Showing posts in category: 38

Style Russian Imperial Stout · ABV 10% · 355 ml bottle
Brewed by Brooklyn Brewery · New York City · New York · United States
Read more www.brooklynbrewery.com

 
I’ve been dying to try this famous seasonal from Garrett Oliver and his crew out in Brooklyn. I mean, a highly rated and appreciated Russian Imperial Stout at almost the same price as a macro lager from one of the majors, is that really possible? Let’s see what this calorie bomb (yes it does weigh in at a staggering 320 kcal) can to do me!

Appearance 3/3

Black Chocolate Stout is a fitting name, this beer’s completely black, like a night of a new moon. The emptying of the bottle builds a compact and creamy finger of beige to light brown head. Minuscule bubbles hang on for dear life, painting lace around the edge of the glass.

Aroma 9/12

A wall of roasted malts to climb initially, it almost has a burnt and tarry profile. Following is nuances of rye pumpernickel, light citric acidity intertwined with a combo of soy sauce, figs and sweet licorice. Letting it breathe for a moment there’s a strong dark chocolate and espresso bean profile coming through that only increases with time and a higher temperature. Lingering in the back is a perfume booziness.

Flavor 16/20

A malty and boozy welcome, followed by dry bitterness blanketing the whole of the tongue. It’s a complex and somewhat vinous brew with roasted malts, sweetened dark rye bread, dark fruits, soy sauce plus some light espresso and dark bittersweet bakery’s chocolate. I also get Italian Amarelli licorice mixed with tar permeating the other flavors. The 10% ABV do make themselves known (lending an close to a minty profile to the beer) and there’s a bitter coating of the mouth.

Mouthfeel 4/5

A true heavy weighter indeed. Body’s heavy and thick with a syrupy and creamy feel to it. It’s loaded with carbondioxide and its fizzy bubbles spring to life once on the tongue. Finally there’s a dry bitterness in aftertaste.

Overall impression 6/10

Spontaneously said, this is a great and complex “designer beer”. Coming with such a hard to beat and happy price tag I’d say this something you necessarily have to try at least once, there aren’t simply any arguments against it. You just get so much goodness for your money’s worth.

On the negative side it’s slightly too boozy and has a raw bitterness in taste. I’ve had imperial stouts before with the same ABV not producing the same alcohol burn. Well I cant wait for year to have another bottle of this stuff can I, so I’ll simply have to have one of my remaining bottles with a bit of chocolate cake or simply a piece of chocolate, just to get some sugar that hopefully will balance the alcohol and bitterness some.

Other than that this is, hands down, a really solid Russian Imperial Stout and at a bargain price too. In Sweden, go get at least one at Systembolaget while stocks last.

Total Score 38/50

Excellent – Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning.

Style Winter Warmer · ABV 5.3% · 500 ml bottle
Brewed by Oppigårds Bryggeri · Hedemora · Sweden
Read more www.oppigards.com

From the depths of Dalarna comes Oppigård’s addition to the Christmas table. This year once again labeled Winter Ale, a beer first brewed in 2005 and which then has been tweaked over the years to entice us with new and surprising flavors around the time Santa arrives. 2011′s version has been praised by Dagens Nyheter and GP (two of the country’s largest news papers) as the Chirstmas beer to bring back home to your Xmas table. I’ve never had this beer from Oppigårds before so I’m a bit excited as I set out on this tasting.

Appearance 2/3

Pours a clear medium brown with a tint of red that produces a rich and lathery light khaki two finger foam cap. The foam has small and tight bubbles in the center, circled on the outside by bigger bubbles. Leaves sticky and velvety curtains.

Aroma 9/12

Premieres malty and sweet, a burnt maltiness which is packed with chocolate notes. I also get a strong biscuity profile, notably of Mc Vitie’s digestive biscuits. There’s also a tad of yeast and corn puffs/pops in the nose.

Flavor 16/20

Very well balanced flavor set on this one. The constant underlining round and smooth sweet malts is accompanied by some very much balanced aroma and bittering hops, they’re notable hops but not provocative or anything. Flavors include heavy and rich biscuity oats and chocolate, a chocolate placed somewhere between milk chocolate and a seventy percenter. A less notable orange and grapefruit taste comes through too.

Mouthfeel 3/5

A junior heavy weight of a body, meaning a heavy light one verging onto medium. A low carbonation that stays through out. Lots of malty sugars in the liquid that bring out the best in the flavors and keeps them that way.

Overall impression 8/10

This stuff has Oppigård written all over it. In other words it’s a well balanced and reliable brew. It’s got great drinkability too and I would say it is one of the few contenders for the Christmas-Session-Beer-Cup title. It’s also the most versatile Xmas beer I’ve seen this far. It goes great with any thing from giftwrapping to washing down the fatty and salty treats of the Christmas dinner buffé. I feel pretty confident in saying this, but if I’m having any Xmas beer twice this year, this will be the one. And yes, I agree with the others on that in 2011, this is the beer that should go on every Swede’s (and anyone outside the country who manages to lay their hands on a bottle or two) Christmas table.

I know there’s a demand for this highly sought after Xmaser so be swift about and check availability now.

Check out other 2011 Xmas Seasonals that we’ve tasted and reviewed.

Total Score 38/50

Excellent – Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning.

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Style American Double / Imperial IPA · ABV 7.5% · 500 ml bottle
Brewed by Mohawk Brewing Co · Täby · Sweden
Read more www.mohawkbrewing.se

Gypsy brewer Stefan “Mohawk” Gustavsson at Wicked Wine first brewed this beer at Sigtuna Brygghus in 2010. Since then the brewery and bottle has changed, today’s version comes from the brew kettle at Slottkällans Bryggeri and in their standardized 500 ml bottle. As far as I know, what hasn’t changed is the recipe.

It’s said to be a beer that pays homage to west coast IPAs (yes, an absurdly hopped ale), having a ratio of whooping 16 grams (hops varieties used were Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial, Chinhook, Columbus, Magnum och Simcoe) of hops per liter when brewed, resulting in a mind blowing theoretical 160 IBU (bitterness units). In reality the highest achievable IBU is 80 -125 which I dare to say is more than enough for most beers, even IPA styled ones.

Appearance 1/3

The beer’s is a dark yellow to light orange. The pour yields a thin lid of dirt-white foam that settles instantaneously into a ring of big and fluffy bubbles. Streaky short curtains cling to the side of the glass. In the bottle there are trace lines of yeast visible.

Aroma 10/12

A hop bomb of a bouquet! A welcoming nose with notes of prominent citrus, pineapples and oranges. A healthy amount of grapefruit and pine to accompany the other aromas. All paired with a sweet faint caramel fudge maltiness. With its relatively low alcohol content I find none of the booziness very often displayed by this style.

Flavor 16/20

A massive dosage of dry hops, licorice root, anise and then a somewhat delayed grapefruit taste. Not a strong grapefruit flavor which then fades fast. It’s a medium dry hoppiness with characteristics of paper and pepper. Some milder resinous pine, citrus/orange and floral notes make themselves known too. The flavors hang around for a while and then they go out, leaving me with good old memories. Finally, what got me on this one was the order in which the flavors came to me. Usually it is more or less always the same, ie sweet then flavors and finally a bitter finish. This was all turned upside-down drinking Mohawk EIPA, which followed the order of dry hops, intermediate sweetness and a vanilla/orange finish.

Half way down the bottle I get some very vague off-flavors like wet dog, metal and rock.

Mouthfeel 4/5

Dead good carbonation, with fine little bubbles puckering the top of my tongue. The liquid is light medium but still manages to bring out the full flavor of the beer. The usual bitter and hoppy aftertaste is suprisingly replaced by a vanilla and orange one.

Overall impression 7/10

This is a big beer, but not as big and brutal as the commercial description might imply. Nonetheless the smell and flavor match each other superbly well, bridging the two seemlessly. The simcoe imparts a nice dry woodsy hop flavor that resonates for what seems like an eternity. It’s also the closest thing to a session beer that I’ve seen in a IIPA. Maybe because has more common with an IPA than an IIPA.

This is the west coast styled ale we need to have locally made and available fresh. Grab at bottle or two yourself and see.

Total Score 38/50

Excellent – Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning.

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Style American Double / Imperial IPA · ABV 9.2% · 330 ml bottle
Brewed by BrewDog · Fraserburgh · Scotland
Read more www.brewdog.com

Wednesday evenings are work-out nights so I do what I usually do and therefore hop on a indoor bike for 45 minutes and spin away. Exhausted as I always become I hit the showers and crawl into the sauna to further squoosh my brains and body a bit. Once out of the sauna and dressed, I get the great idea to balance out my exercise with some beer. Who ever said exercise and beer don’t go together were obviously dead wrong.

Everyone (read beer reviewers) is doing Xmas beers at the moment and I guess I could/should too but the hop-freak in me is wilding out so I grab what’s closest to my heart this instant, an Imperial IPA. Along with me is everlasting co-reviewer Marcus “Master of Quotes” Andersson.

Appearance 2/3

The color is the dictionary definition of amber, a beautiful rich and deep color. A finger’s worth of airy foam head resting atop which dissipates in a minute, leaving an off-white see through lid of bubbles. Looks like a well carbonated one, there are plenty of big bubbles covering the bottom of the glass, one by one popping towards the top.

Aroma 9/12

Hardcore has a straight on BrewDog nose, ie an explosion of perfume, floral notes and minute tartness. First there’s a strong fudge/toffee/vanilla caramel maltiness followed by a distinct but smooth hops aroma. There’s plenty of citric and lemon balm notes too. Somewhere is a very well hidden alcohol at 9.2 ABV, almost no trace of it all really.

Flavor 16/20

Initially I get a fudge/toffee like sweetness. Sweetness rapidly gives way to the flavors which are intense but short-lived. There’s a euphoria for about 2 – 3 seconds when the flavors go absolutely mental then to only disappear in a hurry, being replaced by the grapefruit/pine bitterness. A bitterness with a nice little bite to it I might add. If any alcohol it marries well with the bitterness, they are closely knit. Hints of dried fruits like orange rind and apricots, bordering to the fudge and vanilla flavors. Fudge/vanilla stays on forever. In the mix is also cloudberries, Marcus comments. Was this the batch they made after completing Hello My Name is Ingrid I wonder?

Mouthfeel 3/5

A sweet liquid but also bit light and thin. Letting the beer roll around there’s a sudden burst of carbonation prickling the tongue. The aftertaste is bitterness and bitterness again, nothing crazy or bad just bitter. In conclusion it is a tingling and thin body, perhaps best described as sodapopish.

Overall impression 8/10

All in all a decent IIPA. Generally too quick a loss of flavor in aspect to the roaming and intense bitterness that follows. This is not a Hardcore IPA to my mind but more of a “lightweight hardcore IPA”, as Marcus so very eloquently drops it. It’s a fruity and floral ale just like a hoppy BrewDog beer should be like. But still somewhere in the back of my dusty mind the memory of Hercules DIPA still lingers. It lacks the body and prolonged flavors of that one.

The availability is a plus, just drop your local Systembolag and order away.

Total Score 38/50

Excellent – Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning.

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Style English Pale Ale · ABV 4.9% · 500 ml bottle
Brewed by Skebo Bruksbryggeri · Skebobruk · Sweden
Read more www.skebobruksbryggeri.se

I had a fabulous first-ever lunch at B.A.R. Restaurant with my family and good friend Aril the other day. Aril was quick to point out that B.A.R. has a heavy esthetic resemblance, an esthetic I totally appreciate, to Pastis in the Meatpacking District in NYC for you who are familiar with the place. B.A.R. has commisioned Skebo Bruksbryggeri to brew its pale ale. Let’s see what they have come up with.

Appearance 2/3

Pours a dirty dark shade of yellow with bits of brown and green in it. A Colgate-white, one finger tall head appears only to fade after two minutes. No lacing really.

Aroma 10/12

Malty and citric with elements fresh aromatic hops. There’s also lots of dried fruits, specifically peaches and apricots. Also a whiff of a bakery four o’clock in the morning.

Flavor 16/20

A shortlived and intense sweetness, giving way to a hard bitterness that is gone in seconds, the flavors being dragged down with it although they linger for a moment on the tongue. The bitterness has a grapefruit and stainless steel kitchen countertop resemblance. A handful of other exotic citric fruits such as lime, lemon, orange and bitter orange. A clove-tasting spice is also in there somewhere.

Mouthfeel 3/5

A light to medium body. A fleeting and light liquid which has more than your average share of carbonation. A carbonation which then settles very fast.

Overall impression 7/10

When served ice cold (English Pale Ale is best served at 12-14C/54-57F) I first got the impression that it was a mostly bitter and somewhat flavorless beer they’d offered me. As I let my hand warm up the glass, flavors magically started to appear… Had I not waited for the ale to warm up it would’ve gotten a lower rating. This is good, average and safe choice of ale for a wider audiance.

Total Score 38/50

Excellent – Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning

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