Monthly Archives: January 2016

January Mix & Match

I’ve been neglecting the blog–but not the beer drinking–so I have a lot of catching up to do. We’ll start with a couple of European pilsners, continue with three IPAs and an APA, a Scotch Ale, a Barleywine, and conclude with a Hot Chocolate Stout.

RothausRothaus Pils Tannenzäpfle

The Rothaus Pils Tannenzäpfle has existed since 1956—so for almost 60 years. Its unusual name is embodied on the labels of the 0.33 l bottles. Just as today, the original Tannenzäpfle labels depicted spruce-fir branches accompanied by pinecones. These pinecones are what gave this beer its name.

From Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus, this pours a very clear straw, and the malty nose has a hint of sour. On the palette it’s crisp, dry and pure. This is what Milwaukee pretends to be, this is canonical Pilsner with no adjuncts. Absolutely perfect for a hot summer day and pretty damned good in the depths of winter. Gentle malty finish. Would be terrific with shellfish or to freshen the palette after heavier fare. 5.1% ABV, 32 IBU

Mikkeller Imperial Pilsner

This went into the glass with no head, unusual for a pilsner, cloudy light amber. The nose is of caramel malt poured in a bakery. On the palette I get a medium body with fruity caramel hinting at cinnamon raisin. . This gradually wraps itself in hops, still with hints of caramel and bread. It’s a nice twist on the traditional pilsner, more full and less crisp. 8.0% ABV

21st BFOD21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA

Light amber to dark straw in the glass with a generous persistent head. There are lovely citrusy hops apparent from a foot away while pouring, then there’s a sweetness to the aroma. On the palate comes a creamy mouthfeel with lots of hops over a malt backbone. The finish is restrained with some piney notes coming in over the citrus. Very sippable and the 7% ABV could sneak up under the guise of a session IPA. 70 IBU, but surprisingly balanced for that level of hops.

MidnightSun sockeyeMidnight Sun Sockeye Red IPA

Pours chestnut amber with a generous light tan head. Starts with an herbaceous hop nose with underlying malt. The mouthfeel is effervescent and the flavor delivers earthy malt and hops. The finish is creamy with gentle hops. . . which slowly intensify on very long finish. 5.7% ABV, 70 IBU

ElysianSpaceDustElysian Space Dust IPA

This pours a light amber, or hazy gold with the light behind it. The brief light head then laces the glass. Gives a strong herbal hop nose, turning to citrusy hops on the palette with firm malt and light effervescence. This swiftly moves into a bitter herbal lingering finish. As the beer warms the mouthfeel grows stronger as does a hop candy flavor, and everything gets smoother. AB-InBev has not harmed this, at least not yet. 8.2% ABV 73 IBU

stPMXSouthern Tier PMX

Renamed to Phin & Matt’s Extraordinary Ale, in the glass this APA is light amber with a brief white head. Malt and yeast come on the nose with a hint of honey and maybe stone fruit. The flavor is Belgian-like, similar to a saison, emphasizing yeast over malt and bypassing hops. The mouth feel is mildly fizzy. The finish is subtle, alternating malt with a slight sour tang. 5.7% ABV, 37 IBU

OldChubOskar Blues Old Chub Nitro Scotch Ale

A beautiful light tan head builds over a coffee-dark glass. The nose has a sort of plum character, a hint of sour, then stronger hints build of toffee and coffee. Silky smooth and creamy on the palate, again with a hint of sour, with a pleasant malt background, ending with a dry hop note, after which the original sour plum creeps in. To me, it’s more like a Guinness-style stout, or at least a porter, than an ale. Then again, I suppose a Yorkshire Ale like Old Peculier has a similar character with less head (which requires the widget to dispense the nitrogen). Nice stuff. 8.0% ABV

Cricket Hill Reserve Ale No. 3 Barleywine

Pours dark amber with a one-inch light tan head. Starts with a nice roasted barley and yeast nose, then toffee with a hint of chocolate and a tiny bit of fruit. On the palate, chocolate and molasses come with a slightly sour edge on the first sip, but any sourness disappears on subsequent sips. Long malty finish. 8.5% ABV

FlyingDogMexicanFlying Dog Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout

From their Brewhouse Rarities series, I expected heat though it didn’t say so. No, it’s not hot. This isn’t like, for example, Hot Jala Heim from Horseheads, rather it gives very, very dry bitter chocolate, almost dusty. It pours black with a tan head. Starts with only a tiny bit of chocolate in the aroma, but this increases steadily on nose and palette as the beer warms from fridge temperatures. There is a light bitter finish tinged with the flavor of chilis, making a fine cold weather brew.

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Stoned Again

Stone Brewing Co.

Stone_burst_garg

Stone Collab PointsUnknownEcliptic / Wicked Weed / Stone Points Unknown IPA

Stone does some of their best work in collaboration with others, and here they joined forces with Ecliptic and Wicked Weed. It’s peachy amber in the glass with a bubbly cream head. The nose is a lovely blast of yeast, fruit and hops, citrus and pine hops, stone fruit, and bakery malt. The flavor starts with candied orange peel with a sharp hop bite and a solid base of malts. There is only a hint of caramel or toffee. The finish adds something grassy as the fruit fades and the hop-malt blend carries on for at least a minute. 9.5% ABV

Stone_thunderstruck_taphandle_thumbStone Thunderstruck IPA

“A double IPA with 100% Australian hops…Ella, Galaxy, Topaz & Vic Secret” for Stone’s 19th anniversary. It pours gold with an orange hint and a medium foamy white head. The nose features a ton of complex hops, exotic citrus variants with resiny notes over a layer of crackery malt. On the palate? Hop candy mountain! The first impression is rock candy infused with hops, a ton of hop flavor and probably a ton if crystal malt. The hops are triple threat as the finish matches the intensity of the flavor and aroma hops. Sweetness flows through the finish too. It’s an ultimate hop bomb, and happy anniversary to Stone! Mind you, the 20th anniversary has come and gone, but this easily lasted the year. 8.7% ABV

StoneLukcy-LabelStone Lukcy Batsard

This is definitely not meant to age, and definitely meant to screw up spell checkers. As it says on the neck of the bottle: “Dirnk Me Now.” It’s medium-dark amber with red highlights and a quarter inch off white head. There is a rich malty aroma with caramel. On the palate you get good mouth feel with more malt and caramel but also something that–if you could taste a color–tastes brown. Maybe some toffee. Up to this point, I’d hardly think this was from Stone; it shows very little in the way of hops on the nose and palate . . . and then the hops come charging in on the finish. So not much in the way of aroma hops or flavor hops, but solid bittering hops. Very satisfying to sit and sip this.10% ABV

Stone Elderberries bottleStone Your Father Smelt of Elderberries

This is from their Stochasticity Project, as much of a test of pronunciation as Lukcy Batsard is of spell check. “Medieval-style ale brewed with elderberries,” this pours chestnut brown with a moderate off white head. The nose is lightly fruity with a bit of barnyard and a hop note. The flavor is funky & meaty, kind of like barbecued beef. It’s quite bitter but from roasted grain more than from hops. The fruit is there but masked by the smoky grain, fruit like a glaze on ribs. Stochasticity Project beers are always interesting, but I won’t get it again. (Okay, I lied, I had it again.) This would be much better paired with grilled beef, like a burger or short ribs. It’s not so good as a sipping beer. 10.3% ABV Now finish your beer or I shall taunt you again!

Stone_BBAABA_6packStone Bourbon Barrel Aged Arrogant Bastard

It’s one of those names that can wrap around the bottle. It’s a strong ale by style, running amber to chestnut with a moderate cream head. There is a lively bourbon nose over solid ale malts. The palate delivers the flavor of bourbon and malt balls, with hops bittering and drying out the finish. It’s nicely mouth filling and mouth coating. It’s like a hoppier Backwoods Bastard from Founders, and both are excellent. 8.1% ABV

Stone GrainicacStone Grainiac

Another Stochasticity Project beer, this one tested–okay, trampled–the boundaries of taste in naming a beer. It pours dark amber with a slight yellowish cast reflected in the generous head. The aroma surprised me with a hint of smoke and then a ton of complex hops ending with a touch like honey. The flavor is led by piney hops almost like eucalyptus, moving into good rich multigrain bread with a bit of nuttiness. I’d call this a gulping beer because sips don’t bring out the full complexity that you get from a mouthful. At minimum, swirl it around to touch all parts of your palate. The finish is teasingly complex with little jolts of hops that say “take another hit!” I’d say the cover name of Grainiac does more justice to the beer than the original name, Colon Blow. You can see the original under the cover label. 8.5% ABV

Stone Sorry Not Sorry



4 Hands / Bale Breaker / Stone Sorry Not Sorry IPA

Let’s wrap up with another collaboration, this one a pretty amber with a moderate white head. It starts with a heavy pine & citrus hop nose, pretty much masking a rich malt, but hints of peach come through. Lots of malt lead the flavor followed quickly by a lemon peel bitterness. The finish smooths out nicely as a crystal malt sweetness balances the hops. Another collaborative winner! 9.3% ABV



Stone_ABDay

Images courtesy of Stone Brewing Co.
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