Posts Tagged With: 21st Amendment

Winter Beers, Round III

We’ve just about run out of winter, at least here in the Tri-State Area, so I have to rush to get in the last winter beers.

The Shed Mountain AleThe Shed Mountain Ale

This is a brown ale with a brief off white head, as malty as an English ale should be. The flavor gives full-bodied caramel and toffee with a lightly roasty undertone and moderate English style hops (the notes say Mt Hood & Northern Brewer). It has a nice caramel finish dried by hops. 7.4% ABV

Victory Winter CheersVictory Winter Cheers

“A celebratory wheat ale” this pours cloudy straw with a generous foamy white head. The nose is yeasty and estery with banana and stone fruit plus a distinct but subtle spiciness. On the palate comes sparkly refreshment with a touch of cloved orange. The finish is long and lightly spicy with almost a hint of cinnamon, dry, but retaining that estery quality all the way. 6.7% ABV

21st Fireside Chat21st Amendment Fireside Chat

“Winter Spiced Ale,” dark brown in the glass with a moderate off tan head and an aroma of spiced fruit bread. The mouthfeel is soft, the flavor is earthy, almost meaty, with roasted grain and dark malts. The finish gets very dry as substantial hops come in, a nice finishing bite. On further sips, sweetness develops in the flavor and spice increases on the finish. This is a 50-degree ale, not a 40-degree brew. 7.9% ABV 45 IBU

ommLovelyDarkAndDeepOmmegang Lovely, Dark and Deep

“Oatmeal stout winter ale,” this pours opaque brownish black with a persistent moderate tan head. The aroma is so roasty it almost crosses to tobacco, then come rich malt and a hint of smoke. The flavor starts with smoke, almost ashy, with malt building in. It makes me think of rauchbier and that persists into the finish. Never sweet, it dries out more on the end. 5.3% ABV

Founders Project PAMFounders Project PAM

A Backstage Series beer, a Black IPA, this delivers maple syrup & bourbon, inky brown with a brief off tan head. It delivers a rich bourbon nose over deep malt, then a maple-and-malt flavor blending with the bourbon then persisting into finish getting sweeter. 10.8% ABV

Troegs The Mad ElfTroegs The Mad Elf Ale

“Ale brewed with honey and cherries,” it pours clear chestnut with almost no head, just a light pinkish ring. The nose? Cherry soda with a hint of biscuit malt. The aroma left the expectation of cherry soda and the flavor is not far from that, just adding a base of malt and a smooth layer of honey. The finish holds both cherry and honey but adds a spicy hop note. Pleasant sipping and good follow up to the Great Lakes. 11% ABV and not a hint of that strength. This stuff could be dangerous!

It has been a mild winter of good beer, let’s look forward to a nice spring with more of the same!

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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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Happy Hoppy Holidays!

This is a time to share with family and friends (after the frantic shopping, of course). Once the shreds of wrapping paper settle to the floor, what better way to celebrate than to savor some treasures of Christmas, pint by pint? Here is some of the wealth of choice, a round dozen brews. Enjoy the season!

Sam Smith Winter WelcomeSamuel Smith’s Winter Welcome

Here’s a pint of winter warmer, straight amber with a smooth off white head. Looks like an ale! The aroma is of malt malt malt with fruity notes and just a touch of spicy hops or spice and hops. I need to let this warm a tad, it should be cellar temperature rather than refrigerator temperature. Almost an ideal ale, to my taste, perfect for savoring in a pub. 6.0% ABV

Bruery 8 Maids-a-Milking

This is an Imperial milk stout, nearly opaque brown with a moderate tan head. The nose is hard to describe with almost a bacon note with liqueur and dark malt. The flavor is like maple smoked bacon with nice notes of both maple & smoke. It’s very smooth but not exactly to my taste. Give me some sharp cheddar and things will balance right out. 11.5% ABV [Switching from this to a maple porter (not reviewed here) produced a shot of chocolate that I didn’t get in either beer, fading into a light smokiness.]

Sierra Nevada CelebrationSierra Nevada Celebration

They say “First brewed in 1981, Celebration Ale is one of the earliest examples of an American-style IPA and one of the few hop-forward holiday beers.” It pours yellowish amber with a moderate yellowish head. The nose leads with hops before malt, nice resin and citrus blend over a bed of biscuity malt. There is a nice body and light effervescence on the palate followed immediately by hop bitterness, plenty of hops throughout the boil. The finish is mild emphasizing the hops. The number of hop-forward holiday beers is rising, but this is a leader. 6.8% ABV, 65 IBU

Deschutes JubelaleDeschutes Jubelale

“A festive winter ale,” dark brown and ruby with the light behind it and a generous foamy light tan head. The nose is malty, both bread and caramel with roastiness and a hint of chocolate. It’s a rich mouthful of malt with chocolate, coffee and a liquor note. The flavor is actually not so much coffee as Louisiana coffee with chicory. There’s vanilla as well. The finish is smooth, some dark plummy fruit emerges and the flavors come together in balance. I could drink quite a few of these. In fact, I had a six-pack (not all at once!) unlike my usual singletons. 6.7 ABV 67 IBU

Bells Christmas AleBell’s Christmas Ale

Pours slightly cloudy amber with a medium yellowish head. The aroma is gentle, bread & cake malts with hop spiciness. It has a very malty flavor, fairly light body and light effervescence. There is moderate bitterness in the finish. This is a good straightforward ale, not fancy, and its holiday “spice” comes from hops and barley. This would pass the test of the Reinheitsgebot. A Christmas ale for real ale fans. 5.5% ABV

The Shed Mountain AleThe Shed Mountain Ale

Not specifically a holiday beer, it’s a solid brown ale with a brief off white head. As malty as an English ale should be, it delivers full bodied caramel & toffee with lightly roasty undertones. This is accented by moderate English-style hops, the notes say Mt. Hood & Northern Brewer. It has a nice caramel finish dried by the hops. 7.4% ABV

Victory Winter CheersVictory Winter Cheers

“A celebratory wheat ale” this pours cloudy straw with a generous foamy white head. The nose is yeasty and estery with banana and stone fruit plus a distinct but subtle spiciness. On the palate comes sparkly refreshment with a touch of cloved orange. The finish is long and lightly spicy with almost a hint of cinnamon, dry, but retaining that estery quality all the way. 6.7% ABV

21st Amendment Fireside Chat21st Amendment Fireside Chat

This “Winter Spiced Ale” is dark brown with a moderate off tan head and an aroma of spiced fruit bread. The mouthfeel is soft and the flavor is earthy, almost meaty, with roasted grain and dark malts. The finish gets very dry as substantial hops come in, a nice finishing bite. On further sips, slight sweetness develops in the flavor and spice increases on the finish. This is a 50-degree ale, not a 40-degree brew. 7.9% ABV 45 IBU

Founders Project PAMFounders Project PAM

This is a black IPA with maple syrup & bourbon, inky brown with a brief off tan head. It delivers a rich bourbon nose over deep malt. It continues with maple-malt flavors blending with bourbon and persisting into the finish getting sweeter on the end. I was curious about the name, and I simply have to quote what they say about it:

Venture into the shadows of our brewers’ minds and discover their mad genius. From this unknown emerges Project PAM. In development for years under a shroud of secrecy, this Black IPA is brewed with a cornucopia of hops then aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels to add complex oaky bourbon notes and the sweetness of maple syrup to keep the bitterness in check. Like its creator, the origins of its name will forever remain a mystery.

ommLovely Dark DeepOmmegang Lovely, Dark and Deep

They call this one an “oatmeal stout winter ale.” It pours opaque brownish black with a persistent moderate tan head. The aroma is so roasty it almost crosses to tobacco, then rich malt comes in with a hint of smoke. The flavor starts with smoke, almost ashy, with malt building in. This makes me think of rauchbier and that impression persists into the finish. Never sweet, it dries out more on the end. 5.3% ABV

Great Lakes Christmas AleGreat Lakes Brewing Christmas Ale

Pretty chestnut in the glass, tinged amber with a very brief off white head. The nose is spicy-fizzy, if that makes sense, with cinnamon & ginger. On the palate there’s plenty of malt and just a hint of barnyard below the spice. It has a light ginger ale body with increasing spice as it flows into the finish, with and light honey sweetness that grows from sip to sip. I like it more from sip to sip. At the very end some hops dry it out. Quite drinkable–refreshing–though not outstanding. From the body and freshness you might think this is sessionable, but it won’t be a very long session. 8.5% ABV 30 IBU

Troegs The Mad Elf AleTröegs The Mad Elf Ale

“Ale brewed with honey and cherries,” this pours a clear chestnut with almost no head, just a light pinkish ring. The aroma is of cherry soda with a hint of biscuit malt.This left an expectation of cherry soda and the flavor is not far from that, just adding a base of malt and a smooth layer of honey. The finish holds both cherry and honey but adds a spicy hop note. It’s pleasant sipping and a good follow up to the Great Lakes. 11% ABV and not a hint of that strength. This stuff could be dangerous!

I doubt I’ll get in another blog post before Christmas, but hopefully these will tide you over. Happy holidays and a happy, healthy New Year!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good pint!

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