Sorry if this seems rushed, but I’m trying to do this from my cell.
Oktoberfests from Germany have been getting lighter in color, body, and flavor over the last few years, and this one looks to be no exception. Slightly muddy straw yellow body with a thin white head.
Smells sweet, grassy, very low-hopped. Almost a little adjuncty. Taste is much cleaner, though, dry with a nice grainy quality. Body is smooth and clean. I want a bit more spicy hop in my pale lagers, but this might do in a pinch.
For an Oktoberfest, though, I’d take Great Lakes or Left Hand in a heartbeat. Or Hacker-Pschorr, although given the direction of German Oktoberfest lately that might not be the best choice down the line.
I don’t have much to say that isn’t in the video, so just watch and enjoy.
I’m planning on doing a viewer/reader response video for next Friday, so if you’ve got questions/comments you want me to respond to, place them somewhere I can see them in the next few days.
I was going to do a video for this one, but I didn’t want to have to bother with that whole process. Let’s just do a quickie text review while my pasta noodles finish cooking.
Pours dark brown/black with a bit of ruddy amber here and there. Two-finger head dissipates quickly. Smells sweet, mostly raisins and licorice, standard for a porter.
Taste pretty much follows the nose, with perhaps a hint more roast than anticipated. Very thin on the body. Overall this is perfectly fine, but there’s not much going on. I expect a lot more than this from a Firestone Walker 22oz bottle release. Bottle date is 5/3/13 so it’s only five months old — age shouldn’t be an issue here. Not that I’m getting oxidation notes or anything.
According to the Firestone Walker website this one is best consumed within 120 days of bottling, so I’ve hung onto it a bit longer than recommended. They also say it’s fermented in their wood barrel system, although I’m not really getting any wood on this one.
Overall, it’s a pretty classic robust porter, but nothing quite worth seeking out as amazing. I’d take Founders Porter or Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald any day.
Another day, another Surly beer. This one is their Helles Lager, and it’s pretty damned nice. Check it out if you can get it.
(And yes, I have a weak spot for bright lagers, the redheaded stepchildren of the craft beer world.)
A brand new beer from Bell’s. A wheatwine, no less, you don’t see that every day. I’m tired from work and class tonight and just watching a bit of classic Breaking Bad, so I can’t be bothered to set up the camera. Let’s do an old-school text review.
Pours hazy yellow/orange, billowy white head. A bit like a hefeweizen, but at 8% it’s a bit big for a hefe. Then again, it’s a bit small for a wheatwine/barleywine.
Aroma pulls even closer to a hefe. Quite estery, hints of banana. Maybe some bubblegum. Flavor follows the nose, tons of ester and a nice dose of alcohol, though no booze. Sweet.
Overall I’d definitely call this something like an Imperial Hefeweizen rather than a wheatwine, although that’s just pendantic semantics. The back label mentions “the Wheat series,” implying that this is the first of many beers like this. It’s not phenomenal, but it’s decent. I’d drink it again, maybe on tap. Pretty standard special-ish releease for Bell’s these days.
Another old video, originally shot on May 9 of this year. A friend from Minnesota came in for the Medieval Congress and brought me some Surly beers. This is the first review (the other will likely go up next week.)
Overall: not my favorite kind of coffee beer, but worth a shot if you can get it.
Yes, I shot this back in late April. Yes, I feel terrible about it. I’m going to be clearing out my archived reviews as fast as I can edit and upload them.
Look forward to more in the coming weeks.
As usual, we’ll go from least to most hoppy and start with the one I’ve had before, the Oktoberfest. Pours a little light for an Okoberfest, a kind of ruddy amber, with a two-finger white head. Taste is very dry, almost roasted chocolate and coffee beans, with a crisp, clean finish and a crackery aftertaste. Possibly the driest Oktoberfest I’ve had, but still representative of the style. I like it a lot.
Next up is the Founders Inspired Artist Black IPA. Made for the Grand Rapids ArtPrize, this is a special release that I believe is exclusive to Michigan. Poured it into a glass and got immediate roasty malt aroma and citrus/floral hops. I actually audibly gasped at the aroma. It was that good.
Sorry about the flash on that pic. It’s hard when you’re taking pictures of black beer under normal lighting. And yes, that’s Classic Who in the background. The Seeds of Doom, if anyone cares.
Once the beer settles down a bit there’s a classic roasty quality with that nice citrus floral bite. What sets this one apart (and makes me like it more than many Black IPAs) is the hint of spicy/earthy hop in the hop build, which helps connect the two sometimes disparate flavors. I’ve seen a lot of European beer writers claim that the Black IPA is really just a hoppy stout, but I wonder if they’ve had some of the better examples of the style. (Or, at least, the more American-hopped versions.) Black IPA is a style that I tend to regard with suspicion, at best, but this one is worth picking up if you can get it.
That’s enough for tonight. Cheers.
Another long workday, ready for a couple of beers and leftover dinner.
First, a single bottle of Short’s Controversius Maximus. Definitely overly sweet for me, although I’ve heard that this bottle may be way older than it should be for a DIPA. You definitely get the alcohol burn here. I’m a big fan of ControversiALE (formerly Hangin’ Frank) but this one isn’t quite for me.
All right, onto the next beer, Founders Red’s “Rye PA.” Formerly a year-round, but apparently really expensive to produce, so they’ve turned it into a seasonal four-pack. Since this is probably my all-time favorite rye beer, I was definitely interested in trying it, especially since at the time of this writing this bottle is all of eleven days old.
You definitely get more of that earthy funk from the rye than I remember in this beer, but I don’t think I’ve ever had it this fresh. Nice sweetness from that amber malt character. (Added via crystal malt? You can never be sure with these kinds of beers.) Just as dank as the Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye, but much more drinkable. I think if anything they’ve made this beer better by turning it from a year-round to a seasonal.
That’s it for the night. Cheers to all.
I’ve been a very Bad Blogger as of late, but hopefully life has settled down so that I can spend a bit more time talking about beer here on the blog.
Tipping our toes back into the water, here’s a quick review of the new Stone collaboration beer, the R&R Coconut IPA. My buddy Ryan was one of the winners of the contest that led to this beer, but I didn’t let that affect my opinion too much.