Archive | May, 2012

Brew Review: 3 Feet Deep

30 May

Brew: 3 Feet Deep

Brewed by: Furthermore Brewing (Spring Green, WI)

Style: Irish Dry Stout (5.5% ABV)

 

My first review of a Furthermore brew, I have seen these all the time in the store so I finally decided to pick on up and sample it at home to see if it had any staying power. Being from Wisconsin and the fact that they are professional alcoholics over there made me think that if anybody was going to brew a good beer it could probably be a brewery from that almost-state. I was also excited to see a brewery come out with an Irish Dry Stout as most breweries at trying to come up with imperial stouts or big huge robust beers to try and put themselves on the map and they were taking a step back and examining an older style and taking a ‘craft’ approach to it.

Three feet deep poured out a dark thick black. Like a dark chocolate drink or a nice cup of cocoa that you mom fixes you after a long day out on the lake skating. There was also a thin white (minty?) white cap of foam that couldn’t have been more appreciated that laced the glass nicely.

It smelled of rich coffee and roasted grains. A little smoky which was an unexpected but nice touch to the aroma. There was not much by way of hops or fruit but I figured those would come later on in the taste as this was a ‘dry’ stout. The aroma rounded off with a spicy chocolate smell that just touched my nose and left me wanting to dive right into this brew.

The roasted smoke came through in the taste of the brew which was a little surprising. I was expecting more chocolate and a somewhat hollow taste from this traditional Irish stout. The body was creamy and somewhat light. The hints of chocolate did come through a bit at the end along with some coffee tastes but the brew was somewhat light on taste. Not as full and rich as I wanted, maybe I have been spoiled by all the imperial stouts and big malty brews that I have been trying recently but this one fell short of what I was wanting.

It was definitely dry as the hop profile kept it smooth and somewhat crisp on the end. The lack of a bigger body and somewhat bland taste kept this brew from being a great one but it was a good one overall. I would say that this would be a good brew for a cool autumn evening outside with some friends.

 

Final Grade: B-

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Brew Review: Scotty Karate

17 May

Brew: Scotty Karate

Brewed by: Dark Horse Brewing Company (Marshall, MI)

Style: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy (9.75% ABV)

 

I will preface this by saying that I have had this beer on tap (sadly didn’t take any notes) and really enjoyed it. That was the reason I picked it up when I saw it on the shelf at the liquor store. Wanted to see how it matched up with the tap version as compared to the bottles.

Scotty poured out a thick dark murky brown color. Somewhat like caramel but a bit darker and more runny. Almost looked like a beer that came straight from the tap at a place that they hadn’t cleaned the tap lines in about 4 years. We can sum it up to say that it didn’t all that appealing. There was just a small off-white head as well.

After the way the brew looked you would think that this bad boy didn’t have much going for it. Well all you have to do is move on to the 2nd part of trying a beer and that’s the way it smells. This beer had a ton of stuff going on in the way it smelled. It had sweet malts, roasty malts, dark fruits raisins and more things that were hard to pick out. I have heard that this beer tastes/smells like a chocolate chip cookie, I don’t know where they got that but with the abundance of aromas floating up at me I could see that they might find that in there. The alcohol is really undetectable in the aroma which is good. The malts dominate with their sticky sweetness.

The flavor follows suit with the aroma. It is a smooth beer that glides through your mouth filling it with those malt flavors and bringing out a peated malt that I didn’t really get in the aroma. The big malts with their sweet and roasty aspects are joined with the fruity side of things to create a very in-tune brew that touches on a lot of things but doesn’t dwell and really ends up being a great ride. The alcohol once again is really not noticeable which is great and the focus is on the big hearty flavors of the beer.

There are just so many things going on in this brew that its hard to pick out just one and say that’s the best part. Overall, its just a really good beer and one that I really enjoy for the style. It wasn’t as good as on tap, then again what really is, but it held its own in the bottle. I would have liked to see more peated/scotch like flavors and aromas but you can’t win them all and I was very happy with this beer as it stood.

 

Final Grade: A-

Brew Review: Anchor Porter

17 May

Brew: Porter

Brewed by: Anchor Brewing Co (San Francisco, CA)

Style: American Porter (5.6% ABV)

 

Anchor brewing released this beer almost 40 years ago and it is still going strong. That’s something to be said about a beer that is pretty dark in color which for most people means a big heavy too filling type brew and one they stay away from. Sticking around for 40 years as a brewery that isn’t one of the big 3 is something to be said as well, Anchor executes and delivers every time with each of their beers which has made them very successful.

The original American Porter poured out a dark brown with some reddish hints floating along the sides and bottom. Not totally black but not opaque either. There was a tan/khaki head that rose about a half inch above the brew as well and lasted for a little while before settling down. Looked like a traditional solid porter.

The aroma was pretty spot on, exactly what you would expect from a stock porter. Roasted malts mixed some sweetness and nuttiness that overall wrapped itself into what we expect porters to deliver when we try them. Nothing to extreme here and nothing lacking either.

The taste was sweet, almost too sweet. There were a fair amount of hops present in the brew which was a little surprising but it didn’t detract from the overall experience that much. The syrupy malts were present but they were too distant and didn’t pack enough big bodied punch to carry the beer.

The beer needs more body, it feels thin and lacking in the a way. I also found a lack of roasted aromas and tastes that I thought should be more essential to a good porter. The light drinking aspect was most likely due to the abundance of hops that were added to this brew which also detracted from the fact that I wanted something that was going to fill me up and not have me asking for more because I wasn’t satisfied yet. Mostly it needs more body and more roasted aspects to make this a perfect porter.

 

Final Grade: B-

Brew Review: Arctic Panzer Wolf

16 May

Brew: Arctic Panzer Wolf

Brewed by: 3 Floyds Brewing (Munster, IN)

Style: Imperial IPA (9.0% ABV)

 

A brew from 3 Floyds which is a treat for those of us up in MN since Floyds does not distribute up here so I had to pick this bad boy up in Chicago on a journey down there. 3 Floyds has a decent reputation for some great brews especially its Dreadnaught IPA so sitting here with their Imperial IPA only gave me hope that they were going to come up with another home run in the IPA department.

The Panzer Wolf poured out a lot lighter than expected for an imperial IPA, usually there is lots of malts in these beasts that counteract the massive amount of hops present which lends a darker color to the brew. This one was a yellow straw-like color so not really a classic color for an average Imperial IPA. There was a loose white head that was somewhat unimpressive as well.

The aroma was fruity and floral hops all the way. There were apricots, apples and pears. Not a tropical sort of arrangement that you sometimes get in big IPA’s but a lighter fruit offering with pears and apples. Reminded me of Duvel and the apples and pears that I picked up when I tasted that brew.

The taste was Imperial for sure. Right away I could detect the booze that came with the brew. At 9.0% this isn’t a laugher and the Panzer Wolf definitely had some teeth that I encountered when I tangled with it. The bitterness was the most present of flavors in there. Pine and earthy hops dominated. It was however a very easy drinking Imperial IPA, somewhat light for the style.

An easy drinking beer that was uncharacteristic for the style but in the end there wasn’t really anything that blew me away with the beer. There wasn’t a big flavor one way or another and the hop profile was somewhat bland for being a big huge IPA. The Arctic Panzer Wolf may have a big bark but the bite is relatively tame in comparison.

 

Final Grade: B

Brew Review: Plead the 5th

9 May

Brew: Plead the 5th

Brewed by: Dark Horse (Marshall, MI)

Style: Imperial Stout (12.0% ABV)

Another imperial stout to add to the books, I went on sort of a bender of stouts for a while so you can expect that to be a trend here for a bit. The Plead the 5th is Dark Horse’s version of the Imperial Stout category, it was also highly touted by a friend so I was excited to try it and once again didn’t put a whole lot of age on this bottle so when I drank it, the flavor was pretty fresh.

The Plead the 5th poured out a thick solid impenetrable black that no light escaped from. The kind of look you wish and hope for when you pour an Imperial Stout out of the bottle. There was also a great looking dark tan almost brown head that rose out of the depths of this brew as well that was welcome and just added to the perfect looking brew that greeted my eyes upon the initial pour.

The 5th also smelled wonderful. Big roasted aromas greeted me along with sweet caramel and dark chocolates. Molasses, caramel and lots of cocoa rose up to the nostrils along with a slight alcohol whiff. You could tell that this was going to be a thick dark rich complex brew when you tasted it, but the smell alone was something to take in and savor.

The taste followed suit with the appearance and the aroma, wonderfully complex and full of depth and character. The brew was thick syrupy but at the same time creamy and had a very pleasant feel to it in the mouth. Not a lot of hops that I could detect, I did let this one sit for a few months (unsure exactly how long, I need to start keeping track of how long they age to really see how its developed) so the hops probably just melded into the overall onslaught of big roasty malts and grains. At the end of the sip there were rich roast coffee tastes mixed with chocolate and a little bit of booze. Made for a bit of a ‘warm’ finish but nothing to complain about because at 12% it would have been hard to mask all that alcohol.

A great beer with lots of layers and complex flavors and aromas. This is a beer that if you like stouts and big hearty beers to seek out and if you stumble upon one or two or more you should definitely snatch up.

Final grade: A

Brew Review: Muffin Top

8 May

Brew: Muffin Top

Brewed by: Clown Shoes (Ipswich, MA)

Style: Hoppy Belgian-style Tripel (10.0% ABV)

Another one of the Clown Shoes line up that I picked up while in Chicago on one of my visits. I was told that this one was one of their better ones so I went for it not really knowing what to expect from something that was a mix between a tripel and a belgian-style IPA. Basically two styles that will pit malts against hops and then see who wins I guess. Let the battle begin.

The Muffin Top, first off a weird name for a beer it really has no bearing on the style whatsoever it basically just conjures up somewhat unpleasant images of overweight people in tight jeans, poured out a nice orange/amber color. There was also some dark red floating in there which made for a great looking beer. There was also a nice thick off-white head that rose up about an inch from the surface of the brew.

The smell of the beer had some definite Belgian funk to it which was a part of the IPA where the yeast is allowed to shine through. Cloves, funk, some banana rose up from it. There was also a big malt presence which sides on the tripel region of the style. The hops were also present in the aroma but not huge players quite yet, I just got a faint piney aroma from them.

The taste was somewhat underwhelming. There was obviously a high malt content – tripel style. But there were some bananas that floated around on my tongue and a slight bitterness which made me think more IPA. The one special part was that I couldn’t detect any booze at all. The flavor for being a mix of styles was not very dynamic, there was a nice Belgian touch but not really an IPA because of all the malt that goes into making a tripel.

I think, overall, that these two styles are just to conflicting to blend together and make something new and unique. It wasn’t a bad beer but for what the goal as I think the brewers fell short.

Final Grade: B

Brew Review: Black Chocolate Stout

8 May

Brew: Black Chocolate Stout

Brewed by: Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, NY)

Style: Imperial Stout (10.0% ABV)

Brooklyn’s take on the imperial stout comes out in their seasonal Black Chocolate Stout. I found a 12 oz bottle at the store and knew that it had been a part of some awards and was highly thought of so I knew I had to give it a shot.

The Black Chocolate stout poured out a thick black with no light escaping. Typical for the style and exactly what I was looking for. There was a small tan head with loose bubbles that was a little disappointing as I wanted something a little more.

The smell was exactly what it should have been. Chocolate, chocolate and more afterwords. There were definite roasty characteristics mixed with deep dark fruits and some faint hop resins. The main aroma was the chocolate as there must have been some big roasty malts that carried that through.

The taste was great. Chocolate once again shone through as the main ingredient as the thick and chewy brew washed through my mouth. The roasted flavors continued and the malty-ness carried some fruit and complex tastes as well. The booze was slightly evident on the end but then again its hard to hide 10% especially since I didn’t age this one very long at all. I should have gotten a couple bottles to try later on to see how it develops.

Overall this was a fresh imperial stout so it was still figuring some things out for itself. I believe that with some age on it this will become a great brew that highlights chocolate but it still rich, deep and complex. I have to be a little more patient next time.

Final Grade: B+