1111. John Harvard's Russian Imperial Stout

1111. John Harvard's Russian Imperial Stout

Jadyn and I had dinner at John Harvard's at some point in early to mid January. I had their Russian Imperial Stout with dinner.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: John Harvard's Brew House
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Tap
Style: Russian Imperial Stout, BJCP Style Guide

John Harvard's Russian Imperial Stout pours a deep, opaque black with slight ruby tints. It's topped by a sudsy, brown head that fades down to a persistent, sudsy ring. There's a deep, malty aroma with notes of chocolate, molasses, toffee, roast, a bit of dark fruit and alcohol.

There are sweet notes of chocolate upfront that move into a molasses character in the center, which carries into a spicy, sharp alcoholic finish that's sweet, and is cut by a roasted bitterness. This RIS is a full-bodied and smooth with moderate carbonation.

This beer is a tad sweet and spicy. It's a sipper.


1109-1110. Two at the CBC

Jadyn and I stopped in at the CBC for beers in early January. I had a couple new ones that I hadn't seen before.

1109. Darkest Night

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Cambridge Brewing Company
Alcohol: 5.50%
Serving: Tap
Style: Winter Warmer, BJCP Style Guide

Darkest night pours a dark brown with reddish tints. It's almost opaque. It's topped by a fluffy brown head that fades. There are cinnamon spice aromas, woody notes, and slightly roasty. My nose is stuffed, so it's hard to say.

There are mild sweet malts upfront that tread between caramel and fruitiness. It moves into a slightly spicy center with cinnamon, and slight roasty chocolate. The finish is dry and woody with a mild lingering bitterness. This winter warmer is surprisingly light feeling with mild carbonation, and pleasing dryness in the finish.

I don't tend to enjoy winter warmers as they tend to be overly spiced. This one however was well balanced and has a nice interplay of sweetness and woodiness

1110. Sledgehammer Imperial Red Ale

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Cambridge Brewing Company
Alcohol: 7.75%
Serving: Tap
Style: American Amber/Red Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Sledgehammer pours a cloudy red, and is topped by a beige head that fades to a ring. The nose is dominated by caramel malts and a citric hop aroma.

There's a strong caramel sweetness initially, and then quickly moves into a fruitiness tempered by hops. Towards the finish strong resiny and citric hop flavors appear along with a bit of peppery spice and strong bitterness. This amber ale is medium-bodied with moderate carbonation, and a slighltly rough finish.

I thought the balance was surprisingly high for such a hoppy beer.

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1108. John Harvard's Brewhouse Saison

1108. John Harvard's Brewhouse Saison

Jadyn and I went to John Harvard's sometime in early January. They had a saison brewed without hops.

Beer Stats:
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Tap
Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 3.5 | Smell: 3.5 | Taste: 4.0 | Mouthfeel: 3.5 | Drinkability: 4.0

Overall: 3.75

Brewhouse Saison pours a cloudy golden, and is topped by a fluffy white head that fades to film, leaving some patched lace. The aroma has fruity notes of banana, a grainy/grassy character, and an earthy yeast character.

There are dry, grainy malts upfront, and fruity esters hit in the center. These are predominantly banana with a hint of citrus and bubble gum. There's a bit of peppery spice in the finish. The finish is moderately sweet, with lingering citrus and a grainy character. This saison is light-bodied and husky feeling with prickly carbonation.

This beer was light, quaffable, and had surprising balance for no hops. I enjoyed this one, and had a couple.


1103-1107. Beers in Texas

I had several new beers on my trip back to Texas during December. As usual I tried to focus on Texas beers, or beers that aren't readily available in Massachusetts.

1103. Bombshell Blonde

Ward always sets aside a couple of beers for my Texas visits. This time he brought a can of Southern Star's Bombshell Blonde, and a bottle of Shiner Smokehaus.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Southern Star Brewing Co.
Alcohol: 5.00%
Serving: Can
Style: American Blonde Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 4.0 | Smell: 3.5 | Taste: 4.0 | Mouthfeel: 4.0 | Drinkability: 4.5

Overall: 3.95

Bombshell Blonde pours a cloudy golden, and is topped by a shiny, white head that fades to a film and leaves lace that clings to the sides of the glass. The aroma is fruity with lighter notes of toasty malts, and herbal hops.

There's a toasty, bready sweetness upfront that is constant underneath the building flavors. A mild banana fruitiness appears in the center, and moves into a a mild, grassy bitterness in the flavor. I thought this beer had a pleasing sweetness that was offset by a good depth of flavor. This blonde ale is medium to light-bodied, and has a nice crispness that's accentuated by the carbonation.

I was very pleased with this beer. It had a nice amount of flavor, and would make a great session beer.

1104. Shiner Smokehaus

This was another beer that Ward brought to Waco for me to try.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Spoetzl Brewery
Alcohol: 4.89%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: Smoked Beer, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 3.0 | Smell: 3.5 | Taste: 3.5 | Mouthfeel: 4.0 | Drinkability: 3.5

Overall: 3.45

Smokehaus pours a crystal clear golden, and is topped by a short-lived, bright white head. The aroma has a mild, malt sweetness, a slight grassiness, and a mild, mild smokiness.

There's an initial, crisp maltiness that moves into a slight, fruity sweetness in the center. The finish has a mild smokiness and an herbal grassiness. This beer is crisp, light-bodied, and has a good dose of carbonation.

The smokiness is fairly mild, making this surprisingly drinkable for a smoked beer.

1105. Buried Hatchet Stout

Win, Ward and I spent a bit of time at The Dancing Bear, which is still Waco's best beer bar.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Southern Star Brewing Co.
Alcohol: 8.50%
Serving: Tap
Style: Foreign / Export Stout, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 4.0 | Smell: 4.0 | Taste: 4.5 | Mouthfeel: 4.0 | Drinkability: 3.5

Overall: 4.15

This beer pours a cloudy brown up to the light, but sitting in the glass it's an opaque black. It's topped by a fluffy, brown head that fades to a film, leaving good lace. The aroma is roasty with mild, coffee notes, sweet chocolate, and dark fruit.

There's a strong, roasted bitter undercurrent just underneath the surface. The sweetness is very mild, really only making an appearance in the center with notes of dark fruit. The finish has a mix of chocolate and coffee that's intensely bitter. This stout is full-bodied and moderately carbonated.

This is an excellent stout. It has an intense bitterness, so it's not as much of a sessioner as many others.

1106. Hopsickle

This was another beer at The Dancing Bear.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Moylan's Brewery
Alcohol: 9.20%
Serving: Tap
Style: American Double IPA, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 4.0 | Smell: 4.5 | Taste: 4.5 | Mouthfeel: 4.0 | Drinkability: 3.0

Overall: 4.2

Hopsickle pours a cloudy copper color. It's topped by a creamy, off-white head that retains well, and leaves good lace. The aroma is intensely hoppy with notes of citrus, juicy fruit, apricots, a bit of pine, and slight, bready malts.

Sweet notes of caramel and raw sugar upfront are quickly met by a strong, hop bitterness in the center, which moves into a resiny finish that leaves a lingering bitterness. This Double IPA is medium-bodied, oily, and has a nice, prickly carbonation.

The hop aromas, bitterness, and flavors in this beer are insane.

1107. Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #9

The Divine Reserve series is Saint Arnold's limited release line of beers. Their #9 is an Imperial Pumpkin stout. These disappeared quickly in Houston, but the HEB in Woodway had several cases. I bought a six-pack. Ward bought two cases.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Alcohol: 11.0%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: American Double Stout

Appearance: 4.5 | Smell: 4.0 | Taste: 4.0 | Mouthfeel: 4.0| Drinkability: 3.5

Overall: 4.05

Divine Reserve #9 pours an opaque black. The carbonation sounds oda-like upon pouring. The head is light brown, retains well, and is fed by a nice stream of bubbles. Pumpkin pie spice aromas are immediately noticeable with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg. The effect of the malts and spices give an impression of ginger bread. There are mild, roasty undertones.

A mild roastiness opens up into a spicy center with notes of cinnamon and ginger. The roasty flavors come back in the finish, along with a warming, alcoholic spice. The sweetness is strong, so there's only a hint of lingering bitterness. This stout is full-bodied, with moderate carbonation

This beer is a sipper. It's alcoholic and spicy.

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1102. Chicory Stout

1102. Chicory Stout

On December 9th I went to the Muddy with some lab mates. I had a couple of glasses of Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, which was their rotating tap choice. I only took minimal notes, so here they are.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Alcohol: 5.20%
Serving: Tap
Style: American Stout, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a dark brown with a beige head. There's an intense roasty aroma with a bit of a green character. Chocolate notes are present upfront. It moves through to mild fruity character in the center, and is finished with a nice roasty wallop. I really enjoyed this one.


1101. Mönchshof Kellerbräu

1101. Mönchshof Kellerbräu

In early December Jadyn and I went to Lord Hobo for dinner. Lord Hobo opened in late November in what was, until recently, the B side Lounge, after what seemed like an endless licensing process. The new spot is a (perhaps unfortunately named) project of Daniel Lanigan, who was behind The Moan and Dove, a beer bar in Amherst.

Having been lukewarm on the B Side (great blue cheese fries and cocktails, but overpriced food) I have to say that I'm happy with the change. Lord Hobo has an upscale Gastropub feel, with a menu that has an upscale pub fare feel, and a stellar beer list. The B Side's booths have been replaced with tables, giving the space a more open feel, and the maroon walls lined with art give it a more polished feel. My only complaint was the two flat screen televisions, that really just serve to distract.

We started with the artisanal cheeseplate with bread, coarse salt, truffle honey, a fruit preserve, and three rather pungent cheeses.

For our entrees Jadyn had the wild mushroom polenta with grilled vegetables, and I had the oxtail gnocchi in a parmesan cream sauce. The gnocchi were surprisingly soft and yielding, and the oxtail was prepared in a slightly sweet sauce that complemented it well.

I had two half-liter steins of Mönchshof Kellerbräu, one ordered while we waited, and the second with dinner.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Kulmbacher Brauerei
Alcohol: 5.40%
Serving: Tap
Style: Keller Bier

Appearance: 4.0 | Smell: 4.0 | Taste: 4.0 | Mouthfeel: 4.5 | Drinkability: 5.0


Mönchshof Kellerbräu poured a cloudy copper, and was topped by a nice, white head that faded to a film, leaving patchy lace. The aroma was moderately malty with a light bit of hops. The malts were toasty, bready, and had a hint of caramel, while the hops were grassy with a light, bright, citric note

Toasty malts upfront let through a mild bready sweetness. The breadiness comes to the fore in the center, and meets the mild grassy and citric flavors from the hops. The hop bitterness appears in the finish and lingers, but isn't strong. Its presence is enough to cut the malts, and give a nice finish. This Keller Bier is crisp, and light with a seltzer like carbonation in finish and mild dryness.

I thought that this beer was very nice. It was crisp and light, but balanced.