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Author Topic: Beer Blog  (Read 29751 times)

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Offline Remiel

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #100 on: July 28, 2010, 04:25:14 PM »
Awesome blog, Paradox.  Not being a beer person, I don't know my hefweizens from my amber bocks, but it's entertaining to read nevertheless.

One thing, perhaps, maybe you can answer for me.  What exactly is the difference between an ale and a lager?  I don't think I was ever able to get a satisfactory answer.

Offline Will

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #101 on: July 28, 2010, 04:53:49 PM »
They use different kinds of yeast.  Ales use top fermenting yeast, while lagers use bottom fermenting yeast.  These two different kinds of yeast ferment at different temperatures, and give off byproducts in differing amounts that affect the flavor, smell, texture, etc.

Offline Blitzy

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #102 on: July 28, 2010, 05:05:53 PM »
I think I'm going to go to the local liquor store tonight and see if I can't find some of these beers to try. I dunno. >_> Nervous but maybe if I give it a shot... Heh. It's just that Para makes them sound so good. >_<

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #103 on: July 28, 2010, 05:21:23 PM »
Blitzy- Try the Treogenator or Delirium Nocturnum (or one called Gulden Draak, if you can find it, though the latter two are a tad expensive.). Or maybe the Three Philosophers.

Remiel- Will pretty much summed it up. Ales top-ferment in warm temperature; lagers bottom-ferment in cold storage and usually take a while longer than ales to produce ("lager" actually means something along the lines of "cold storage" in German). Beyond that, they are rather difficult to compare given how many styles they encompass. It's like comparing blacks and whites-- fairly easy on the surface, but the nuances and subtleties of their actual personalities vary immensely.



Aaaand today's beer is is the Summer 2010 Odd Notion from Magic Hat.



Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Burlington, Vermont
Style- American Blonde Ale
ABV- 5.5%

Odd Notion is Magic Hat's way of giving its brewers a chance to experiment and have fun with their work. They release a new Odd Notion every three months to correspond to the season. They usually don't have anything to do with one another and are fairly unique. The first Odd Notion I had was the Summer 2009 variety, and to be honest, I hated it. It tasted like the stale water in which a dozen dead daffodils had been rotting for weeks. Summer 2010's variety is an American Blonde Ale that also incorporates ginger into the brewing process, which should lend an interesting flavor that will hopefully be better than that god-forsaken daffodil debacle.

The Blonde Ale is another beer style that has essentially been synthesized by the craft beer movement in Belgium and America. Similar in style to the German Kölsch, Blonde Ales vary in color from pale yellow to rich gold. They tend to be made up of mostly malt, with Noble hops lending a light bitterness. Subtle fruit from alcohol esters usually shows up as well. The flavors tend to be similar to the older Cream Ales and the newer Pale Lagers (Budweiser, Fosters, Heineken, etc.) but also stronger thanks to the lack of adjuncts and focus on actual malt. Overall, Blonde Ales are light, well-balanced beers.

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle with August 2010 notched on the back label. The underside of the cap instructs me to make a blimp shaped like a shrimp. Luckily, I have better things to do with my time-- like drinking!

Appearance- 3 out of 5. Pours with a one-finger white head that fades fairly fast but leaves a lot of lacing in the center and down the sides. The color is a mostly clear gold with just a hint of orange. There initially appears to be bunch of bubbles, but close inspection reveals that half of what seem like bubbles are actually bits of sediment that could be ginger or could be yeast.

Smell- 3 out of 5. The ginger is definitely present in the nose, as is bready yeast and light, pale malt. I also detect from mildly fruity esters and a slight hint of spice at the very end.

Taste- 3.5 out of 5. This Odd Notion's taste is mellow and mismatched. The pale, slightly sweet malt, fruity esters, and bitter hops taste like an average Blonde Ale, while the ginger tastes pretty good as well; however, in conjunction with one another, both tastes are somewhat skewed by the other. For what it's worth, the ginger adds more character to a beer that would otherwise be admittedly mediocre; unfortunately, even with the ginger, it has a fairly nondescript taste.

Mouthfeel- 3.5 out of 5. Light, crisp, and refreshing, with a warming quality from the ginger and lingering esters. Carbonation rolls around and gives a pleasant tingle.

Drinkability- 3.5 out of 5. This isn't a bad beer by any means, but I suspect that most folks would prefer Magic Hat's #9. Still, it's an interesting idea that's worth trying at least once. Knocking back a few of these would be pretty easy. It's the kind of beer that would go well with sunshine and an Italian sausage stacked with peppers. Or ginger snaps. I can only imagine what dipping a ginger snap in this beer would taste like.

One additional note: the bite from the ginger and the hops gets stronger as it gets warmer, so if you want a stronger taste, wait about 10 to 15 minutes after pouring it to start drinking.

Overall, a C+.

This beer was purchased as part of a Magic Hat Summer Scene Variety 12 pack.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 05:25:46 PM by Paradox »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #104 on: July 28, 2010, 07:29:40 PM »
("lager" actually means something along the lines of "cold storage" in German).

Actually, just 'storage' or 'storehouse'. It's short for 'Lagerbier', meaning 'beer brewed for keeping'.

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #105 on: July 29, 2010, 10:14:25 AM »
Alllllright, I just snagged the 2000th view of this thread.

Thanks Oniya; there's a ton of terminology to keep track of because so many of the terms come from other languages.

There's no beer review today; just some news.

Remember that post about The End Of History? Well, it was just topped by a Dutch beer that's 60% ABV. The brewer even recommends sipping it from a cocktail glass. At what point does this stuff stop being beer? Even Scotch whisky is made from the same ingredients as beer, but it's still classified as a spirit. On the plus side, this one is about $700 less than The End of History, probably due to the lack of having to be stuffed into a taxidermy-treated squirrel. At $45 a bottle, I just may try it out if I ever have the chance.

Here is a more comprehensive look at the beer: http://www.canada.com/life/Dutch+brewer+claims+world+strongest+beer/3336631/story.html

Also, Magic Hat Brewery, whose beers have appeared in this blog, is being sold to North American Breweries, the same company that has purchased Genesee Beer (famous for their Cream Ale), Labatt  Brewing Company (a Canadian outfit), Dundee Brewery, and a number of others. Most folks are familiar with one of their most popular products, the Seagram's Wine Coolers. Pyramid Brewery, Magic Hat's partner company in Independent Brewers United, is also going to be sold. Hopefully, Magic Hat will be allowed to continue producing its products without any corporate interference or mandatory changes.

Offline Will

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #106 on: July 29, 2010, 11:34:48 AM »
Concerning the 120 proof beer:
Quote
"It has become a little competition," Nijboer said. "You should see it as a joke."

Yeah, I think I'll stick to beers that aren't referred to by their brewers as "a joke."  I'd try it if I had the opportunity of course, but I wouldn't pay money for it.  It takes enough work to balance out the flavor of a 10% ABV; I can only imagine how rancid that stuff is!  Leave the whiskey-making to the distillers, and leave the beer-making to the brewers. :P

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #107 on: July 29, 2010, 11:58:10 AM »
Yeah; all things considered, I'm really tired of the gimmicky "let's see who can make the highest ABV" dick-waving contest between brewers. That same company had previously released a high ABV beer that turned out to be infused with whiskey, and considering how closely this release follows that of The End of History, I wouldn't be surprised if this were simply a rehash of that.

The problem with these extremely high ABV beers is that they the high alcohol content isn't made through traditional fermentation alone; instead, the brewers use a process called Fractional Freezing to separate water from alcohol, thus concentrating the latter. Some Eisenbocks do that as well, but only once or twice to remove a little water, which usually brings the alcohol to around 12%. These recent monster beers do it over and over to achieve the end result.

There are some exceptions that are true to more traditional brewing practices, such as Samuel Adams Utopias, a 27-28% ABV beer that only uses fermentation and barrel aging to further strengthen the beer (it's a blend of different beers aged in sherry, brandy, and Cognac casks, some of which have aged for up to 16 years). That's about the highest ABV beer I can think of that doesn't use freezing to obtain its strong alcohol content.

Offline Lithos

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #108 on: July 29, 2010, 03:13:54 PM »
Also, if high ABV beers become mainstream, my favorite hobby of drinking a few over the evening without really getting drunk and feeling nice would be in danger x.x

Maybe I am softy but I prefer my beer strictly around 5% ABV

Offline Dreamweaver

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #109 on: July 29, 2010, 07:07:21 PM »
I've always wanted to try one of the Utopias from Sam Adams, but haven't been able to find them anywhere around here.  I'll have to do another search one of these days so that I can experience one, as I still have yet to find a Sam Adams that I haven't quite liked.  As for the race to produce the highest alcohol-content beer in the world, yes I agree with you guys that it's gotten a bit ridiculous - I think that no matter the ABV, it should be about the taste and drinkability of the brew, not a number.  If I wanted to get hammered, a $25 bottle of Bacardi does that very efficiently.

Offline Ket

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #110 on: July 30, 2010, 07:01:46 PM »
I am enjoying a bottle of Gulden Draak right now Para, thanks for the recommendation dude!

Offline Neroon

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #111 on: July 31, 2010, 04:06:45 PM »
My thought is that such brews should not be called beers, since to get such high ABV percentages they can't rely on fermentation alone.  The process Para refers to is akin to the freeze-distillation employed in Siberia to turn fermented potato juice into a very raw spirit which barely owns the name "vodka".

At the moment, I'm supping Greek beer- there are two, Alpha and Mythos, which are fairly potable lagers.  Admittedly, I know that as soon as I get home I'll be indulging in copious quantities of Spitfire, just so I can reacquaint myself with ale again.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2010, 04:08:22 PM by Neroon »

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #112 on: August 01, 2010, 07:23:31 PM »
Ket- Glad you enjoyed it! I'll do a review on it soon, but for everyone-- Gulden Draak is the beer that catapulted me into the world of craft and import beer in the first place. Ramster recommended it to me a few years ago, and my life hasn't been the same since  :P

That's the second positive response I've heard as a result of this blog. As a result of my actual articles, an offline friend of mine had and hated the Storm King Imperial Stout but he seems to be much more of a Pilsner kind of guy, so all he really got out of it was bitterness and alcohol.

Neroon- The commercial industries are having a hard time classifying them as well. Based on their method of production and alcohol content, they resemble spirits much more than beers. "Extreme beer" is the common nomenclature among non-governmental organizations, but the government over here needs to figure it out fast because it will directly affect where and how it can be sold. The annual Greek Fest here serves Mythos. It's nothing to write home about, but I enjoy having a few while scarfing down a gyro and watching a bunch of Greek folks dance around on-stage.



Today's beer is Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier:



Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States
Style- Witbier
ABV- 5.5%

Witbier literally means "white beer", a name inspired by its pale, cloudy color that results from the unfiltered wheat and yeast that remain in the brew. It is a style most-commonly associated with the popular Blue Moon by Coors. Other good examples are Hoegaarden and Allagash White. Rest assured that all three of those will appear in later reviews. Tonight's beer takes the Witbier style as a basis and adds blackberries from the Cascade Mountains in Orgeon to the brewing process. The brewers thought that the sweet tartness of the berries would compliment the citrusy wheat of the Witbier style. I had my palate battered by a bombastic blackberry Fruit Lambic last night, so hopefully this beer will balance out the flavor a bit better.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a traditional glass. Freshness date of November 2010.

Appearance- 4 out of 5. This beers pours a cloudy, coppery yellow-red color. The white one and a half finger head eventually settles to a half finger and leaves a moderate amount of lacing. It doesn't have any obvious signs of the blackberries in its color, but it doesn't look much like a typical Witbier either.

Smell- 4 out of 5. The scent is well-balanced between citrus, sweet wheat malt, and fruit. It has sweet overtone that really reminds me of some sort of berry-flavored candy. The slightest hint of mild spice drifts at the end of the whiff.

Taste- 4 out of 5. The taste is not as balanced as the smell, but it's still good. I pick local wild blackberries throughout the Summer, and I can attest that the blackberry taste is genuine and not artificial or syrupy. Its sweetness is subtle, with obvious fruit in the taste followed by hints of citrus, coriander, a little vanilla, and mild hops at the end. Wheat and blackberries mingle in the short-lived aftertaste. There's practically no real taste of alcohol in the wash of other flavors.

Mouthfeel- 4.5 out of 5. This beer sits comfortable on the border between light and medium. It's crisp with a bit of tingly carbonation making its way down the tongue.

Drinkability- 4 out of 5. I had heard mixed reviews about this beer, but I'm very pleased with it overall. It's not particularly complex, but it's not one-dimensional either. With the pleasant flavor and 5.5% ABV, it would be easy to knock back quite a few of these.

Overall, an A minus.

Guys- this is a great beer to buy for the girlfriend who tends to dislike most beers.

Girls (especially Blitzy)- this is a great beer to buy if you tend to dislike the taste of most beers.

I had a Lindeman's Cassis (blackberry fruit Lambic) last night. Apparently, Lambics wreak havoc on my stomach. Remember when one of you a while back asked about beers that use spontaneous fermentation and wild yeast in the air? Those are Lambics. Something about that wild yeast or some other ingredient causes stomach pain and gastrointestinal discomfort in quite a few people. The beer itself was delicious, but I had to stop after just one glass. I also consumed a huge meal of Mexican food beforehand, so next weekend, I'm going to try it on an empty stomach. Review to follow.

« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 10:13:44 AM by Paradox »

Offline Ramster

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #113 on: August 01, 2010, 07:58:57 PM »
I feel honoured that a simple rave of mine in the Shoutbox of Gulden Draak was what drove you to discover all the truly life-changing brews out there, Para. You're also saving me from the horrors of bog standard American beer for whenever I next find myself in America. I had no idea Samuel Adams made a witbier! The blackberry bouquet sounds like a unique touch which might really make it appeal to me, or make me pour the rest of the glass down the sink. If I ever get my hands on some, I'll let you know which.

The Lindemans range, in my opinion, is just about the best Belgian fruit beers have to offer, but you don't want anything with spontaneous fermentation and wild yeasts wildly and spontaneously fermenting in your bowels with refried beans. The mind boggles.  :o

I second your recommendation of witbier as a good "starter's beer" for the ladies. Once corrupted by its deliciousness, you might just acquire a taste for beer that actually tastes of hops and malt, girls. ;)

Case in point: after much persuasion, my mum now drinks Hoegaarden with dinner rather than shitty white wine. Such is its potential as a gateway beer that I even got her to try Guinness recently. It's a lot easier to point out good beers to someone than to teach them how to recognise a decent bottle of wine when they see one!

Offline Lithos

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #114 on: August 02, 2010, 05:29:00 AM »
It's a lot easier to point out good beers to someone than to teach them how to recognise a decent bottle of wine when they see one!

One of the truest statements of the century! (and even very good bottle of wine is not as good anyway)

Offline Neroon

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #115 on: August 02, 2010, 02:56:05 PM »
and even very good bottle of wine is not as good anyway

And that's one of the other truest quotes- and I like wine!

Offline auroraChloe

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #116 on: August 02, 2010, 08:51:07 PM »

Offline Ramster

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #117 on: August 03, 2010, 06:17:03 AM »
Blueberry lager? That actually sounds good for some reason! If it is, I'd love to try it: I've never had a beer that painted my tongue blue before!

Offline auroraChloe

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #118 on: August 03, 2010, 07:10:46 AM »
Blueberry lager? That actually sounds good for some reason! If it is, I'd love to try it: I've never had a beer that painted my tongue blue before!

it was sooo good.  such a lovely surprise.  and at 8% quite a lil' buzz maker.   :D

Offline Blitzy

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #119 on: August 03, 2010, 06:02:31 PM »
>_> I think I have officially decided I am utterly hopeless with beer.

Got the Blackberry Witbier... It just tastes like every other beer to me.

Lol. Ah, well. I'm sure someone will like it that I know. Somewhere.

Offline auroraChloe

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #120 on: August 03, 2010, 06:05:54 PM »
>_> I think I have officially decided I am utterly hopeless with beer.


Blitzy... if you like blueberries at all.. try the Wild Blue.. i am so serious. 

Offline Blitzy

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #121 on: August 03, 2010, 06:07:12 PM »
I'm tight on money and it's hard for me to keep buying a 6-pack of beer and realizing I don't like it. 10 bucks every time. Not something I can get away with. :P

I think it's the hops. I don't think I'm a fan of hops? I dunno.

Offline auroraChloe

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #122 on: August 03, 2010, 06:09:32 PM »
I'm tight on money and it's hard for me to keep buying a 6-pack of beer and realizing I don't like it. 10 bucks every time. Not something I can get away with. :P

I think it's the hops. I don't think I'm a fan of hops? I dunno. 

some places will let you get a single.  tell them you just want to try it.   :D

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #123 on: August 03, 2010, 07:49:19 PM »
The maxims from Ramster and Neroon are indisputable, though wine is great too. I've made quite a few batches of wine myself. A Riesling will probably be next.

It makes me profoundly sad to hear someone say they've given up on beer! Blitzy, I checked your liquor store's page, and they definitely sell the Wild Blue stuff that Chloe mentioned. It's worth a shot to see if they'll sell you a single, and if not, find a friend to split the cost of a six-pack with you. That's about the same cost as those Mike's Hard drinks you like.

I checked my store's site, and they carry it as well. I'll try to pick it up next time I'm there, so thanks for the recommendation, Chloe. I'm going to start reviewing a few local beers in the near future, so it may not really apply to most readers, but at least y'all will have an idea of what's available in Virginia; however, most of the ones posted here will still be more widely-available.

Today's first beer made me laugh as soon as I saw it, so I had to try it out. It's He'Brew Messiah Bold- "The Chosen Beer"!


Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company
California/New York, United States
Style- American Brown Ale
ABV- 5.6%

American Brown Ales were inspired by the English Brown Ale style. Both are typified by a taste that is dominated by malt, with relatively low bitterness from the hops. They generally tend to be sweet, but they can be either somewhat fruity or somewhat nutty depending on the preference on the brewer. As is typical of innovative American brewers, some take the liberty of actually adding coffee or nuts to the brewing process.

When I saw this beer on the shelf, I cracked up. It has a ton of funny cover art with subtle Jewish jokes ("Messiah Bold- It's the beer you've been waiting for") and a blatantly inebriated Orthodox rabbi waving some bottles around. Shmaltz actually brews a number of beers under the He'Brew name, such as the Genesis Ale, Jewbelation, and Rejewvenator. Let's hope their creativity extends to more than just clever names.

(*Note- Although the Shmaltz company is based in San Francisco, their He'Brew beers are brewed in Saratoga Springs, New York)

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard glass. No freshness date provided.

Appearance- 4 out of 5. "The Chosen Beer" is a very dark, translucent brown that borders on black. It pours with a two finger tan head that fizzes away within a minute to leave fairly thick sheets of lacing on the sides of the glass and atop the beer itself.

Smell- 3 out of 5. There's not much going on in the nose. Of course, there are hints of roasted malt, brown bread, and a nutty scent, all of which are to be expected from a Brown Ale; however, nothing really stands out. For a beer that calls itself bold, it's a bit of a let-down.

Taste- 4 out of 5. Aha! So the boldness wasn't merely an exaggeration after all. The taste makes up for what the smell lacks, with a dominant flavor of roasted barley backed up by black coffee and nuts. There is an undertone of caramel malt and a slightly chocolaty taste as well. As is common with brown ales, the hops are weak and hardly bitter at all, leaving more of a tingle than a bite. The aftertaste has a smokey character that mingles with hints of coffee. I like this beer's balance. It's bold without being bombastically brazen, like some heavier beers that mercilessly batter your mouth. It's like a slightly lighter, easier-to-drink Porter.

Mouthfeel- 4 out of 5. Light to medium with moderate carbonation and a creamy texture.

Drinkability- 4 out of 5. I would take this over a Newcastle any day. It has more depth without sacrificing drinkability. I doubt this beer would inspire another diaspora to the local liquor stores, but it's a solid brown ale that would be great as a gag gift for any Jewish friends or family members.

Overall, a B.

The second beer is Honey Moon. I did this one specifically for Blitzy since she had mentioned it as a possible interest. Considering the fact that it's brewed by Coors, it hardly fits the craft beer/microbrew category on which I usually focus, but it's a Summer release, and seasonal beers deserve due consideration.


Brewed by:
Coors Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Style- American Pale Wheat Ale
ABV- 5.2%

(I take pictures in the bathroom once the sun goes down, so pardon the background change.)

American Pale Wheat Ales are sort of an American Hefeweizen. I'll go into more detail when I review a beer that is actually true to the style. Honey Moon really isn't.

Poured from a 12oz bottle a freshness date of November 2010 on the bottle itself.

Appearance- 3.5 out of 5. Honey Moon pours with a fluffy one-finger white head and an inviting golden color. Once the head dissipates, it leaves a decent bit of lacing. A few carbonation bubbles meander up to the top.

Smell- 3 out of 5. The smell is very lackluster. It is dominated by sweet lemon, a bit of wheat, and a hint of honey.

Taste- 3.5 out of 5. This beer starts off with a hit of honey, followed by grain. The lemon in the nose shifts to orange peel in the taste (which makes sense considering the bottle said that's what was used in the brewing). The wheat and the hops must have an aversion to honey because they're awfully meek in this beer. The honey taste grows as the beer warms up.

Mouthfeel- 3.5 out of 5. Light, crisp, and smooth, as it should be, but just a little too acidic on the back of the throat.

Drinkability- 3.5 out of 5. It's pretty good for a Summer beer, but that doesn't really change the fact that it's a bit one-dimensional. I could drink a few of these, but not for the taste-- just because they go down easily. The honey would be more fitting in a heavier Fall wheat beer.

Overall, a C.

I also picked up a St. George India Pale Ale (brewed about ten miles from where I live!), a Paulaner Hefeweizen, a Tommyknocker Butthead, and a beer that makes me quiver in anticipation just thinking of it. It's a strong English ale called Samael's Ale. The current batch of which I bought a bottle is 16.82% ABV. Not surprising for a beer named after the devil himself!
« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 08:01:57 PM by Paradox »

Offline Ramster

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #124 on: August 03, 2010, 08:03:50 PM »
Why do I picture you picking up that glass right after photographing it, downing it in a bare minimum of manly quaffs, and then passing it through your system and straight into the toilet, all within about 10 minutes?

You're going to enjoy that Paulaner, and that Tommyknocker Butthead sounds worth trying if only for the name! Do the same brewery also make a beer called Turdburglar Asswipe?