale,” Clocking in at 12.5% ABV, this is certainly a big daddy of a beer.

BBVD pours a nice opaque black color (as expected) with a nice creamy tan head forming about a half of a finger thick. There’s some surprisingly nice lacing present as well. Nice, fudgey-chocolate aromas jump out of the glass mixed with some slight coffee/espresso notes. There are some slight burnt aromas present as well. In the back of the aroma is a hint of sweet vanilla and some ever so slight woodiness to it as well.

The taste starts as a lovely, deep, rich, chocolate flavor followed closely by burnt/charred malts along with some coffee/espresso. Some booze is present there, as is to be a bit expected, but it comes across nicely - nothing offensive. The flavor rounds out with some sweet vanilla and hints of molasses and chocolate covered dark fruits. The mouthfeel on this beer is very nice and smooth with a silky, heavy body. Moderate carbonation adds just enough to the mouth feel.

Voodoo has produced a very excellent beer here. This reminds me again and again why it gets my vote for the best stout made in PA (non barrel aged). This is great fresh, but I know from experience that 1.5-2 years of age makes this one even more divine. Best part is, this is pretty easy to find around PA, so it should make its way to your local bottle shop. Cheers!

March272014
Beer of the Week 184.2 - 3/26/14: Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven La Trappe Quadrupel (Oak Aged)

Following up on last weeks dive into La Trappe’s Quadrupel, I was lucky enough to come across the Oak Aged version of it in a local bar.  This bottle was from Batch 8 which is comprised of a blend of quadrupel aged 70% in whiskey barrels and 30 % in new medium toast French oak.

The beer pours a dark, rich looking, reddish brown color that is a bit murky.  Hints of ruby red shine when held to the light.  A fluffy, eggshell white head forms about 1.5 inches thick that retains well but does recede to a film on the top of the body.  There is some slight lacing here and there.  The aroma starts big with notes of whiskey, peat, and some slight smokey hints coming out front at first nose.  Pleasant oak aromas come through as do the undertones of a solid quad.  Really a warm, inviting aroma.

The taste begins with solid quad flavors of dark fruits.  Soon after, the flavors of oak aging really stand out.  Flavors of oak, both new and charred, vanilla, whiskey, and some smoked peat come through as well.  The interplay between the whiskey barrels and the quad flavors is really nice here.  This is a medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation.  It has a smooth feel like a quad should have along with a slight dryness from the oak influences.  The alcohol also does a bit of warming here and there.

Overall, I really enjoyed this offering.  I felt that the barrels added a nice layer of complexity to an otherwise standard quad.  Not that the barrel integration was perfectly done, but it was really more of an enhancement that really stood out above the base beer.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 184.2 - 3/26/14: Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven La Trappe Quadrupel (Oak Aged)

Following up on last weeks dive into La Trappe’s Quadrupel, I was lucky enough to come across the Oak Aged version of it in a local bar. This bottle was from Batch 8 which is comprised of a blend of quadrupel aged 70% in whiskey barrels and 30 % in new medium toast French oak.

The beer pours a dark, rich looking, reddish brown color that is a bit murky. Hints of ruby red shine when held to the light. A fluffy, eggshell white head forms about 1.5 inches thick that retains well but does recede to a film on the top of the body. There is some slight lacing here and there. The aroma starts big with notes of whiskey, peat, and some slight smokey hints coming out front at first nose. Pleasant oak aromas come through as do the undertones of a solid quad. Really a warm, inviting aroma.

The taste begins with solid quad flavors of dark fruits. Soon after, the flavors of oak aging really stand out. Flavors of oak, both new and charred, vanilla, whiskey, and some smoked peat come through as well. The interplay between the whiskey barrels and the quad flavors is really nice here. This is a medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. It has a smooth feel like a quad should have along with a slight dryness from the oak influences. The alcohol also does a bit of warming here and there.

Overall, I really enjoyed this offering. I felt that the barrels added a nice layer of complexity to an otherwise standard quad. Not that the barrel integration was perfectly done, but it was really more of an enhancement that really stood out above the base beer. Cheers!

March192014
Beer of the Week 184.1 - 3/19/2014: Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven La Trappe Quadrupel

Whoops!  Sorry this didn’t get posted on 3/19/14, but life got the best of me.  I have wanted to try this beer for quite some time now, but always passed it by in the store.  I find myself still attempting to try each Trappist quadrupel they make, and this one is another to scratch off the list.  Unfortunately, I don’t know all too much about this particular Trappist brewery.  Here’s hoping this is a solid offering!

La Trappe Quadrupel pours a standard quad color of a murky, dark amber, chestnut color with a fluffy, khaki colored head that forms about 2 fingers thick.  The head retains nicely and leaves some sticky lacing along the glass.  Dark fruits jump out in the aroma first.  Aromas of dates, figs, raisins, and plums are the most prominent.  There are some cherry notes coming forward as well.  Candy sugar is strong as well along with some malty, caramel, toffee aromas.

The taste follows the nose very closely.  The dark fruits are present with raisins, plums and figs being the highlighted flavors.  Normal Belgian yeast flavors come through too along with some light spices.  Candy sugar and some sweet malt flavors round things out.  This is a medium bodied beer with some ample carbonation.  Although, I feel that it is a little thin here and there.

Overall, this is a nice quad, but not one that I would put up there with the likes of Rochefort 10 or Westy 12.  Still, this was a nice offering that is relatively easy to find.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 184.1 - 3/19/2014: Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven La Trappe Quadrupel

Whoops! Sorry this didn’t get posted on 3/19/14, but life got the best of me. I have wanted to try this beer for quite some time now, but always passed it by in the store. I find myself still attempting to try each Trappist quadrupel they make, and this one is another to scratch off the list. Unfortunately, I don’t know all too much about this particular Trappist brewery. Here’s hoping this is a solid offering!

La Trappe Quadrupel pours a standard quad color of a murky, dark amber, chestnut color with a fluffy, khaki colored head that forms about 2 fingers thick. The head retains nicely and leaves some sticky lacing along the glass. Dark fruits jump out in the aroma first. Aromas of dates, figs, raisins, and plums are the most prominent. There are some cherry notes coming forward as well. Candy sugar is strong as well along with some malty, caramel, toffee aromas.

The taste follows the nose very closely. The dark fruits are present with raisins, plums and figs being the highlighted flavors. Normal Belgian yeast flavors come through too along with some light spices. Candy sugar and some sweet malt flavors round things out. This is a medium bodied beer with some ample carbonation. Although, I feel that it is a little thin here and there.

Overall, this is a nice quad, but not one that I would put up there with the likes of Rochefort 10 or Westy 12. Still, this was a nice offering that is relatively easy to find. Cheers!

March122014
Beer of the Week 183 - 3/12/2014: The Alchemist Heady Topper

Well, I don’t usually review the same style of beer back to back.  BUT, seeing that I have awesome friends, I couldn’t let this beer sit any longer.  Huge shout out to my friends Doug B. and Zach D. for each hooking me up (separate times) with this oh so hard to get, oh so sought after beer.  The Alchemist is a small, family run brewery in Waterbury, VT.  They take their brewing of Heady Topper so seriously, they ONLY brew this beer.  Nothing else.  They focus their entire attention to perfecting every batch of this Double IPA.  That hard work must have paid off because, at the time ofthis post, it is currently ranked as the #1 beer in the world according to BeerAdvocate.com!  This beer comes in a big ole’ can and states in big, bold letters that it is to be drunk in the can.  For the sake of this blog, I made sure my first one was right from the can.  The second one is pictured above for you all to enjoy.  Oh, and these beers were consumed 5 days from the date they were canned.  Now, THAT is fresh.

Heady Topper pours a very murky, honey color that is quite obviously NOT filtered in any way.  It’s a slightly darker color at times than I would’ve thought.  An eggshell white head forms about 2 fingers thick and hangs on for quite a bit before it recedes leaving some gloriously sticky lacing on the glass.  The aroma is strong the second you crack the can!  HUGE hits of juicy, citrusy fruits.  Mango, pineapple, orange, and strong aromas of grapefruit jump out of the can.  I LOVE how juicy this smells!  Bitter notes jump in and out as the citrus really has me entranced.  As it warms a bit, there is an undercurrent of buttery malts that really rounds out the aroma here.

This taste is absolutely superb.  The super-juicy, citrus flavors from the aroma are all mixed together perfectly.  Orange, grapefruit and pineapple stand out the most with mango and some lemon zest coming through as well.  The favor is so smooth and buttery it is almost unreal.  Bitter, piney hops come through and only add to the onalsught of hop perfection.  The mouthfeel is smooth with an even carbonation on the tongue making this one extremely pleasant.  The body is medium bodied, but because of the richness of the beer, it can feel full at times.  A bitter, dry fnish rounds things off nicely.

MAN!  This beer is SO FREAKING DRINKABLE!!  That is really what stands out the most to me.  You could easily drink this one all day even with it’s 8% ABV.  Most American Double IPA’s are often focused with just overloading the hop-bill to the point where it seems they are intentionally trying to destroy your palatte.  Heady Topper is the exact oppostie.  It doesn’t overpower with hops, but puts them on an evenly mixed display that allows you to enjoy every single sip.  There is a reason this is on the top of the food chain (on BeerAdvocate anyway).  Either way, this really does deserve the accolades it has received thus far.  I can only hope that I will get to have this on a regular basis.  Yes, it is that good.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 183 - 3/12/2014: The Alchemist Heady Topper

Well, I don’t usually review the same style of beer back to back. BUT, seeing that I have awesome friends, I couldn’t let this beer sit any longer. Huge shout out to my friends Doug B. and Zach D. for each hooking me up (separate times) with this oh so hard to get, oh so sought after beer. The Alchemist is a small, family run brewery in Waterbury, VT. They take their brewing of Heady Topper so seriously, they ONLY brew this beer. Nothing else. They focus their entire attention to perfecting every batch of this Double IPA. That hard work must have paid off because, at the time ofthis post, it is currently ranked as the #1 beer in the world according to BeerAdvocate.com! This beer comes in a big ole’ can and states in big, bold letters that it is to be drunk in the can. For the sake of this blog, I made sure my first one was right from the can. The second one is pictured above for you all to enjoy. Oh, and these beers were consumed 5 days from the date they were canned. Now, THAT is fresh.

Heady Topper pours a very murky, honey color that is quite obviously NOT filtered in any way. It’s a slightly darker color at times than I would’ve thought. An eggshell white head forms about 2 fingers thick and hangs on for quite a bit before it recedes leaving some gloriously sticky lacing on the glass. The aroma is strong the second you crack the can! HUGE hits of juicy, citrusy fruits. Mango, pineapple, orange, and strong aromas of grapefruit jump out of the can. I LOVE how juicy this smells! Bitter notes jump in and out as the citrus really has me entranced. As it warms a bit, there is an undercurrent of buttery malts that really rounds out the aroma here.

This taste is absolutely superb. The super-juicy, citrus flavors from the aroma are all mixed together perfectly. Orange, grapefruit and pineapple stand out the most with mango and some lemon zest coming through as well. The favor is so smooth and buttery it is almost unreal. Bitter, piney hops come through and only add to the onalsught of hop perfection. The mouthfeel is smooth with an even carbonation on the tongue making this one extremely pleasant. The body is medium bodied, but because of the richness of the beer, it can feel full at times. A bitter, dry fnish rounds things off nicely.

MAN! This beer is SO FREAKING DRINKABLE!! That is really what stands out the most to me. You could easily drink this one all day even with it’s 8% ABV. Most American Double IPA’s are often focused with just overloading the hop-bill to the point where it seems they are intentionally trying to destroy your palatte. Heady Topper is the exact oppostie. It doesn’t overpower with hops, but puts them on an evenly mixed display that allows you to enjoy every single sip. There is a reason this is on the top of the food chain (on BeerAdvocate anyway). Either way, this really does deserve the accolades it has received thus far. I can only hope that I will get to have this on a regular basis. Yes, it is that good. Cheers!

March52014
Beer of the Week 182 - 3/5/2014: Fat Head’s Hop Juju Imperial IPA

It pays to have good friends who believe in beer karma.  Although I missed this first time bottle release, I was gifted a bottle from my friend from work who was given 2 bottles from a Fat Head’s rep!  Fat Head’s has really pumped up their own beer production making some great one offs and continually adding to their profile.  Hop Juju is their imperial IPA that, until two weeks ago, was never bottled.  Their Head Hunter IPA is, in my opinion, one of the best IPA’s on the east coast.  Let’s see how Hop juju compares.

Juju pours a rich honey color that is quite transparent.  A one finger, fluffy, egg shell white head forms and retains nicely.  There’s a good amount of lacing remaining as the beer makes its way down the glass.  The aroma is a blast of BIG HOPS.  This one really screams that it wants to be a west coast IPA.  There are aromas of grapefruit, citrus zest, and some tropical fruits.  There is a malt presence, but the juicy hops are what really stand out here.

Like the nose, the taste is huge in the hop department.  Grapurfruit and mango stand out the most along with some other notes of citrus juice and zest. There’s some very slight pine and herbal flavors in the taste, but this is a juicier IPA than it is an herbal one.  Sweet flavors are met by a malt backbone, but it quickly falls into place as the bitterness and flavors of the hops take over.  Juju is a medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation.  There is a very slight bit of alcohol heat, but nothing much.  Juju has a dry finish and a good amount of resinous oils lingering around the mouth.

Hop Juju was a really enjoyable Imperial UPA.  Having gone 3 years since I last had this, this was MUCH better than I remember.  Feeling luckier and luckier that Fat Head’s is a 10 minute drive away - and for beer loving friends!  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 182 - 3/5/2014: Fat Head’s Hop Juju Imperial IPA

It pays to have good friends who believe in beer karma. Although I missed this first time bottle release, I was gifted a bottle from my friend from work who was given 2 bottles from a Fat Head’s rep! Fat Head’s has really pumped up their own beer production making some great one offs and continually adding to their profile. Hop Juju is their imperial IPA that, until two weeks ago, was never bottled. Their Head Hunter IPA is, in my opinion, one of the best IPA’s on the east coast. Let’s see how Hop juju compares.

Juju pours a rich honey color that is quite transparent. A one finger, fluffy, egg shell white head forms and retains nicely. There’s a good amount of lacing remaining as the beer makes its way down the glass. The aroma is a blast of BIG HOPS. This one really screams that it wants to be a west coast IPA. There are aromas of grapefruit, citrus zest, and some tropical fruits. There is a malt presence, but the juicy hops are what really stand out here.

Like the nose, the taste is huge in the hop department. Grapurfruit and mango stand out the most along with some other notes of citrus juice and zest. There’s some very slight pine and herbal flavors in the taste, but this is a juicier IPA than it is an herbal one. Sweet flavors are met by a malt backbone, but it quickly falls into place as the bitterness and flavors of the hops take over. Juju is a medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. There is a very slight bit of alcohol heat, but nothing much. Juju has a dry finish and a good amount of resinous oils lingering around the mouth.

Hop Juju was a really enjoyable Imperial UPA. Having gone 3 years since I last had this, this was MUCH better than I remember. Feeling luckier and luckier that Fat Head’s is a 10 minute drive away - and for beer loving friends! Cheers!

February262014
Beer of the Week 181 - 2/26/2014: Kuhnhenn Brewing Extraneous Ale (Vintage 2010)

I have been very lucky to get to try some great beers from Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. in Warren, MI.  I decided to dive into the cellar and crack open one of the last bottles I have from my last influx of Kuhnhenn beers.  There is virtually nothing online regarding this beer or how it was made - other than the fact this 2010 version has a 15.5% ABV.  Ratebeer.com states that it is “[b]oiled for 23 hours, yielding around 30 gallons of beer, extraneous ale was then transferred to a bourbon barrel where it will spend 6 months before being released. Fermented with a lager yeast at ale temperatures.”  So, yeah, I have no clue what to expect.

Extraneous pours a rich, dark mahogany color that has light amber hues when held to the light.  Seems to pour with no real sign ofa strong carbonation - something I’ve heard this vintage lacks.  The smell is really quite nice with TONS of components coming through. There are notes of dark sticky fruits like figs, dates and raisins accompanied by strong notes of cherry.  Chocolate and caramel come through as well.  The smell really reminds me of a nice sherry with an extra kick.

The taste really follows the nose pretty closely.  Dates, figs, cherries and strong raisins come through.  Lots of smooth caramel and molasses come through along with a strong brandy/sherry taste.  I wondered if this really was barrel aged based on the flavors coming through.  The booze is certainly present, but not as hot as I imagine this one was when it was first released.  This beer is full bodied and pretty chewy.  The carbonation is ever so slightly present, but that doesn’t really detract too much from this one.  It is a bit syrupy afer a while as it warms.  The alcohol heat is there but, at this point, it isn’t offensive.

Quite an interesting offering here.  I actually enjoyed it way more than I thought I would.  This kept reminding me of a nice cherry based sherry the whole time I drank it.  I wonder what this one is like fresh?  I can only imagine much a much hotter alcohol presence and wonder if there was an even stronger barrel presence,  Bourbon barrel I didn’t get, but man was there a lot of nice sherry and port flavors floating around in there.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 181 - 2/26/2014: Kuhnhenn Brewing Extraneous Ale (Vintage 2010)

I have been very lucky to get to try some great beers from Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. in Warren, MI. I decided to dive into the cellar and crack open one of the last bottles I have from my last influx of Kuhnhenn beers. There is virtually nothing online regarding this beer or how it was made - other than the fact this 2010 version has a 15.5% ABV. Ratebeer.com states that it is “[b]oiled for 23 hours, yielding around 30 gallons of beer, extraneous ale was then transferred to a bourbon barrel where it will spend 6 months before being released. Fermented with a lager yeast at ale temperatures.” So, yeah, I have no clue what to expect.

Extraneous pours a rich, dark mahogany color that has light amber hues when held to the light. Seems to pour with no real sign ofa strong carbonation - something I’ve heard this vintage lacks. The smell is really quite nice with TONS of components coming through. There are notes of dark sticky fruits like figs, dates and raisins accompanied by strong notes of cherry. Chocolate and caramel come through as well. The smell really reminds me of a nice sherry with an extra kick.

The taste really follows the nose pretty closely. Dates, figs, cherries and strong raisins come through. Lots of smooth caramel and molasses come through along with a strong brandy/sherry taste. I wondered if this really was barrel aged based on the flavors coming through. The booze is certainly present, but not as hot as I imagine this one was when it was first released. This beer is full bodied and pretty chewy. The carbonation is ever so slightly present, but that doesn’t really detract too much from this one. It is a bit syrupy afer a while as it warms. The alcohol heat is there but, at this point, it isn’t offensive.

Quite an interesting offering here. I actually enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. This kept reminding me of a nice cherry based sherry the whole time I drank it. I wonder what this one is like fresh? I can only imagine much a much hotter alcohol presence and wonder if there was an even stronger barrel presence, Bourbon barrel I didn’t get, but man was there a lot of nice sherry and port flavors floating around in there. Cheers!

February192014
Beer of the Week 180 - 2/19/2014: Cisco Brewers Monomoy Kriek

Cisco Brewers is based in Nantucket, MA and is home to a winery, distillery, and most importantly, a brewery.  Cisco has made a name for itself in the sour beer category with their “The Woods” series beers - sour beers aged in oak barrels.  Cisco describes Monomoy Kriek as a “Cherried Flemish Red” with an ABV of 6.7%.  Specifically, it is a two year old Nantucket Flemish-style red aged on whole sour cherries for 10 months.

Monomoy Kriek pours a nice looking, dark-cherry red color with very obvious carbonation showing right away.  The body looks slightly cloudy and a small, fizzy, pinkish head forms before quickly receding to a cap.  You can smell this one befre you even put your nose to the glass.  Strong aromas of tart cherries come first followed by a nice woody, oak presence.  The cherries come through sweet and tart and remind me slightly of cherry pie - not the flling - but real, hand-picked cherry pie filling.  The oak element adds an earthiness to the aroma

The taste follows the nose very closely.  It starts with strong cherry pie flavors of tart and sweet cherries.  Like the nose, the oak flavors give this an earthy, almost dry favor.  There isn’t a whole lot of other flavors coming through at all.  Not to say this is a one note beer, in a way, it is.  But, this is a terrific cherry beer.  This is a lighter bodied beer that borders on a medium body with moderate carbonation.  The finish is crisp and slightly dry.

Overall, this is a nice cherry forward beer.  It comes across as a one note kind of beer, but the favors and the style all make for a refreshing take on an oak aged cherry beer.  Pretty widely available in western PA and for a pretty solid price too.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 180 - 2/19/2014: Cisco Brewers Monomoy Kriek

Cisco Brewers is based in Nantucket, MA and is home to a winery, distillery, and most importantly, a brewery. Cisco has made a name for itself in the sour beer category with their “The Woods” series beers - sour beers aged in oak barrels. Cisco describes Monomoy Kriek as a “Cherried Flemish Red” with an ABV of 6.7%. Specifically, it is a two year old Nantucket Flemish-style red aged on whole sour cherries for 10 months.

Monomoy Kriek pours a nice looking, dark-cherry red color with very obvious carbonation showing right away. The body looks slightly cloudy and a small, fizzy, pinkish head forms before quickly receding to a cap. You can smell this one befre you even put your nose to the glass. Strong aromas of tart cherries come first followed by a nice woody, oak presence. The cherries come through sweet and tart and remind me slightly of cherry pie - not the flling - but real, hand-picked cherry pie filling. The oak element adds an earthiness to the aroma

The taste follows the nose very closely. It starts with strong cherry pie flavors of tart and sweet cherries. Like the nose, the oak flavors give this an earthy, almost dry favor. There isn’t a whole lot of other flavors coming through at all. Not to say this is a one note beer, in a way, it is. But, this is a terrific cherry beer. This is a lighter bodied beer that borders on a medium body with moderate carbonation. The finish is crisp and slightly dry.

Overall, this is a nice cherry forward beer. It comes across as a one note kind of beer, but the favors and the style all make for a refreshing take on an oak aged cherry beer. Pretty widely available in western PA and for a pretty solid price too. Cheers!

February122014
Beer of the Week 179 - 2/12/2014: Victory Brewing Dark Intrigue (Vintage 2011)

Time to get back to representing some PA breweries!  Victory, in Downington, PA, is often considered as one of the leaders in the PA craft beer world.  But, only recently have they begun to experiment with barrel aging.  Dark Intrigue represents their first (to my knowledge) barrel aged beer.  For Dark Intrigue, they took their reknown - and widely available - Storm King Stout and aged it in bourbon barrels.  I was able to have this the very first time it was released in 2010, but this review is from the 2011 release.

Dark Intrigue pours a dark, opaque black with a one finger tan head that quickly recedes to a collar of the same color.  The pour appears pretty light and slick.  The aroma starts off with roasted malts, vanilla and some bourbon.  There is not as much barrel presence as I would have expected, but there is enoigh to let you know it’s there.  There is also some chocolate and caramel coming through as well.

The taste is where the true evidence of the bourbon barrel aging comes through.  A healthy dose of roasted malts stands out the most to me first and foremost.  Favors of oak, vanilla, and bourbon follow the roasted malt flavor.  The nice thing about this beer is that you can actually detect the base beer - something that is not always an easy feat in barrel aged beers.  As a fan of Storm King Stout, this is certainly a welcome treat.  The taste is nice, but nothing remarkable or impressive.  This is a full bodied beer that is smooth and slick on the tongue.  There is a moderate carbonation to this one.

Overall, this is not too bad for Victory’s frst time taking a crack at barrel aging a beer.  While it is certainly nothing outrageously awesome, it is not too shabby either.  Maybe, some age will make this one what Victory likely expected it to would turn out to be.  Cheers!

Beer of the Week 179 - 2/12/2014: Victory Brewing Dark Intrigue (Vintage 2011)

Time to get back to representing some PA breweries! Victory, in Downington, PA, is often considered as one of the leaders in the PA craft beer world. But, only recently have they begun to experiment with barrel aging. Dark Intrigue represents their first (to my knowledge) barrel aged beer. For Dark Intrigue, they took their reknown - and widely available - Storm King Stout and aged it in bourbon barrels. I was able to have this the very first time it was released in 2010, but this review is from the 2011 release.

Dark Intrigue pours a dark, opaque black with a one finger tan head that quickly recedes to a collar of the same color. The pour appears pretty light and slick. The aroma starts off with roasted malts, vanilla and some bourbon. There is not as much barrel presence as I would have expected, but there is enoigh to let you know it’s there. There is also some chocolate and caramel coming through as well.

The taste is where the true evidence of the bourbon barrel aging comes through. A healthy dose of roasted malts stands out the most to me first and foremost. Favors of oak, vanilla, and bourbon follow the roasted malt flavor. The nice thing about this beer is that you can actually detect the base beer - something that is not always an easy feat in barrel aged beers. As a fan of Storm King Stout, this is certainly a welcome treat. The taste is nice, but nothing remarkable or impressive. This is a full bodied beer that is smooth and slick on the tongue. There is a moderate carbonation to this one.

Overall, this is not too bad for Victory’s frst time taking a crack at barrel aging a beer. While it is certainly nothing outrageously awesome, it is not too shabby either. Maybe, some age will make this one what Victory likely expected it to would turn out to be. Cheers!

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