Showing posts in category: 37

Style American Double / Imperial Stout · ABV 8.3% · 355 ml bottle
Brewed by Founders Brewing Company · Grand Rapids · Michigan · United States
Read more www.foundersbrewing.com

My friend and neighbor Tobias stopped by my apartment one night accompanied by one highly anticipated bottle of Founders Breakfast Stout. Not being the most avid stout enthusiast, I’m still excited about trying this beer. I’ve heard many good things about it and it also reached a bit of fame when Systembolaget (Swedish government alcohol monopoly) suspended sales because the label depicts a baby having breakfast (in Sweden beer and wine labels are not allowed to show people under the age of 25). In my own opinion that feels a bit too “Big Brother-ish”. Was someone worried about some sleep deprived father of two, getting up in the middle of the night and accidentally feeding his toddler the ashy brew from the Baby Stout bottle? Anyway, let’s move on to the review.

Appearance 2/3

Pitch black! Almost looks a bit intimidating, feels like death is lurking around the corner… On top of the black is a beige to light brown half a finger tall head.

Aroma 9/12

Wow! Smells like an Icelandic volcano just erupted inside of the glass. Ash, ash, ash. At first just overwhelmed by the smell of ash and tar. Very harsh and smoky. After a while as the liquid warms the flavors of chocolate and coffee makes their onset. Smells rather nice! You can also smell the alcohol.

Flavor 16/20

Wasn’t expecting such a smooth tasting experience after smelling all that ash just a couple of minutes ago. Chocolate and coffee. Earthy. Dry. Roasted malt. Sweet and a bit bitter at the same time still very satisfying. Very mellow and smooth for being a stout, feels like you can easily gulp down a couple of these…

Mouthfeel 3/5

A rather thick batter with very little carbonation. Very smooth, but not much else is happening.

Overall impression 7/10

Being more of a hophead, I’m usually not that overly excited about beer in the stout category. But there seems to be something about stouts from the state of Michigan (Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout) that gets me going though. This is a surprisingly smooth stout I can picture me having a taste of regularly. All in all, a great breakfast beer!

Total Score 37/50

Very Good – Generally within style parameters, some minor flaws.

Style American Black Ale · ABV 7.5% · 330 ml bottle
Brewed by Mohawk Brewing Company · Täby · Sweden
Read more www.mohawkbrewing.se

In time for Easter 2011, Stefan “Mohawk” Gustafsson brought us the Black IPA Easter Edition. Based on that beer, he’s this year tinkered with both the name and recipe giving us the Oxymoron Black IPA. Like the name suggests the contradiction is calling a relatively pale ale black. Stefan has whacked no less than seven varieties of malts as well as Amarillo, Cascade, Citra, Columbus, Crystal, Magnum and my current favorite, Simcoe hops into the brew kettle when cooking up what is to be my first Swedish American Black Ale.

Appearance 2/3

The drink is as dark as a starless night and drifting across this night is a dirt white foam cloud as thick as a frostbitten finger. It dissipates in three minutes and left is a mere blanket of bubbles. Rich beautiful traces stick to the glass. Letting the light fall through the liquid I see strings of bubbles lighting up the sky like the stars of the Milky Way. So far so great.

Aroma 8/12

My mind initially thinks of India Pale Ale as I take a whiff of the beer. I get hop aroma, then toasted malts, light coffee notes, the thick and damp smell of recently dug up tarmac confined soil at a roadworks. Also a citric profile in the hops coming through. Finally flakes of ashes, not imposing or anything, but a like quick sniff in Grandma’s old ashtray. There’s a finesse to the balance of hops and toasted malts that I like a lot.

Flavor 17/20

What hits me first is the signature Mohawk IPA hop dryness also found in his Extra IPA. Rewind and there’s a roasted and sweet malt start with aniseed and licorice, citric hops and white grapefruit tastes. A great balance between sweetness and bitterness that level out evenly.

Mouthfeel 3/5

Average medium body. Liquid’s rather light and sweet. Short and medium strong dry bitterness on the tongue. Carbonation wakes up hitting the top of the tongue, bubbles popping life into my taste buds.

Overall impression 7/10

I like the fact that he’s dropped the Easter Edition bit out of the name this year. This is in my opinion not a seasonal merely fit for Easter but another solid IPA from the Mohawk beer works, worthy of year-round production and distribution. There are naturally similarities to the Mohawk Extra IPA, though this one has a toasty twist that I like. On the negative side, I did expect a slightly bolder och more filling profile from a 7.5 percenter.

This is not an Easter Ale, but still the perfect ale for the upcoming holidays. Check availability now.

Total Score 37/50

Very Good – Generally within style parameters, some minor flaws.

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Style Belgian IPA · ABV 6.0% · 750 ml bottle
Brewed by Brouwerij De Ranke · Wevelgem · Belgium
Read more www.deranke.be

Normally everything Brouwerij De Ranke touches turns to gold. It’s almost been a year since I got to try their Tripel Guldenberg, so once I got the notion of Hop Harvest I just had to lay my greedy fat hands on a sample. Technically it is their perennial Belgian IPA, the XX Bitter, on steroids. It’s jam-packed with even more Brewers Gold hops for a sharper bitterness and a generous addition of Hallertau hops for a greater and fuller aroma.

Appearance 2/3

A pale golden straw colored beer enters my glass producing a creamy milk white three finger tall head. It slides down to half a finger retaining its rich creamy texture. Judging by the way the bubbles move around in the drink it looks heavily carbed.

The more we drink the yeastier the pour gets, from being a clear to cloudy brewski.

Aroma 8/12

Belgian yeast and fresh wheat bread. Then fruity esters that of freshly cut apples, grapes and pears. Lots of floral notes too. Then there’s an acidity somewhere between white wine and citrus fruits. Wrapped around all this is a soft hops aroma and the tinest pinch of ground ginger. It does reminds me a tad of Mikkeller’s Wet Hop Kellerbier.

Flavor 16/20

Originally malty, sweet and yeasty, consequently lots of esters coming through with generous amounts of fresh green fruits like apple, pear but also a honeydew melon flavor and sweetness. Midway there’s a distinct medium hop bitterness which lingers…

Mouthfeel 4/5

Medium bodied with a liquid that’s smooth as well as big and filling. A carbonation in disguise comes to life when washed through the mouth holding medium soft bubbles.

Overall impression 7/10

For some reason I keep Belgian IPAs closer to heart than many other styles. I like the idea of merging two styles in one beautiful marriage. Belgian yeast and American hops do make a great couple and Hop Harvest do them justice. A refreshing and quaffable drink with my only concern being that the bitterness maybe coming through too harshly here and there.

If fortune you’ll find a left over bottle from this year’s production, otherwise you’ll just have to wait for 2012′s version of it.

Total Score 37/50

Very Good – Generally within style parameters, some minor flaws.

Style Keller Bier / Zwickel Bier · ABV 5.5% · 330 ml bottle
Brewed by Mikkeller · Copenhagen · Denmark
Read more www.mikkeller.dk

By now most of us have gotten to used to seeing his style of art on Mikkeller labels. Keith Shore, the artist behind the artwork on Mikkeller’s I Hardcore You, Saison Sally, SurMunk and the Copenhagen Beer Celebration logo amongst others, is a young inspiring creative illustrator from Philadelphia, USA. The colorful and naïve artwork demystifies and relaxes the whole concept of beer. It’s fun!

What Mikkeller is pouring us this time around is an unfiltered lager, seasoned with wet (containing 80% moisture) and fresh (traditionally once harvested, the hops are used within next 24 hours) hops. The final touch is aging the brew with oak chips.

Once again Mikkeller seeks refuge in Belgian brewery De Proef. Together they very often come out with some fantastic beers. So what the hell is this then?

Appearance 2/3

Clonks down in the glass as a semi opaque, I’d dare say cloudy, deep golden yellow. Staggering tall head, whipped cream like foam cap, according to Marcus “Master of Quotes” Andersson, rises 2 to 3 fingers tall off the beer. Settles after a few minutes into what looks like hills and valleys, consisting of tight small bubbles. Leaves heavy drape like curtains on the glass. Never seen anything like actually.

Aroma 8/12

The nose is somehow a cross between a lager and a weissbeer (wheat beer). I get husky notes just like newly milled wheat grains. Malty and somewhat acidic too. After swivel of the glass I get pears and apples. The fruits are strong and slightly sweet. The pear reminds me of a pear flavored popsicle called päronsplitt (Swedish only). The nose also has a yeast and bread side to it.

Flavor 16/20

There’s first a wheaty malt flavor, replaced by pear, apples and funny enough some coconut. A subdued dryness lingers through the whole taste, and a very shallow bitterness leaves behind a dry pear aftertaste. Whatever minute bitterness there was spread from the front of the tongue onwards along the sides. In general very fruity and fresh flavors.

Mouthfeel 4/5

A sturdy but thin body. Light and refreshing liquid. Impeccable carbonation, spreading the flavor through out the mouth cavity.

Overall impression 7/10

It’s perhaps not your average Kellerbier, but then again it is Mikkeller behind the steering wheel so why settle for average? Throw in some fresh hops why don’t you!

A very refreshing beer and therefore it goes great with a meal. It’s perfectly balanced and the flavors are subtle enough. In a beer world full of intense and extreme tastes I appreciate and welcome this sort of calm and collected brew once in a while. The only thing (and I know others have said so too) is the price landing at approx. 4 euros a bottle, simply not worth it.)

Outside of Sweden the beer is better known as Mikkeller Fresh Hop Kellerbier. Availability at Systembolaget.

Total Score 37/50

Very Good – Generally within style parameters, some minor flaws.

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Style American Pale Ale · ABV 4.5% · 500 ml bottle
Brewed by Bryggeriet Djævlebryg · Copenhagen · Denmark
Read more www.djaevlebryg.dk

This is the second beer from Djævlebryg I’m enjoying. The first was Darwinian IPA so here comes its afterthought brother Eklipse. The label brags out loud that it’s a “Satans gode øl!” (Devilishly good beer!). Let’s put it to the test and see if these cocky Danes know what they’re talking about.

Appearance 3/3

It’s a cloudy (chill haze probably) pale peach looking ale. A thick finger of frothy and dense foam collar. The head leaves beautiful long dangling curtains around the ring of the glass. Looking at the empty bottle I see that there are plenty of yeast lees remain on the base and side of the bottle.

Aroma 9/12

It’s a slightly muted nose, with grassy and citric hops notes. Less notable aromas are apricot, grapefruit and caramel. It’s a terrifically balanced nose of caramel malts and citric hops anyways.

Flavor 14/20

Fresh and crisp period. Seriously, it has a grassy and grapefuity/piney hop flavor followed by a pleasant bitterness that is swept away after it makes it mark. Some dried fruits like peach and apricots are shining through. Rounding it off is a saw dust and minute dank flavor. There’s a tiny bit off an off-flavor, something sulfitic.

Mouthfeel 4/5

Eklipse has a thin body on the verge of become a light medium. It is evenly carbonated, yes it’s like the bubbles are sitting next to each other respecting the others personal space. The carbonation also has prickling feel too it. The liquid is a lovely one that manages to bring out the flavors in full.

Overall impression 7/10

I have a confession to make, this bottle of pale ale has been sitting too long on its shelf in the fridge. Although stamped with an expiration date of February 7th 2012, I feel I should’ve gone at it earlier. Still I do agree with the writing on the label, it is a Devilishly good beer! There a spot on balance in aroma and flavor. And for only being a 4.5-percenter it has an impressive mouthfeel. This tasty som of a gun fits any thing from casual meals to session drinking.

Total Score 37/50

Very Good – Generally within style parameters, some minor flaws.