Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Bruery Mischief

My love for Belgian beers is runs pretty deep. I'm never afraid to try a new one and they never get old, because every brewery seems to have their own take on a style.

Appearance: Holy head hand grenade, Batman! Ton of typical fluffy lacy head tops a beautifully golden colored brew, crystal clear, and full of rising carbonation.

Smell: Citrus and flower hoppopotamus, spices, cloves, some other fruit in there that I can't discern, maybe pineapple? Nothing to speak of in the malt department.

Taste: Very dry, the citrus and floral hops are gone, some fruitiness, banana, finishes with a little pepper flavor. The banana and pepper are a nice subtle combo, but still bummed I wasn't smacked in the face with more intense hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, light bodied, well carbonated, nonexistent alcoholic aftertaste.

Drinkability: Surprisingly easy to drink from a strong Belgian at 8.5% abv. Nothing of this beer really bogs you down, which can be dangerous. I wasn't particularly blown away by this brew, the smell got my hopes up but the taste was kind of a let down. Would I drink it again? Absolutely, but I won't go out of my way for it. Give it a try, maybe I'm missing something, in which case please tell me and I'll be happy to revisit it. 8/10

Glass type: Duvel tulip glass
Serving type: Bottle, 22.4 oz.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA

I'm always excited when Stone releases a brew for their anniversary series. Throw in the fact that the style is an IPA with an aim at its English roots, I'm pretty pumped.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful golden color that's crisp and clear with a ton of head with great lacing. Very inviting, I hope the pic does it justice.

Smell: Great pine aroma with a hint of citrus, maybe lemon spice, but predominantly pine from the English hops (per the bottle: Target, East Kent Goldings, and Boadicea hops were used). Very faint hints of malt, but I could be imagining it. Definitely different than your typical IPA which usually blasts you with strong floral scents.

Taste: Heavy cream and dry malt is offset with pine hops and a pleasantly bitter aftertaste. Side note: I hope I'm not being sucked in by what I'm reading, but I can legitimately say it reminds me of some of the local brews I had at pubs while I was in England. The beverage can't be less than 50 deg. and it works perfectly for the style.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, bolstered by the breadiness the yeast seems to give it. Seems to be a little hop resin that feels like it coats the palate. Bitterness outweighs the alcohol in the aftertaste. Perfectly carbonated, present but not overpowering.

Drinkability: Easily enjoyable for one bomber bottle, and if I had a second on me I would drink that too. Be careful though, you'll be surprised to find out it punches at 8.9% abv. This is not your Grandpa's West Coast IPA, this is a well done English IPA that has subtlety, style, and class. Kudos to the fellas at Stone for putting so much effort into crafting this masterpiece. It's recommended to drink this beer fresh or age it for over a year, unfortunately I just bought it last week and it had a bottle date of June 2010. I knew I was taking a risk, but it was worth it. I'm going to buy a few next time and review them a year from now to see the differences, but I don't know how it can get any better. 9.5/10

Glass type: DFH bullet glass
Serving type: Bottle, 22 oz.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Smuttynose Gravitation

I've been looking forward to reviewing this Belgian beast ever since I picked it up at Julio's in Westborough, MA. Gravitation is part of Smuttynose Brewery's big beer series, which can be found here.

Appearance: The color is a very deep red, almost brown, that is opaque, cloudy, and very little in terms of carbonation rising. There is a thin layer of lacy head, but just enough to coat the surface. Looks pretty menacing, like Chimay Grande Reserve (blue).

Smell: Citrus, fruity, and sweet with some hints of caramel. There's some raisin, apricot, and something else I just can't put my finger on. The scent is pretty bold but inviting.

Taste: Caramel and toasted malts with a spicy finish. Very sweet, sort of like licorice, so much so that it overpowers almost any fruit or citrus flavors. You expect quads to be on the sweet side, but this seems a little much.

Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth, medium bodied, coats the palate and little carbonation. It does leave quite an alcoholic kick on the aftertaste that takes a few sips to get used to.

Drinkability: I definitely wouldn't drink more than a bomber in a night because of the sweetness and the whopping 12% abv. There is no exact bottling date shown, but there is a notch in the label saying this beer was bottle-conditioned in 2010, so it must be relatively fresh. I wonder how this beer would age to see if the sweetness would mellow out just a bit. There's nothing wrong with the beer, I just wasn't overly impressed. 7.5/10

Glass type: Duvel tulip glass
Serving type: Bottle, 22 oz.