458. Samuel Adams Black Lager

458. Samuel Adams Black Lager



On Fridays there's a weekly beer hour that follows a brief talk by a researcher in a Cancer Center affiliated lab. The beer selection varies from week to week. This week it looks like someone bought a couple Sam Adams mixed twelve packs. I had a Harpoon IPA while talking with some labmates and I grabed a bottle of Sam Adams Black Lager to take home. I served this at around 45º F in my NERAX pint glass.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Boston Beer Company
Alcohol: 4.90%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: Schwarzbier, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear, dark brown with ruby tints. It's topped by a thick, fluffy, beige head that thins to a sudsy film leaving patchy lace on the glass.

Smell (4.0): The nose is predominantly malty. There are notes of caramel, tart fruit, burnt sugar and coffee.

Taste (3.5): Sweet caramel, dried fruit, smoky roasted flavors, with a very light bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Moderate carbonation, medium-bodied, a tad sticky.

Drinkability (4.0): Mild flavors and low alcohol make this easily sessionable.

Overall (3.75): Not much to say here...

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Blogger Finally Adds Tags

Blogger has finally added tags for posts. I'm currently going through all of my old posts and adding tags for brewery and style as well as other descriptors (Sour Beer, Oak Aged), and for the type of post (Reviews, News, Travel). I'm doing this in one month chunks. I've done three months so far. I apologize to RSBS readers for the clutter.

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457. Stone 06.06.06 Vertical Epic Ale

457. Stone 06.06.06 Vertical Epic Ale



I purchased two bottles of Stone's 2006 installment in their Vertical Epic series at Downtown Wine & Spirits recently. One for now, one for later. I let this warm to around 50ºF and served it in my Westvleteren Chalice.

The bottle has this to say:
In this year's edition, you'll notice a deep, rich aroma of toasty malts, anise Belgian yeast spiciness, and a hint of cedar. The toasty, dark and roasty malt flavors combine with a soft palate - courtesy of specialty dark wheat and barley malts. The body is fairly light for a beer with such a high gravity. There is a pleasant, lingering bitterness, so you know it's a part of the Stone family. This ale was brewed with a specialty Belgian yeast that we're really liking here at Stone... it's the same one we used for brewing the Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic Ale. And as with Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale, all the spicy, deep, and wonderfully funky aromas and flavor characteristics in this beer come as a result of nothing more than malts, hops, water and yeast!
Beer Stats:
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Year: 2006
Alcohol: 8.66%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear, dark brown with ruby tints. The beer is topped by a moderate, fluffy, brown head that thins to a persistent patchy film.

Smell (3.5): Very rich and malty. The aroma has notes of sugar, sourness, peppery spice and a whiff of alcohol. All of these are secondary to strong notes of raisins and dates.

Taste (4.5): Lightly sweet upfront with some toasty malt flavors. This is followed by the aroma, with tart raisins and dates evident. The finish is a pleasant mix of peppery and alcoholic spiciness, along with a low, but lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): On the medium side of full-bodied, low carbonation, with a smooth, silky texture.

Drinkability (4.5): Quite nice, not as cloying as some other Belgian Stong Dark Ales I've had.

Overall (4.15): This is a well-balanced beer. It has all of the sweetness and spiciness of a Belgian Dark, with a nice bitterness, none of which overpower the others.

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456. Hazelnut Brown Nectar

456. Hazelnut Brown Nectar

I purchased and consumed this last night. It was purchased at Downtown Wine & Spirits as usual. I served it in a plain pint glass. Sorry, no picture for this one.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Rogue Ales Brewery
Alcohol: 6.20%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: American Brown Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a lightly hazy ruby-brown with a dense, half-inch, light brown head that thins to a persistent, smooth, one-eighth inch layer.

Smell (3.5): There's a little bit of roastiness against a nice caramel and hazelnut aroma. There's a slight metallic hint that isn't great.

Taste (4.0): Caramel and toasty malts, hazelnut nuttiness, and a subdued, but firm bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Light to medium-bodied, with significant carbonation.

Drinkability (4.5): Flavor full and very drinkable, a good session beer.

Overall (3.95): Nicely balanced and not too sweet.

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455. Big Bear Black Stout

455. Big Bear Black Stout



I purchased this at Downtown Wine & Spirits recently. I let it warm to around 50º F and served it in a New Belgium glass.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Alcohol: 8.10%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours an opaque black, with a fluffy, light-brown head that thins to a patchy film leaving light lace on the glass.

Smell (4.0): Rich aromas of dried fruit and chocolate, with light aromas of roasted coffee.

Taste (4.0): Notes of sweet chocolate and fruit are followed by a cherry tartness in the center, and a strong roasted coffee bitterness in the finish, with a light alcoholic bite.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Full-bodied with low to moderate carbonation.

Drinkability (4.0): The alcohol is well hidden, it's a very pleasant beer to drink.

Overall (4.0): A nice RIS, this one was a bit on the sweet side, though it was still very good.

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454. Hop Rod Rye

454. Hop Rod Rye



I purchased this at Downtown Wine & Spirits on Saturday. I let it warm to around 45º F and served it in my NERAX pint glass.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Alcohol: 8.00%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: American IPA, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours a lightly hazy dark-copper color with a thick, fluffy, beige head that fades slowly to a persistent one-eighth inch layer leaving behind patchy lace.

Smell (4.0): Light caramel malt aromas that become stronger upon swirling, rye spiciness and strong resiny hops and a hint of grain.

Taste (4.5): There's a lightly sweet caramel malt presence from start to finish that provides balance. The malt sweetness that's first evident is met by a nice spicy rye flavors in the center followed by an intense hop bitterness in the finish. The aftertaste is lingering bitterness with a light alcoholic spice.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Full-bodied, with moderate carbonation that somehow seems subdued.

Drinkability (4.0): The alcohol is well hidden and the beer is well-balanced.

Overall (4.35): Very tasty. The hop bitterness is high, but is balanced by an underlying maltiness that never seems too sweet.

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453. Stone IPA

453. Stone IPA



I purchased this tonight at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I chilled it to around 45º F and served it in my NERAX pint glass.

The bottle boasts:
Stone IPA: To say that this IPA is deliciously hoppy, would be putting it modestly. And while we have many strong suits, modesty is not exactly one of them. And so, we used a totally immodest amount of hops in the recipe for this gem of an IPA. The result? Big hop flavor and - courtesy of generous "dry-hopping" - a big hop aroma. What about hop bitterness you ask? You bet! We loaded a glorious amount of crisp and refreshing hop bitterness into this brew. The result is a true thing of beauty. First the aroma entices, then the flavor moves one to rejoice aloud! Ahem. Well, it does for us anyway. In fact it makes us feel downright poetic. We know it will for you too!
Beer Stats:
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Alcohol: 6.90%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: American IPA, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours a clear copper, with a thick, fluffy, off-white head that thins to a persistent film leaving patchy lace on the inside of the glass.

Smell (4.5): The aroma is predominantly hoppy, mostly piney and resiny. There are also hints of a malty sweetness, but this is subtle.

Taste (4.0): Nice and hoppy. There's a light balancing toasty and sugary sweetness, but this stands no chance against the hops. The hop character becomes dominant in the center and lingers through to the finish. The hops are predominantly citrusy and resiny.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation and oily.

Drinkability (4.0): Tasty and quite drinkable for such a hoppy beer.

Overall (4.2): A very nice IPA with lots of hop flavors and aromas that aren't overpowered by sweet maltiness.

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452. Rogue Chocolate Stout

452. Rogue Chocolate Stout



I purchased this last night at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I let it warm to around 50º F and served it in my NERAX pint glass.

The bottle says:
Ebony in color with a rich creamy head. An earthy flavor of oats and hops that gives way to a rich chocolate truffle finish.
Beer Stats:
Brewery: Rogue Ales Brewery
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: American Stout, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours a deep black with ruby tints at the edges. It's topped by a thick, fluffy, brown head that thins to a persistent quarter-inch layer, that leaves patchy lace on the glass.

Smell (5.0): The aroma is very chocolatey. The first whiff is a very nice sweet chocolate. Swirling the beer brings out some nice tart fruity aromas. There are also hints of dark roast under the strong chocolate aroma. The smell is great, but makes me fear that the beer will be too heavy on the sweet chocolate flavors.

Taste (4.5): My first impressions are strong roasty flavors throughout, with some sweet chocolate hints. I first notice some mingling sweetness and roasty flavors that move into tart fruitiness. The finish is a nice mix of sweet chocolate and roasted and hop bitterness. Unlike the aroma the roasty flavors are strong and not overwhelmed by the chocolate.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Medium-bodied, high carbonation, lightly silky.

Drinkability (4.5): The chocolate isn't overpowering, and the roasty flavors provide a good balance.

Overall (4.6): I was afraid this beer would be too sweet, with very dominant chocolate flavors, but the roasted bitterness is high with the sweet chocolate providing a nice balance.

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451. Drie Fonteinen Oude Kriek

451. Drie Fonteinen Oude Kriek



I purchased this tonight at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I chilled it to around 45º F and served it in one of my New Belgium glasses. According to the label this was bottled on 26 February 2005.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Fonteinen
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Fruit Lambic, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours a deeply hazy burgundy with a fizzy, light-pink, half-inch head that fades to a persistent ring and patchy layer.

Smell (4.0): Sweet cherries, acidic tartness and a nice musty, barnyard funkiness that emerges upon swirling.

Taste (4.0): Sweet and lightly tart cherries upfront that's maintained through to the finish where it's met by a moderate acidic tartness in the finish along with an earthy flavor. Certainly not the strongest in terms of flavors, but it's nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Light-bodied, light but prickly carbonation, with a lightly dry finish.

Drinkability (4.5): Well-balanced between sweet fruitiness and a tart earthy lambic character.

Overall (4.15): A nice fruit lambic, not the most sour or funky, but it has enough of those elements to balance the fruit nicely.

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450. Allagash 11th Anniversary Ale

450. Allagash 11th Anniversary Ale



This was purchased at Downtown Wine & Spirits a few weeks ago. I let this warm to around 45º F and served it in one of my Ommegang chalices, however it approached room temperature as I finished it.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Allagash Brewing Company
Year: 2006
Alcohol: 9.20%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a lightly hazy ruby-brown with a creamy, beige, one inch head, that fades to a persistent patchy film leaving thick lace on the glass.

Smell (4.0): The aroma is predominantly sweet and malty. There are notes of candi sugar, dark fruit, yeast, and alcoholic spice. There's a light hop aroma that reminds me of Brettanomyces, but as far as I know this beer hasn't had any contact with Brett.

Taste (3.5): Malty, with candi sugar, dark fruit and a nice tartness. The finish is peppery, alcoholic spice and a Brett-like hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, moderate-carbonation, with a lightly dry finish.

Drinkability (3.5): The alcohol and spiciness of this beer is a little high.

Overall (3.75): A good Belgian Strong Dark Ale. I liked the Brett-like characteristics, even if these were illusory.

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449. Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen

449. Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen



I've been in the mood for lighter and lower alcohol beers the last few days, but my fridge has only high alcohol beers. This was purchased at Downtown Wine & Spirits along with various quadrupels. I let this warm slightly and served it in my NERAX pint glass.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei Aying
Alcohol: 5.6%
Serving: Bottle, 500 mL
Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear copper with a creamy, fluffy, off-white head that thins to a shiny half-inch layer, which remains throughout most of the beer.

Smell (4.0): Predominantly malty in the nose. There are bready, caramel and toffee notes, as well as a hint of fruitiness and a light leafy hop aroma.

Taste (4.0): Strong toasty and bready malt flavors are evident upfront. There's a light fruity sweetness in the center that fades to a nice leafy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Light-bodied, moderate carbonation, with a nice, lightly dry finish.

Drinkability (4.0): Light and easy to drink, but very flavorful.

Overall (4.0): A nicely done Oktoberfest, a perfect match for the cooling temperatures.

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Belgium

Tonight David and I purchased plane tickets for a weeklong trip to Belgium in November. The round trip tickets for a direct flight from JFK to Brussles were an amazing $490. We're leaving New York on Friday the 17th and returning on Saturday the 25th.

We haven't made any solid plans yet. Though I definitely want to visit Brasserie Cantillon while we're in Brussels. If anyone who reads this has any suggestions for good beer destinations leave a comment.

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448. Allagash Musette

448. Allagash Musette



This was purchased at Downtown Wine & Spirits a few weeks ago. I let this warm to around 45º F and served it in one of my Duvel Tulips.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Allagash Brewing Company
Year: 2006
Alcohol: 10.00%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a hazy brownish-red with a fluffy, thick, beige head that thins to a persistent, half-inch layer, leaving heavy lace.

Smell (4.0): Rich sweet caramel malty aroma is predominant, with notes of dark fruits, especially dates. There are also notes of yeast and alcohol.

Taste (3.5): There's a malty and fruity sweetness upfront, followed by a woody flavor and a peppery alcoholic spice. The finish has a mellow bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.5): High carbonation, creamy and medium to full-bodied.

Drinkability (4.0): Flavorful, with well hidden alcohol.

Overall (3.85): This is the first Wee Heavy that I've assigned a ranking to. The malty flavors are nice and are balanced well by the woodiness and bitterness. If I could find another bottle I would buy it for cellaring, perhaps next year's release.

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97. Don De Dieu

97. Don De Dieu



This is the last beer from the Unibroue mixed pack that I bought at Kappy's a month or two ago. I let this warm and served it in one of my Duvel tulip glasses.

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Unibroue
Alcohol: 9.00%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours a very lightly hazy golden witha creamy white head that thins to a persistent film. The head readily reemerges upon swirling.

Smell (4.5): Wonderfully fruity, mostly bananas. There are also notes of yeast, light alcohol and graininess.

Taste (5.0): A light citric tartness becomes evident upfront. The fruitiness builds in the center with hints of sour apple, banana and apricot. The finish is peppery spice with a crisp grainy finish with hints of alcohol and sour apples.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Creamy with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability (5.0): Delicious and full-flavored, yet still light and refreshing.

Overall (4.75): Another excellent Belgian Strong Pale Ale from Unibroue. This one is much fruitier than the others.

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447. Cantillon Saint Lamvinus

447. Cantillon Saint Lamvinus



Due to financial constraints and new beers in the fridge I pushed my weekly beer run back to Thursday. My only two purchases were a four-pack of Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale and a bottle of Saint Lamvinus, mainly because of the high price of the latter. I let this warm to around 45º F and served it in one of my New Belgium glasses.

This is another Cantillon fruit lambic. The website has this to say:
The grapes, of the merlot and cabernet-franc varieties, are soaked in Bordeaux barrels containing two to three years old lambic. The beer is not blended before the bottling.
I've been wanting to buy a bottle of Saint Lamvinus for awhile. It's the last Cantillon lambic that DW&S sells that I haven't tried. I haven't purchased a bottle until now because of the price, $40 for a 750 mL bottle. When I was leaving the liquor store my mouth was literally watering in anticipation.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie Cantillon
Year: 2003
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Fruit Lambic, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (5.0): Pours a hazy maroon with orange tints arounf the edges. A foamy, purplish-white, half-inch head tops the beer, before fading to a somewhat persistent ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell (5.0): Undisturbed an acidic tartness is predominant with light medicinal phenols, light hints of grapes and a light funkiness. Upon swirling the characteristic Cantillon earthy/funky/barnyard aroma becomes very dominant.

Taste (5.0): Sweet and tart grapes are evident upfront. The fruit is noticeable without being overdone or overpoweringly sweet. A strong acidic tartness appears in the center and mingles with a light residual fruitiness. The finish has a savory funkiness with a hard-to-place mouthwatering quality.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Light-bodied with prickly carbonation. The finish is very dry.

Drinkability (5.0): Delicious, the light fruitiness provides a nice balance to the strong tartness.

Overall (5.0): A fantastic fruit lambic, the fruit is present without being overpoweringly sweet. There's also a nice strong tartness and funkiness that I like. This beer is definitely worth my first 5.0.

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