Saturday, May 29, 2010
The fourteenth beer I chose to film was Bell's Java Stout. Like HopSlam, I found it at Capone's bottle shop while visiting the Philadelphia area in March. I think I may have kept this one around a bit too long though...
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BEER: A good looking beer. Nice black body with a creamy, light tan head and a moderate coat of lacing. Very nice coffee aroma and flavor, you can tell some good coffee was added to this one. The roast malt characteristics of a stout are there as well.
The problem here was that the beer was sour. I am pretty sure it is not meant to be sour based on other people's reviews. I was only able to buy one bottle and it must have been a bad one or spent too long in my fridge. I am determined to get a fresh bottle of this in the future because I know Bell's beer pretty well and I can tell this one was just a bit off. I still appreciated the great coffee aspect of the beer but the sourness got to be a bit much.
FINAL GRADE: Can't really judge, good beer but possibly bad bottle.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
The thirteenth beer I chose to film was Bell's HopSlam. One of the most talked about Double IPAs I can think of. Found it at Capone's bottle shop while visiting the Philadelphia area in March.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BEER: Good looking beer, nice head and cloud on top with some spots of fine lacing on the glass. Smell and taste are great. Upon opening, a blast of hops left the bottle and could be smelled from several feet away. The aroma and taste were both a good balance of caramel malt and fruity/citrus hops. Orange, apricot, pineapple and grapefruit come to mind for the hops. The taste also has a large peel flavor to it. A great moderate level of bitterness is employed in the mouthfeel. The actual body of HopSlam was extremely creamy. On par with most pricey Double IPAs but definitely worth it. 10% IIPA that retains the style's characteristics rather than going toward more of a Barleywine feel. A very nice balance of the signature Bell's caramel malt flavor with great hops.
The only thing that could really be improved is the looks. The lacing and head were a bit lackluster. I have had better tasting and smelling Double IPAs but this one is not far from the best.
FINAL GRADE: 4.35 / 5 = A (for great taste, smell and mouthfeel, good looks and drinkability)
Saturday, May 15, 2010
The twelfth beer I chose to film was Drie Fonteinen Oude Kriek. I must say it was a good way to top off the day where I did a college presentation about lambics. Spontaneously fermented ales are in a league of their own.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BEER: A great pink/red color that make almost any Kriek look so appetizing. The smell was a good blend of cherry up front with some oak and funk/barnyard in the background. The taste was an awesome balance of classic Kriek flavors. Ripe sour cherries up front. A very dry beer, hate sweets in lambics. Oak and viney wine notes come into play nicely. The yeast notes and funk are here as well. Some bitterness rounds it all out with some acetic notes but they don't overcome the other great flavors. Mouthfeel was the standard light fizzy bodied lambic.
The only real problem here is the price. Spontaneously fermented beers and other wild ales are just too pricey. I understand where the price comes from and the beer is usually worth it but it really is a special occasion beer.
FINAL GRADE: 4.30 / 5 = A (for great taste and looks, good smell, mouthfeel and drinkability)
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The eleventh beer I chose to film was Troegs Nugget Nectar. Everyone into craft beer has had this one. Probably the best taste for the value of any beer. The only problem with this one is it only comes out once a year around the beginning of February.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BEER: The hops are great. The aroma is outstanding with citrus, pine and grapefruit hop notes. There is some malt in the background of the nose that balances out one of the best smelling beers there is. The taste continues the great hop presence of this beer. Lots of fruit, citrus, pine and earthy notes. The beer itself is good looking with a nice creamy head and thick lacing left behind. The amber color suits the ale very well. The mouthfeel also suits the beer with medium carbonation and body.
Even after having a ton of IIPAs and hop-bombs, this beer is just a bit too bitter. If the bitterness was tuned down just a tiny bit, this beer would be more drinkable and taste almost perfect, IMO.
FINAL GRADE: 4.45 / 5 = A (for excellent smell, great smell and taste, good mouthfeel and drinkability)
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The tenth beer I chose to film was Dieu Du Ciel Aphrodisiaque. I did not get to try this one last year when I was in Montreal. It sounded so good, a stout brewed with vanilla and cocoa. About a year later, this beer started to be bottled and shipped to the USA. Aphrodite was the name in the USA and this beer started to get hyped up. I came across a few bottles as soon as I could and found out what I had missed up in Canada. This is truly the best beer I have made a video for, so far.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BEER: Everything. As you can see it pours out pitch black with a very big, creamy dark tan head. The head stays there like whipped cream and leaves very nice lacing on the way down. These characteristics are exactly what I look for in dark beers. This was the second or third time around for me on this beer. The smell and taste have certainly improved since last time, causing me to bump up my grade a bit. Both the smell and taste epitomize what vanilla and chocolate should be doing in a beer. Especially the vanilla. The roasted malts make for a nice background to the two but doesn't compete. The vanilla and cocoa play back and forth so well, it is almost like twist ice cream, but way better! This is one a few stouts (especially non-Imperial Stouts) that makes me think I am having dessert. Earthy hops help round out a flavor that is near perfection. The beer is expensive in the USA but not in Canada. If I could bring like 100 cases back from Canada, I would. It would be the best dark session beer of all time.
The one nitpick I have about this beer. The mouthfeel could use a bit more body and creaminess. If this beer had a creamy body, I would probably think it was some sort of dessert. It would truly be a perfect stout.
FINAL GRADE: 4.9 / 5 = A+ (for excellent look, smell, taste, drinkability and good mouthfeel)
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The ninth beer I chose to film was Terrapin Rye Squared. I took a trip to Philadelphia a few weeks back and this was one of the many beers I brought back with me. The Philly are had so much good beer to choose from but it seems I got a few great examples from Bell's and Terrapin as well as Russian River and Hair of the Dog.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BEER: The smell and taste (most importantly) of this beer were great. I was expecting a hop bomb, didn't get one but was not disappointed in the least at what I did get. Smell has a huge caramel/buttery malt aspect to it with some earthy and citrus hops in the background. Grapefruit and citrus peels come to mind. Further into the aroma I get huge whiff of rye/breadiness that is nice. Some alcohol comes off this one in a nose of good strength and complexity. The taste is much of the same, a great balance of many flavors. The caramel/buttery malt is massive and rye/bread comes through with it. The rye is almost spicy to me and adds a nice element. Citrus peel and earthy hops are good, some grassy notes in there as well. The hops lend a very nice level of bitterness. A tiny bit of alcohol comes through and makes this one like a Barleywine/Old Ale. This beer also felt way more than 8.5%, which was pretty cool.
Not much to say here. The caramel flavor could have been toned down a bit and the beer would have been perfect. In the opposite direction, a bit more flavor hops would have gave the same effect. The looks could have improved with a head that had better size and retention but it seems like nitpicking at this point.
FINAL GRADE: 4.3 / 5 = A (for great taste and smell, and good mouthfeel, looks and drinkability)
Monday, March 29, 2010
The eighth beer I chose to film was Great Divide Hercules Double IPA. I have seen this one around a bunch of times and decided to buy it when I found a very fresh bottle of it. Most Double IPAs are very hoppy now but this one was a surprise and had some barleywine-like characteristics. Not what I expected but a great beer either way.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BEER: A great looking beer. The amber-red beer has a head that has extreme retention and creamy/frothy texture. An insane amount of lace was left on the glass as the head dies down. The smell was good but the taste was great. Both had barleywine aspects and notes of high malts. The hops were citrus and earthy with good bitterness and even some tea and grassy hints to them. Not a hop-bomb but who cares with such a good malt backbone.
Alcohol is present in the nose and was somewhat undesirable. The taste could have used a tiny bit more hops but was great nonetheless. A thicker mouthfeel would have been perfect but the mouthfeel was nice and creamy and had a good level of carbonation. The price was decent for the quality of a pretty big beer that should probably be taken one glass at a time.
FINAL GRADE: 4.4 / 5 = A (for fantastic looks, great taste, and good mouthfeel, smell and drinkability)