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Author Topic: Beer Blog  (Read 29047 times)

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Offline Lithos

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2010, 10:38:01 PM »
What is peoples opinion here about smoked beers by the way?

I am huge fan of those, wondering if there is any following.

Offline Nicholas

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2010, 12:36:55 PM »
Smoked beers are not bad at all. I wouldn't drink them each day, but now and then they are very enjoyable.

Offline Ramster

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2010, 02:05:07 PM »
I've never had one, but I've heard horror stories from friends who described it as tasting like stale lager someone had left a strip of bacon in overnight.

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2010, 02:11:01 PM »
I've never had one, but I've heard horror stories from friends who described it as tasting like stale lager someone had left a strip of bacon in overnight.

That sounds like Dave Lister's idea of breakfast - assuming there was no Chicken Vindaloo.

Offline Ramster

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2010, 02:18:58 PM »
Hahaha, +1 for the Red Dwarf reference! I've breakfasted myself with both lager (not stale) and bacon (though not combined in one drink) and chicken vindaloo upon separate occasions :D

Offline Marguerite

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2010, 02:26:28 PM »
Seems I need to catch up on my beer drinking abilities since I have not heard almost 90% of these beers. I do want to try the Holy Grail beer just for the name.

Offline Torch

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2010, 02:45:50 PM »
Mr. Torch and I visited Belgium six years ago. I thought I had died and gone to beer heaven. 

And on that note, you must try the nectar of the Gods which is Hoegaarden. There are no words.

Offline Ramster

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2010, 03:00:24 PM »
There are: refreshing as a slice of lemon.

But still not as good a Gulden Draak or Orval, for example. : P

I go to Belgium all the time, one bar in Antwerp in particular, where I'm trying to drink my way through all 60 bottles of different beers behind the bar there. I've already exhausted all 110 varieties at my local Belgian beer house :D

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #33 on: July 11, 2010, 03:16:17 PM »
Will- I'm glad someone else has heard of these brewers! I was starting to worry that most of my selections wouldn't be available to a lot of Elliquians; that's why I keep asking for recommendations, so I can ensure that I'm not just doing this as a sort of "look what I drank!" list.

Lithos- I do indeed enjoy a good smoked beer. When it's Winter and extremely cold outside, or when I'm extremely pissed off, a good smoked Porter hits the spot. Aside from smoked porters, German Rauchbiers are a great example. I haven't put many dark brews in this blog yet, but I'll definitely include a smoked beer or two in the coming months.

Torch- Hoegaarden is on my list of things to pick up for this blog (fairly inexpensive, thank God!), as are Becks and Bass (thanks Kurzyk; I've had a curious eye on them for a while now), Chimay Reserve Blue, and Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout.

Mrag- Check out local specialty shops and wine stores instead of just the local supermarket. A lot of the best beers aren't going to be on the shelves of chain grocery stores; however, with that being said, I discovered that a local supermarket carries a ton of good beer (Gulden Draak and Chimay, for instance, as well as a make-your-own six pack deal with a decent craft and uncommon macrobrew selection), so props to Farm Fresh for going above and beyond the stereotypical selection of Budweiser, Miller, and Coors.

To everyone- I went to a college keg party on Friday night, and in the midst of all the games of beer pong, flip cup, and keg stands, I managed to complete a complimentary review for you. Consider it today's bonus for being such loyal readers:

Brewed by:
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.
Missouri, United States
Style- Light Lager
ABV- 4.2%


Overall, an F.

This is the kind of beer that isn't even worthy of the name. It's so light that it's practically clear in color, tasteless in flavor, and limp in body. The only plus is its drinkability because it's as easy as drinking fizzy tap water, but even then, only broke-ass college kids with no taste, no style, and even less money would drink more than one of these; unfortunately, "Natty Light" is a popular choice of beer for keg parties and college bar runs. If you think this is beer, do us both a favor and close the browser window right now.

Now then, onto the real beers.

There are: refreshing as a slice of lemon.

But still not as good a Gulden Draak or Orval, for example. : P

Today's first beer is none other than the aforementioned Orval Trappist Ale (Ramster has yet to recommend a bad beer to me).

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Style- Belgian Pale Ale
ABV- 6.9%

Orval is a genuine Trappist beer. Trappist beers are only produced by seven different monasteries of Trappist Monks (six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands). Trappist beers are produced under strict regulations (such as strict oversight of the ingredients and the fact that all proceeds must only be used on the upkeep of the monastery or to support charities), and their style of production often stretches back many centuries; for instance, the Orval monastery has been around since 1132 AD, though the beer has only been sold commercially since 1931. Most Trappist monasteries produce Tripels, so Orval is a bit of an anomaly with its lighter color and lower alcohol content; still, it is widely-recognized as a world class beer.

Poured from a bowling pin-shaped 11.2oz bottle into a snifter. The label says Bottled On: May 10th, 2009. Best Before: May 10th, 2014. That's a hell of a shelf life. It also has a fancy hexagon with the words "Authentic Trappist Product" within it; all genuine Trappist beers have this symbol, so keep an eye out for it. Given its size, shape, and density, you could easily bludgeon someone to death with this bottle without even breaking it. I love a beer that can make you incoherent in more ways than one!

Appearance- 4 out of 5. This beer pours a hazy amber-orange color with a mountainous four-finger head that is frothy and dense. It recedes at an uneven pace, leaving a rough, rocky topography atop the glass, as well as lots of lacing. It takes a long time to die down. The head is seriously incredible, and the lacing sticks on the sides long after the beer itself has been imbibed.

Smell- 3.5 out of 5. Compared to the appearance, the smell is very light and subtle. It's good, but I wish it were stronger. There are fruity hints that can be compared to juniper, apple, and lemon, slight tartness from the hops, and an strangely intriguing scent that can really only be referred to as being reminiscent of a barnyard and horse-blankets, but not in a bad way. Imagine a rustic barnyard in sepia-tone with a shirtless farmer relaxing on a rake after a hard day's work, surrounded by aromatic hay and strong, muscular horses.

Taste- 4.5 out of 5. The taste matches the smell quite well. It's light but pleasing, with initial notes of malt and green apple that give way to a slightly sour taste of citrus. After a touch of spice, it finishes with a tart, mildly bitter bite of hops. It's complex but not in the often-arrogant way of beers that barge into your mouth and leave the untrained tongue confused about the complexity and confounded about the conflicting flavors; instead, Orval is crafted in such a way that anyone can take their time to linger over its subtle tastes and learn to appreciate them.

Mouthfeel- 4 out of 5. Light, easy, and smooth is the best way to describe this. It's crisp and leaves an unusual feeling on the top of the mouth. As it goes down, it fades from being wet to a dry aftertaste. The carbonation is noticeable but not particularly strong.

Drinkability- 4.5 out of 5. If it weren't so damnably expensive on this side of the Atlantic ($5.79 for an 11.2oz bottle), it would make regular appearances in my fridge; as it is, it's a delicious treat. It can easily be consumed in great quantity. For those of you who can afford it, Orval would make a great Summer beer. For those of you looking to break into the wide world of Belgian ales, this would be a good starting point because its flavors are fairly easy to pick out without being overwhelmed by the complexity and richness of the brew.

Overall, an A-.

The second beer is Blind Faith, another India Pale Ale from Magic Hat (see the reviews for Flying Dog's Raging Bitch and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for previous examples of IPAs).

Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States
Style- English India Pale Ale
ABV- 6.2%

Magic Hat is a great up-and-coming American microbrewery in Vermont that disregards traditional brewing standards and makes whatever the hell they feel like making. Their beers don't meet stereotypical standards of the styles they brew, but they come up with some interesting beers nonetheless. Their seasonal IPA, Blind Faith, is one such beer. Many American craft brewers tend to go heavy on the hops to the point where it's almost like a dick-waving contest to see who can make the hoppiest brew that still tastes good. Magic Hat has dropped trow and waved Blind Faith as a fairly hop-heavy beer in the India Pale Ale style, so let's see how it holds up.

Poured from a 12oz bottle with dark, swirling label art into a traditional glass. Label indicates best by August 2010. Under the cap, it says "Lend your ear to someone who's dear". Magic Hat loves to put unique phrases under their caps; it's like a liquid fortune cookie.

Appearance- 3.5 out of 5. Pours a cloudy copper color with a dense two-finger off-white head that sticks around for a while and is extremely sticky on the sides of the glass.

Smell- 3.5 out of 5. The scent is moderate in strength, but it definitely smells good. There are hints of pine, floral citrus, and an abundance of hops. There is also a slight smell of bread, if bread could be baked with a ton of hops.

Taste- 4 out of 5. Blind Faith starts off with the taste of typical IPA taste of citrus peel, followed by a strong taste of salt that is very reminiscent of seawater, and finishes with a grassy, leafy hop taste. The malt and most of the other flavors--even the alcohol- are largely lost in the inundation of hops and sea-spray. Imagine an entire ocean filled with hop-heavy beer, and this is what would appear in your mind (and your mouth, if you're lucky).

4 out of 5. Light to medium body, crisp but not very carbonated, goes down easy, wet, and smooth.

Drinkability- 4 out of 5. Not bad at all. It's rather strong on the hops, almost as if someone liquefied an entire hops farm for the purpose of producing this beer, so stay away if you aren't fond of hop-heavy beers; still, for the price, this is a great IPA that one could have a few of and be happy. If you want an introduction to the IPA style, try this one before trying the Raging Bitch or other mainstays of the style. It will give you a good baseline of what to expect from the more complex, slightly less hop-heavy brews.

Overall, a B.

Definition Explanation- When you hear someone say that a particular beer would make for a great session, it simply means that it is a beer than can be consumed repeatedly. Some beers, especially darker brews like stouts and porters, and even high ABV lighter beers with strong, complex flavors, are definitely delicious but difficult to drink over the course of a day or night. A good "session beer" is simply a beer that you could have three or four or five of and be satisfied without being overly full (or overly inebriated, though I am a proponent of making sessions out of high ABV brews as long as you're in the comfort and safety of a familiar place and do not have to drive anywhere afterward).

Currently in my fridge (and soon to appear in this blog):
-Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier
-Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat
-Yuengling Traditional Lager
-Magic Hat #9 (the "not-quite-pale ale")
-Magic Hat Wacko (An English Ale similar to the Monty Python Holy Grail Ale but brewed with beet sugar, so it's somewhat pink.)
-Magic Hat Odd Notion (Odd Notion changes styles every couple of months; right now, it's a Belgian Golden Ale)
-Victory Imperial Stout
-Guinness Extra Stout
-Three Philosophers Belgian Style Blend (A very expensive Quadrupel)
-Terrapin Gamma Ray (An 11% ABV Wheatwine-Ale. I'm looking forward to that one).
« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 04:04:55 PM by Paradox »

Offline Kurzyk

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #34 on: July 11, 2010, 03:45:36 PM »
God I miss Burlington, VT. Lived there for 6 years. Home of Magic Hat and Ben & Jerrys.  :D

Offline Lord Mayerling

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #35 on: July 11, 2010, 05:48:52 PM »
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Trappist ales are also brewed exceptionally traditionally. That is, they ferment using both naturally living yeast, and a non-refrigerated room. They ferment underground in spaces where natural yeast is so prevalent that none needs to be added to the wort for the fermentation process to start.

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #36 on: July 11, 2010, 06:17:46 PM »
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Trappist ales are also brewed exceptionally traditionally. That is, they ferment using both naturally living yeast, and a non-refrigerated room. They ferment underground in spaces where natural yeast is so prevalent that none needs to be added to the wort for the fermentation process to start.

Some Trappist breweries may still adhere to that production model, but it is no longer mandatory.

Take Orval's description of how they brew their beer, for example:

They manually add yeast, and they keep the fermenting beer at a steady 56 degrees Fahrenheit/ 15 degrees Celsius.

Similarly, Chimay's production is on an almost industrial scale. Although Trappist breweries do indeed use very old recipes, their means of production are much newer, though it's easy to be deluded into thinking that they are still brewed in a quaint little cellar; however, the monks do still wear robes.

The type of beer of which you may be thinking is likely the Lambics; they do indeed use spontaneous fermentation from wild yeast in the air and many, especially those brewed in traditional wooden barrels, are stored underground without the aid of refrigeration.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 06:26:24 PM by Paradox »

Offline Will

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2010, 11:02:36 PM »

Wtf, no you did not. :-(  :-(  :-(

At least you followed it up with something legit!

Offline Noelle

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #38 on: July 12, 2010, 03:52:54 PM »
My recommendations:

Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout
Lindeman's Lambic Framboise (or Pomme, if raspberry isn't your thing)
Goose Island 312 Wheat Ale
Goose Island IPA
O'Fallon Cherry Chocolate Beer
Peace Tree Rye Porter

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #39 on: July 13, 2010, 10:24:41 PM »
Monster Post!

Will- You know me well enough to know that irreverence is inevitable. Besides, I wanted to find a way to work in "yuck bad dump sink" after having said that such a review wouldn't be worthwhile :P.

Kurzyk- You were a lucky man indeed to live so close to that brewery; plus, Woodchuck Hard Ciders are also made in Vermont, and they're pretty damned good as well.

Noelle- Thanks! I'll definitely look those up at my local stores. I've had Lindemans Framboise Lambic, Lindemans Lambic PÍche (peach, obviously, though I didn't like it much), and Lindemans Cassis Lambic (the one made with Black Currants) because my girlfriend generally tends to dislike the taste of actual beer, so I sometimes seek out Lambics and Ciders for her. They're relatively okay, but compared to other fruit lambics they fall short, partly because they're sweetened with Acesulfame potassium (a calorie-free artificial sweetener often used in diet sodas), and because they have low ABV levels; for instance, the raspberry Framboise you mentioned only has 2.5% ABV. Still, that particular Framboise makes for a damned good Ice Cream Float with a scoop or two of Vanilla. If you ever have a chance, I recommend trying Cantillon Rosť De Gambrinus for an iconic example of the Fruit Lambic style.

Now then, tonight's three beers are Magic Hat's #9, a fairly light fruit beer that breaks the fruit beer mold, Magic Hat's Wacko, an even lighter fruit beer, and Terrapin's Gamma Ray, a monstrous 11% ABV Wheatwine.

Brewed by:
Terrapin Beer Company
Athens, Georgia, United States
Style- Wheatwine
ABV- 11%

Wheatwine is a fairly new style of beer that has become increasingly prevalent in the past decade from ballsy American brewers who have a habit of taking older varieties of beers and making high-alcohol versions of them. In this case, American brewers took the English Barleywine and replaced the barley with wheat, thus making a novel American Strong Ale. Anytime you see a beer that has the word "Imperial" in it, it's likely a result of bold American brewers tampering with an old style to create a powerful new product. They don't always turn out well, but Wheatwine is a style that works. Disregard the word "wine" in the name; it's definitely a beer. They use at least, and often over, 50% wheat malt, which provides a strong alcohol content countered by a velvety, fluffy texture and surprisingly light flavor. Wheatwines typically have an alcohol content between 9% to 14%.

Poured into a snifter from a 12oz bottle with an awesome beer and lightning-wielding superhero turtle on the label and a notched freshness date that strangely gives the month and day but not the year; however, given the alcohol content, this one could easily hold up for a few years.

Appearance- 4 out of 5. Gamma Ray definitely looks somewhat radioactive with its somewhat hazy yet intense rosy-orange inner color and golden-yellow exterior as bubbles skyrocket to the top of the glass. The small head quickly fades and doesn't leave much lacing at all.

Smell- 4.5 out of 5. Oh my god, this smells good. Really good. I initially detect vanilla, banana, and a wickedly wonderful waft of wheat. Slightly spicy undertone with a bit of hops as well. I want to stick my nose farther into the snifter to soak up more of the delicious scent.

Taste- 4.5 out of 5. This is stuff tastes good as well. It starts with a creamy taste of lightly-toasted vanilla, caramel malt, and dark honey, then deepens to mildly spicy cloves, banana (almost like a banana liqueur but without the disgustingly overly-sweet aspect) , and finishes with tingly hops. Wheat and honey may be the main ingredients of this beer, but it has a definite complexity all its own; moreover, the alcohol isn't that strong considering this beer's high ABV. I can't stop sipping it.

Mouthfeel- 4 out of 5. The body is somewhat thick (but not syrupy) and fairly dry, without much carbonation. The warmth from the alcohol spreads through your mouth, down your throat, and settles pleasantly in your stomach.

Drinkability- 4 out of 5. This is another one of those dangerous beers. At 11% ABV, it's easily finished in a few quaffs or a number of sips, so be careful. The sweetness may dissuade some, but it's not overly sweet; rather, it's just the right level for what it was trying to accomplish. It could be a session beer if you can afford it and are willing to take it slower than the normal pound 'em down rate of most sessions. Definitely recommended; even now that I'm finished with it, I can lick my lips and still taste the honey.

Overall, an A.

Wheatwine is still an up-and-coming style, so check it out if you have the chance! Your tongue will thank you.

Next up is the another beer from my Magic Hat Summer Sampler, Magic Hat's #9.

Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States
Style- Debatable (see below)
ABV- 5.1%

#9 is probably Magic Hat's most well-known beer. The brewery labels it as a "Not-Quite-Pale-Ale". Most beer reviewers label it as a Fruit Beer, but don't let the name fool you: this isn't one of those syrupy-sweet/girly beers, though its flavor is such that girls with petite palates can indeed enjoy it too. "Fruit beer" isn't really a style; instead, it's a broad designation that really doesn't say much other than that a beer has been brewed with some sort of fruit ingredient in addition to the other ingredients of its style. Some can be atrocious; some can be delicious. #9 is brewed with yeast that is typically used in English Ale, and its use of Cascade hops gives it a floral trait that's most often associated with Pale Ales, so those are the styles this beer is closest to. Given the broad range, no ABV range for Fruit Beers can be established since I've seen them from 4.1% all the way up to 18%.

Poured into a standard glass from a 12oz bottle with freshness date notched onto the label. "Find a Cure in the Soup du Jour" under the cap; if the soup du jour is beer, then I'm happy to search!

Appearance- 4 out of 5. This beer has a bright but hazy golden yellow with hints of orange in the center and pours with a decent one finger head that is extremely fizzy, matching the carbonation bubbling up from the bottom of the glass. The head fades fairly quickly but leaves a bit of thin lacing.

Smell- 3.5 out of 5. The smell is rather weak, with hints of apricot, buttery bread (fresh buttery biscuits, to be descriptive), and a bit of mildly spicy yeast.

Taste- 4 out of 5. The first sip is a bit of a pleasant surprise. The first upfront taste is of apricots, light malt, and bready yeast. For something that's almost a Pale Ale, I expected a lot more citrus, but this beer tastes good without it. There are undertones of spice, but this beer isn't very complex. Delicious, but not complex. It finishes with crisp, tingly hops on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel- 4 out of 5. I reiterate what I said about it being crisp and tingly; that feeling lingers for a little while after swallowing. The overall body is light and smooth.

Drinkability- 4 out of 5. Overall, this is a well-rounded beer. The hint of apricot in the taste is actually pretty good. It's not particularly deep or complex, but it hits the spot on a hot Summer day and goes down so easily that one could consume a lot of these in a short amount of time. If you want a Pale Ale-esque beer without the heavy citrus and hops, give this a shot.

Overall, a B.

Last up is another offering from Magic Hat called Wacko.

Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States
Style- Fruit Beer
ABV- 4.5%

Why yes, that beer is a bit pink. Like #9, it is classified as a Fruit Beer, but some people also classify it as a Vegetable beer because it uses a bit of beet coloring. You might think that beets and beer wouldn't go together, but beet sugar is actually commonly used in beer. Most sucrose-sugar you buy in the U.S. is also beet sugar unless marked otherwise (Pure Cane Sugar, for instance). Wacko is a seasonal beer sold only during the summer.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard glass, freshness date notched on label.

Appearance- 3.5 out of 5. The color is a strong, hazy orange with an almost pinkish hue in the center that looks appealing, but the less than one-finger head fizzles out extremely fast, leaving little lacing around the sides and only a phantom in the middle, like the last lingering bubbles from a recently-submerged continent.

Smell- 3 out of 5. The smell is confusing and not entirely appealing. I can detect the light grain from the malt, which is rather sweet, and a bit of hops, but nothing particularly strong aside from a trace of some kind of fruit, like grapefruit without the tang.

Taste- 3 out of 5. For a beer that's brewed with beet coloring, which sounds rather unappealing, this is pretty good. I'm a little disappointed in Magic Hat for using what tastes like adjunct grains, but the corn holds up better than in most macros that use it. Finishes with a combination of grass, faintly bitter hops, and a metallic undertone. Not bad.

Mouthfeel- 3.5 out of 5. Starts off with a sharp bite that quickly recedes into a carbonated tingle. Slightly wet, slightly crisp, slightly smooth.

Drinkability- 3.5 out of 5. Depends on the situation. I had this at a pool party and drank at least 4 that I can remember; however, based on the more rigorous tasting I'm giving it now, I wouldn't want more than two. It's okay, but Magic Hat offers much better beers than this. If you're at a party where drinking in quantity is more important than complexity, this would be ideal.

Overall, a C+. I'm only giving it that + for its easy drinkability.

Definition Explanation- "Lacing". Sounds like the frilly part of a fancy dress, right? That's probably where it came from. Imagine ripping a frilly dress off of a beautiful woman and ravaging her to the point where the only remnant left is the lacy frill that had surrounded the dress; the same thing applies to beer. After the head has died down, what's left of it is called the "lacing". It's the light whitish sticky stuff that adheres to the side of the glass and floats on the top of the beer. From what I've heard, it results from the hop oils combining with the proteins in beer and thus forming chain-like structures; therefore, beers with a sizable amount of hops, protein, or both will probably have considerable lacing.

You may have noticed that American commercial lagers from macrobreweries lack that characteristic lacing? That's a result of the fact that use lots of corn which significantly lessens the amount of protein in the beer. On the other hand, oats are chock full of protein, so a solid hoppy Oatmeal Stout often has so much lacing left on the side of the class that you need a blowtorch and an adamantine trowel to pry it off. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.

Now, I have a question for anyone reading this: Are these blogs too long? Do you actually read all of them (Please be honest; my ego will be fine if you don't read it all)? Should I break them up into one beer per post? Any other feedback? Thanks for your time.

Offline Will

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #40 on: July 13, 2010, 11:55:17 PM »
I read them all. :P  And they are very informative.

My tolerance for sweetness is too low for wheat beers, so the Gamma Ray is right out. I know lots of people love them, but I guess it's just a personal preference.  I've tried lots. : /  It's a shame, too; Terrapin is generally righteous, and I'm sure Gamma Ray is a great example of its type.

I've never even seen any Magic Hat around here. >:(

Offline Arhys

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #41 on: July 14, 2010, 02:12:06 AM »
My favorite kind of beer, in the summer especially, is a Hefeweizen.  I prefer Erdinger, Weihenstephaner or Franziskaner.  Franziskaner is easily obtainable in the U.S., I am not sure of the other two.  Avoid Sanwald at all costs, and actually I have never been too impressed with any American microbrewed variations though I'm sure they're out there.  :)   There is a place in Las Vegas that was an exception, and my brother was an assistant brewer at a place that made a decent one too but usually the vanilla/banana creaminess is missing.  A lot of places in the U.S. will put a lemon slice on top which is wrong wrong wrong unless it is a Kristallweizen.

But when it is hot outside, a yummy hefeweizen hits the spot.  I don't eat much bread or potatoes at this time of year so I can indulge in those.

Offline Blitzy

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #42 on: July 14, 2010, 09:46:03 AM »
I'd like to make just a quick suggestion, Para:

Is there any way that you could take your own pictures of the beer that you're drinking/reviewing for us? We all know that images of things put out by the company aren't the best often times and I think it'd be cool to see the actual glass and what the beer itself looks like with you. Maybe do both at the same time or something?


Offline Ramster

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #43 on: July 14, 2010, 12:07:55 PM »
A very interesting installment, Para. I read every post here as soon as I'm online and so is it. I'm partial to a nice Weihenstephaner myself, and to Hoegaarden, so I think I'd really like the Terrapin Gamma Ray. What a name! I wonder if even the better beer boutiques here have it though. An available and delicious American beer would positively astound my friends, I'm sure.

Offline Will

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #44 on: July 14, 2010, 12:51:29 PM »
Hmm, I'm not sure if they market very far beyond the southeastern US.  They're based in Georgia.

I want to try the Hopsecutioner. >.>

Offline Neroon

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Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #45 on: July 14, 2010, 04:05:34 PM »
I would second Noelle's recommendation of Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout and add their Old Brewery Bitter to the list.  I was fortunate enough to visit the brewery as a part of my degree, to observe the Yorkshire Squares brewing method.  Needless to say, extensive sampling followed.

Other beers you might want to look at are Ruddles' County, Shepherd Neame's Bishop's Finger and Adnams' Broadside.

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #46 on: July 14, 2010, 09:33:33 PM »
Ramster- One of the stores around here has both Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier and Weihenstephaner Original; which did you mean? If you see an American brew in a bar and want to confirm its quality before you try/buy it, let me know! I'd be more than happy to be the guinea pig.

Arhys- So far, I've hated every Hefeweizen I've had; however, I've only had American ones (aside from Aventinus, which is a Dunkelweizen-- essentially, a darker Hefeweizen). Perhaps you're right in saying that I need to try an imported version for a better example of the style. I'll pick up an Erdinger sometime soon.

Blitzy-- Trust me; if I could take quality pictures, I would use those instead! Unfortunately, I only have access to the camera in my phone, which wouldn't do justice to these beers. Of course, I may start including a camera-phone shot as well, but the online pictures do a better job so far. Thanks for the suggestion though; if I have a chance to take pictures with an actual camera, I definitely will.

Will- When you move, I know for a fact that state has Magic Hat. Quite a few bars around there have it on tap, and I'm sure some of the supermarkets and specialty stores have bottles of it as well.

Neroon-- Thanks; I'll look into those and see if I can find any in this area.

Today's style is Stouts!

These beers are better imbibed in witheringly-cold weather, but since I've mostly been focusing on lighter-colored, somewhat sweeter beers so far, I feel they deserve a shot in the spotlight as well; plus, I've had a hankering for one for a while now.

Stouts are brewed with roasted malt and/or roasted barley and are very reminiscent of coffee and chocolate (some American brewers actually add coffee and/or chocolate during the brewing process, the clever dogs; English brewers have been known to add chocolate as well). Unfortunately, with the proliferation of lighter beers, brews of this color, texture, and flavor have been shunned by a growing number of drinkers lately; however, I did see a homeless man buying a 22oz bottle of Guinness Extra Stout from a gas station just last week, so it's comforting to know that some of us are keeping the dream alive.

Note that the serving temperature for a Stout should be about 50 degrees, though you can serve it at 45 if you think the flavors are too intense for your liking; in fact, most beers should be served at 45 degrees, not straight out of the refrigerator. The increase in warmth opens up the aromas and increases the complexity of the available flavors, so don't cheat yourself by drinking ice-cold beer unless it's a pretty crappy beer that you'd rather not taste in the first place.

First up is the quintessential Stout about which most people think when they hear the word "Stout", Guinness Extra Stout.

Brewed by:
Guinness Ltd.
Style- Irish Dry Stout
ABV- 6%

Irish Dry Stouts tend to have relatively lighter bodies compared to other Stouts so as to make them more drinkable. Contrary to what the main label would have you believe, not all Guinness Extra Stout comes directly from St. James's Gate in Dublin; this particular bottle was brewed and bottled in Canada. Most of the Guinness that Americans drink is bottled there, but don't let anti-Canadian sentiment sway you from drinking this otherwise-wonderful beer.

Poured into a traditional glass from a squat 12oz bottle with a lot number but no freshness date. I love how the label color matches the beer's head and the bottle color matches the beer itself.

4 out of 5. Pours a deep, opaque black with a chunky head of tan foam. No light permeates the glass except at the very bottom, which is a dark brown. A good deal of thick tan acing sticks to the sides and floats around on top.

Smell- 4 out of 5. Dark molasses malt dominates the head along with an earthy scent of esters, and roasted barley. There's a hint of sweetness as well, along with what can only be described as charcoal.

Taste- 4 out of 5. Starts off with a full-flavored wave of molasses malt that is also reminiscent of coffee. It's an interesting mix of roasted barley, sweet malt, a bit of dark fruit, and other bits of burnt grain. The bitterness of the hops at the end isn't particularly powerful but has a mild lemony flavor at the end. The aftertaste is of diacetyl butterscotch and roasted malt.

Mouthfeel- 4 out of 5. Guinness Extra Stout straddles the line between being medium and full-bodied; either way, it has a decent bit of carbonation that you'd never know was there by looks alone, along with a surprisingly crisp texture that finishes very dry.

Drinkability- 4 out of 5. As far as Stouts go, this is decently drinkable. One could have a few, since the calorie count is under 200 and the ABV is only 6%. Guinness Extra Stout is a good dark beer. This would be good for both an introduction to the style and for an experienced drinker who wants to knock back a few.

Overall, a B.

Next up, by popular demand, is Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout

Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery
Tadcaster, England, United Kingdom
Style- Oatmeal Stout/English Stout
ABV- 5%

Oats are typically frowned upon by brewers because their high fat, oil, and protein content make it rather difficult to brew with them; however, used properly, oats can provide a wonderful smoothness and sweetness unseen in any other style of Stout.

Poured from a 550ml (1 pint, 2.7oz) bottle into a standard glass. No freshness date provided. The back label shows a man beating down what appears to be an entire vat full of fluffy, foamy yeast head. That's a good sign.

Appearance- 4.5 out of 5. Very dark, almost opaque, rich black with a fluffy tan two-finger head that has admirable retention, lasting almost the entire time as I drank it. The lacing is thick and sticks everywhere.

Smell- 4 out of 5. This one smells a bit lighter than the Guinness, but not in a bad way; rather, it's subtly appealing. The scent is surprisingly soft and mild for a beer this dark. It mainly reminds me of molasses with a nutty undertone.

Taste- 4 out of 5. This is a bold flavor with a strong, powerful taste of roasted dark malt, nuts, unsweetened chocolate, and coffee. There are earthy and woody undertones that are almost acrid in their bite. The eponymous oatmeal is evident and adds a rich bit of starchiness. The dark fruit and slight pear flavor is lost in the stronger flavors mentioned before. It's a very robust taste that can be intimidating to drinkers unaccustomed to Stouts, so be careful.

Mouthfeel- 4 out of 5. The body is thick; the carbonation is strong; and the finish is dry. Very full and filling.

3 out of 5. This stuff is good to sip, but I wouldn't want more than the bottle (which gives about 2 glasses once poured). It would be delicious if paired with a good Fontina cheese and some smoked meat, and I wish I had one or both right now to deepen the flavors of both the beer and the food.

Overall, another B.

Last up is Victory's Storm King Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Victory Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
Style- Russian Imperial Stout
ABV- 9.1%

Remember how I mentioned in the last post that American brewers make "Imperial" versions of beers that are stronger than the usual versions? That originated from the Russian Imperial Stout style, the king (or Czar, in this case) of Stout. It's like Stout on sterioids. Roasted-malty chocolate steroids. It originated back in the 1800's in an attempt by certain Russian brewers to sway the Czar to their side, which makes sense; strong alcohol has swayed countless people throughout history, both powerful and impoverished!

Poured from a 12oz bottle, no freshness date provided, but the label does have dark, regal colors and a noble-looking bird of prey wearing a crown.

Appearance- 5 out of 5. This stuff looks incredible; it's like peering through a mocha-curtain into the blackest night, as if the sun itself had been washed away by a thick tide of dark, mysterious beer many years ago. The beer pours with an deep ocean of three-finger brown head that is retained throughout the entire drinking experience, and the lacing is so thick and sticky that it practically coats the glass even once the beer itself is long gone.

Smell- 4.5 out of 5. This beer smells as powerful as it looks. A smell of burnt sweet molasses malt, charcoal, strong hops, and moderate citrus dominate the nose, along with an undertone of solvent alcohol. It's interesting; very interesting.

Taste- 4.5 out of 5. This beer taste even more powerful than it smells! The only thing holding it back from being a 5 is that it doesn't taste much like a Stout at all. All of the component tastes are there, but they come together to form something entirely different-- and delicious. The sweet malt strikes the tongue first, quickly followed by dark roasted malt, chocolate, and more citrus than I've ever tasted in a Stout. It almost reminds me of one of those chocolate oranges. Not bad, but unusual. There is an undertone of pine and other earthy, notes that are soon replaced by the bitterness of the slightly spicy hops at the end. The aftertaste of unsweetened chocolate and sweet roasted malt is thick and sticks around, much like the lacing. If you're numbed by the sheer number of flavors I've mentioned, your tongue won't be; instead, it will revel in it like skinny-dipping in the midnight sky.

Mouthfeel- 4 out of 5. The feisty carbonation wars with the thick, full body of the beer. Not as crisp as Guinness and not as creamy as Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, it bridges a pleasant middle ground but offers a sharper alcohol sting than the other two.

Drinkability- 4.5 out of 5. This is a mysteriously brooding, immaculately complicated beer that is supremely drinkable considering its full body and 9.1% ABV. I could easily make a session out of this. Stout lovers be warned: this isn't traditional, but it is exceptional. Definitely a Victory in more ways than one.

Overall, an A.

Unsolicited Tip of the Day: Wash your glasses by hand. Dishwasher detergent can often leave a residue that interferes with the head development and even the flavor profile of a beer; likewise, when you dry your glasses, do it by hand with a lint-free rag or a brand of paper towel that doesn't leave fine white residue, as both types of cloth can also interfere with proper head development and smell. Also, never use a chilled glass. There's no point in trying to serve a beer at its ideal temperature if you're just going to cool it back down, and more importantly, that condensation on the glass will dilute the beer itself and add flavors from the condensed water that will alter the beer's actual flavor.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 09:40:48 PM by Paradox »

Offline RP7466

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #47 on: July 15, 2010, 08:53:03 AM »
Made a maple stout one time that turned out very good. Not overly sweet and the maple wasn't overwhelming, just enough maple flavor to know that something was there, but you had to really work at it to figure out exactly what it was. Started as an oatmeal stout that was bound for deer camp and figured what the hell, try something different. Wonder if anybody would be interested in a homebrew thread/blog?

Offline ParadoxTopic starter

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #48 on: July 15, 2010, 09:00:22 AM »
RP- Although I'm not currently involved in doing so at the moment, I have homebrewed before-- not to a sufficient extent to be an expert in it by any means, but I would definitely be interested in reading a blog about it if you made one.

Everyone- The next post will probably be next Monday or Tuesday. I have other things to do than drink, unfortunately.

Also, don't do it with an expensive Stout, but if you have enough lying around, trying adding a scoop or two of Coffee, Vanilla, or Chocolate ice cream to the glass. It's delicious.

Offline Aiden

Re: Beer Blog
« Reply #49 on: July 15, 2010, 10:57:22 AM »
Hey Para have you tried any of the other Stone Brewing Co's Beers? Or is Arrogant bastard the only ones they have in your area.