Saturday, March 29, 2008

Old Franziskaner

So, here's that post on the Dunkelweiss that I promised. I picked this bottle of Franziskaner up at a local shop where I didn't think I needed to worry about how old a bottle was, turns out I do. The date code on the bottle, located in the lower left of the front label, is “12263”. A little on-line research revealed that this translates to a bottling date of the 122nd day of 2006 (May 2) and that it was bottled on line #3. This means by beer is almost 2 years old. Wheat beers are best when they are consumed fresh.

As are pale ales, on the same trip I picked up a six pack of Hazed & Infused and it also seemed old, there was almost none of the enjoyable hop aroma. Boulder Beer Co.'s beer lack any kind of bottled on or best by date so I have no way to tell exactly how old those beers were.

As a result of the beer being old, I'm not going to post any tasting notes but I did take some pictures, so enjoy...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Odell IPA

I've been in the mood for hops this week so today we'll take a look at one of the best IPAs available in the area, Odell Brewing Company's IPA. This 60 IBU, 7% ABV ale won gold at this years Great American Beer Fest, which is no small feat considering that the IPA category had 120 entries.

This bright copper colored beer with the fluffy off-white head has a great hop bouquet. Oranges, flowers and pine needles all battle to be the dominate hop aroma but there is also a mango-like sweetness in there that is very inviting.

In the mouth the citric and tropical fruit flavors fade to the background and the flavor becomes more herbal and piny. There is plenty of hops bitterness and a perfect biscuit-like malt backbone to keep it all balanced. Long dry finish and an almost perfect medium bodied mouth feel. Really solid IPA and one of my favorites, unfortunately hoppy beers of this quality seem to keep going up in price so if you see it for less than $10 a six-pack it's probably a good deal.

I should also apologize for not having posted in a while, I was out of town for Easter and haven't been able to get any good light for pictures until yesterday. I should have a couple more posts coming this weekend. I have a dunkelweizen waiting in the fridge and I might be headed down to Free State tonight to check out the projection screen they have set up for Jayhawk games. So check in later for those posts.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hazed & Infused

Welcome to the madness, I hope you were able to avoid work and enjoy all the basketball action today. For my session beer. on this bright spring day, I decided to go with one of my favorite pale ales, Boulder Beer's Hazed & Infused. This is a lovely dry-hopped ale, which means there were extra hops added at some point after the wort boil, this tends to infuse a beer with extra hop aromas without adding extra bitterness.

The pour is a hazy orange-copper color with a fluffy off-white head that slowly settle into a nice film and leave some decent lacing on the sides. The aroma pops with a bouquet of hops. Orange zest, pine oil, some floral notes dominate the nose. There is a touch of biscuit malt in there as well. A really great smelling beer.

The flavor continues the citrus theme with grapefruit and a lemony tartness. Balance is provided by a touch of malty sweetness and some grain-like flavors. There is some bitterness but it does not distract form the other flavors. The swallow is dry with a piny tart finish. Moderate carbonation and medium body provide a crisp mouth feel.

Overall this is a nice easy drinking ale that has a great hop aroma and very little bitterness. Really, every pale ale should be dry-hopped, a regular pale ale pales in comparison. This brew would make a good starter beer for the hop newbie who might be intimidated by the bitterness of IPAs. Add in the fact that this brew has a mere 4.85% ABV and it's a beer that can be enjoyed during a full day of basketball madness or any other spring time activities of your choice.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Irish Ales, Jayhawks, and Irish Stout

Since I won't be able to bar-hop with all the amateurs tomorrow I decided to go ahead and do a little celebrating today while I enjoy another epic battle between the Jayhawks and Texas Longhorns (and another victory). In homage to St. Patrick we'll take a look at three different Irish styled beers, Boulevard's Irish Ale, Free State's Grace O'Malley's Irish Ale, and finally, Murphy's Irish Stout.

The Boulevard Irish Ale is a clear, rich amber colored ale with an off-white head. The aroma is an enticing mix of caramel sweetness, fruity yeast esters, and a crisp, citric hops smell. Flavors are pretty much the same with a lightly bitter finish and a pine-like aftertaste. Mouth feel is medium-light with proper carbonation, Overall, a tasty example of the style with perhaps a little more of a hop profile than some, but I like it. Look for this beer on tap while you're out and about on Monday.

Meanwhile the Free State version is a richer maltier version of the style. Almost the same color with a rich malty aroma mixed with some fruity esters from the yeast. The flavors start off with a caramel and biscuit-like sweetness followed by a quick fruitiness and then a light, toasty finish. Not as bitter as the Boulevard but richer in the mouth with an excellent malt heavy flavor. Both would be an excellent choice, but I'm going to go with Boulevard as my favorite right now.

Finally, Murphy's Irish Stout is an InBev owned beer (the A-B of Europe) that is widely available in 16oz cans that have that nifty widget in them that allows us to get that creamy nitrogen infused pour. Color is black with a dark ruby highlight and a thick, creamy, dirty white head that lingers...and lingers. Aromas and flavors are mild at best. A slight milk chocolate aroma then some roasted flavors show up in the mouth to help give it a dry finish with a chalky aftertaste. Mouth feel is velvety smooth, a little watery at the end. Overall, a notch above Guinness in the flavor department but not as good as the other dry stouts I've reviewed (Avery, Boulevard, & North Coast).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Trappistes Rochefort 10

Today we'll take a look at Trappistes Rochefort 10, one of the top rated beers in the world. Both and have it rated in their top 10. I picked up my sample at the Lucas Liquor Superstore in Kansas City, MO. You can also find Rochefort at liquor stores on the Kansas side of the border. Wherever you happen to find it be sure to grab it right away as they never seem to stay on the shelves for very long.

Brewed by monks at the Brasserie de Rochefort which is part of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy, 10 is a Belgian Quadruple Ale of the highest caliber. The abbey brews three different beers, 6, 8, and 10. All follow the same basic recipe the only difference is the strength of the beer with 10 being the strongest. I probably should have started with the 8, I have one in the fridge, and worked up form there. Oh well, I'll be different and start at the top and work down.

The bottle has a best-by date of August 29th, 2012 and according to this site it was bottled five years prior. That makes my sample about six and a half months old.

The beer pours a dark mahogany color with a huge light brown head that leaves all kinds of lacing on the sides of my chalice. The aroma is very inviting with notes of caramel, figs, ripe bananas, clove, and a touch of coriander. A really delicious and complex smelling beer.

The taste follows the aromas and adds a little bread-like flavor. Right now I'm imagining figs and bananas that have been dipped in caramel and sprinkled with clove. The finish has a cocoa dryness to it with a little bit of spice mixed in. Mouth feel is a little light which is probably due to the above average carbonation. I'm very impressed that the alcohol is barely noticed at any point, just a slow warming effect, pretty good for a 11.3% ABV brew.

I was really impressed with the great aromas and flavors of this beer. This is definitely one of the better beers I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. I'm really glad I bought all four bottles I saw at the store. I understand now why I rarely see these little bottles in the stores and why I'll be buying more of these in the future, and I recommend you do the same.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Fermented News

Craft beer takes another bite out of the beer sales pie []

Missouri State Rep. Curt Dougherty proposes to make Budweiser the official state beer. Only in Missouri. [KC Star]

Good article about beer glasses [SF Gate]

Matthew McConaughey, proving he has bad taste, wants to name his kid Bud. "You just gotta keep livin' man, L-I-V-I-N." [Trans World News]

Good news, hops farmers are planting more hops []

Friday, March 7, 2008

Avery Out of Bounds Stout

I have one last stout rolling around in the fridge and I figured since its cold, today is a good day to review it. Avery Brewing Company's Out of Bounds Stout is a 5.1% ABV, 51 IBU Irish Dry Stout. It pours jet black with with a tan head that settles into a light film with moderate lacing on the sides of the glass. Mild aromas of milky coffee and chocolate with hints of fruit and roasted malts. Flavor has more roasted and bitter chocolate than the nose. The taste never seems to blend together like I'd like it to. Finish is dry and chalky with lingering bitterness. There is plenty of carbonation and a medium mouth feel that is a bit on the light side. Overall, I wasn't overly impressed with this stout. While it had more flavor that the Boulevard it wasn't as balanced and the North Coast was definitely a better stout.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


After a whole month of drinking mostly stouts, it's time for a big ol' hop bomb. And by hop bomb I mean HopSlam, a big Double India Pale Ale (DIPA) from Bell's Brewery. Thats right, I'm going to go with two straight Bell's posts in a row, I hope you're okay with that.

Back in late January, thanks to the good people over at the forums, I was able to pick up 2 six packs of the limited release HopSlam. As a side note, if you're ever looking to pick up a limited release brew that sells out quickly the BA forums are a great resource, as is The Left Side of the Store, a blog run by Phil Devitt who works over at Lukas Liquor Superstore in KC, MO.

The DIPA style is a uniquely American beer style. It takes the already hop heavy India Pale Ale (IPA) and adds a bunch more hops and just enough extra malt to keep it in the neighborhood of balanced. The Bell's version adds some honey to the malt bill in an attempt to add more balance.

The pour is a bright orange tinged copper color with a fluffy white head. The aroma hits right away, huge hop aromas are a mix of citrus and tropical fruits, like a mix between a mango and a grapefruit. Pine needle aromas sneak out as it warms. On the tongue it's more of the same hop flavors, a little more pine flavor with plenty of grapefruit and orange and plenty tongue burning hop bitterness. Honey and biscuit flavors make an attempt at balance, they mostly fail. The finish is dry and bitter with a spicy burn form the 10.5% ABV. This one grades out at an A-plus.

If you haven't been bit by the hop bug yet, you may want to steer clear of this one. On the other hand, if you associate yourself with the phrase “hop head” then you must seek out this big, brutally bitter beer. I have yet to try a beer that comes closer to capturing the essence of American hops.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Bell's Expedition Stout

Since this is the last day in February (at least it was when I started this post), I figured I should finally get around to reviewing that Bell's Expedition Stout I've had sitting in my beer fridge for about a month and a half. This is a big Russian Imperial Stout with 10.5% ABV. This is the first bottle from a rather expansive six-pack that I picked up at the Lukas Liquor Superstore in Kansas City, MO. I was thinking about hanging on to the other five for awhile to see how they change over time.

Bell's website has a handy feature where you can enter in the batch number located on the back of a bottle and find out what day the beer your drinking was bottled on. While it'd be even better if they'd just put the date right on the bottle, a batch number is infinitely better than having no idea how old a beer is. It surprises me that so many craft breweries have no bottled on or best by date on their products, I mean even Budweiser dates their swill, you'd think a small craft brewery that cared about the quality of their product would go to the trouble and expense of dating their bottles. Okay, I'll stop my ranting now and get on with the review.

There's no doubt that this is an imperial stout. It pours like heavy whipping cream only its the complete opposite in color, black as night. The thick, creamy, dark brown head slowly settles into a dense film. An appealing start. The aroma was a little softer than I thought it would be. Notes of roasted malt, and chocolate cappuccino are underpinned by a light molasses sweetness. Occasionally I pick up a faint fruitiness but I can't nail it down.

The flavor starts out with a sweet mix of caramel and toffee that fades into a mild dark chocolate with a roasty and slightly bitter finish. The thickness of this brew coupled with a moderate carbonation allows the chocolaty bitterness to really linger around. Alcohol is not noticed at all in the mouth, but at 10.5% it does slowly warm you up.

Overall, a really tasty stout. It could use a little more carbonation which should help the aroma pop a little more. I like how the alcohol is very subdued and the overall balance of sweet and bitter is spot on. According to the website this bottle was packaged on September 14, 2007. That makes it about five and a half months old. Based on my tasting tonight I don't know if the other five will age much longer.